Paul Brandus: One in three jobs could be lost to automation, but only one candidate’s talking about it
This much is true: The winner of the 2020 presidential election will almost certainly be a senior citizen.
Republican Donald Trump is 73. The top three Democrats, according to current polls, are 76-year old Joe Biden, 70-year old Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, who at 78 was born two months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Our congressional leaders aren’t exactly spring chickens either. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is 79; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, is 77.
Meantime, the median age in the United States, says the latest Census Bureau data, is 37.8. That means half of all Americans are younger than that.
With all due respect to the above-mentioned gray hairs from both parties, I think the forces that are changing our country at an accelerating pace—climate, demography, technology and more—may be beyond the ability of some to recognize, let alone handle. Biden is a cautious incrementalist. Sanders and Warren are Robin Hood wealth redistributionists. Trump is unstable and delusional. All seem focused too much on the rear view mirror and not enough on the road ahead. We need new ideas, new thinking, and an honest, civil and bipartisan debate about what lies ahead.
This is one reason why I’ve become a fan of Andrew Yang, the 44-year old entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Yang won’t be president come 2021, but his new thinking, new approaches and can-do spirit have impressed me with their optimism, intelligence and authenticity. His track record is one of taking calculated, data-driven risks in the marketplace and making them pay off. As CEO of test-prep education company Manhattan GMAT, Yang helped build up the firm and then sold it to industry leader Kaplan for an undisclosed sum in 2009. The Columbia Law School grad’s latest effort, Venture for America, is a New York City-based nonprofit that trains entrepreneurs, who then go on to create jobs in struggling American cities.
Yang’s focus on entrepreneurial activity and risk-taking in hollowed-out areas of America’s heartland is predicated on a truth that the professional politicians mentioned above have barely acknowledged: That most manufacturing jobs lost in America have little to do with China—which is Trump’s principal culprit—but automation.
“The reason why Donald Trump won the election 2016 is that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa; all the swing states he needed to win and did win,” Yang, has correctly pointed out.
But this economic upheaval is just getting started. Numerous warnings by the likes of MIT, McKinsey & Compa