As previously reported by The Inquisitr, tech entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang was expected to do “something no presidential candidate has ever done” during the third Democratic primary debate on Thursday night in Houston, Texas.
And that’s exactly what the long-shot candidate delivered.
Yang is a huge proponent of his “Freedom Dividend,” which is a universal basic income that would provide every American aged 18 and over an extra $1,000 per month with no strings attached. During Yang’s opening statement at Thursday night’s debate, he announced he would be giving his $12,000-per-year plan to 10 American families.
According to ABC, Yang has already given his dividend to three families, which after Thursday night’s announcement will raise the total to 13 American families who will receive the dividend. With that, Yang will reportedly pay a total of $156,000 for the program out of his campaign funds.
Politico reported that Yang will select the people who receive his dividend through a lottery system. People will reportedly be able to enter the online raffle as soon as next week. One of Yang’s campaign officials promised that the dividend would be paid out, as agreed, to those who are selected whether or not he becomes the president or not.
Yang has continues to make waves as he beat out several sitting politicians to nab a spot on Thursday night’s debate stage, which was only attainable if Democratic candidates met certain thresholds set forth by the Democratic National Committee.
The unconventional entrepreneur has also managed to move ahead in the polls over other popular politicians who managed to make the debate cut-off, including Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The raffle to win a piece of Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” is presumably also a campaign tactic, as it will allow his campaign to collect untold mounds of data from potential new supporters around the country, along with much-needed name recognition and news headlines.
One of Yang’s campaign spokespeople explained why they decided to take a non-traditional approach to spending some of their campaign war chest on a pilot program for his universal basic income idea.
“Most politicians, they use campaign donations for TV or for high-class consultants,” the spokesperson reportedly said. “We are taking a different approach. We want to help people and we want to help families.”
Yang argues that the emergence of automated technologies will soon disrupt the labor force. He added that his idea for universal basic income will help offset the loss of employment while people who are displaced by technology seek new employment opportunities.