Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, founder of the non-profit Venture for America (VFA), filed his paperwork to run for president of the United States on November 6, 2017.
Yang, who will seek the Democratic Party nomination in 2020, has recently campaigned in electoral-vote-rich and solidly Democratic California, addressing 3,000 supporters in San Francisco on March 15.
Part of Yang’s platform is his plan for giving every adult American $1,000 a month.
He asserts that the idea of a guaranteed income not only has wide historical support — including from Thomas Paine, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman — but it has already been implemented in Alaska.
Yang’s reference to Alaska pertained to the Alaska Permanent Fund, which was created by an amendment to the state constitution. It sets aside a certain share of oil revenues that are distributed to Alaska residents that have lived within the state for a full calendar year. The most recent annual dividend in 2018 was $1,600.
“What they are doing with oil money in Alaska, we can do for all of us around the country with advancing technology,” Yang told the crowd, many of whom waved “Yang Gang” and “Humanity First” signs.
A March 20 article in the Sacramento Bee summarized Yang’s policy proposals.
Yang has proposed what he calls “the freedom dividend.” Under his plan, all American adults over the age of 18 would get a $1,000 check from the federal government each month. The estimated cost would be a massive $3-4 trillion per year. For comparison, the current size of the national debt is $22 trillion. Yang claims that his massive spending plan aims to end poverty and grow the economy.
Yang said much of the money would be taken from current welfare programs. He would also impose a value-added tax (VAT) on large corporations who don’t currently pay what he calls a “fair share” in taxes. Under his plan, people who are currently on welfare or social programs would have the option of keeping their existing benefits or receiving $1,000 per month.
On the matter of immigration, Yang has what the Bee described as “mixed views.” He is in favor of offering “undocumented immigrants” (a euphemism for illegal aliens) a “pathway to citizenship.” He says he is “pro-immigrant, generally.” He does not believe rounding up and deporting illegal aliens is an option. However, he wants to reward people who enter the United States legally or come to the country for college.
“One of the things I would do is staple a green card to the diploma of any international student who graduates from one of our universities,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to educate someone and then send them away to compete against you.”
It is difficult to label Yang, but although he is a self-made entrepreneur, his positions certainly tend to lean more toward progressive socialism than toward traditional economic conservatism.
Photo: AP Images