Candidate Andrew Yang is a 44-year-old from upstate New York. Raised by two immigrants, he says that he “grew up believing in the American Dream.” He is an entrepreneur and dedicated businessman. After attending law school at Columbia, he worked for a healthcare group to learn more about business and eventually launched his own company Venture for America that creates jobs nationwide. And although he has no political experience, Yang told NBC News that “We are very excited by the progress of the campaign and we 100 percent think we can compete and win the White House next year.” His supporters, also known by the catchy name the “Yang Gang,” are excited about his campaign, and their numbers are growing daily.
Yang’s priority in his campaign is to implement The Freedom Dividend, which will give every American citizen over the age of 18 $1,000 monthly to boost the economy. As stated on his website, Yang believes that “In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers is at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it.” That’s why, in order to combat this, Yang stands with Universal Basic Income.
According to Futurism, Universal Basic Income (UBI) is defined as “a fixed amount, at a level sufficient for substance, given by the state to all its citizens regardless of income or work status.” Yang plans on the current welfare payments taking a large chunk out of the cost for UBI. If citizens are receiving welfare in excess of 1000 dollars monthly, they will not eligible for the Freedom Dividend. If they are receiving welfare payments less than $1000 dollars monthly, they will have that income supplemented by UBI to reach $1000 total. Yang also believes that when people get these monthly payments, they will take better care of themselves, and the costs needed for healthcare and incarceration will decline. That money would, therefore, be available to fund the new economy as well.
The Freedom Dividend is independent of a person’s work status or any other factors. Because of this, many sources worry that giving money to American people will decrease productivity. Forbes explains the fear saying, “As UBI rises, even fewer people will work; those who still work will have to be taxed more, and so even fewer people will work…” Yang responds to the concern by providing research from Harvard and MIT that shows there is no effect on work behavior in this system except with new mothers and kids in school.
Others worry that this plan would increase inflation rates. However, according to Yang, there will be no change in the money supply, as the costs will be covered by money already in the economy, so inflation will not occur.
Beyond Universal Basic Income, Yang plans to increase gun regulations, implement universal Medicare, legalize marijuana and help provide undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
With other popular figures like Bernie Sanders, possibly Joe Biden and of course, Donald Trump running, this political season will certainly be eventful.