While socialism is an economic system that has turned into a dirty word for politicians on the right, capitalism draws an arguably equal amount of disdain from people with left-leaning political beliefs. According to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, whose campaign has attracted supporters from across the political spectrum, this dichotomy isn’t productive as it suggests that both are mutually exclusive.
During an interview with John Harwood for CNBC, Yang said that the United States needs a “positive economic vision” that takes the best of both economic systems to solve the problems of the current generation. In response, Harwood noted that there is no system that is purely socialist or purely capitalist, which drew agreement from Yang.
“Exactly! That’s one reason why I find the dichotomy so unproductive, that there’s no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism. And then people are just trying to throw others into an ideological bucket to dismiss them. And if you look at any system throughout the world, there’s some combination.”
Yang’s campaign centers around a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 per month for every American adult — a plan he suggests in part to curb the loss of jobs in the U.S. economy due to automation. He proposes to tax Big Tech companies like Amazon to pay for his proposal. Critics point to the fact that his proposal would also be putting $1,000 into the pockets of people like Jeff Bezos, but Yang believes that this universality is necessary and claims that the richest people would pay into the system more than $1,000 per month.
“And so the joke I tell is that, if we get hundreds of millions from Jeff Bezos and then try and send him $1,000 a month to remind him he’s an American, that’s not something we should be concerned about,” he said.
I’m thrilled to share the first winners of the Freedom Dividend! Giving people money and seeing their reactions is the best feeling – they will do great things with it. Let’s make it happen for all Americans. ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/FzyLfNoPig
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) October 3, 2019
The 44-year-old entrepreneur recently addressed fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s lobbyist tax proposal, which aims to tax lobbyists as much as 75 percent. According to Yang, such a tax would need to be higher than 100,000 percent to be effective. He used the criticism to push his Democracy Dollars plan, which aims to flush out lobbyist money in politics by giving all Americans $100 per year to invest in campaigns and candidates.
Yang is currently in sixth place in the polls with an average of 3.5 percent support. He recently hit a $10 million fundraising milestone that was snubbed by CNN in favor of candidate Cory Booker’s earnings of $6 million, continuing the trend of the mainstream media dismissing the rise of Yang’s campaign.