Desperate to oust President Donald Trump from the White House in 2020, the race for the Democratic nomination has transformed into a real-life lottery. Instead of picking numbers at random hoping to win the jackpot, you are voting for a candidate during a caucus or a primary who will offer you some type of prize. Free tuition, free health care, free abortions, free everything. They’re giving it all away. One candidate wants to take it the extra mile: Free money.
Every campaign should adopt lottery slogans: Your chance to win starts here! Sometimes the good things in life do come easy! Dream the impossible dream!
For much of the primary season so far, Andrew Yang has distinguished himself as one of the few sane candidates running for president. Unfortunately, like a patient who has contracted influenza from strangers who refuse to cover their mouths when they sneeze, the entrepreneur and philanthropist has caught the far-left virus with a mild case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. After every debate performance, he sounds more like his rivals – and that is not good.
Considering how little he speaks during these, as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) likes to call them, political reality TV episodes, his pandering to the unreasonable does not appear to be working.
Yang’s entire campaign is based on a gimmick of giving you $1,000 a month for life. The Yang Gang chief argues that this basic income guarantee will help offset income inequality, limit the supposed harmful effects of automation, and allow struggling Americans to focus more on just paying the rent. A universal basic income (UBI) is nothing new in today’s politics; the original draft of the Green New Deal (GND) proposed extending a monthly check to every American, including those who were unwilling to work.
Liberty Nation has gone into detail exposing the fallacies and problems with a minimum income. In this case, the issue is how Yang promotes his Freedom Dividend.
Over the last month, Yang has repeatedly gone to Twitter and made statements, such as “I want to give every American adult $1,000 a month until the day you die.” and “I’m literally trying to give everybody money.” These tweets generate positive buzz and attention, but the issue is that he is not giving each person $1,000 of his own reported $4 million net worth. Instead, he is simply using wealth redistribution schemes to transfer $1,000 to your bank account every 30 or 31 days.
He does not have money trees in his backyard. He is not giving anything away.
Yang’s primary method of covering the cost of his multi-trillion-dollar scheme is slapping a value-added tax (VAT) on companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and other businesses that have benefited from artificial intelligence and automation. But that is not all. Yang proposes a levy on carbon, a tax on the highest earners, and a financial transaction penalty. He would also allow Americans to opt out of receiving welfare, which might be unlikely because that could mean less work for federal or state bureaucrats, and hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.
Some libertarians do assert that eliminating the entire welfare state and substituting it with a UBI is far more practical. But Yang is not willing to go this far, opting for stacking in some cases and allowing Americans to select one or the other. So, it will be an added cost.
In the end, his universal income idea is another progressive mechanism of redistributing wealth. It is neither bold nor new, as this public policy has been around for decades. It has only garnered momentum in recent years because of fears over automation and the young generation’s hatred of work.
Some credit should go to Yang, though. He did offer a sweepstakes prize of his own money for ten lucky people who signed up on his website during a debate a few months ago. Some pundits likened this to a bribe, but it was obvious that this was not his intention.
We’re in the Money
The justification of UBI is already based on several economic fallacies, citing studies that predict vast declines in employment, which were debunked by other reports that say these forecasts are overblown. Despite taking economics in college, Yang touts the mistaken belief that we need to maximize jobs and not maximize wealth. He also applies the Keynesian framework of consumption superseding saving and investing, which might not be his fault since that is now the basis of the U.S. economy.
Yang does make several riveting cases to support his theory of economic cataclysm, but then he offsets them with state intervention as solutions to his dystopian visions. For example, he correctly points out that state migration is at multi-decade lows, but then he proposes the government pay for families’ moving expenses. Yang certainly has a better grasp of business and economics than nearly all his primary candidates. The issue is that he takes his understanding of the private sector and intertwines it with leftist prescriptions and progressive platitudes. This can only be a recipe for disaster.
Remember, leftism and reality do not mix. Still, Yang is one of only two people on those debate stages who you would want to go and have a beer with, alongside Rep. Gabbard.
Read more from Andrew Moran.