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Andrew Yang on the issues, in under 500 words

Andrew Yang speaks at a train depot in Iowa on February 1, 2019
Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Yang is a former tech executive who founded Venture for America, a nonprofit young entrepreneur fellowship program. His central issue, a proposal for universal basic income, is grounded in the belief that millions of jobs will be wiped away due to automation.

Key facts about Andrew Yang:

  • Current position: n/a
  • Age: 44
  • Born: Schenectady, N.Y.
  • Undergraduate: Brown University
  • Date candidacy announced: November 6, 2017
  • Previous roles: Founder of Venture for America, Manhattan Prep CEO, Stargiving.com VP, corporate attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell

Andrew Yang's stance on key issues:

  • Universal basic income: Yang's proposal — "The Freedom Dividend" — would provide every American over 18 years old with $1,000 per month. He contends that this would grow the economy by 13% and increase the labor force by 4.5-5 million people. This policy stems from his belief that AI and automation will wipe out millions of jobs, and that UBI is the path to avoiding economic ruin.
  • Gun control: Wants to require a federal background check and federal buyback program, eliminate the gun show loophole, ban high-capacity magazines and prohibit the manufacture and sale of bump stocks, suppressors, and other attachments.
    • References smart guns in his policy and says he plans to "invest in innovative technology that would make firearms harder to fire for non-owners of the gun."
    • Those who currently own firearms under Yang's plan would be grandfathered in with their existing licenses and receive one-time "Good Gun Owner" tax credits for adhering to additional requirements.
  • Medicare for All: Yang advocates for a single-payer health care system.
  • Economy: Yang calls his economic philosophy "human-centered capitalism," advocating for a system that emphasizes metrics that measure "human well-being and fulfillment," such as standard of living, health-adjusted life expectancy, childhood success rate and social and economic mobility. He described his plans as a "vision for a trickle-up economy."
  • Marijuana legalization: Yang pledged to legalize marijuana and pardon all non-violent drug related offenses, then later clarified that he would only pardon marijuana-related offenses. Yang said he would still decriminalize opioids.
  • Social media: Yang has proposed a federal department to oversee social media, citing "a huge surge in depression, anxiety, and emotional issues." He described it as "a Department of the Attention Economy."
  • Circumcision: In March, Yang came out against circumcision, telling The Daily Beast: "From what I’ve seen, the evidence on it being a positive health choice for the infant is quite shaky."

Key criticisms of Andrew Yang:

  • Anonymity: Yang is not well-known and will struggle to drive the conversation.
  • Inexperience: He has not worked in government before.

1 fun thing about Andrew Yang:

  • He says he rebranded universal basic income to the "Freedom Dividend" because it tests better with conservatives.

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