Supporters of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang are singing his praises after it was reported that the Trump administration will seek to send cash payments directly to Americans due to the coronavirus.
Yang isn’t tooting his own horn. Instead, the former presidential hopeful has offered his own resources to the White House in an effort to spread the pros of basic income.
“I am pleased to see the White House adopt our vision of putting money directly into the hands of hard-working Americans,” he said in a statement to Twitter on Tuesday (March 17). “It’s unfortunate to see this development take place under current circumstances, but this is exactly what Universal Basic Income is designed to do–offer a way to ensure that Americans can make ends meet when they need it the most.”
During his tenure on the road, Yang campaigned and advocated for Universal Basic Income. The idea is for every American adult to have access to $1000 a month, an act that would help many displaced by job automation. Speaking with The Atlantic Monday (March 16), Yang responded to Mitt Romney advocating for the idea during the coronavirus pandemic which has left thousands of Americans out of work.
“We should do this right now to help keep millions of American families above the waterline,” he said. “Seventy-eight percent of Americans are already living paycheck to paycheck; almost half can’t afford an unexpected $400 bill—and that was before we shut down hundreds of thousands of businesses, not just bars and restaurants and theaters. If you look at the ripple effect of every canceled sporting event, every canceled conference; hotels are firing people right and left right now. You’re looking at, essentially, a negation of a significant proportion of our economic activity for a month. There’s really no effective way you can try and make workers whole that does not involve putting money into everyone’s hands.”
He also isn’t bothered that his idea is now being pushed by political pundits from all over. “I’m getting more and more encouraged,” he explained. “Because if you look, you see a range of economists from Jason Furman to Nouriel Roubini coming out for it. Commentators from Anand Giridharadas to Geraldo Rivera. And now with Mitt Romney coming out, you have Republicans as well as folks like AOC and Ro Khanna. So people are waking up to the common sense that the only way we’re going to help our people manage this crisis is by putting cold, hard cash into our hands as quickly as possible. I’m increasingly optimistic that common sense will prevail and Congress will pass this before too many lives fall apart.”
Calling the idea a common-sense tactic, Yang questioned what the cons would be. “What is the political downside to giving everyone cash? I don’t see it. It’s like, you pass it and you look like a hero; you don’t pass it, you’re a moron. Even members of Congress can see that calculation.
After he was praised on social media for his advocacy of UBI, he thanked his supporters for the love. “I’d like to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to everyone who supported my campaign when others would not,” he said on Twitter. “I hope you feel like we helped move our country in the right direction in the nick of time. I do. “
My statement on the discussed stimulus package. My team has been in touch with the White House and we are offering resources. pic.twitter.com/Bi58oq7Q9V
— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 17, 2020
Learn more about Universal Basic Income below.