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Coming in 2028?

And the presidential candidate has a great A. I-dea
April 19th, 2024

April 19, 2024

By Jim Towey

From a presidential candidate on the 2028 campaign trail: 

“Good evening, my fellow Americans and Avatars.  Well, things have gotten a bit rough in America.  The national economy is in retreat.  We owe over $50 trillion, although those bleak numbers don’t include proceeds from last night’s 50-50 raffle.  But still, the Social Security trust funds are bankrupt, just like they predicted, and ditto Medicare’s.  To those of you with no money for hospitals, doctors or medicines, my sincere apologies.

“Yes, there is social unrest.  Our citizenry is armed to the teeth because no one trusts anybody, which is why I am delivering this televised speech from a bomb shelter.  Our military has to spend a trillion a year because everyone in the world wants what the United States has.  Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping were all re-elected to new 30-year terms, so our armed forces will have to remain on red alert for the foreseeable future, and that’s not cheap.

An easy fix

“But if you elect me president, I can fix things.  No, I’m not going to declare war somewhere. That would just make the deficit worse and endanger my 2032 re-elect.

“And we can’t raise taxes on the working people of America.  Poor Elon Musk has to hold down three jobs just to get by these days.  No, my solution is simpler: Harness the magic, the job-destroying power of AI, and slash our nation’s taxpayer-funded workforce.  I say, put most government jobs on the chopping block.

“Generative AI is so smart, so personable, speaks all languages, shows up for work and never leaves, never complains or goes on maternity leave, never screws up a pension claim the way the Office of Personnel Management regularly does, always works in silence, needs no sick leave or snack room, and does automated customer service better than your standard, stressed-out human in Nepal. 

“Friends, these large language models, these LLMs, are DEI dreams.  No one complains about chip supremacy.  AI has no gender or pronoun issues complicating the workplace.  No pesky whistleblowers.  Only perfectly compliant, programable workers who come from humble origins, well, silicon, you know, sand.

“The point is, I can help the budget by eliminating a large swath of the federal, state and local workforce.  Every federal job we whack will save us $143,000.  And there are big savings in the heartland where 44% of all state and local spending goes to workforce compensation.

“And in addition to the slashed government payroll, thanks to AI, we won’t need all those huge federal buildings because they’ll be empty.  The Big Tech oligarchs have huge egos and will pay billions for them.  Under my plan, Jeff Bezos would get Treasury; Mark Zuckerberg Commerce; and Bill Gates the State Department, which he basically already owns anyway.

“For the millions of Americans who might be out of work, you can thank Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI who said that this was his goal, you know, freeing up people to be creative.  And who is more creative than an unemployed guy on couch smoking weed, right Sam?

“A vote for me is a vote for a smarter, leaner, and more efficient government.  The other candidate will raise taxes.  I will cut spending and cut taxes.   Can I count on your vote?”


There are about three million civilian federal workers and about twenty million state and local employees.  The payroll for the feds is estimated at $136 billion; the state and local tab is even more.  Government will not be able to resist AI’s principal business appeal – cost efficiency.  Think of your current interaction with government services, whether it is the IRS, DMV, or Social Security Administration.  Do we really believe much of this administrative work is beyond the ability of IBM’s watsonx?  

Jobs gone

Big Tech promised that AI wouldn’t take away jobs.  Of course, they lied.  Why else would Google breathlessly promise to invest $100 billion, and others tens of billions, in AI, if not to find savings that will mean higher profits?  In other words, there are huge financial upsides to leaving human positions unfilled, withholding bonuses, and skipping out on health insurance premiums.  No more late-night Chinese food or car service for analysts and coders burning the midnight oil!  Unleash the robots in Amazon’s warehouses and McDonald’s kitchens.

The corporate world, shamelessly conformist and risk-averse by nature, is racing to lock arms in a unified embrace of the almighty algorithm.  The sweltering sweat shop has been replaced by the chilled server room.

(The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aging with Dignity and/or its Board of Directors.)


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