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Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Yang has focused his 2020 presidential election platform around a proposal for universal basic income, which he calls “The Freedom Dividend.”

Why it matters: The proposal is based on the notion that automation will eliminate millions of jobs for Americans and that this could help cushion the blow.

Details
  • Each American over the age of 18 would receive $1,000 per month from the government, regardless of work status.
  • Those already receiving government benefits could choose between them and the monthly payment, per Vox. If they choose Yang’s UBI, they would have it unconditionally, per Yang.
  • Yang intends to fund the program with a 10% value added tax (VAT), which is a tax applied to goods at each stage of their production.
  • The program would also be funded by consolidating some social welfare programs, per Yang.
  • It would be illegal to lend or borrow based on the dividend.
Arguments in favor of Andrew Yang’s universal basic income
  • It could help people who are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • Yang says he thinks UBI would lead to “better children's health nutrition, higher graduation rates, better mental health, lower domestic violence.”
  • Yang claims, citing a Roosevelt Institute study, it would “permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent—or about $2.5 trillion by 2025—and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people.”
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said a UBI would free people up to think more creatively.
  • With a guaranteed income, those looking for work can choose not to take jobs with poor working conditions or unfair wages.
  • Americans may have more disposable income.
  • Yang’s web site points to a World Bank study that shows when left to their own devices with guaranteed income, people do not, on average, spend their money on drugs and alcohol.
Arguments opposed to Andrew Yang’s universal basic income
  • It would be expensive — the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analyzed a similar proposal and found it would cost the government $3 trillion — and the proposal it analyzed would cost even less than Andrew Yang's (the proposal analyzed would give each American $10,000 annually instead of Yang’s proposed $12,000.) Social Security cost $988 billion in 2018.
  • It’s not clear that poorer Americans would be better off; if UBI acts as a replacement to current social programs, which would be one way to try offsetting the program’s costs, it would be like taking money meant for people at the bottom of the pay scale and effectively redistributing income upward to people who are already higher up on the income scale, per CBPP.
  • Even if UBI replaces Medicaid, SNAP, the EITC, and housing vouchers to try offsetting costs, the government would still not have enough to fund a meaningful UBI, per the CBPP.
  • A VAT tax would be unlikely to win over conservatives.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
46 mins ago - Economy & Business

Ripple CEO calls for clearer crypto regulations following SEC lawsuit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), widely seen as a member of the Republican establishment in Congress, will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.