On Sunday, entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang defended his campaign cornerstone proposal of enacting a universal basic income, arguing that it would lead to a host of benefits for Americans.
The program, which he calls the “Freedom Dividend,” would provide every American over the age of 18 with a guaranteed monthly income of $1,000, according to CBS News.
Arguing that the plan would incentivize Americans to work harder, Yang explained what he perceives as the potential benefits of putting such a program in place.
“This is the trickle-up economy, from our people, families and communities up. It will create over 2 million new jobs in our communities because the money will go right into local mainstream businesses, to car repairs, daycare expenses, Little League sign-ups,” Yang said on Sunday’s Face The Nation.
“And that’s where the economic value needs to go in order to create jobs where people live and work.”
One of the main criticisms of the plan is the burning question of how the U.S. government would be able to afford to give $12,000 per year to every American adult.
One of Yang’s possible solutions to pay for the estimated $2 trillion plan would be to impose a value-added tax on consumer goods, citing examples of other countries who have similar taxes. He also slammed companies like Amazon, who pay virtually zero taxes each year.
“Every other developed economy already has a mechanism just like this. Europe, Canada, Asia. Everyone has figured out that you can’t have a trillion-dollar tech company like Amazon pay zero in taxes, less than everyone who’s watching this right now,” Yang said.
He went on to say that America needs to follow the example of other countries who make sure not to miss out on taxes from large consumer companies.
When asked for a working example of a universal basic income plan, Yang pointed to the check that many Alaskans receive for living in the state, which is popularly known as the “oil check.”
Yang said the oil dividend for Alaskans was put in place by a Republican and has been a successful program and also claimed that it “created thousands of jobs.”
The 2020 candidate said that the check Americans will receive from his plan would be called the “tech check.”
Curious about Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s universal basic income proposal, where everyone gets $1,000 a month from the government, no strings attached? We've got the deets: (link: https://t.co/NarmLxQHQa) https://t.co/NarmLxQHQa pic.twitter.com/n1qtmpAvqd— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) August 17, 2019
On his website, Yang says the “Freedom Dividend” will give Americans the financial resources to start businesses, take care of loved ones, be healthier and “have a real stake in the future.”
He also claims that the program will bolster the American economy by up to 13.10 percent by the year 2025 and strengthen the labor force by up to 4.7 million workers.
According to Real Clear Politics polling data, Yang currently sits in eighth place with one-and-a-half percent support, behind Sen. Cory Booker who is at two percent support.