Beto: Universal Basic Income ‘Idea Worthy of Conversation’

Beto Thinking
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke believes that presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s $1,000/month “freedom dividend” is now “an idea worthy of conversation” right now because more jobs are becoming automated.

At an Ottumwa, Iowa, town hall event on Friday, a truck driver said he heard Yang speak about universal basic income on Joe Rogan’s podcast and added that Yang clearly understood how vital truck drivers are to the economy. He said he was worried about how automation will impact truck drivers who are just starting out and asked O’Rourke his thoughts on universal basic income.

“I’m familiar with the concept of universal basic income,” O’Rourke said. “It’s an idea worthy of conversation and debate right now as we see more and more jobs automated out of existence.”

O’Rourke then spoke about how automated vehicles could soon replace “long-haul trucking” and said politicians should be asking truck drivers about their ideas about what is best “for industry, businesses involved, and people who create value.”

Yang’s signature campaign idea is his freedom dividend, which has allowed the businessman to poll better and raise more money than most of the governors and senators running for president despite not getting nearly as much coverage in left-wing and mainstream media outlets. Yang was one of the first candidates who secured a spot on the debate stage by meeting the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) polling and fundraising requirements.

His campaign has argued that the “freedom dividend” is also a women’s rights issue that could reduce workplace shootings, antisemitism, and racism.

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