The 2020 Democratic Primary is now up to 15 or so candidates, many of whom are pretty well known national figures like; Bernie Sander, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. However, there are some lesser known candidates who are not politicians running, and one is gaining traction. His name is Andrew Yang.
Yang, an entrepreneur and business man form California is only 44 years old and has never held public office before. He announced he was running for President on Election Day in 2018, and has slowly been trying to get his name and message out to the people, specifically those in early voting states.
He started a company called Venture For America (VFA) in 2011, and it is a non-profit that focuses on training newly graduated students to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses and keep the economy growing. Yang himself is a proud believer in capitalism, but he is very progressive in his policy proposals and is out of the mainstream on some of them.
His major policy, the one that sets him apart from the rest of the field is universal basic income. Universal basic income or UBI for short is a policy that would give every U.S. citizen over the age of 18 $1,000 a month every single month, regardless of whether they have a job or not. He proposes it in the wake of innovation automation that is inevitably going to result in the loss of thousands, if not millions, of jobs in the next few decades. He wants it as, not only a safety guard for those that lose their job, but he also views it as a great way of stimulating the economy and giving the everyday American more freedom and greater ability to provide for themselves and their family.
Obviously this will come at a cost, there are approximately 235 million people aged 18 or older in the United States. That’s a lot of money to be giving out every single month.
He plans to pay for it in a multitude of ways. One is to have people decide between whatever welfare programs they currently are benefitting from or taking the $1,000 cash each month, thus taking away some of the new costs. He also wants to add a Value-Added Tax, a tax o the production of goods and services, of 10%. Estimated to bring in $800 billion. He also sees the increased consumption and spending by the people getting the money as a way to grow the economy and bring in more money to the government to help pay for it.
Yang is still relatively unknown, but as he gains name recognition he has seen a slight rise in polling in Iowa, and is qualified for the debates by reaching over 65,000 individual contributions.
He has seen himself hovering around 1%, which seems dismal, but for an unknown figure this early on in the primary that is a promising sign for Yang’s campaign.