Letter to the Editor: Robots taking jobs; Reader sounds off

Dear Editor,

The AP syndicated article “Fear of robots taking jobs spurs a bold idea:  guaranteed income” compelled a response. This “bold idea” entails yet another tax on Hawaii’s already heavily taxed tourist industry to fund another government entitlement. Bold?  Sounds suspiciously familiar; yet with inevitable catastrophic consequences.  Given a guaranteed level of income to sustain a basic standard of living in “paradise,” how many would simply opt out of working?  How many workers in the tourist industry – the very lifeblood of guaranteed income – would it take to opt out of working before that industry collapses making guaranteed income unsustainable?

Funded by additional hotel taxes, vacations to Hawaii will costs much more.  Many travelers will invariably select other destinations causing a drop in Hawaii’s hotel revenues.  With diminishing revenues, hotel taxes will need to increase to keep pace with Hawaii’s new entitlement obligations.  Hawaii vacation costs would further escalate creating a vicious cycle. Such a large scale entitlement would also likely result in rampant inflation and other compounding vicious cycles accelerating Hawaii’s inevitable economic demise.

If necessity is the mother of invention, Hawaii would create a population of orphans. In the history-based movie Hidden Figures, a group of women facing technological unemployment were motivated to create a new computer programming training course.  Necessity “mothered” a work force of computer programmers to keep up with technology. With guaranteed income, Hawaiian workers will have little incentive train for, let alone, innovate novel jobs.

Communist countries have this type of sustained widespread guaranteed income; yet, citizens of such countries pay with just about every conceivable freedom which makes us Americans. Would we want to live in a society that values the type of forced governmental dependence which has become a Russian way of life?  I certainly hope not. This guaranteed income idea has as much depth, boldness and substance as “let them eat cake.”


John Carver
Dillon, CO 80435