Andrew Yang: Lawmakers Against ‘Cash Relief’ Out of Touch with Reality

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang said on Friday evening that any lawmaker in Congress opposed to direct cash payments to struggling Americans is out of touch with reality.

“Any member of Congress who is not for cash relief right now doesn’t understand what people are going through or the gravity of what has happened to the labor market and economic activity,” Yang tweeted.

A strong majority of Americans (66 percent), including a majority of Republicans, in recent polling have supported recurring monthly payments of at least $2,000 during the coronavirus crisis.

Yang, who championed universal basic income on the campaign trail, touted a plan–introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH)–that would give Americans $2,000 a month for at least the next six months.

Khanna and Ryan recently introduced the “Emergency Money for the People Act” to give every American 16 years of age and older $2,000 for at least the next six months.  Under their plan, “monthly cash assistance payments would be guaranteed for at least six months and would renew for another six months unless the employment-to-population ratio for people ages 16 and older returns to the pre-covid crisis employment level of 60%.”

Ryan said in a statement that the “economic impact of this virus is unprecedented” and Congress must “work quickly to patch the dam” by putting “cash into the hands of hard-working families” as “millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week.”

Khanna said that the “twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it.”

“Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work. Members on both sides of the aisle are finally coming together around the idea of sending money out to people,” Khanna added.”

In a recent MSNBC interview, Ryan said that the one-time stimulus payment “isn’t going to do diddly for the vast majority of people” and urged Congress to worry about the greater costs that will come if “the economic stagnation is going to last longer.”

He pointed out that hardly anyone complains when corporations receive billions in bailouts but all sorts of objections are raised when Congress want to help workers at a time when workers need the help the most.

“Nobody bats an eye when we give huge corporations like the airline industries a bailout and then they turn around and United gets rid of all of their workers, or there’s huge tax incentives in here for real estate people–high end real estate people,” Ryan said. “And we just did a $2.3 trillion tax cut a couple of years ago that President Trump pushed where 83 percent of it when to the wealthiest people in the country.”

But Ryan said whenever lawmakers try to help workers and working class people, “all of a sudden the question is how much is this going to cost” even when interest rates are at zero.

The Data for Progress poll–which was released in the middle of April and found that a strong majority of Americans (66 percent), including a majority of Republicans, support “recurring payments of $2,000 until a year after the President declares an end to the federal state of emergency”–also found that Americans favored “imposing a wealth tax” more than increasing the deficit or printing more money.

In addition, the poll found that “68% of the public prefers receiving a pre-loaded debit card to a deduction on next year’s income tax,” including a majority of both Democrats (73 percent) and Republicans (65 percent).

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