Automation cuts jobs, adds little

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 18, 2005

Dear Editor,

At a time when the nation was growing in population the babyboomer left the farm and moved into the cities, where they foundwork in the nation’s growing factories –¬†building everything fromVCRs to microwave ovens; from 8-tracks and cassette decks to DVDsand personal computers.

Funds in the nation’s Social Security system were the highest everin the nation’s history. But alone with the advent of the computercame the loss of jobs and tax revenue. One might argue that jobslost because of the computer were gained in the manufacturing ofcomputers. But as long as the population is growing, the job marketand/or the tax base must also grow.

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If a machine has a computer attached to it and it puts people outof work, then that machine should be taxed in proportion to thenumber of people it puts out of work. It would still be profitablefor an employer to pay the taxes for five workers and not have topay their full wages, health insurance and vacation.

But instead of taxing the machine, we give the owner a tax breakfor buying the machine and raise the taxes of those still working.You see them everywhere. In banking, how many bank tellers are outof a job because of ATMs? You see them in check-out lines, whereyou check yourself out. You see them at the gas pump, where someonecan’t get a job pumping gas. At the car wash, someone can’t get ajob washing a car.

At a time when the baby boomers are nearing retirement and willdraw heavily on the system, there is not enough tax base to supplythem, but the population has grown. The gross national product hasreached record growth, and so has the deficit.

We cannot expect the owner of these machines to tax themselves.They are the ones that making the profit.

Private accounts? I don’t think so.

You need a job first. There is nothing wrong with Social Security.The problem is with the taxing system. These machines don’t buycars, food or clothing, but they are taking your jobs. Will yoursbe next?

Luke DeMyers,