Meet the Candidates: Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang, Entrepreneur: Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, lives in the world of startups. His most recent, Venture for America, was founded in 2011, and helps move recent college graduates into entrepreneurship rather than established industries. He has never held political office…but then again, neither had Trump. Yang is, according to the New York Times, “the internet’s favorite candidate,” due to the way he gained popularity through routes outside the standard (like, doing the podcast circuit), and an early surge in Yang memes — not unlike the early popularity of both Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Universal Basic Income: His flagship campaign policy, the Freedom Dividend, has spoken to Americans across the political spectrum, particularly the younger generation who are struggling under the weight of student loans and a chronically insecure, underpaid job market. Yang’s plan is to give each American adult $1,000 per month, no strings attached, to ensure basic economic security. In an age where minimum wage has long stagnated, and functionally cannot provide enough to support the basic needs of most families, the need for something to change is absolute truth (other candidates are calling for a $15/hour federal minimum wage). Yang’s push for this policy derives from his prediction that automation will continue to zap the available jobs for humans – and the universal income would be funded through a tax on those companies that most benefit from automation.

Human Capitalism: Yang’s second big policy is refocusing capitalism to maximize human well-being rather than corporate profit. His policies to achieve this include: adjusting how we determine the health of the economy to include new measurements like median income, mental health, absence of substance abuse, and childhood success rates; monitoring corporate corruption by appointing regulators who are paid well but barred from entry into the corporate world upon completion of duties; and create a social credit, which can be turned into actual dollars, awarded to people and companies who elevate standard of living through innovative programs and actions.

Healthcare: He supports Medicare For All (universal, single-payer healthcare) without the abolition of private insurers.

Military Spending and Infrastructure: Yang wants to refocus military spending on modern-day threats like loose nuclear material and cyber threats, and shift soldiers to non-military projects. Specifically, he proposes dedicating 10% of current military budget to a new domestic infrastructure force called the Legion of Builders and Destroyers, which would focus on rebuilding America’s bridges, roads, power lines, and dams, and respond to natural disasters.

Critics say… he has no government experience and, therefore, an impractical — expensive — vision for how government should work. While his insurgent candidacy has clearly found a niche, many have found him easy to ignore as an idealist pedaling pipe dreams and lacking the gravitas to make a dent in the voting.

And finally: Yang wants to give every American adult a $100 coupon annually to give to any non-profit, called the Prosperity Grant program, to increase personal and civic engagement with non-profits. That’s an awfully cool idea.

For more information about Andrew Yang, visit the policies page on his website.


Required Reading for the Resistance. Actions that make a difference.