Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang used his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, available via YouTube, to announce he is giving one Twitter follower $1,000 per month for one year starting July 4. The contest is designed to test out his Freedom Dividend, which is the name for his proposal of Universal Basic Income (UBI), or $1,000 per month — one of the central proposals of his platform.
"The Freedom Dividend, if you can imagine a country where everyone is getting $1,000 a month as a right of citizenship, it would make our families stronger and healthier, it would create millions of jobs in our communities, it would improve our mental health, would decrease our stress levels, would improve relationships," Yang said.
Yang said that the U.S. "can very much make" Freedom Dividend happen, and highlighted that Thomas Paine was for a UBI at the founding of the United States.
"More recently, Martin Luther King was fighting for this in 1967 and 1968, he called it a guaranteed minimum income. And it was what he was fighting for when he was killed in 1968."Yang proposes to fund his UBI plan by taxing big tech companies. He points to companies like Amazon, which paid zero in taxes last year, and contrasts it with their profits — despite their success meaning a loss of jobs many communities due to automation. He proposes a mechanism — a value-added tax (VAT) — to ensure that every American gets a small portion of technological advancements, such as Amazon sales, Google searches, and Uber miles. Two families in Iowa and New Hampshire have already been testing Yang's Freedom Dividend, and he claims that it's already helping the families pay off loans and take care of financial burdens that would otherwise be difficult to address.
Yang's contest and appearance on the Late Show come just days before he is set to hit the Democratic debate stage on Thursday, which he hopes will raise his profile to the many Americans that are just beginning to follow politics. Alongside Yang will be fellow Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Eric Swalwell, and Marianne Williamson, per Time.As The Inquisitr previously reported, Yang surged behind Donald Trump and Biden in betting markets for the winner of the 2020 presidential election on PredictIt following his performance at the South Carolina Democratic Convention. Conversely, others, including Trump, Sanders, and Buttigieg, experienced a small decline after the event.