Andrew Yang on Welfare & Poverty

Democratic Presidential Challenger & Tech CEO


Launch largest basic income program in the country

A Yang administration will launch the largest basic income program in the country. Through this program, 500,000 New Yorkers with the greatest need will receive a basic income that will help give them a path forward. This will start with providing those who are living in extreme poverty with an average of $2,000 per year. This program can then be grown over time as it receives more funding, with the vision of eventually ending poverty in New York City altogether.
Source: Mayoral campaign website YangForNY.com , Mar 25, 2021

Disentangle economic value and human value

All of the candidates were asked to answer a question that hasn't been asked on a debate stage since 1999: What would you do about childhood poverty? Then 1 in 4 children were in poverty. Now it's 1 in 5.

Yang went first. He has centered his campaign on providing Americans a freedom dividend of $1,000 per month per person and has gained a loyal following for talking about how the post-industrial economy has left much of America behind.

"We're in the midst of the most extreme winner-take-all economy in the history of our country," Yang said. "We have fallen into this trap, where we've allowed the market to tell us what we are all worth."

Stay-at-home moms, he said, are "worth" nothing. Neither are caregivers. Or local journalists. "Most artists, sorry, artists, but it's true" he said, are seen by as being worth "zero." Yang concluded: "The mission in this campaign has to be for us to disentangle economic value and human value."

Source: Washington Post excerpts of 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate , Feb 8, 2020

If no action taken, minority wealth will be zer0 by 2053

The median African American household net worth is projected to be zero by 2053. Things are not getting better for people of color. If anything, they're getting worse, because we're in the process of eliminating the most common jobs in our economy. There is no way we can prevent this tsunami from wiping out African American net worth unless we put straight cash into their hands sometime between now and 2053.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Relaxing zoning laws would boost affordable housing

Yang rolled out a policy brief on zoning that calls for loosening restrictions on the construction of more homes in the country's most productive cities. "Housing is eating up more and more Americans' budgets and making it impossible to get ahead," said Yang. "If we relaxed zoning laws in certain areas it would enhance productivity and allow us to create many more affordable housing options."
Source: Reason magazine on 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 12, 2019

Increase affordable housing; get localities to change zoning

I would invest in trying to increase the supply of affordable housing, because right now, there's a lot of NIMBYism, where a lot of cities are like, hey, I love the idea of affordable housing, but if you try and build it around my rich people, then they'll get very upset, so I don't want to do it. What we have to do is we have to lift some of the zoning restrictions on construction of affordable housing. And that would be a priority of mine as president.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 14, 2019

UBI costs $1.3 trillion, but grows economy by $2.5 trillion

An analysis by the Roosevelt Institute of this $12,000 per year per adult proposal found that adopting it would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent--or about $2.5 trillion by 2025 -and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people. The cost would be about an additional $1.3 trillion per year on top of existing welfare programs, most of which would be folded into the plan.

The cost of $1.3 trillion seems like an awful lot. For reference, the federal budget is about $4 trillion and the entire U.S. economy is about $19 trillion. But there are myriad ways to pay for it. The most sensible way to pay for it in my view would be with a value-added tax (VAT)--a consumption tax--that would generate income from the people and businesses that benefit from society the most.

Source: The War on Normal People, by Andrew Yang, p.169-70 , Apr 2, 2019

Freedom Dividend: create a universal basic income

Yang's campaign is centered on "The Freedom Dividend," his plan to pay every American--starting at age 18, & regardless of employment--$1,000 per month. He argues the dividend is needed to boost workers losing jobs to automation and other technological change. Yang has said he would pay for this form of universal basic income "by consolidating some welfare programs," and imposing a 10 percent value-added tax on goods and services, which he estimates would generate up to $800 billion in revenue.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Mar 19, 2019

Create culture of lifting up the least among us

Meeting this week with a national gathering of Christian entrepreneurs was enlightening. I found that the themes of the campaign and their point of view are aligned in many important respects?--?a mindset of abundance, of community, and of lifting up the least among us.

Most people who are struggling today aren't struggling because of choices they made. Often economic hardship is the result of things outside of a person's control, like job loss, illness, or the place where they were born. It can also be the result of a culture that cares more about stock portfolios than people in need.

Jesus' command to love our neighbor is at the heart of Christianity. More than 70% of Americans call themselves Christians. My question for each one of them comes from 1 John 3:17: "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?"

Source: 2020 presidential campaign website yang2020.com , May 15, 2018

Non-profit work is dispiriting if not rapidly expanding

It's not about an organization's legal or tax structure; it's about a company's leadership, how it creates value. There are for-profit businesses delivering tremendous value to the world, and poorly run nonprofits doing very little.

I now run a nonprofit, so I obviously believe that tax exempt organizations can serve incredibly useful roles and create value. The issue with nonprofits is that they tend to be small and have difficulty growing.

Philanthropy budgets are tied to [how much money] is donated each year. This figure has been relatively constant at about 2% of GDP since 1970. 50,000 new nonprofits get formed every year. So every year you have a growing number of nonprofits vying for a fairly constant set of resources.

If a nonprofit is on a growth path, then it could be a dynamic opportunity. But most nonprofits aren't rapidly expanding. It's dispiriting being in an environment with scarce resources and little opportunity for advancement.

Source: Smart People Should Build Things, by Andrew Yang, p.145-6 , Feb 4, 2014

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Other big-city mayors on Welfare & Poverty: Andrew Yang on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 07, 2022