The latest Democratic presidential debate turned into “the Andrew Yang show” as the policies pushed by the former entrepreneur finally took center stage on Tuesday night.
Yang involved the other candidates into a debate on his Freedom Dividend as he questioned the practicality of candidate Bernie Sanders’ plan for a federal jobs program.
“I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would actually materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you don’t like your job?” Yang asked, adding that working for the federal government might not be for everyone. “Saying that that is the vision of the economy the 21st-century economy to me is not a vision that most Americans would embrace.”
A federal jobs guarantee, he argued, “does not take into account the work of people like my wife who is at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic.”
He then highlighted how his proposal of giving $1,000 cash monthly without any conditions would be better than federally supported jobs.
“We know this in Ohio: If you rely on the federal government to target its resources, you end up with failed retraining programs and jobs that no one wants,” he said.
Candidates Julían Castro and Tulsi Gabbard agreed that Yang’s proposal was indeed a good idea. Both indicated that it was something they would consider if elected president. Meanwhile, Cory Booker suggested that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 would be more effective than Yang’s Freedom Dividend.
As for Elizabeth Warren, she argued that strengthening social security would help Americans more as it would make it easier for workers to plan for retirement. She also proposed requiring 40% of a company’s board of directors to be elected by the employees.
“That will make a difference when a corporation decides, gee, we could save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, when there are people on the board in the boardroom saying, no, do you know what that does to our company, do you know what that does to our community, to what it does to our workers?” she asked.
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Yang’s focus could not be swayed as he was able to turn a debate question about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump into a discussion on the merits of his proposals.
According to Yang, while he supports impeachment, he’d rather focus on more pressing issues.
“We’re standing in the great state of Ohio the ultimate purple state, the ultimate bellwether state. Why did Donald Trump win your state by eight points? Because we got rid of 300,000 manufacturing jobs in your towns and [we’re] not stopping there,” he explained.
“How many of you notice stores closing where you work and live here in Ohio? Raise your hands,” he asked.
“It’s not just you,” Yang noted. “Amazon alone is closing 30% of America’s stores and malls, soaking up $20 billion in business while paying zero in taxes.”
Yang also took the opportunity to highlight his plans to end the drug war.
Twitter users have responded well to several of the points raised by Yang.
Featured Image via Getty