Andrew Yang wants to save the truck drivers.
Yang — one of the 10 Democratic primary candidates who will appear on national television for the primary debates — told Business Insider that his universal basic income plan is meant to help truck drivers, who could see their jobs replaced by automation.
He said no group needs the money more than truck drivers since they’re unlikely to receive any of the saved costs that come from automation.
Truck automation could save $125 billion from labor costs and fuel efficiencies.
“There are different ways that that money is going to get channeled, but one thing is clear is that right now former truck drivers will see very little of that, because it’s not like there will be severance packages,” Yang told Business Insider. “87% of truckers are non-unionized, most are small mom-and-pop operators that own a few trucks that they’ve taken out massive loans to procure.”
A previous Business Insider analysis found that the median wages for truck drivers dropped by 21% since 1980. But that’s the median. Some have seen a 50% total drop.
Yang has hit this note before. In May, he talked about truck drivers at a rural forum in Stuart, Iowa, according to Axios.
“What are the truck drivers going to do when the robot trucks come and start driving themselves?” Yang asked
Yang previously told The New York Times that 3 million truck drivers could lose their jobs if the country didn’t make the transition easier.
“All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society. ... That one innovation will be enough to create riots in the street,” he said. “And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.”