Andrew Yang Calls Out ‘Ridiculous’ Criticism Of ‘Freedom Dividend,’ Points To Modern Political Spending

Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang received the lowest amount of speaking time during the third Democratic debate for the third time in a row, but he again made maximum use of his time. During his introduction, he announced his plan to give 10 families $1,000 per month to pilot his campaign’s signature proposal, the Freedom Dividend — a universal basic income of $1,000 per month for every American over the age of 18. Despite suggestions that Yang’s announcement may violate Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations, The Inquisitr reported that his campaign claims to have consulted with its legal team and determined that the plan is legal.

Although some are criticizing Yang’s Freedom Dividend proposal as an inappropriate use of his campaign funds, Yang spoke to CBS’ Ed O’Keefe after the debate yesterday — which can be viewed on Twitter — and revealed why he believes the criticism is “ridiculous” in the context of modern politics.

“I want everyone to reflect for a moment, that we live in a world where a billionaire can spend over ten million dollars buying his way onto the election stage and everyone thinks that is totally appropriate. But then I’m literally giving money to Americans around the country to do whatever they’d like — to help improve their lives — and that seems problematic. So I just want everyone to reflect upon how ridiculous it is that one seems A-OK and then giving people money is somehow problematic.”

Yang appears to be referencing billionaire Tom Steyer, who announced his presidential bid in July and has already managed to qualify for the October debates — likely due to the money he poured into television ads.

It’s not the first time that Yang has taken a shot at politics as usual. During the second debate, he drew applause for his closing statement, in which he compared the presidential debates to a reality TV show and suggested that this format is what paved the way for the presidency of Donald Trump. Per The Inquisitr, the line appears to be inspired by a supporter’s suggestions during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything.”

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Yang has already qualified for the October debates, and RealClearPolitics puts him in sixth place with three percent support. Per The Week, Yang’s Freedom Dividend announcement led to over 116,000 people live on the site within a single moment. Although these people went for the Freedom Dividend, it also puts them in front of his campaign’s proposals and gives Yang the opportunity to connect with them via email. Given his lack of speaking time during the debates, it stands to help his campaign immensely.