In a world of record polarization where partisanship stands in the way of progress, many Americans feel dissatisfied with our government. With 22 Democrats running to attempt to unseat President Trump, many have a message centered around why Trump isn’t a good president. Most swing voters see a lacking in substance in that argument; they want to know why one is a viable alternative to Trump’s presidency. American voters see presidential candidates trying to move the country left or right. Not Andrew Yang, a entrepreneur running as a Democrat for President. Yang focuses on moving the country forward, not left or right. He offers us an alternative to this polarizing political atmosphere. As an entrepreneur, he witnessed America’s economic problems firsthand. We have automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in all the swing states that voted for Donald Trump. Automation, not immigrants, are taking away US jobs.
Andrew Yang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants and grew up in upstate New York. He later went to law school and worked at a law firm for “eleven unhappy months”. After quitting his job, Yang founded an education company that became one of the highest valued education companies in the nation. In 2008, the financial crisis hit, and Andrew felt compelled to help get people back to work. To do this, he founded Venture for America (VFA), which trained college graduates into entrepreneurs, creating thousands of jobs across the country. Andrew’s satisfaction for the impact of VFA was short-lived, as he witnessed automation take millions of jobs across the country. After witnessing the problem, Andrew proposed a bold tactic that would allow people to survive and thrive even after job loss from automation: the Freedom Dividend.
The Unique Impact of Automation
We first saw automation’s impact after the rise of Amazon, prompting the closure of many retail stores throughout the country. A study found that 30% of malls will be closing this year alone, and being a retail worker is the most common job in the country. Andrew writes, “We are in the fourth inning of automation. Four million manufacturing jobs have been taken since 2000 and automated trucks are already making deliveries in Colorado. 1 out of 10 American workers works in retail”. The value of human work is drastically going down. For example, a truck driver (most common job in 29 states) would get paid far less if they had to just stay in the truck and keep it in control, rather than driving it. Yang used another example: radiologists currently making hundreds of thousands an year can lose their jobs, as AI can see and analyze reports better, faster, and cheaper than a radiologist. Few jobs are safe in the fourth Industrial Revolution. Andrew Yang is running for president on ambitious policy to combat automation: the Freedom Dividend.
The Freedom Dividend
The Freedom Dividend, more commonly known as Universal Basic Income is a policy that gives every US citizen over the age of 18 $1000 a month, no questions asked. I too, was quite skeptical of this policy until I went to Andrew Yang’s website and read his defense of the basic income, including how to pay for it, and it answered every question that I had perfectly. I am providing a link to that page here. This extra money will allow Americans to get back on their feet with a sense of security and gives them an ability to navigate themselves through the age of Automation. Just imagine a single mom working two jobs with three kids. Imagine the impact of $1000 a month. The UBI will put college education in the reach of those who can’t afford a college education. Andrew sums up the impact and funding for the UBI in an interview with Joe Rogan. Essentially, Andrew brings up the example of Alaska, a deep-red state that has a UBI. He says that they use their oil money to give a dividend to their people. The “oil money” in this scenario are the biggest winners from the age of automation: big tech giants tat will be valued at over a trillion. Andrew proposes a value-added tax (VAT) that would put the stop tax evasion. We could easily fund the UBI by simply ending tax loopholes that allowed Amazon to pay zero in federal taxes.
Is Andrew Electable?
Andrew Yang’s ability to connect with the working-class Americans is unique to the Democratic presidential field. Many conservative independents and even staunch Republicans are willing to give him a shot. Andrew has a straight shooter attitude and empathizes with those whose jobs are about to be automated away. Trump won through his Midwest working-class support. Finally, Andrew Yang has one other unique tendency: almost everyone that sees him talk really likes him.
Not Yet Convinced?
Watch Andrew talk on shows ranging from CNN to the Ben Shapiro Show.
- Andrew Yang on the Breakfast Club
- Andrew Yang on the Ben Shapiro Show
- Andrew Yang on Joe Rogan
- Andrew Yang on Fox Business
- A former Trump supporter on his support of Yang