Andrew Yang’s plan for a universal basic income is being overlooked

Dylan Schor, Staff Writer

It is without question that income inequality is one of the greatest problems of the modern generation. While some
people have more money than could possibly be spent in a lifetime, others work 18 hours a week for less than the cost of living. In a nation as prosperous as the United States, there are more than enough resources to guarantee every citizen a comfortable life. Moreover, the income disparity is currently the highest since the 1920s, and there is significant historical evidence suggesting that the mass hoarding of wealth leads to economic depression. Economic equality limits innovation and motivation to work as well as decreases productivity and stagnates the economy. All of which begs the question: how can the U.S. guarantee a better life for
more of their citizens without hindering another’s success?

The answer, according to one 2020 Presidential Candidate, is instituting a universal basic income. “Venture for America” founder, 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, and self-described “human capitalist,” Andrew Yang sees universal basic income as the only way forward for America. Yang’s policy would guarantee $1,000 a month to every adult U.S. citizen. Doing so, he claims, would increase spending in the private sector, ensure more innovation in the free market and enable every American to afford their basic necessities. Moreover, Yang maintains that $1,000 is not enough for an individual to prosper, so people would still be motivated to work.

However, a source of supplementary income will do wonders for people who lose their jobs or simply don’t make enough money. Furthermore, Yang’s signature proposal would benefit those who are productive members of society but don’t get financial recognition such as stay at home parents, volunteer charity workers, and anyone else who works long hours with no pay. Stay at home parents, in particular, would gain a new degree of financial independence allowing them to escape from the possibility of an unhealthy lifestyle.

“UBI would pose a potential threat to our nations economy, as it would likely breed complacency for those who otherwise would make an effort to join the workforce and earn an honest income. By implementing a universal basic income, you’re lowering people’s need to work and therefore their motivation to be productive members of society” said junior Becca Packer.

While that’s a valid argument, one needs to take into perspective the amount they are getting. Yang’s proposal, which would give everyone $1,000 dollars, is simply not enough for most people to meet all of their needs. It is a supplement to the very poorest Americans so that they do not have to decide between paying rent or eating in a given month. Most people will still need another source of money, especially if they want any luxury or comfort beyond basic survival.

“Personally, I think that it won’t solve anything. This proposal is assuming that people will choose the right thing to spend their money on. However, this is unlikely to happen,” said sophomore Jae Longaro.

This is yet another valid concern and potential flaw with the system. Although there is no guarantee, this proposal will give Americans a choice on how they would spend their money. Americans would have more opportunities, opening up a gateway to the American dream, which was previously reserved for only the well off.

However, there is one reason in particular as to why the United States of America needs a UBI: automation. According to all economic trends, robots will be taking over unprecedented levels of jobs. We’re in the middle of what Yang calls a “fourth industrial revolution” which has already claimed over four million U.S. jobs. He showed studies that suggest the number of jobs lost will outnumber jobs created by a significant amount.

For more information, a quick visit to Yang’s website will give any curious constituents a full outline of all his policies complete with supporting studies and data to back up each of his claims. He appears to be on all levels a new type of politician, pinpointing every aspect of his campaign down to the fine detail. It’s no surprise that his well-oiled candidacy has garnered a massive online following of people of all backgrounds, and this UBI proposal is only a piece of his campaign.