VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang On Income Inequality & ‘Freedom Dividend’
The 44-year-old offered this idea as a potential solution to income inequality, an issue that has plagued the United States for many years.
“The single most powerful and impactful thing we can do to decrease income inequality in the United States is to implement a universal basic [monthly] income of $1,000 per American adult,” said Yang. “This has already happened in Alaska and it’s lowered income inequality there, and by the numbers, if you give people $1,000 a month it helps people with the least the most.
Yang then used a specific example to support his idea: if a person earning $24,000 annually and another person making $100,000 per year each received an additional $12,000 annually as part of the UBI proposal — also known as the “Freedom Dividend” — the income inequality “ratio” between the two individuals would decrease from 1:4 to 1:3, as they would respectively now earn $36,000 and $112,000.
Yang added he favors “progressive” tax rates and opposes tax loopholes like the carried interest loophole, which he called “utterly ridiculous.” The carried interest loophole has allowed wealthy Americans to earn tax breaks for years, and it allows for deductions on shares of the profits of an investment paid to an investment manager in excess of the amount he or she contributes to a partnership.
“We need to build a ‘trickle-up’ economy from ourselves, our families and our communities up and the best way to do that is to just put money directly into the hands of our citizens,” said Yang.
Yang has also warned about how robotization and artificial intelligence can severely affect unemployment, and proposed alternative solutions to a traditional four-year college education like trade schools and apprenticeship programs where students can learn and hone more practical life skills.
Other 2020 Democratic presidential contenders like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have stressed the growing levels of income inequality must be reduced and called for solutions like higher tax rates for billionaires and multi-national corporations, as well as higher minimum wages for hourly workers.