New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is focusing his bid to lead the city on a proposal that echoes his presidential campaign's $1,000 per month universal basic income. But unlike his presidential campaign plan, the new policy seeks to provide $2,000 per year to 500,000 New Yorkers who require assistance the most.
According to the candidate, the end goal is to increase the scope of the plan as additional funding becomes available.
"This program can then be grown over time as it receives more funding from public and philanthropic organizations, with the vision of eventually ending poverty in New York City altogether," his policy page read.
The ambitious proposal would cost $1 billion per year and echoes the basic income pilots initiated by his non-profit Humanity Forward, which was allegedly recently in contact with Democrat Joe Biden's administration to speak about recurring checks.
During a conversation with The New York Times, Yang argued that UBI is the "most direct and effective thing " that could be implemented to improve American lives. He claimed that his work in public life continues to be focused on "advancing the goal of eradicating poverty" in U.S. society.
The publication noted that some of Yang's competition have adopted universal basic income into their campaigns, although it observed they are doing so in "less specific terms."
During his first public appearance since announcing his run, Yang touted his basic income program, which he said would be the largest in American history, the New York Post reported.
"We will lift hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of extreme poverty, putting cash relief directly into the hands of the families who desperately need help right now."
As noted by The New York Times, critics argue that basic income projects discourage people from working. Nevertheless, the concept of UBI has been gaining momentum in recent years. The publication pointed to the new Mayors for a Guaranteed Income group, which includes over two dozen mayors who support the proposal.
One of the largest American UBI pilots took place in Stockton, California. It began in February 2019 and is nearing the end of its run. The program provided 125 residents of the city $500 per month — payments that will come to an end on January 15.