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Enough data has been collected to at least draw a correlation between robots and jobs. For every 1% increase in automation there is a 1.5% increase in unemployment. The primary effect is significant for those that become unemployed, and is the core of much of the early discussions. The secondary effect may generate more action rather than just talk.

“Cities and states get about 30 percent of their revenue from property taxes, 20 percent from sales tax, and another 20 from individual income taxes. … Taxes on corporations, … won’t make up the difference—they tally a mere 4 percent of revenue.” – Wired

Governments may act because their revenues are threatened. Dollars earned by employees are taxed when they are earned and taxed when they are spent. Dollars earned by corporations are taxed, but their effective tax rate is much lower. Storing profits in tax havens further reduces the amount of tax revenue available to governments. Automation is projected to decrease tax revenues by a third. For a government with a balanced budget, that would mean reducing services by a third. For a government that is struggling to get out of debt, it increases the likelihood that the government could enter a period of increasing debt and decreasing revenue with no conventional financial solution available.

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