DES MOINES, Iowa — Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate, is back in Iowa advocating for universal basic income.
He may be considered a long shot presidential candidate in the crowded Democratic field, but that didn’t stop him from making another trip to the state.
Yang was at Franklin Junior High School in Des Moines Sunday night and wasn’t afraid to point out the obvious and get right to the point.
“You probably heard something about this about me. There’s an Asian man running for president who wants to give everyone a $1,000 a month,” Yang said. “Those things are all true.”
That was Yang’s big talking point; giving citizens a monthly dividend of $1,000 if he is elected president. He says while it may sound too good to be true, it can work. Yang says it’s the trickle up economy, and he’s done the math. He says it will ultimately bring new jobs and help the economy because the money will go right back into your neighborhood.
“Math” is Yang’s key word. Iowans were found holding “math” signs in the crowd and Yang was wearing a “math” hat while joking it stands for “Make America Think Harder.”
Yang stressed if there is one thing he wants people to remember from his town hall Sunday, it’s that we have the money to fund this dividend, including the money to fund “Medicare for All.”
“I’m for ‘Medicare for All.’ It is perverse in this country, that in the richest and most advanced economy in the history of the world, when you get sick or injured you get more stressed out about navigating our crazy system and paying your bills than you are getting well or getting healthy,” Yang said.
A group of people in the front row dressed up as penguins. They asked Yang about climate change when he was quoted at a different rally saying the penguins can wait. Yang quickly responded saying climate change is an existential threat, but fixing it starts with his monthly universal basic income.
“If you go to someone and say, ‘we need to address climate change,’ but they can’t pay their bills, they might look up at you and say, ‘the penguins can wait in line. I can’t pay my bills.’ So what we have to do is we have to get the economic boot off the people’s throats and then they are going to, hopefully, realize that we need to address climate change,” Yang said.
It wasn’t a full house listening to Yang’s vision of “investing in us.” There were maybe just over 200 people there, but they were educated. When Yang asked, “What’s the state that already passed a dividend?” They all answered in unison, “Alaska.” And it’s true. Alaska gives their citizens between $1,000 to $2,000 a year. They fund it with oil. Yang says the oil of the 21st century is technology.