The New York City march for Universal Basic Income (UBI) took place Saturday afternoon at Convent Baptist Church, and many of Andrew Yang's supporters attended. The Democratic presidential candidate's campaign centers around a UBI of $1,000 per month for every American adult, which he proposes as a partial solution to combat job losses due to automation — what he calls the "Fourth Industrial Revolution."
According to UBI advocate and Yang supporter Scott Santens, who attended the NYC event, a basic income is an amount that keeps every individual's financial floor above the poverty line. In a blog post for World Economic Forum, Santens says that UBI is a "promise of equal opportunity, not equal outcome."
Santens pointed to the groundbreaking Dauphin experiment in Canada, which led to the elimination of poverty for five years. He also referenced more recent UBI experiments in India, Namibia, and Brazil, and the beginning of government-funded trials in Netherlands, Canada, and Finland.
"The truth is that the costs of people having insufficient incomes are many and collectively massive. It burdens the healthcare system. It burdens the criminal justice system. It burdens the education system. It burdens would-be entrepreneurs, it burdens both productivity and consumer buying power and therefore entire economies."Yang proposes to pay for his UBI proposal with a value-added tax (VAT) tailored to hitting Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook, which are poised to gain the most from the shifting economy. He is opposed to a wealth tax as proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, pointing to countries that have tried such a tax — Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur's campaign has drawn attention from all sides of the political spectrum, and Yang has made an effort to reach out to all. During an interview with John Harwood for CNBC, Yang touched on his belief that the currently used socialism-capitalism dichotomy is "unproductive."
"...one reason why I find the dichotomy so unproductive, that there's no such thing as pure capitalism or pure socialism."According to Yang, people use this dichotomy to pigeonhole others into an "ideological bucket" in order to dismiss their ideas.
"And if you look at any system throughout the world, there's some combination," he said.
Yang is currently 6th in the polls with 2.5 percent support. He is set to appear in the November debate and — per the new debate requirements reported by Politico — must gain 4 percent or higher in four DNC-approved polls of primary voters nationally or in early-voting states. Alternatively, he can hit 6 percent or higher in two approved early-state polls.