May 12, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Andrew Yang promises to protect American trucking industry from automation

Andrew Yang. Alex Wong/Getty Images

2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang is using his campaign to warn America about the potentially damaging impact automation could have on the economy — and he's putting an emphasis on truck drivers.

What he's saying: "What are the truck drivers going to do when the robot trucks come and start driving themselves?” Yang asked at a recent rural issues forum in Stuart, Iowa. Yang says the country needs a plan to manage the loss of these jobs, describing truck driving as the "most common job in 29 states."

The California-based candidate says that more auto companies are investing in autonomous vehicle technology, and that includes those in the trucking industry. Yang claims that if the country doesn't work to ease the transition to self-driving vehicles, at least 3 million truck drivers could lose their jobs.

"All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society. ... That one innovation will be enough to create riots in the street. And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.”
— Andrew Yang told the New York Times

Yang is proposing a universal basic income plan, which he brands as the "Freedom Dividend," to help offset the job loss caused by automation. His plan would give $1,000 each month to every U.S. adult up to age 64, funded in part by a 10% "value added tax" on technology companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: Some of Yang's 80 policy suggestions touch on traditional topics like health care and public education, but many are tech-driven, setting him apart from other candidates.

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