BOSTON (CBS) — How do we know if our political leaders are really looking out for us, or just claiming to?

Here’s one suggestion: make note of whether or not they’re willing to confront what the Wall Street Journal calls “the flood of unemployment” headed for a workplace near you, courtesy of the giant tech companies that are dominating the economy.

A must-read piece in Saturday’s Journal notes that the rise of the huge and fast-growing tech monopolies – Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook – have gutted the revenues of the creative economy and are hard at work to do the same to transportation, medicine and retail.

Experts estimate self-driving cars, a new frontier of profit Apple and Google are aggressively pursuing, could wipe out “as many as 300,000 jobs a year in two decades or more.”

In context, that is about 15% of the total of new jobs created in the US last year.

And what are the people in charge saying about this appalling prospect?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gestures during a press conference in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2017. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin says that kind of dislocation is a century away and isn’t even on his “radar screen.”

Big business types are also downplaying the threat.

Haven’t we suffered through this scenario before?

Possible answers include antitrust litigation and far more focus on planning to help the dislocated.

But it’s up to us to ask the powers-that-be the question: Why aren’t you even talking about this?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (3)
  1. Those jobs will go the way of the proverbial buggy whip company, the horse and carriage manufacturers, the turnpike toll collectos, and the typewriter assembly plants.

    However, if past is prologue, they will be replaced with different jobs. Be glad American companies are leading the way. If the politicians want to restrict innovation, those companies
    will just move elsewhere (and take the income taxes their employees pay with them).

    Besides, with self-driving cars, Jon will lose a major theme that he likes to write about (bad

  2. Raising the minimum wage is a great incentive for companies to develop automation for repetitive jobs. I’d rather get my McDonald’s order from an automated kiosk: it doesn’t have attitude and gets my order correct every time.

    However, it’ll be decades before the major of cars are autonomous. Every day brings another obstacle to the logic necessary to make autonomous cars safe and practical.

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