Bernie Sanders Hits Andrew Yang’s Proposed Universal Basic Income: ‘People Want to Work’

AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner
AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took aim at fellow presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s (D) proposal for universal basic income, telling Hill.TV that a federal jobs guarantee is preferable because “people want to work.”

Yang – who saw a spike in Emerson Polling’s recent survey (4 percent support) and qualified for September’s Democrat presidential debate – has touted his universal basic income plan, promising to give U.S. citizens $1,000 a month.

“Americans will work even harder when they get the resources in place to actually get ahead. This is the trickle up economy from our people, families and communities up,” Yang told Face the Nation earlier this month.

“It will create over two million new jobs in our communities because the money will go right into local mainstream businesses, to car repairs, daycare expenses, Little League sign-ups,” he continued.

“And that’s where the economic value needs to go in order to create jobs where people live and work,” he added.

Sanders – a self-described champion for the working class – disagrees with Yang’s plan and told Hill.TV that his federal jobs guarantee is preferable because “people want to work.”

The challenge that we face is how do we use technology to improve the lives of working people. So if you have a really terrible job, a boring job and we make your job better and we enable you to work 20 hours a week rather than 40 hours a week, it’s not a bad thing…but it means to say you still need an income to live by, we can’t cut your salaries in half.

“We take a very different approach from Mr. Yang and that is I believe in a jobs guarantee,” Sanders continued.

“There are an enormous amount of work that has to be done all the way from childcare to health care to education to rebuilding our infrastructure to combating climate change to dealing with our growing elderly population,” he added, repeating the ideas he rolled out earlier this year.

Sanders’ website provides similar details on his federal jobs guarantee, assessing that the U.S. will need “millions of workers to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure—roads, bridges, drinking water systems, wastewater plants, rail, schools, affordable housing—and build our 100% sustainable energy system” as part of his Green New Deal.

He also calls for “hundreds of thousands of workers to provide quality care to the young children of our country” and “supportive services for seniors.”

Yang hit back against Sanders’ critiques in a pair of tweets Tuesday afternoon.

“Bernie ignores the facts that money in our hands would 1) create hundreds of thousands of local jobs and 2) recognize and reward the nurturing work being done in our homes and communities every day,” he wrote.

“He also assumes that everyone wants to work for the government which isn’t true,” he continued.

“It’s very strange – he seemed open and warm to the idea of a Universal Basic Income not too long ago,” Yang added. “Now he seems irritated every time it comes up.”


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