Entrepreneur Andrew Yang hopes to be the winner of the 2020 Democratic primary to take on President Donald Trump — and a universal basic income of $1,000 is a huge part of his plan to beat other Democrats.
If elected, Yang wants every American to receive $1,000, with no strings attached, no matter their personal wealth. His proposal for a universal basic income — which he’s dubbed a “Freedom Dividend” — would impose a tax on businesses in the technology industry so that all Americans can get the monthly payment.
During a CNN town hall event Sunday night, Yang explained that he believes the “Freedom Dividend” would help Americans prepare for the pending wave of automation that could displace workers. He believes Trump won in 2016 because he focused on those people, though Yang has a much different solution.
“The goal should not be to save jobs. The goal should be to make our lives better,” Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said. His plan is to give $1,000 per month to every American https://t.co/6amEYY3NLv pic.twitter.com/dY3gG1I0PN
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 14, 2019
“We have to face why Donald Trump won the election of 2016. He won by the numbers because we’ve automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missori, Iowa — all the swing states.”
Yang claimed that a payment of $1,000 per month could alleviate the stress put on families who lost or could lose their jobs to automation. Because tech companies are the industries pushing automation, Yang says he would force them to pay more in taxes to provide Americans with the “Freedom Dividend.”
We can pay for the Freedom Dividend, $1,000/mo. easily. Last year Amazon paid $0 in Federal taxes. This is not their fault, it is our fault for designing a system that lets this happen. A new mechanism can help. #YangTownHall #CNNTownHall pic.twitter.com/5iWlD9E4ly
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) April 14, 2019
“If you think about who are going to be the biggest winners from [artificial intelligence] — from the first question — or new technologies or self-driving cars and trucks, it’s going to be Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber. The biggest tech companies in our country. […] They paid less in federal taxes than you all. So when people ask how we’re going to fund this, we have to go where the money is. We have to implement a new mechanism to get that money back from Jeff Bezos and Amazon and give it back to the American people.”
While Yang may think forcing businesses to pay for a “freedom dividend” for all Americans is the way to go and capture the voters that Trump won in 2016, his approach to help those displaced workers couldn’t be more different.
Yang wants to saddle businesses with more taxes while Trump lowered corporate taxes and cut back regulations, creating record low unemployment rates.
The entrepreneur is one of 18 Democrats in the race for president. A recent Emerson poll had him in seventh place in a line up that included former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to enter the race. Yang polled at three percent.