Pictured: Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang touts a plan for $1000 a month for every American.
by Paul Moomjean
For those of you who have been my loyal readers (and haters), you know that I’ve taken a more moderate libertarian road over the past decade. Political philosophies I vilified years ago, now I’m interested in seeing play out. One can argue that I was influenced by a liberal media, which might be, but I also see how many of my “American Dream” fantasies have become nightmares, such as owning a home, staying in California and keeping a consistently high-paying job. In a state that employs contract workers, while denying more workers full-time status, being a “survivor of the fittest” conservative in the Donald Trump era is not an appetizing option. In fact, Google has made 54% of its employees’ contract status, denying them the job security that their Google-sized brains thought they’d earn. There must be better ways. And one interesting 2020 presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, is putting forth an idea so crazy, it just might work, and it’s already getting traction in California.
Andrew Yang, a businessman in his early 40s, devised a “universal basic income” (UBI) payment plan, which he calls The Freedom Dividend. “The most direct and concrete way for the government to improve your life is to send you a check for $1,000 every month and let you spend it in whatever manner will benefit you the most,” claims Yang.
“It is impossible to overstate the positive impact of $1k a month on households around the country. It would take people from a constant mindset of scarcity to a mindset of assured survival and possibility. It would transform our society in myriad positive ways by taking the boot off of people’s throats.”
Yang is the founder of the business program Venture for America and claims a simple cash handout will improve the lives of Americans and, even better, boost entrepreneurship.
“I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and most have an incredible mindset of abundance and possibility. A UBI would be the greatest catalyst for arts, entrepreneurship and creativity that we have ever seen.”
Before anyone starts crying that this idea is socialism run amuck, keep in mind that this program would reduce government programs, and in a very American way give the handout power to the people. With the national average combined household income at approximately $60,000, people don’t need government programs, they need cash. In these government hound out days, this feels most positively regressive. Giving the middle-class who can’t get hand outs the money their employer won’t.
In fact, Stockton, CA recently implemented a program were local residents got $500 a month. The results have been a pleasant surprise. Once resident Jovan Bravo got the $500 a month, he’s down to only working one Saturday a month.
“It’s made a huge difference,” he said. “Just being able to spend more time with the wife and kids, it brings us closer together.”
While many might think this is just a crazy liberal idea, the Associated Press recently reported that this concept was an experiment under the Richard Nixon administration. In fact, Republicans Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney supervised four “guaranteed-income” experiments. Rumsfeld was director of President Richard Nixon’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Cheney was his deputy.
The “experiment” concluded that despite getting additional cash in, the money didn’t inspire people to quit their jobs or stop working. In fact, Nixon proposed to expand the program. Congress didn’t agree.
Maybe the reason UBI has had both conservative and liberals behind it, over a span of decades, is because people don’t need food stamps, programs or other government subsidies to get by. They need money. Wages aren’t increasing at the rate gas prices and food costs are going up. In fact, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used this similar policy during the 1930s, understanding that people with cash spend that cash. They don’t save it, they buy food and entertainment, and recycle that money back into the economy. This would pay for car payments, private school and family nights out.
I might not like excessive government spending, but I know we are going to spend, so we might as well give the money to the people. It’s the most libertarian thing to do in these socialist times.