Andrew Yang is best known for his proposal of a nationwide Universal Basic Income, which he calls the Freedom Dividend, but he has many more proposals that are often overlooked. @Balshumet examines the Dividend with his other two flagship proposals, Human Centered Capitalism and Medicare for All.
Despite claims that Andrew Yang is a one-policy candidate, his website contains over 150 separate policy proposals and positions. Out of all of these policies, he highlights his “Big Three”: The Freedom Dividend, Medicare for All, and Human Centered Capitalism. The Freedom Dividend is his best-known policy, but to really get to the heart of his campaign, one must examine all of his policies together to see the patchwork as the holistic remedy it is meant to be. With that in mind, there is nowhere better to start than his Human Centered Capitalism. The fundamentals of this position elucidate the main guiding principle behind all of his policies: Humanity first.
The principle behind Human Centered Capitalism is that how we currently measure economic growth, stability, and progress in America is flawed. Right now, it is mostly a measure of GDP and various statistics about inflation and stock market growth, with very little attention paid to measures of human health, such as life expectancy and mental health. Andrew Yang wants to incorporate measures of human wellness into our understanding of the country, and posits that the best way for us to move forward as a nation is if we make capitalism work for “us”, the members of the nation, as opposed to pure profit motivation.
Yang’s view states that “The focus of our economy should be to maximize human welfare.” This commitment underlies all of policies, from free marriage counseling to his proposal to have your personal data as a property right.
Both Medicare for All and the Freedom Dividend are practical applications of his concept of Human Centered Capitalism. In particular, Medicare for All is founded on a dedication to human welfare and a desire to maximize the utility of business. Both employees and employers are encumbered by the employer provided system we have now.
Andrew Yang’s single-payer policy provides a public option that is expected to out-compete private insurance companies without outright declaring them illegal, allowing the forces of the free market to benefit the American people. He recognizes the lack of mobility provided by our current system and how that disincentivizes everything from moving to a better job to starting your own business. It also creates a negative pressure on employers to avoid hiring to avoid paying “benefits,” the hidden cost of hiring that has contributed to the gig economy and the insecure piece-work therein. When his public option healthcare policy is combined with the Freedom Dividend, it works in concert to create more economic freedom and mobility.
His most asked – and subsequently spoken about – policy is his Freedom Dividend. At $1,000 per month, his proposed cash benefit is provided without precondition to every American over 18 years of age, and represents a form of Universal Basic Income, commonly known as UBI. The main purpose of the Dividend is to promote human welfare and dignity. The cash infusion, funded partially by a Value-Added Tax, is meant to give every American a piece of our country’s economic prosperity and recognize the value provided by persons not currently compensated in our system, such as stay-at-home-parents and caregivers. More importantly, the infusion acts as an economic stimulus that will drive our economy into the 21st century as automation of many US jobs accelerates. Not only would the infusion of cash be less effective without a no cost medical option provided through Medicare for All, neither of these policies would be in effect without Yang’s dedication to Human Centered Capitalism and its focus on human welfare, making the interconnected nature of his approach to policy creation much more apparent.
The singular focus on Yang’s Freedom Dividend does this diverse and principled candidate a disservice, not just to the breadth of his dedication to the American people, but to the real effects of his Freedom Dividend that cannot be measured alone.
While we’re on the subject of Yang’s expansive policies, these three pillars discussed aren’t even his most interesting or effective proposals. His commitment to democratic or political reform is notable, most especially represented by his Democracy Dollars policy, a program to give individual voters $100 every year specifically to fund political campaigns they support to overwhelm lobbyist money in politics. Then there’s Yang’s commitment to social justice reform – this includes not only a reduction in the War on Drugs through the legalization of marijuana and the decriminalization of opioids, but the reduction of our system’s usage of cash bail and the banning of private prisons. The breadth and depth of his proposals are unparalleled.