I understand the interest in Yang, and I think UBI is an interesting idea worth exploring. But I did a lot of research into him and his policies and unfortunately the reality doesn’t seem so great.
Yang’s proposal is $1k a month, or $12k a year. That’s less than social security, which is typically around $14,000 a year. Even if the person is working and you add UBI to the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour, or $14,500 a year, it still only comes out to around $26,500 a year total. If we just raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour alone, that yearly total would be $30,000 instead.
But neither of those two options is enough for people afford things like college or healthcare on its own, which is why either plan must be coupled with improved social and welfare programs regardless. But Yang is using UBI as a Trojan horse to gut these programs, and recipients of this “freedom dividend” must revoke their other social welfare benefits. To make matters worse, he wants to keep private insurance, and he has no plan for national rent control, so instead of eradicating the sources of poverty, he’s basically giving you more money to lose. Instead of helping provide for the American people, he is giving handouts to corporations and landlords via us as middlemen.
Not to mention how his business-focused, market-based solution of UBI seems to be based off a staggeringly large 10% regressive consumption tax to everyone regardless of income, so the market will regulate to equal if not greater amounts of poverty. UBI is an interesting idea, but Yang’s specific version is austerity, not to mention the fact that his entire premise based on automation is pretty easily debunked as there’s no evidence to support an overall downturn in the number of jobs, and the main problem today is not unemployment but that too many people are having to work MULTIPLE jobs at once just to make ends meet. It may be cynical to say Yang’s is designed to intentionally let the rich and corporations off the hook, but it sure seems that way.
Not to mention the UBI will not go to non-citizens, further exacerbating the wealth gap between citizens and other residents. Yang also wants to make raising the UBI dependent on a constitutional amendment, meaning inflation will quickly render it worthless, and “free money” would be much harder to pass than other, more widely impactful, progressive policies in the first place. His slogan is #MATH, and he doesn’t even have a real budget plan with real numbers on how to pay for it!
It’s just simply a poorly thought out plan that will hurt more than it helps, and I fail to see any scenario in which the average person is better off under a Yang presidency than a truly progressive one in which social security is expanded, wages are increased, healthcare and public college are made free, debt is forgiven, unions are strengthened, big banks are broken up, the racial and general wealth gaps are reduced, and more, as a combined social movement. Then we would be set to further expand into a better UBI plan, not the one small “fix-all” patch of Yang’s $1,000.
Add to that, there are other red flags as well:
- Yang uses straight up white nationalist talking points and has support from white nationalists
- He’s even admitted he’s lying about Medicare for All
- He’s like Hillary in that he gives private speeches to banks, etc. for lots of money
- He says Biden is the closest candidate to him ideologically
- He likes Super-PACs and would take big money in a general election