Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang is one of the many democratic candidates making a run for the 2020 presidency.

What would you do with $1,000 a month? Maybe you’d catch up on a few bills or pay for the medication you’ve been in desperate need of. Perhaps you could finally create that business you’ve been interested in starting up. Regardless if you choose to use it for diapers and milk or a few nights out on the town, Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang wants you to have it.

Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” has been the driving force behind his impressive rise in the Democratic race. Yang’s plan for Universal Basic Income (UBI) focuses on a value-added tax (VAT) implemented on all companies. More specifically, tech giants such as Amazon who have taken advantage of “loopholes in the tax code.”

Furthermore, Yang has stated that those already benefiting from welfare programs would have the option to continue receiving those benefits or choose the dividend. Individuals will not be allowed to possess the advantage of both options. However, he intends to keep both systems in place; creating the only issue I have with the plan.

Continuing to maintain welfare plans and UBI will be costly — somewhere in the trillions of dollars. Tim Kane, a fellow of the Hoover Institution, believes that although UBI would be useful, it would have to “replace every single federal welfare program.” Kane’s opinion is one that I share and feel would have to be corrected should Yang win the presidency.

In any case, Yang’s rise is not only based on his interest in UBI. Yang finds himself in the heat of battle against the Democratic party’s hardest hitters. He has done this by presenting a policy that supports his campaign slogan of putting “humanity first.”

For years we’ve heard Bernie Sanders’ fight for the people, though many would argue that it is in a way that would bring socialism to America. Joe Biden’s reliance on Obama’s presidency gives him an edge, but age is becoming a factor for “Amtrak Joe.” Time and again we hear Elizabeth Warren tout a risky policy that has Wall Street democrats losing their minds. Meanwhile, candidates like Robert (Beto) O’Rourke and Kamala Harris use insults to garner your interest.

Each of the mentioned candidates presents concepts, policies and ideas that would continue to separate America. We’ve lived in a country separated from one another for too long. I think we should not allow the remaining ties binding the country together to be torn apart.

Many Democratic candidates have made it clear that Donald Trump must be defeated in the next election. Yang believes this too. However, he has focused less on insults and more on policies. Yang may not have political experience, but neither did Trump. Lack of experience may ultimately hinder Yang’s chances. However, his policy on nuclear power alternatives and reducing carbon emissions, common-sense gun laws and medicare for all truly puts humanity first. In doing so, Yang is putting America first.

The most glaring issue presented by Yang is related to the rise of job automation, the driving force behind his belief that UBI is required. The fact of the matter is the top jobs in the United States are all subject to automation. According to Yang, “Artificial Intelligence and automation have the potential to make our lives easier, but they will also displace millions of American jobs and have been doing so for years.”

The Federal Reserve categorizes that “routine” jobs make up 44 percent of total employment positions. Yang believes these jobs will be easily automated, leaving Americans “left with low-end service jobs … high-end cognitive jobs and very little in-between.” As a finance major, I realize that automation is inevitable in my field. Although automation may create new jobs, it will also require me to develop skills in software development and software management. Think about the tasks you are working on today or the job you’re working on getting you through school. Will it be here tomorrow?

Andrew Yang has allowed me to see politics from a different point of view. For the first time in my adulthood, I have found a candidate that shares my ideals and my sense of humanity. I’ve never been a supporter of the ’Left’ or the ’Right,’ and with Andrew Yang, I don’t have to choose. Because with Yang, I believe we are moving forward.

(1) comment

Rich Hansen '69

Great, Mr Yang wants me to have $1,000 of someone else's money. I do not care where he claims he will obtain the money, it is not his or the government's to hand out. I suggest that simply handing out "free" money does nothing to aid humanity. First, nothing is free. Aiding humanity is providing opportunity not handouts. If someone believe that giving the government more of your money will aid humanity I suggest that you look at the past and how the government manages taxpayers money. The record will demonstrate how wasteful a government can be.

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