Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, has made implementing a universal basic income his central campaign plank. On this week's episode of "The Takeout," Yang spoke with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett to discuss the plan and how he is reaching a wide audience through social media.
Universal basic income would give every citizen a certain amount of money or resources to meet basic needs. Yang said that this would be a more practical solution to impending job losses in industries such as coal mining or truck driving than training the newly-unemployed to work in the growing tech sector.
Although a plan to give every American $1,000 a month would cost $3 trillion on its face, Yang told Garrett that high price is deceptive.
"It gets much, much cheaper, very, very quickly, and the reason it does is that about half of Americans are already receiving government income support in some fashion," Yang said. If a person is already getting more than $1,000 a month in government benefits, they could opt out of the monthly payment. Yang calls his UBI plan the "Freedom Dividend."
"You put even $1,000 a month into people's hands, then what you see by the numbers is better children's health nutrition, higher graduation rates, better mental health, lower domestic violence," Yang said, as it would give people living paycheck-to-paycheck a financial cushion.
Yang also said that President Trump "got a lot of the problems right" in recognizing that the U.S. is losing manufacturing jobs, but that Mr. Trump's solutions were "unproductive."
Yang's other policy proposals include inventing a new post for a psychiatrist in the White House to help destigmatize mental health issues, ending "robo-calling," and paying college athletes.
Although Yang is low in the polls and has little name recognition, he is gaining ground in his social media influence, as his supporters proliferate Yang-based memes across the internet. According to a recent piece in The Daily Beast, Yang has obtained the minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states, one of the thresholds to appear at a Democratic debate.
For more of Major's conversation with Andrew Yang, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).
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