Democrat 2020 Presidential Candidate Gives Away Money to Push ‘Universal Basic Income’

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

A Democrat 2020 presidential hopeful is trying to promote his plan for a “universal basic income” by giving away cold, hard cash to potential primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Andrew Yang, a New York City entrepreneur and longshot presidential candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said he’s giving away the money as a way to push universal basic income as part of his platform for his 2020 bid.

“It would help people improve their health, nutrition, pay off some debts and bills that have been hanging over them, reduce their stress levels,” Yang told Fox News, branding his grandiose welfare plan as a “freedom dividend.”

Yang said his proposal would direct the federal government to provide $12,000 a year to every American over the age of 18 and would be paid for by instituting a 10 percent value-added tax estimated to raise $700-800 billion.

The longshot Democratic presidential hopeful said he modeled his proposal after similar guaranteed income schemes tested in Finland and California. Researchers discovered Friday that Finland’s basic income experiment failed to encourage those who were unemployed to look for work.

The Democratic presidential hopeful said he would give $1,000 of his own money each month to one family in Iowa and one family in New Hampshire to promote his plan.

Although his plan of giving money to potential voters could raise a few legal questions, Yang said he consulted with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) before forging ahead with his platform.

“I talked to the FEC and they said as long as it’s my personal funds, and it’s a personal gift with no strings attached, they have no issues,” he said.

Yang’s candidacy, although a longshot, echoes some of the proposals congressional Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) outlined in the “Green New Deal,” such as guaranteed income or “economic security” for those Americans “unwilling to work.”

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