I’m writing with some big news to share—I’m running for President as a Democrat in 2020.
This is not something I arrived at lightly. I’m running because I’m confident that we are going to automate away millions of jobs in the next number of years and we need big changes to get through this time. The elimination of 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and other midwestern states gave us Donald Trump. The displacement of retail workers, truck drivers, fast food workers, call center workers, etc. will strain our society beyond repair. The simple truth is that our technology is advancing faster than our labor market can adapt—I know this better than most because of my work with Venture for America. Here’s my announcement video (2 minutes):
I have met with some of the leading politicians in the Democratic Party and they express in private that these concerns are real, but that we “can’t talk about them.” We are capable of far better than this – we need to own the challenges of this era and rise to meet them, or else we will be left degenerating and fighting the symptoms of diminishing opportunities at every turn.
The deeper you dig into the numbers, the clearer it gets that automation is already tearing our society apart. Consider that our labor participation rate is at a multi-decade low of 62.7% even after 10 years of recovery, 1 out of 5 working-age Americans is out of the labor force, and disability claims are at record highs, as high as 20% of working-age adults in some counties. Underemployment for recent college graduates is 44%. Our social measurements are telling—7 Americans die of opioid overdoses every hour, middle-aged suicide rates are spiking, life expectancy is declining and 40% of children are born to unmarried mothers due to a crumbling marriage rate among working class adults. These are foundational problems. And they are going to get worse as the malls close and the cars start driving themselves.
Education and retraining are positive but will address only a small proportion of the problem. The data shows that our retraining programs as they are currently practiced are almost entirely ineffective—one study of the Trade Assistance Program found that recipients had lower earnings than other unemployed workers and only 37% were working in the sector for which they were supposed to be retrained. We need to stop wishing and lying to people and start solving real problems.
My platform revolves around 3 proposals:
- Universal Basic Income of $1k/month per adult (“the Freedom Dividend”);
- Evolution to the next stage of capitalism, “Human Capitalism” geared toward optimizing around human well-being in addition to GDP; and
- Single-payer healthcare—necessary in the aftermath of job reduction.
Universal Basic Income would create 4.6 million jobs and increase the size of the economy by 13% in perpetuity. It would also improve relationships and family dynamics, and provide the greatest catalyst to entrepreneurship and creativity we have ever seen.
You may not agree with me on every front. But I hope that you agree that we need to elevate meaningful solutions. I also hope that you’re excited to have me as a spokesperson for new approaches. We have a great team that feels like the best of startups. And we could use your energy and passion.
For those of you who have felt a measure of despair these past months, I’m with you, and I hope that you are excited by the launch of my campaign. We can improve the lives of our fellow citizens and make our country one that we will all be proud to have our children grow up in. We have that power. But no one will do it for us—we’re going to have to do it ourselves. Look forward to going on this journey with you—let’s show what we can do.