WASHINGTON: The choice of political candidates leaves a lot for the average voter. There are conservative Republicans who never came around to fully accepting President Trump. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are promoting socialism that most find unpalatable. Independents don’t really have a choice. Then there is Andrew Yang, the American entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, and lawyer from Schenectady, NY. From all reports, Andrew Yang is an intelligent, honest man that has worked to help other people for his entire life.
Yang appears to be a person that is easily likable resulting in the growth of followers that call themselves the YangGang. Yang is also an accessible candidate. Not only does he have a very active Twitter presence where he regularly interacts with supporters and expresses his views, his website’s policy page has literally dozens of tabs where he breaks down his policies and goals for the country.
Andrew Yang is an interesting option not because he wants to give every American $1,000 per month a platform, which in reality is nothing more than a tax cut. According to Motley Fool, a popular investment site and published in USA today:
“According to recent surveys of nearly 130,000 American consumers, the average American spends $10,489 each year in federal, state, and local income taxes.
Which averages to about 14% of the average survey respondent’s gross income.”
A benefit any American can get right now by simply moving to a non-tax state. (There are 9 US states with no income tax, but 2 of them still tax investment earnings)
Venture for America
Yang’s Venture for America aims to help recent college graduates get jobs and boost the economies of struggling cities across the nation. He has dedicated himself to helping others find success, and nothing has changed during the presidential campaign.
One of Yang’s most well-known speaking points is his idea of human capitalism. Yang believes that America’s current state of “corporate capitalism”, in which corporate profits are emphasized and prioritized, is harmful to the average, middle-class American.
He additionally argues that as our technology advances at exponentially high levels, the rise of AIs and other automated technology will start to hurt Americans hunting for or currently employed in industrial jobs. Yang stresses the fact that big tech in Silicon Valley is on the cusp of releasing readily available automated technology that will lead to millions of unemployed Americans, and wants to establish policies that protect Americans from the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The principles of human capitalism emphasize the fact that markets exist to serve common goals, not simply to make money for the higher-ups; that would be, essentially, an oligarchy. Human capitalism stresses that people are the unit of interest in the economy, not the dollar.
Yang’s economic policies include:
Fixing zoning policies to make renting and buying housing more affordable
Providing basic banking services in US Post Offices so small towns do not have to employ payday lenders at high rates
Ensuring that large corporations pay small businesses on time without having to employ legal counsel
Adding a VAT (Value-Added Tax) for corporations, taxing at every level of manufacturing, ensuring that they cannot cheat their way out of paying taxes
The creation of tax-free, opt-in accounts that help individuals save for retirement, increasing as their income does.
Letting states dictate minimum wage, which is logical due to variety from state-to-state in population size, demographics, average income, and prevalent industries/job sources
How will Yang measure the success of his economic policies, you ask? Well, he believes that the GDP, while useful, only factors in production rates; it does not tell the whole story of how the average person is doing financially, as the inventor of the GDP stated during its creation. Yang has proposed a wider index of variables called the “American Scorecard”, which includes variables such as environmental quality, affordability, mental health, quality of infrastructure, quality of life, and access to education.
Through an expanded list of categories, the American Scoreboard will provide a better measurement of life in America, and what needs to be changed.
Yang’s ideas for social reform revolve around the idea of simply improving the quality of life in America.
He aims to expand services provided by Medicare, along with lowering public health costs. Yang wants to fix healthcare by controlling the cost of prescription drugs, shifting focus to preventative healthcare services such as low-cost screenings, improving education for children and adults on how to live a healthy life, and lessening food insecurity through government assistance, working in conjunction with food banks and clinics to feed the 41 million Americans that experience hunger.
Additionally, he aims to legalize marijuana, along with ending marijuana convictions.
Seeing as medical marijuana is now available in over 30 states, these policies are already likely to be passed in our lifetimes; Yang is just speeding up the process. He wants to give voting rights back to felons, hoping to better reintegrate felons into society, in addition to banning private, for-profit prisons.
Yang’s Immigration Policies
As a son of two immigrant parents, he heavily advocates for leniency for illegal immigrants, supporting DACA. He believes that with a stronger economy, Americans will be less likely to place the blame for their economic state on immigrants and minorities. He also is open to strengthening border security- if experts agree that it is the right thing to do.
Yang’s Environmental Policies
One of Yang’s biggest priorities is acknowledging that climate change is a major issue. That great care needs to be taken to help preserve the environment. He plans on spending $5 trillion over the next 20 years to have a fully green economy by late 2040. The aiming for net-zero carbon emissions. By taxing carbon emissions from large corporations and slashing the power of oil lobbyists, a trillion-dollar industry, Yang hopes to make his ideas a reality.
Pointing out that the rise of natural disasters costs billions in aid each year while taking dozens of lives, he lists a five-pronged plan on his website that goes as follows:
Build a sustainable economy by transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources. Yang has also advocated for the expansion of nuclear energy, improving infrastructure, and using land more efficiently
Have the US act as a role model for the rest of the world, encouraging other nations to act against climate change by providing technology and financial support (mainly to underdeveloped countries)
Encourage people to move to higher ground. Sea levels are inevitably rising, putting millions of Americans living in some of the largest metropolitan areas at risk by the end of the century
Expand research and methods for removing existing carbon from the atmosphere, cooling the planet
Pass legislation that creates state and federal governments accountable for the current and future state of the planet, and responsible for fixing it
The battle to preserve the planet is one that needs to be fought not for the present, but for the future. And it’s no surprise that Yang, always tech-savvy and aware of how the world is changing faster than politicians acknowledge, has prioritized saving Earth so highly. It is admirable that he not only wants to help modern America but its citizens for generations to come.
Yang’s Foreign Policy
As for foreign policy, Yang pushes for clear communication with both America’s allies and enemies, trying to find diplomatic solutions for global problems. He highlights the swarm of data found on the internet and its open access as a security issue. Prioritizing that our data must not be available to the international eye.
He hopes to promote global democratic capitalism, guiding developing nations towards a path that allows for economic success along with equality for its citizens, as long as it is democratic and environmentally-friendly. Yang also ensures that he will stand up to Chinese and Russian aggression that hurts international relations.
He is a proud supporter of a strong Israel-American relationship. Yang wants a two-state solution that allows for successful and peaceful Israeli and Palestinian states. He also hopes to strengthen existing alliances such as those with NATO. While Yang is not opposed to sending additional troops overseas, he wants to make sure that there is a clear motivation for preserving America’s values and interests in such situations, hoping to avoid needlessly getting involved in conflicts that cost billions of dollars and take hundreds of lives.
Accolades for Andrew Yang
Yang’s website, showcases the New York native’s ideas, along with discussing the views of others. Yang has been applauded for being open-minded and thoughtful, as his positive reviews from an April 2019 interview with Ben Shapiro show, along with his frequent interview from CNN and Fox News, speaking to both sides of the media.
When you listen to Andrew Yang speak, you hear a man who deeply cares about his country and its citizens, a man that sincerely wants to make a positive impact on American society.
Where does Andrew Yang stand on the issues? summarizes Yang best by saying, “his platform… focuses more on the solutions than deriding the problem”, which, again, separates him from the sea of hatred surrounding modern Washington. He is not bound up by partisan politics or party allegiances like any other Democrat or Republican; he is just trying to make life better for the average American with a 40-hour workweek.
His policies appeal to a wide variety of people, drawing in people from all sides of the political spectrum.
Andrew Yang wants America and every single one of its citizens to be happier, healthier, richer, and smarter. His ideas do deserve a wider audience as they seem much more in step with America’s values than those offered by either Warren, Sanders or Biden.