Running America on Math and Logic?
As some may know I’ve been fascinated and slowly becoming in favor of Presidential Candidate (2020) Andrew Yang. At first I thought he was a populist (for getting votes) who is promoting Marxist socialism ($1000/mo Universal Basic Income). After reading his book I changed my mind and felt pretty good about him.
A few useful things to share to people who are unfamiliar:
1. His UBI replaces (unless opted out) all welfare programs.
It reduces incentives to be in weak positions (unemployed and pretending to find jobs or divorcing etc) and shrinks government (no more complicated and long-winded approval process and checking if a person still qualifies every month)
2. He says after that it’s going to be still $1.3 Trillion below budget. He plans to get it via VAT (value add sales tax) that would optimize for luxury and AI driven items.
Profitability from automation and GDP will rise dramatically, and we need to make sure machine profits don’t screw over the hard working humans. He says that with a 10% VAT (20% for most non-US western countries), if one gets $12K more per year, people would only be worse off if they spend more than $120K per year. But Amazon has to pay taxes on transactions instead of just “our accounting methods shows we don’t need to pay taxes.” Btw, he doesn’t try to vilify Amazon as having evil agendas, but he says people will suffer due to optimization.
3. The rest he believes in trickle up economy.
Most people will spend most of the $1000/mo (most Americans needs to as they have less than $500 savings) and help other local businesses and income, as opposed to big government just keeping it and spending on inefficient large items in military and others. In Econ 1 we learn about the multiplier effect, where if $1000 passes through 5 people, 5 people made $1000 each and the GDP increases by $5000 (not counting taxes) and the government will get more taxes back too on each step.
4. It may or may not be perfect calculations, but it’s not wishful dreaming and promising.
His policies page estimate costs for dozens of his policies and also how he expects them to be paid. https://www.yang2020.com/policies/ I especially like the one where all field cops should have cameras on constantly to really resolve police brutality issues as everyone has better information and context.
5. The automation crisis is happening now.
Just look at empty malls closing because of Amazon (robots in their warehouses), self-checkout at groceries, casinos replacing bartenders this year, and Tesla launching autonomous fleet next year.
6. UBI is different to socialism because..
In Traditional Socialism, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, everyone will have the same outcome. In Yang’s economy, if you consistently do the correct things and have a bit of luck, anyone can become a millionaire. UBI just makes sure that everyone has a few chips to participate in the game to begin with.
7. $1000/mo is not going to solve all problems.
It is just around the poverty line so if people could work they should want to (outside of outliers). But $1000/mo would make it easier for people to relocate for other opportunities, go back to school or be retrained, or decide to dedicate more time to raising their children. Also, rich people get $1000/mo too, because instead of the “F you rich people!!” narrative, it honors them by saying, “You will be paying significantly more taxes not from your wealth/income but on your luxurious enjoyment of American goods. But you will get your Freedom Dividend as a respected citizen of the United States, just like everyone else.”
8. Trump won President because Americans in Middle States were hearing the awful narrative about White Privilege
…about how white people get everything so easy and all America’s problems are coming from them; but yet they are struggling in the millions, losing their jobs to automation and failing to support their families. Strong man Trump shows up and says, “the media and democrats say YOU are the problem. You are what makes America bad. They don’t care about you. Well guess what, you are not the problem. You are a victim, and I will fight back those jobs from those foreigners!” When you are drowning, you grab on to whoever actually says will save you as opposed to those calling you the bad guy.
9. I’ve met many people saying that when they voted for Trump they were looking for someone like Andrew Yang
…someone who is concerned about their problems, not vilifying them, and ACTUALLY having a plan. These Middle State Americans don’t need a big white man to be President. They just need someone who cares about their problems to be President. Imagine how they feel when the media just calls them racists during this process of struggle and grasping for hope from anywhere.
10. I’ve always felt that the largest threat to America is how divided we are.
I got myself immersed in both left and right echo chambers and it was mind blowing how the two sides can’t even begin to communicate due to name calling as the first step. That’s why I think Andrew Yang’s campaign of “Not Left, not Right, but Forward” is very appealing to me personally.
11. Polls indicate that right now 3% of Americans would vote for Andrew Yang
…from being a complete no-namer last year. His is currently ranked 5th in the Democratic Party lineup. It’s still a long shot, but I think he has a chance.
(Disclaimer: even though at the beginning I was pretty turned off by Andrew Yang’s running for presidency, my knowledge in behavioral science tells me that I would be be more open to be won over due to our shared background as Taiwanese American Entrepreneurs. Also, Elon Musk claiming UBI being the necessary solution for the future also opened me up to the concept)