Automation may soon affect even industries and jobs we thought were immune, so what should countries do to prepare for those left jobless and behind? Bill Gates recently offered a simple solution: Tax the use of robots. He argues that such a tax would both “temporarily slow down the spread of automation” and fund social safety net programs for those who lose their jobs to technology.
The current threat of a prolonged trade war is serving as an emergency brake to a stock market that is pressing the gas pedal as hard as it can with positive economic data reports; including, but not limited to, corporate earnings, serving as tailwinds. Once any semblance of progress is reported with respect to trade negotiations, I would anticipate this emergency brake to be lifted and for constrained stock prices to rise accordingly.
Trade wars’ targets are China, Canada, and the members of the European Union (EU). But the real conflict in a trade war is not among countries. Rather, it is among different groups within countries that either benefit from or are hurt by trade restrictions.
While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act significantly cuts taxes for US corporations, it may have created so much uncertainty that the promised benefits of those tax cuts—new productivity-enhancing investment and a shift of foreign capital to the US—are being delayed.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is plagued by a recurrent problem: Many parts of the law tax similar income or assets at different rates. That tendency has created an enormous mess with the tax treatment of pass-through businesses, where certain income from certain taxpayers enjoys a 20 percent individual income tax deduction while similar income from other taxpayers does not.