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Hello, Mr President: Andrew Yang

Personal Background:

If you don’t know who Andrew Yang is, don’t worry, you’re not alone in that; Yang is a new face for mainstream politics. Yang is running under the democratic party for a bid in the 2020 election. He has quickly gained a lot of ground and became a major contender for the Democrat candidate in an already crowded field. Yang is one of many Democrats who, like Bernie, call themselves “Democratic Socialist.” He has a unique economic plan for America, one that’s certain to be controversial, but Yang seems to have the credentials. Yang was born in 1975 in New York. He was the child of immigrants from Taiwan and both his parents worked with computer systems. Yang is a graduate Brown University with degrees in economics/political science and then he went on to law school at Columbia University. He’s a prominent businessman starting the successful organization Venture For America, which helps entrepreneurs and startups. He has also received a few awards from the Obama administration like “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship” in 2015.

Voting Records and Major Bills:

Andrew Yang is new to the political scene and has not been able to make a track record when it comes to bills or voting records.  

Main Goals and Platforms:

Andrew Yang’s most interesting policy is his “Basic Universal Income” for everyone in the United States. He says that a thousand dollars should be given to every American citizen over the age of eighteen, every month. Yang claims that this is much easier than it sounds to accomplish and pay for. There are four main sources that the money for BUI will come from. However, the major way that Yang plans to gain money for his universal income is through a “Value Added Tax.” A VAT is a tax added on to the production of a product and value added on to it through the production of said product. It’s a tax on production that very large companies, like Amazon or Google, would have to pay. This tax is already a common practice in most major European countries. The tax percentage will be 10% the cost of the product, which is much lower than in Europe, as an effort to prevent corporations from outsourcing elsewhere according to Yang.

In terms of climate change, Yang pushes for regulation of fossil fuels and heavy investment into renewable energy sources for America. He calls climate change “existential threat to humanity and our way of life.” On immigration, he also takes a firm stance. He believes that securing the southern border is essential while also providing undocumented immigrants, already in the country, a pathway to citizenship. Also, he believes that affordable and safe abortions to be available for all Americans and that any requirements to access made by individual states should be over-viewed by a board of doctors.

Yang wants a “Single Payer” healthcare system. This essentially means that medical insurance will come from one centralized government agency. Instead of competing insurance companies, everyone has insurance from the government. The providing of healthcare will, however, still be privatized. Again, this is not a new concept and many European countries follow this model of healthcare.

One of Andrew Yang’s biggest concerns is the growing dependency on robotics in industries. He calls it “Human-Centered Capitalism” and according to Yang, the economy needs to focus on human welfare. One of the big aspects that are threatening welfare is AI and automation. He believes that many jobs will become obsolete once automation can take it over. Yang points to automated self-driving cars for an example — “We’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 per cent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college” — from an interview with Times. He believes that robots are really the ones that are taking jobs. Yang claims that, in his economy, humans will always come first.

Criticisms:

The major criticism levied at Yang is that his plan to have a BUI will not work because the country will not be able to afford. There have been arguments against Yang that his math does not add up when it comes to how much will come in and how much will have to come out because of the BUI. In addition, some fear that the value-added tax that Yang propose will cause massive outsourcing of companies from the US. There have also been doubts about single-payer healthcare for a long time. Many believe that it will put restrictive oversight on doctors, long waiting lines for treatment and unnecessary spending of government dollars. Not to mention that Andrew Yang is a political outsider and has never been involved in politics, many voters may find him unfit in that regard. He’s just been a businessman at this point in his life and may not have all the know-how to be the president.

Popularity and Electability:

Andrew Yang is another candidate running with “socialist” ideas, and like Bernie, he seems to attract the younger demographic. The ballot is starting to fill up however and Andrew Yang may not stack up compared to more establishment Democrats. In a poll that CNN did in Iowa, the first state to vote in the election, they found that at least 28% of the democratic voters could see themselves voting for him. However, in that same poll, Andrew Yang only ended up at 1% of the voters top two choices. Andrew Yang definitely has an uphill battle to the white house but it seems his popularity is growing.

Lately, he has gained a lot of traction by appearing on the popular Joe Rogan podcast and on many other interviews on the internet. It seems that if Andrew Yang can make a foothold it will be through social media and the internet as we’re seeing with a lot of potential candidates running for the 2020 election. Time will tell if he will become a major competitor for the White House.

Featured Image Via Andrew Yang 2020

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I have a deep interest about the world and the humans that inhabit it. The cross section between the two is where things get interesting.

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