Andrew Yang Talks Universal Basic Income, Climate Change, With Undecided Voters | Off Script | NPR

NOEL KING: All right, everyone. Hello and welcome to Off Script, NPR’s series
of conversations between 2020 Democratic candidates and undecided voters from across the country. I’m Noel King. And today, we are in New York City with Andrew
Yang, who is an entrepreneur and presidential hopeful. Thank you so much for being here. ANDREW YANG: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me. KING: And I want to introduce our two voters:
Hetal Jani runs a nonprofit here in New York City. It’s focused on education and mentorship. She’s 36 years old, and she’s the daughter
of immigrants from India. Hetal, thanks for being here. YANG: Where’d you grow up, Hetal? HETAL JANI: Here in New York City. YANG: Wow. What part? JANI: Queens. Flushing. YANG: My wife’s from Bayside. JANI: Oh, very cool. KING: And John Zeitler is an attorney for
an insurance company. He lives in northern New Jersey, but like
a lot of people, he commutes into the city for work. He’s 48 years old, and he is the dad of twin
boys who are 11. Is that right? JOHN ZEITLER: Yep. That’s right. KING: Thank you for being here. We really appreciate it. Alright, so we’re in New York’s Flatiron district. We’re in a restaurant called Baodega. YANG: I know. So clever. KING: You picked the place. YANG: Well, I’m very wise, because this place
is delicious. It’s got a very clever name. Yeah, I hope everyone else is enjoying it
as much as I am. Baodega, New York City, 7 West 20th Street. KING: People do seem to be liking the food. How long have you been coming here? YANG: Well, you know, I’ve only been here
once, but enjoyed the food when I was here. And so I need to bring my wife. I actually came here without her. Sort of a problem because my wife’s a huge
foodie. Not a huge foodie. Not like in terms of like consuming excellent
food, consuming food. KING: You owe her a trip. YANG: I do owe her a trip. KING: Alright, before we get to the hard questions,
do either of you guys have any fun stuff you’d like to ask Mr. Yang? JANI: Yes, I saw yesterday an Ask Me Anything
and you ended with a question about anime. YANG: I didn’t end on that. It was somewhere in the middle, but go on. JANI: Oh, sorry about that. What’s your go-to karaoke song? YANG: “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple
Minds. The Breakfast Club soundtrack. JANI: Yeah. YANG: And then “When Doves Cry” by Prince
would be a close runner up. KING: Can you give us a couple bars? YANG: [singing] “How can you just leave
me standing alone in a world that’s so cold.” It’s like Prince himself is here singing. JANI: “Purple Rain.” KING: John, how about you? ZEITLER: I noticed you rode your bike to the
restaurant today with the baby seat on the back. YANG: Yeah, like with the baby seat, that’s
what he means. Not like motorbike or something cool. Yes, I did. ZEITLER: Did you always travel around on the
bike? YANG: I do. My younger son is four, so I still bike him
to school. And I relish that because he’s gonna outgrow
it pretty soon. Like my older is turning 7, and he outgrew
the bike seat a couple of years ago. So I ride him to school in the morning any
time I’m in town, if I have the time, and I find it much more fun to get around in New
York City on the bike than sitting in traffic. Better exercise. You know you have to try and get your exercise
where you can. KING: Do you wear a helmet? YANG: I do. KING: Thank you. YANG: I’d be a very bad role model, and my
sons have the little bike helmets too. Very cute. KING: Too many New Yorkers don’t wear helmets,
and it makes me deeply, deeply anxious. YANG: You know, I am running for president;
I have to be a good role model. I can’t have people being like, “Yeah
I think I just saw Andrew Yang come by helmet-less. I guess I don’t need mine.” Just like you don’t need a tie. Just kidding. KING: Alright, I want to start us off by asking
about your signature policy proposal: the thing that has gotten you a lot of attention. Many people will know it as universal basic
income. You call it the freedom dividend. YANG: Yeah. KING: And what it means basically is that
every American adult, if you’re elected, ages 18 to 64, will get one thousand dollars a
month from the government – no strings attached – to do whatever they want with. YANG: Yes. No, it’s actually 18 til death now. KING: It’s 18 til death now. That’s an update. Right. So… YANG: We changed that number months ago. KING: A couple months ago. You think that this is necessary for a reason. Can you spend a couple minutes laying out
why you think this bold proposal is so necessary? YANG: I spent seven years running a nonprofit
that I’d started that helped create jobs in the Midwest and the South primarily… helped
create several thousand jobs. And I saw that we are in the midst of the
greatest economic transformation in our country’s history – what experts are calling the fourth
industrial revolution. I’m convinced that Donald Trump won in 2016
because of the early waves of the fourth industrial revolution where we automated away four million
manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa – all the swing states he
needed to win. And now that set of changes is shifting to
retail. Thirty percent of stores and malls are closing
primarily because of Amazon, and being a retail clerk is the most common job in most of the
country. The average retail clerk is a 39-year-old
woman making between nine and ten dollars an hour, so when her store closes there aren’t
a ton of options. We’re getting rid of call center workers,
of which there are two and a half million in the U.S. making 14 dollars an hour. Soon, we will start replacing truck drivers,
and being a trucker is the most common job in many states. There are three and a half million truck drivers,
average age 49. Ninety four percent men. And there another seven million Americans
who work at the truck stops, motels, and diners that serve the truckers. So if we do nothing, we are going to be in
for much worse than Donald Trump’s election unfortunately. The studies have a range of between 20 and
40 percent of American jobs subject to automation in the next 20 to 30 years, which is not that
much time. And that’s a lot of jobs. I’ve seen it in the industries that I’ve worked
in, and we have to get our acts together. If we keep trying to respond to the symptoms
and don’t address the root causes, then our communities will continue to suffer. KING: OK. Hetal, I know that in your job you think a
lot about workforce development. What questions do you have for Mr. Yang about
a universal basic income? JANI: Yes, I mean it’s true that automation
is taking away a lot of jobs. Or I feel that automation is taking away a
lot of jobs, but how does just providing a thousand dollars a month to each individual
solve that problem? YANG: In many ways, it does not solve that
problem, but your nonprofit works with women of what age or children of what age? JANI: High school students. We’re trying to grow up as well. YANG: Yeah, so I ran a nonprofit for a number
of years that I’d started. And do you think that your nonprofit would
have access to more resources if every American was getting an additional 1000 dollars a month
so the money ends up super charging not just existing businesses but also spurs creativity,
entrepreneurship, and risk taking? Because if you feel like your survival is
assured then you have a much higher chance of striking out and trying to do something
on your own. It also supercharges nonprofits, volunteering,
the arts culture. Many… NPR probably. Like many of the things that we value but
the market does not properly value, and I’m willing to say that women and people of color
actually fall into the same category that the market will systematically undervalue. And so if you say and I know this because
I started a nonprofit and worked there for a number of years. Very proud of the work, and it continues to
this day. But you realize that most nonprofits are trying
to address some of the … some of the important issues at the margins. And you would need to fundamentally reconfigure
the way our economy works if you’re going to truly get into the guts of that problem,
and the freedom dividend or universal basic income actually transforms the way of life
for many Americans in a way that would make us more able to solve the real problems. JANI: So I mean how did you come up – I
know your party slogan is “Math” –I mean how did you come up with a thousand dollars? Because a thousand dollars here New York City
or San Francisco is a lot different than anywhere else, so as a nonprofit founder, twelve thousand
a year would go far, but it wouldn’t go that far. YANG: Oh, so twelve thousand dollars is not
my number. It was proposed by a guy named Andy Stern
and then studied by the Roosevelt Institute. So it was another proposal that had been vetted
in various ways. But it does make sense on many levels because
twelve thousand dollars a year is right below the US poverty line, which is approximately
twelve thousand seven hundred seventy dollars a year. So it moves you up to that level. And this is per adult, mind you. So if you have two adults in your household,
it’s twenty four thousand dollars a year. So it moves you up and gets the pressure off,
but it doesn’t serve as a full work replacement. There is virtually no American who is like,
“Oh, I’m gonna quit my job. We got a thousand bucks a month.” But that’s not really true. John here is like, you know, like not ready
to pack it in for a thousand bucks a month because you know you have a family like I
do. I would … I can see over your shoulder so
[inaudible] YANG: So, it’s enough to be a game changer. Would make us stronger, healthier, less stressed
out, mentally healthier, would reduce domestic violence, reduce hospital visits, would dramatically
increase the graduation rate, and many positive social indicators. But it’s not meant to be a full work replacement,
and it’s certainly not meant to solve every problem. I will suggest though that if you extrapolate
like what the second order effects are. If you take a town of 10,000 adults in Missouri
and then they’re each getting 1000 bucks a month, that’s 10 million dollars in additional
buying power every single month in that town, which ends up going to things like car repairs,
daycare, Little League sign ups, local nonprofits. And so then, if you’ve lost your truck driving
job and you’re in that town, there’s a much greater chance that you can plug into existing
opportunities because the local economy is much more robust. ZEITLER: But doesn’t it … I mean it’s funded
by your VAT tax. I mean, why not a wealth tax instead? KING: Actually, do you mind if we just get
a little bit of clarity before we go into it? So I think I’m going to put words in your
mouth here and have you ask the question. But I think what you want to ask is “How
do you plan on paying for this?” And I wondered if, before we get to that,
I can just ask you “Can I ask you to do some quick math for us?” YANG: Sure. KING: OK. How many adults in the United States would
be eligible for this twelve thousand dollars a year? YANG: If you were to take a broad number about
200 million. KING: Two hundred million times twelve thousand
dollars a year. YANG: 2.4 trillion. KING: 2.4 trillion a year, this would cost. OK. John, I know you have a question about that. Please go ahead. ZEITLER: Sure. So I think you said that you’d fund it with
a VAT tax which would, I understand to be, a tax you know broadly across you know consumption
of goods versus a wealth tax which would be a tax on the wealthiest Americans. So you have this great, you know, kind of
an income inequality in the country, and it would make sense, at least superficially,
that you sort of take from those who have the most and even it out in the middle. That would seem to point to a wealth tax so
why that tax instead? KING: And in your answer, I wonder if you
could do this, would you just explain as well what VAT tax is? I think some of our listeners may be unfamiliar
with that. YANG: Sure. I think I said this on the debate stage with
Senator Warren. So a wealth tax makes perfect sense in principle
because you have this winner-take-all economy, you have historic levels of wealth in the
hands of a relatively small number of Americans. And so I endorse the spirit of a wealth tax. The problem is that when they try to tax wealth
in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and a half dozen other countries, they ended up
repealing it because it didn’t generate the revenue they thought it would. And they had massive implementation and compliance
problems. And I believe the same thing would happen
here if anything to a higher degree because the wealthy in America are, I think, even
more extreme in their tax avoidance practices. ZEITLER: But I mean Warren has a 15 percent
avoidance, you know, kind of factored in there. So your assumption, right, that people are
going to avoid their taxes … also our taxes are different than European taxes, and taxes
is just kind of a problem to be solved right. I mean couldn’t you simply change the tax
code? YANG: Or even if you buy everything, like
the amount of money that Senator Warren’s wealth tax projected to raise – even in
the most optimistic – is less than a third than of what like even a mild VAT would raise. Even if you assume that her assumptions are
right. Zeitler: OK. KING: Well, do you buy it? ZEITLER: To raise what amount? I mean you raise the same amount that you’re
suggesting? YANG: Well, her VAT, as I understand it, raises… Or no, her wealth tax is projected to raise
something like like 2.75 trillion over 10 years which is like 275 billion a year. And the VAT I’m suggesting raises about three
times that. ZEITLER: But isn’t a VAT tax essentially regressive
in the sense that everybody is paying the same tax, but if you’re poorer, that dollar
means a whole lot more to, you know, buy food and you know essentials versus a dollar for
someone who’s a millionaire. YANG: So yeah, there are three things, and
you’re a hundred percent right about everything you’re saying. So the three things. Number one: if you want to, you can tailor
that where you can exempt consumer staples and have it fall more heavily on luxury goods
or certain industries. Number two: we all know I’m trying to give
every American a thousand dollars a month, which – even if you assumed a degree of
impact in a VAT– would increase the buying power of the bottom ninety four percent of
Americans. But number three: the fundamental challenge
we have in the U.S. is that we have this tax system that is being gamed to incredible degrees. So you have a trillion dollar tech company
like Amazon that’s now closing 30 percent of America’s stores and malls literally paying
zero in taxes. And so you have to look around and say, “OK,
now that should not be.” Most Americans can agree like you have a messed
up system if that’s the case, and then you look around the world and say, “Well, what
have other developed countries done to prevent that from happening?”. And what they’ve done is they’ve had a VAT
which then gives every American a tiny share of every Amazon sale, every Google search,
every Facebook ad, every robot truck mile. Because we’re in an era of unprecedented technology
and innovation; our data is now worth more than oil, as an example. And we’re seeing none of that. The companies that are seeing that value are
Amazon, Facebook, Google, and these mega tech companies. And they’re experts at not paying taxes in
a current corporate income tax regime. They’re just too smart for it. They’ll say, “It all went through Ireland”
or “I just paid all my executives so much stock that I have no earnings to report.” And so we’re chasing our own tail. What we have to do is we have to actually
get into where the money is, and that’s where the money is going. KING: Let me ask you to define what a value
added tax actually means. There will be people who are just unfamiliar
with this as a concept. So I am used to you know paying taxes on my
salary, payroll taxes at the end of the month, half my money is gone. What is a value added tax and how would it
be different? YANG: So a value added tax – and again not
my idea – it’s in use in over 100 major economies around the world including Canada,
Germany, France, the U.K., Sweden. Most any country that you think of as being
very progressive has a value added tax, and it’s a tax on value transfers which you can
think of, as what John said, consumption, sales. One difference between a VAT and a sales tax
is that it applies to the means of production. So if I built a car for example, I would pay
a VAT on every component of the car. And so it ends up being like oxygen in your
business processes where you can’t escape it. That’s one reason why other countries have
put it into place. And so then if you had an Amazon type firm
there would be no escaping it for them either because they would end up paying it during
every link in the chain, and then we’d end up with hundreds of billions in revenue as
a result. KING: So you … you pay a tax on the steel
that goes into the car. Then you’d pay a tax on the frame that the
car is made out of. Then you would pay a tax on the steering wheel
when it’s added into the car. Then you’d pay a tax on the seats when they
added into the car. You’re saying that this is a tax that applies
all through – YANG: Business process and the supply chain. KING: OK. And to John’s point, and I’m going to put
this in slightly elementary terms, but let’s say I’m a low income American or a middle
income American. Taxes are already killing me, and you’re telling
me there’s this new tax, this VAT tax which you want to institute so that you can pay
for the freedom dividend. And I hear, “Oh God this guy wants another
tax. He wants to tax me more.” If I’m a lower middle income person, are you
saying I’m going to have to pay more taxes on food? On clothing? On … YANG: Well it depends. I mean, if all you do is consume consumer
staples, it’s possible that you don’t have to pay more. KING: Why not? YANG: Because, again, you can tailor a value
added tax so that it falls heavily on certain types of consumption choices and not so heavily
on others like you could exempt diapers. You could exempt a lot of things that I think
Americans would say, you know, that that we need. But the problem right now is that we’re looking
at each other and the biggest myth in American life right now is that we don’t have the money. We’re the richest country in the history of
humanity: over 20 trillion dollars in GDP, up 5 trillion in the last 10 years. And so there is this incredibly untrue narrative. And it’s punishing us all or looking around
and saying like “Where’s the money going? Where is the money going?” The money is going into the hands of a smaller
and smaller number of companies and individuals in this country. And they’re so powerful that they actually
manage to keep real reform off the agenda. And so that’s where we have to fix it. We have to go to it. There’s a saying where it’s like “Why did
I rob the bank? Because that’s where the money was.” That’s what’s going on right now in our society. We have to go where the money is, and it’s
not each other. You know what I mean? It’s not like if I tax the town dentist more
like that’s going to solve the problem like that. The problem is that you have literally trillion
dollar companies paying zero in taxes. KING: You’re promising not to tax the town
dentist more. You’re promising not to tax diapers. What you’re saying is: things would be exempt
and you would figure out what’s exempt. YANG: Well, just any American listening to
this right now is like thinking to themselves – if they know anything about me in the
campaign – they’re like, “Wow, a thousand dollars a month sounds too good to be true. That would be a real game changer.” And if I am a family with two adults – like
twenty four thousand – and then I know my son when they turn 18 or daughter, they get
a thousand dollars a month, the entire thing transforms that idea of citizenship. And the wild thing is that we can totally
make it happen. There’s nothing stopping us from making happen. Alaska has had a dividend for almost 40 years
already where if you go to Alaska you get between one and two thousand dollars a year
automatically for every family member. So John, if you and your family moved to Alaska,
you’d get eight thousand dollars next year. It’s been in effect for 40 years. They love it. Universally popular in a deep red conservative
state passed by a Republican governor, and they fund it with oil money. And what I’m saying to the American people
is technology is the oil of the 21st century. We can fund this dividend, and that will make
us stronger, healthier, mentally healthier. And if we don’t make this kind of move then
we’re going to be stuck looking at each other and wondering “What the heck happened to
our communities?” as the truck driving gets automated, the malls close, the call centers
get replaced, by bots and software, every fast food restaurant you go into by 2021 is
going to have a self-serve kiosk. At least every McDonald’s is going to have
a self-service kiosk, food service and preparation is the third most common job type in the United
States. The fact is we’re already decades behind the
curve; it has brought us Donald Trump. And unless we get our heads up and start solving
the real problems, they’re just going to get worse. ZEITLER: Well, I actually really genuinely
enjoy your clear eyed view of things. You know, you’re not afraid to take risks. YANG: Thanks, John. ZEITLER: You’re not afraid to take a liberal
stance and then kind of make these sort of harder choices at times. But I think you sort of see it as, I don’t
know, maybe this is my question: do you see the world in sort of… Or America, at least, as divided between sort
of winners and losers?” You know the folks for whom, you know, whatever
their privilege is, they wind up you know they have the education and they have the
job and therefore they have access to money and then those who are sort of left out and
you know do you see it that way? And how do you kind of address that? And how do you kind of convince the winners
to see themselves equally with the losers? YANG: That’s so interesting. Well, there certainly are winners and losers
in American life today by our economic measurements, and you can see again we’re in this winner-take-all
economy, where certain classes of Americans, often in certain parts of the country … And
that’s one of the things that blew my mind when I ran Venture for America because I’d
never been to Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, western Pennsylvania. and all these places. And you go around you’re like, “Wow, I feel
like I’m in a different country.” And the gulf between some of those places
and, frankly, a place like Manhattan – where we are right now – doesn’t feel like a few
time zones, it feels like a different dimension or you know… ZEITLER: I grew up in Wichita. I know exactly what you’re talking about. YANG: Oh, you did? I was wondering where you grew up. So you know what I’m talking about. And so there’s certainly this class divide
that is becoming more pronounced, but I think the regional divide and the urban-rural divide
is becoming much more extreme. And that is threatening to tear us apart,
because rural areas are getting systematically depleted and sucked dry. Like the automation I’m talking about started
in agriculture at the farms. And when you go to many of these farms – like
the notion you might have of this beautiful family farm or whatnot – I mean it’s gotten
replaced by this corporate behemoth that’s like gobbled up like a dozen family farms
and glued them together. So the divide is more extreme, and the worst
part is that we’re being pitted against each other often using various cultural markers
that have nothing to do with economics that actually should unify us all. Because if you have – and you’re an attorney
… I was an attorney for five unhappy months, so you could say it’s like, “Hey, I’m an
attorney so you know I’m, I’m safe from these changes that Andrew’s talking about,”
but you know that artificial intelligence can edit contracts and legal documents better
and more quickly, more accurately, more cheaply … ZEITLER: Or even if it’s not me, it’s you
know, what about my kids? Maybe I’m winning now. But what does the future hold, right? YANG: Yes. So this becomes something where it should
bring us all together if we presented in the right way. It’s not immigrants. It’s technology. And it’s humanity that we have to preserve. KING: Hetal, I’ve seen your eyebrows go up
a couple of times during this exchange, and I just want to ask, based on what you’ve been
hearing, what questions do you still have? JANI: Yes. So, I mean, I had a couple of questions, which
I guess you can choose which to answer. But how do you know that the big companies
are not going to push that cost, the tax that they’re going to be paying, back off onto
the consumers without the freedom dividend? How do you mean … Sure, we don’t have to
necessarily go into you know … we can choose how to spend it. And you should be spending it on necessities,
but you’re going to make people choose, right? You’re also seeking to pay for the freedom
dividend at the cost of other programs. KING: I think we just need to explain that
very briefly, and that’s an important point. If a family currently is getting welfare payments,
SNAP food stamps, WIC, et cetera, and they’re getting seven hundred dollars a month in welfare,
under your system, that would go away. I get that solid thousand dollars, but that
seven hundred dollars in SNAP and food stamps, that’s not mine anymore. So I think what Hetal is asking is, if you’re
taking away people’s welfare payments and replacing it with a thousand dollars, is that
enough? Is that what you’re getting at? JANI: Right. I mean people, you would ideally hope, and
this is again kind of with the vision … the vision is great. I love the vision, right? But do people always make the choices that
we need them to make in order to get to the world that you’re hoping to get to? YANG: I think this is maybe one of the bigger
misconceptions about me and the freedom dividend. As I see it, the freedom dividend is like
a foundation or a floor, and then you don’t stop building a house at the floor. It’s kind of a crummy house, you know? So first, I would not want to get rid of any
existing government programs. I would never be the sort of person that says
like “Hey, there are millions of Americans relying upon something. Let’s pull the rug out from under them.” KING: I would still keep getting my payments? YANG: So there is an opt-in. The freedom dividends are universal and opt-in. And if you do opt into the freedom dividend,
then you do forego benefits that are from certain programs that are cash and cash-like. But if you love your current benefits – or
let’s say you’re receiving eighteen hundred dollars in current benefits – then I would
never touch it. And so that’s one thing. And the other thing is that I’m not someone
who says like “Oh, we don’t need to do all these other things on top of it,” because
a thousand dollars a month is just a foundation. There’s a lot of work to do on top of that
and to the extent that existing programs are doing that work: fantastic. To the extent that we need new programs and
organizations: all the better. You know, what’s driving me is that, to me,
and I feel like – and please don’t let me project something that’s inaccurate on you
– but like I ran a nonprofit for seven years and people were congratulating me and I was
like, “You don’t get it. I’m just like scratching the surface of the
problem I’m trying to tackle.” So to me, we have to do so much more. I would never suggest that a thousand dollars
a month is going to do the work for us. KING: You were hinting at something though
interesting – and I want to make sure that we have that answered – which is, if you
give people a thousand dollars a month cash, they may not make the right decisions. They may make dumb decisions. What do you do about that? YANG: Of course, some people will make decisions
that I personally would disagree with, but one of the things that never happens when
Verizon or coke or Microsoft declares a dividend – which they do all the time – and we
applaud them and say, “Nice job. Like good management!” They never say, “Hey, what are you doing
with that money?” You know what I mean? Like we are the owners and shareholders of
the democracy. If you get the freedom dividend in January
and you buy a big TV, like maybe I wouldn’t have bought that big TV, but you know, it’s
your decision, your resources. And then hopefully you’ll make it – or not
even hopefully – it’s like you might make a different decision in February. The benefit to me of putting this sort of
agency and autonomy in people’s hands far outweigh trying to direct it to very, very
specific expenses. But I will say again that we still need to
do a lot of work to address the real problems in our society on top of anything we’re doing
with the freedom dividend. JANI: And that’s kind of what I want to get
at next is the issue of inequity, right? So if they’re not … we’re not mandating
them, we’re not prescribing how they spend that money. But then again, is a thousand dollars enough
to really address inequities? Or how are you looking to address inequities? Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done. I haven’t heard enough about what that is. So what’s the next work beside freedom dividend. How do you address inequities in education,
health care? How do you actually address it? ZEITLER: Housing. JANI: Yeah. YANG: Which one do you want me to tackle? Really, which? JANI: I’m focused on education, so… YANG: Oh, so first the data shows that two
thirds of our kid’s academic performance is determined by factors outside of the school. So that’s parental time spent with the children,
words read to them when they’re young, stress levels in the household, type of neighborhood. And educators know this where we’re saying
you know, “Teach our kids!” and they’re like, “Hey, I’m responsible.” Or, “I can control about a third because
I know that kid.” “Well you’re a hundred percent accountable!”,
and they’re like “OK”. So number one: if you put resources into the
household, you’re actually getting the kids in a better position to learn and then helping
the teachers be in a better position to teach. So that’s number one. And to me that’s foundational. And that ends up balancing out more aggressively
for communities that are starting in a lower base, which tends to be unfortunately communities
of color in this country. Number two: the data clearly shows that a
good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. So, we should pay teachers more, and 12000
dollars a year raise would just be a start. We need to retain and enlist better teachers. There are so many teachers who are leaving
the classroom because of burnout and the rest of it. Relatedly, we need more teachers. Data also shows that having individualized
attention: very, very positive for kids. Having lower student teacher ratio is very,
very positive. So we need to staff up. The fourth thing is we need to lighten the
emphasis on standardized tests that right now is making our teachers make these choices
in the classroom where they know that’s not good for the kid but they’re like, “Well,
I’m going to get evaluated on this test, and the kids are getting evaluated on this test,
so let’s head to this direction.” And one of my boys is autistic, and so he’s
neurologically atypical. And while that’s relatively extreme, there
are many atypical kids in our schools today that are just getting beaten over the head
with these standardized tests. And you know … and many of them are having
their self-esteem crushed and their their hopes for the future altered forever. We invented the S.A.T. during World War II
as a means to determine which kids not to send to the front lines, and now we’re using
it every year like it’s wartime. And we’re treating our kids like it’s wartime
every year. So we need to de-emphasize these tests, and
let the teachers actually do their jobs. So that would be enormous. We have to stop pretending that every kid’s
going to go to college. Only a third of Americans are going to graduate
from college, and that’s relatively stable. It hasn’t gone up from 20 to 33 percent or
anything like it. It’s gone like 30, 30, 30, 30 – it’s relatively
stable. So we should stop presenting college as the
end all be all to our high school kids in particular and say, “Look, technical apprenticeship
vocational programs are very, very, very stable careers in many cases.” Only 6 percent of American high school students
are in vocational and technical and apprenticeships right now. In Germany, that’s 59 percent. Think about that gulf. And there are many of those jobs that are
going to stand the test of time. It’s very hard to automate away a plumber
or an HVAC repair person. Imagine having a robot do that. Very, very hard. So, so we need to invest. And as usual, it’s the harder thing. Because even after I’m president, I say, “Alright,
let’s invest in vocational…” you can’t just conjure up like a shop and technical
training in a school. It’s much easier to just have like some textbooks
in that classroom. It’s cheaper, too. So if you try and do the right thing by our
kids, it’s going to be a higher degree of investment, but it’s the right thing to do. So these are some of the things I believe
we should do in education that would help alleviate some of the pervasive inequities. KING: Do you want to go with the last question? JANI: Go ahead. KING: OK, we’re going to shift topics in a
second, but I wanted to ask you both. You both had some very pointed questions about
the freedom dividend, about the thousand dollars a month. Are you convinced? Are you more convinced now than you were when
you walked in here based on what Mr. Yang has said and explained? ZEITLER: I mean, if you’re a little bit more
subtle with a value added tax right and you’re excluding products and that sort of thing,
I think it helps. You know, I mean, I don’t see why you have
to trade … make the decision between SNAPs and getting the dividend. It seems to me it should just… Right because the wealthier person’s – you
know the person who doesn’t need it … I mean in my little community, in suburban New
Jersey, I just imagine that going into, “Well, I can just buy a bigger house.” It’s a thousand dollars a month. I can put into my mortgage, or my rent, or
whatever and housing prices will just go up. In this you know relatively …er you know
a desirable location can further kind of making the price of entry more difficult for people
to attain. So if you can just kind of elaborate on that
a little bit. YANG: Sure. You know what’s great, John, is that, by the
math, a thousand dollars a month makes a much, much bigger difference to people who are coming
from a lower base. ZEITLER: Sure. YANG: So, if I’m making twenty four thousand
dollars a year and you give me twelve thousand dollars additional – like a 50 percent increase. If I’m making two hundred thousand dollars
it’s a six percent increase. So if you’re worried that it’s just going
to exacerbate the incredible inequality in our society, by the math it will actually
diminish it greatly. And if you look at Alaska, where they’re getting
one to two thousand dollars a year for every adult, it’s significantly diminishing. They’re actually technically the least unequal
state in the country, I believe, in large part because the dividend flattens it all
out. KING: Alright, let me ask whether you are
convinced by what you’ve heard today. JANI: Sure. I mean, I guess I just … I’ll sort of follow
up to that. Why not just set a threshold like people below
this income or household income will get a thousand dollars and people above will not? Why not just do that instead of … I mean,
for someone like me, sure it could go a long way, especially for student loans. YANG: I would try and zero out some of those
student loans anyway, by the way. JANI: Perfect. Yes. YANG: So, you get to keep some of that money. JANI: But yeah, I mean it would go directly
to those kinds of costs, right? I’m not going to go buy the next iPhone for
a thousand dollars, but not everybody is going to make that decision. So it may continue to increase or it may further
some inequities right? Not because you want it to, but it just may
happen. Why not just set that? YANG: So there’s definitely a legit argument
for some kind of income threshold. I’ve been convinced that the benefits of universality
are actually enough so we should head that direction. So, just to use the Alaska example again,
everyone gets the oil dividend from the richest Alaskan to the poorest Alaskan. And so what this does is it gets rid of all
stigma attached to it. It makes it much more popular. It seems fair. There’s no rich-to-poor transfer, and there’s
no monitoring requirement, which ends up lightening the bureaucracy. And there’s no incentive to report that you
made less money than you did. So if it was depending upon individual income,
you’d have a lot of people being like, “Hey, you know, like how about let’s … maybe let’s
not get married so that you can get the dividend?” But I’ll let you know that there would be
some game playing, whereas if you just say, “Look: you’re an American. You get it turning age 18.” And my system would end up extracting hundreds
of millions – let’s say billions – from someone like Jeff Bezos. So if we try and send him a thousand bucks
a month to remind him he’s an American, like it’s fine. Like if someone is really at the top of society,
we’re going to be extracting a lot of value from them as it should be. JANI: In that value added tax, that’s the
… YANG: Yeah. Because if you have a significant value added
tax that, let’s say, is even sharper on luxury goods and then you have someone who’s really
wealthy in our society, we’re going to get a ton from them. And then if you say, “Hey, you want your
thousand bucks a month?” You know it’ll be trivial in the scheme of
the value we’re getting. KING: Alright, we have been talking about
the country’s economic future, but I know that both of our voters, John and Hetal, have
some questions about climate change. So you have put forward a very long and detailed
proposal, about 50 pages, on what you would do to solve the problem of climate change
now, the problem of climate change now and in the near future. John, this is something that’s been weighing
pretty heavily on your mind. I wonder if you can tell us why that is and
what you’d like to know from Mr. Yang. ZEITLER: I mean it’s, you know, you hear everybody
talking about it. It’s an existential threat and that’s not
just some little… YANG: Turn of phrase. ZEITLER: Yeah. It’s a reality. KING: You have kids. ZEITLER: It has to be addressed before everything
else because we’re just not going to exist. You’re going to have climate refugees, a kind
of human catastrophe that’s greater than the history of slavery or the holocaust during,
all of the Holocaust during the 20th century. I mean it’s a massive, massive problem. So it weighs on me heavily. Again, I feel like your thinking is very clear-eyed. You know, it’s bold and I appreciate the notion
of moving folks to higher ground because we’re in it … YANG: We already have climate refugees in
this country now. ZEITLER: Yeah. So, you do include nuclear in your plan. You also are interested in investing in thorium
and nuclear fusion, which I think is interesting. KING: And which we’ll have to have you explain. ZEITLER: Yes. So if you can sort of, you know my concern
about nuclear is the long term nuclear waste problem, where it sits around for 10,000 years
it’s sort of hard to … YANG: I’m happy to say that thorium decomposes
faster. ZEITLER: Yeah. No, so I’ve been reading about it and it’s
remarkable, right? I mean that’s more on a human timescale. But why continue to have traditional nuclear
in the portfolio? Why not sunset that very quickly and you know,
move in toward sustainable and thorium research, say? YANG: So first I want to say there is no solving
the problem of climate change. I think that’s what you’d said. Like there is, you can’t turn back time. I mean, it’s with us now. It’s already changing lives and destroying
lives. I was just in New Hampshire running for president. I was just in New Hampshire and hundreds of
coastal houses and buildings are already flooding regularly. They had a multi-million dollar shrimping
business outside of Portsmouth that went to zero because of warming waters. It’s already changing and devastating communities
and ways of life around the country. And we haven’t seen the worst of it. The last four years have been the four warmest
years in recorded history. July was the warmest month in recorded history. I think you probably saw me on the big stage
in Detroit saying, “It’s too late. It’s like worse than you think.” So it’s too late to reverse climate change,
like the Earth will warm. Sea levels will rise. We have to start trying to mitigate some of
the worst effects. So where to begin? I mean I have a long plan, as you said. KING: You have a very long plan. But John is actually really interested in
why are you, why do you want to remain reliant on nuclear energy? And you have proposed something that not a
lot of people have heard, of which is this thing called thorium, which you see as the
way forward on climate and on energy consumption. YANG: It sounds so science fiction-y. KING: It does sound so science fiction-y,
and I guarantee you a lot of our listeners will not have heard of it. Can you briefly just explain, what is thorium? And why does it go part of the way toward
helping with climate change? YANG: So thorium is a next generation fuel
for nuclear reactor[s], and it’s superior to uranium on many levels. One is, it’s not intrinsically radioactive
on its own, so that’s great. Two, you can’t make weapons out of it. KING: Which is true. That’s a real thing. And I mean you said it offhandedly, but I
was researching thorium this morning and yes, it is not used for nuclear weapons, yeah. YANG: It does decompose more quickly, and
so it has many benefits and the energy productivity can be as high or higher. And so, why haven’t we done it? I mean, we need to invest in these next generation
nuclear reactors, and there’s been a lot of angst about proceeding in this direction. To me, if we’re in a crisis, which we are,
then you have to consider every alternative on the table, and thorium and nuclear has
to be at least on the table in my mind. If we get it right, it could be a tremendous
boost in moving us towards more sustainable forms of energy and reducing our reliance
on fossil fuels and things that are speeding up climate change. So I’m excited about the potential. Some of the people I’ve spoken to are also
excited by the potential. And this is the kind of bet that we would
need to make if we’re serious about trying to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels without
frankly dramatically changing the energy consumption in this country, because we consume a lot
of energy. And I think we can get there, but we can only
get there if we’re willing to consider every alternative. ZEITLER: How do you challenge Americans to
consume less energy and more specifically you know, from what I’ve read, it’s the folks
at the top of the economic ladder that actually you know burn the most fuel. YANG: Well, you probably saw that Elon Musk
endorsed me. So I think we need to move to electric cars. We need to try and lower people’s carbon footprint
to just do the things they do in everyday life. So that’s investing in public transportation
and electric cars and buses – things that will enable us to do what we want to do, but
just burn less fuel and make less of an impact. KING: Hetal, I want to allow you to get a
question in here. JANI: How are you gonna… those who don’t
believe in climate change because there’s a lot of … How are you going to reach out
to those people? YANG: I mean you probably know I have a “Math”
hat, so you know I should probably wear a “Science” hat someplace. But I think there’s a growing consensus around
the urgency of climate change, certainly in the Democratic Party. The folks who don’t believe in climate change
– I think many of them have their heads down in part because we’re in a country where
78 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck and almost half can’t afford an unexpected
400 dollar bill. So if I come to you and say, “Hey, we need
to worry about climate change.” You have your head down, and you’re like,
“I can’t pay next month’s rent.” Like, “Climate change is hokum” or something. So a lot of it is getting Americans’ heads
up. And to me a lot of that is getting the boot
off of people’s throats so that they can actually think more clearly and hopefully optimistically
about the future. Studies have shown that if you can’t pay your
bills, it has the functional impact of decreasing your I.Q. by 13 points or one standard deviation
almost. So if you feel like there are a lot of Americans
who seem more insular and negative and pessimistic and less future-oriented, that’s probably
factually accurate. Because so many of us are just so stressed
out about meeting next month’s rent and living paycheck to paycheck that it’s making us less
rational and less optimistic. JANI: But that’s great for the people. How about reaching across the aisle? How do you do that? YANG: Well I mean, I suppose that’s what I
meant is that, you know … Well so, I’m one of only two Democratic candidates in the field
that 10 percent or more of Donald Trump voters said they would support in the general election,
which makes me the best candidate to take on and beat Donald Trump in 2020. And the folks on the other side of the aisle
– I’m clearly a Democrat. Everyone knows that. But the folks on the other side of the aisle
see that I’m focused on trying to solve problems that affect them and all of us that I’m not
judging anyone. That I’m saying look: the reality is we did
blast away four million manufacturing jobs in these communities many of whom … many
of which were in swing states or used to be swing that went red. And so they see that I’m trying to solve that
set of problems. There’s even a group called “Truckers for
Yang.” Truckers are not really like traditionally
a Democratic-leaning group, but they see that I’m trying to solve their problems because
I think there are problems. You know, if we truly do blast away hundreds
of thousands of trucking jobs, that’s going to be an everyone problem. And so I’m already peeling off disaffected
Trump voters, independents, libertarians, some conservatives. I also talk in terms of numbers and business,
and a lot of conservatives are attracted to that. JANI: Yeah, I mean no. I’m drawing a blank right now. I guess I see… Did you convince me? YANG: Well, that’s the question. I have to say I feel a lot of pressure. KING: On climate change, whether either of
you is worth convincing. So you are concerned about using nuclear as
a form of energy and nuclear replacing coal, for example. Mr. Yang has explained, to some extent, that
he sees nuclear as the way forward, that thorium is even the safer way … YANG: It’s a way forward. KING: A way forward. Are you convinced? ZEITLER: Well, what about what about phasing
out traditional nuclear in a much more expedited pace? YANG: If we succeed in developing these next
generation reactors and traditional reactors aren’t necessary, then I know I’d be thrilled. I mean if you can improve the, let’s say,
the composition of our energy infrastructure, to me that’s not like the lowest hanging fruit
like fossil fuels and fracking and a bunch of other stuff. ZEITLER: Eliminating those first you mean? YANG: Yeah, yeah exactly. ZEITLER: Yeah. No, I’m drawing a blank. KING: Hetal, are you convinced? I mean one thing that I point out, and maybe
I’m throwing a question to you that you can throw to Mr. Yang. But one part of your policy proposal is simply
moving people to higher ground. Hetal, you work with a lot of low income people
who do not have the luxury of saying, “I’m going to pack up my apartment, and I’m simply
going to move inland, upstate to the mountains.” I wonder could you ask Mr. Yang a question
about how this applies to, how moving to higher ground applies to low income people? JANI: Yeah, I mean that’s really the question. But yeah, I guess I see that you’re placing
a lot of importance on climate change. That’s great, but I still don’t see the plan. YANG: So the plan is a five part plan. And you’re right, I didn’t go through the
plan in detail. I just talked about three issues. So one aspect of it is move people to higher
ground and that has at least two major components. So when there’s a natural disaster, who suffers? Poor people, people of color, people who don’t
have the resources to protect themselves. They might not have a car to get into to drive
away. And so first, put a thousand dollars a month
in everyone’s hands. It makes us more able to protect ourselves
if there is like a natural disaster that would be beneficial to have an automobile or something
like that, but then we need to invest tens, hundreds of billions of dollars in making
our communities more resilient to climate change. It’s a situation where if you spend 10 billion
now you might save yourself 50 billion later. That’s not really the American way right now. The American way is to wait until you have
to spend 50 billion, and then I mean, there is one house that we have rebuilt 20 times
as an example. Not in the whole, but like in part, it just
keeps getting damaged or destroyed. And I think most Americans would say, “Hey,
if it makes more sense for us to rebuild that house someplace else and to the owner…” So part of this is that many Americans, do
not want to move. And we as a country are not the types to be
like, “Hey, we’re gonna force you to move.” Like, that’s not really our style. We did already relocate a village in rural
Louisiana that has become uninhabitable because of climate change, and their ocean level rose
to a point where we said, “Hey, this is not working,” and then we move them. So we’re starting to do it, and we need to
do much more of that. There is a lot of value if you can, in some
cases, elevate certain structures or elevate levees or just start preparing for higher
sea levels. So that’s what move people to higher ground
is. It’s not literal, it’s not like everyone is
going to go to the mountains, but it’s let’s try and make our communities genuinely more
resilient and prepare for what we know is coming. JANI: So when you say when you say you move
them to higher ground … we move them to higher ground. Who’s “we”? And then, you also said that if you give them
the freedom dividend, they’d have resources to prepare themselves. YANG: Just every American can at least have
some basic resources, yeah. JANI: So are you expecting them to tap into
their freedom dividend to also prepare themselves or is there money in your plan for this? YANG: Oh, there’s a, there’s a lot of additional
money. So freedom dividends: again a foundation. And then we have literally hundreds of billions
of dollars that we need to funnel to communities to help make them more resilient and direct
them. And in some cases that could be like a town
government coming together and saying, “Hey, the best move might be for us to move this
town.” You know, it’s not like an every person for
themselves sort of situation. The freedom dividend, though I will suggest
that if you give an American a choice say, “Hey, would you rather I send you a thousand
bucks a month to make you safer or there’ll be some government program to make you safer?”,
most of them would be like, “Thousand dollars, please.” Because I’m pretty sure I could be able to
use that to, you know, like put some boards up or like do something that I know is gonna
make me safer. So it’s a both-and. I just want to solve the problem. But you certainly wouldn’t leave people on
their own. KING: I want to … I’m being told that we
only have five or 10 minutes left. YANG: No! That’s terrible. KING: It’s terrible. It is terrible, but there are a couple of
questions that I do need to ask for NPR. YANG: OK. KING: You guys are welcome to follow. One of them is actually yours. But the impeachment inquiry being conducted
by the Democrats – do you think this is the right way to go? Where do you stand on impeachment? YANG: I think impeachment is the right way
to go. But I do not think that we should have any
illusions that it’s necessarily going to be successful. And – KING: In the Senate, you mean? YANG: In the Senate. And when we are talking about Donald Trump,
we are losing to Donald Trump. Even if it’s in the context of talking about
impeaching him, we need to take that opportunity to present a new vision for the country that
Americans can get excited about. That’s how we move the country forward. That’s how we’ll win in 2020. KING: All right, Hetal, I know you had a question
about Mr. Yang’s identity and what it’s meant on the trail. YANG: Oh! So cool. JANI: So you say, “What’s the complete
opposite of [Donald Trump] other than an Asian man who knows math? Right? YANG: Likes math. JANI: Likes math? Knows math? It should be knows math too. [Laughter] But how do you, being a South Asian,
being someone of Indian descent – KING: You are. JANI: Yes, I am. So, you’d be the first Asian-American president. I mean, what does that mean, first of all? And then also Asian-American is such a big
label. YANG: Yeah, that’s true. JANI: You know, not every Asian has the same
opportunities. Vietnamese are different, Pakistanis from
Indians, et cetera. So how do you disaggregate that data. But yeah, within your identity, what are you
going to do to promote “Asian-American”? YANG: I also grew up the child of immigrants,
so I feel like you and I might have a lot in common. I’m certainly very proud to be the first Asian-American
man to run for president as a Democrat. And when I see Asian-Americans around the
country, many seem excited about my candidacy. At the same time, like you said, we’re a very,
very diverse community, with very, very different sets of experiences. And so I would never suggest that you know
I can somehow speak for all Asian-Americans or that my experience is representative. But I do remember what it was like growing
up in this country where I’d just be so pumped to see an Asian of any kind on the TV, where
I jump up and down and like, you know try and get my … [laughter]. I mean, things have changed since then. But it’s given me a lot of joy and pride to
think about an Asian child turning on the Democratic debate and seeing me up on that
stage. And hopefully it gives them a sense that we’re
just as American as anyone else. KING: I wanted to ask you, I wanted to ask
you a question about your candidacy. Nationally you’re polling at about 2 percent. YANG: A little higher than that. KING: A little higher than that. YANG: Come on! [Laughter] KING: John and Hetal, feel free to follow
up on this. I mean, are you running for president to win? Or are you running for president to introduce
ideas into the conversation? Like our jobs are being lost to automation,
and we need to start talking about unheard of things like universal basic income, unusual
things, new things like universal basic income, like using thorium to make energy. Are you running to win? And do you think you can win? YANG: Oh, I hundred percent can win. KING: Yeah? YANG: The prediction markets have me as the
third most likely to be the nominee right now. I raised 10 million dollars in the last quarter,
and all of our measurements are just going through the roof. So you’ll see that we’ll be there competing
at the very highest levels the whole time. One thing I will say is that this is certainly
not a new set of ideas. Martin Luther King championed universal basic
income. KING: So did Richard Nixon for a time. YANG: Yeah, Richard Nixon, Thomas Paine. So it’s been with us for decades. It’s just now more vital than ever. But I’m running to solve the biggest problems
of our time. I’m on the record saying if I thought these
problems would get solved without my being president, I would be pumped. KING: If someone else could pull it off. YANG: But it seems that the most effective
way to make these solutions happen will be for me to win. And that is the plan. KING: John? Hetal? Why don’t you follow up on that? ZEITLER: I don’t know, I just, I still can’t
get around why you’re so averse to a wealth tax? That still sticks. I mean I understand that you, in principle
and philosophically, agree with it. Yeah but the idea that – you’re such a,
you’re a guy who’s like, “Look, let’s solve the problem. You know, let’s come up with some really big
ideas.” And I just don’t feel like, you know, “Well,
the rich are just going to avoid the tax. It’s too hard. We’re not going to do it.” That seems like, that doesn’t seem like you. YANG: Oh, you know, I like to consider myself
very fact- and data-driven. And so if a solution was tried in a host of
other countries that I think of as pretty smart countries, like Denmark and Sweden and
France and Germany, and then they ended up saying like, “This is actually so bad that
we’re going to repeal it.” Like, I take that set of experiences as very
compelling. If you can’t learn from other people’s mistakes,
then you’re kind of putting yourself in a tough spot. But I’m philosophically not opposed to it. And if I was president and it passed Congress
and it’s like, “Hey, it’s wealth tax time,” and I thought it would be somewhat effective,
it’s not that… I just don’t think it’s the best idea. But you know, I see why everyone’s supporting
it. Let’s put it that way. JANI: And I mean you clearly have great ideas. That’s why we’re both here. Love the ideas. YANG: Oh, thank you! I thought maybe you guys got picked out at
random, be like, “Oh, we got stuck with Yang. I was hoping for another candidate!” ALL: [laughter] JANI: No, your ideas are great. Like John said, clear-eyed, it’s great. But in the case that you don’t become president,
how are you going to continue to work on these ideas to make sure that we’re addressing everything
we’ve discussed? YANG: Well these problems are gonna be with
us no matter what. And I’m very confident I’ll have a lot of
work to do, whether it’s as president or in some other capacity. But I’m a parent, like you are John, and I
see the future we’re leaving for our kids. And I find it to be unacceptable. And so I’m going to work my heart out to try
and make it better. KING: As we wrap, I’ll just ask you lastly,
would you be interested in commerce secretary? YANG: No, I’m open to contributing in any
of a range of roles. You know, I’ve spent time with the other candidates,
and there are many people I could work with. KING: I thought you were going to laugh, but
you didn’t. And I like that. Alright, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, thank you
so much. Entrepreneur and presidential candidate Andrew
Yang, thank you so much for being with us today. We really appreciate it. YANG: Thanks. I enjoyed it immensely. KING: And I want to thank our voters, Hetal
Jani and John Zeitler. Thank you both for coming out today. We appreciate it. JANI: Thank you. ZEITLER: Thanks.

100 thoughts on “Andrew Yang Talks Universal Basic Income, Climate Change, With Undecided Voters | Off Script | NPR”

  1. I think Yang needs to work on giving a stronger and more passionate delivery to some of his answer. And also simplifying his wording so the layman can relate and understand what he means. He's too nice and cordial but he just needs to convince them even if it makes them look dumb over the air. I also think he needs to dial down his jovial laughing and goofy gestures. Some people are going to not take him serious. Just my opinion.

  2. Yang, at some point, your WIFE needs to be by your side on the campaign trail. Women tend to actually pay attention if that happens. Remember people vote based on appearances and other silly superficial stuff.

  3. after watching this my suspicion that NPR is full of highly educated morons is verified, how can you not like someone that is CLEARLY straightforward and honest, there's no BUT fools, if Yang doesn't get elected NO Politician will push his 160+ solutions

  4. That guy is a mental midget. Yang already explained why wealth tax won’t work. Other countries tried, the wealthy found loopholes and move to other countries or whatever else. You gotta target their businesses and where their wealth starts, with their products and services, which is more effective than taxing their “wealth”. Mental midget for real.

  5. Smh thorium. Cant believe these people didn't hear about it. They say they smart too.

    I heard about thorium 10 yrs ago.
    ……………god I hate backwards people holding back humanity.

  6. I notice Andrew Yang is the only candidate that is willing to sit down with other Americans and be ask some hard questions who have concerns and questions about his policies!

  7. "Are you running to win?"
    Bruuuuuuhhhhhhhh…… smh. OF COURSE YANG IS RUNNING TO WIN!!! what kind of question was that?!? When are people going to start taking this campaign seriously?!? I can't wait until Yang becomes the dem nominee and beat trump in the gen. election.. Let's shock the world #yanggang

  8. Andrew Yang 2020 , vote yangers, we need this guy in our presidential seat, this guy is the most worthy guy i personally felt deserved to be president ever in my life, never have a been so sure a man can be a great president until this guy, I already donated and looking to donate again soon to his campaign, let's do this!!! #yanggang 2020

  9. This guy John is stuck with his wealth tax ideology. The data already shows that the implementation of the wealth tax has failed in many European countries already where as the VAT has been extremely successful.

  10. It’s pretty astounding to watch seemingly intelligent people ask these dumb questions. VAT would act as an enforceable tax on corporate and luxury spending, raising hundreds of billions of dollars. Any regressive impact would be overwhelmingly covered by the dividend. The dividend is free for people to use and comes with no strings attached unlike the benefits they may receive from numerous historically ineffective government programs. And they can keep those programs if they like. It’s a no brainer. And since there’s no means testing, there’s no disincentive to work. The important question is how he’d ever get the idea enacted as law.

  11. All the college boys and girls get out and please open your youtube channels for UBI vissions… We need cash everymonth and not old politician's BS anymore…and we need digital money too… We can not keep silent and depend on the old politicians…

  12. The problem with a Wealth Tax that Sanders and Warren proposes is that their wealth is tied to their personal holdings. There would be a on of compliance problems, and I think that Warren's 15% is a grave underestimate. They can hide it by moving it offshore, they can under-report it, or they can just simply move out of the country and stop being American citizens. It's easy to say that we should target the rich and make them pay for everything. But the problem is, we don't think from their perspective and see what they would do under these policies. We need to make sure that it is in their interest to do what we want them to do. A VAT would mean that they are not allowed to do business in the US, since the tax would apply to every single transaction that is conducted within the US.

  13. To answer the climate change question, republicans know what’s going on they’re not stupid. They’re just bought and sold by oil and gas conglomerates. Democracy Dollars will put resources in the hands of people to fund candidates that will follow the will of the people and will wash out lobby money by a factor of 8:1.

  14. When i first heard about the $1000 per month i thought it was a gimmick but as i do more research and hear more about Yang's policies i LOVE how so many of our countries systemic problems can finally start to have a fighting chance to unite people to start solving them. Like the education question links back to how things like the kids home environment significantly impacts academics and there are factors at home the teachers have no control. Maybe the parents with the $1000 per month can now spend some more time at home, have some better and nutritious food, have the parents less stressed and that cushion of $1000 per month adds some stability and even hope for the kid. Those factors alone would probably uplift many of the poor families and poor kids across the country. Same effect on other policies and issues. It's not just $1000 per month but it's some financial cushion or security and hope to be more united than poor hopeless and divided.

  15. Huge Yang supporter. Overall average delivery on his part. He did well during moments when he was able to elaborate or touch back on points he’d had trouble articulating prior, but I don’t feel like Yang and the couple ever really got on the same wavelength. The NPR moderator helped a little. Yang and even the couple seemed unprepared, off-game, and I actually think the moderator picked up on that. I was hoping Yang would have the same flow as I’ve seen in other long-form interviews. Win many lose few, the status thus far.

  16. I make me sad to see seniors working in fast food because they can't afford to retire. I've never seen that growing up but now we see it all the time. Young people with ideas, music and artistic talent but no resources to turn them into reality. College grads with crushing debt can't find a decent job going back to school to learn to code. Andrew Yang's polices lays down a foundation for everyone and addresses our problems further over 130 policies. One of the latest being the American Exchange Program for high school seniors. To rebuild the fabric of America.

  17. Yes it would be nice for UBI to stack on top of welfare but it’s an expensive program and it will require compromise with Republicans. You can at least say hey it’s going to consolidate billions of dollars of welfare programs. Makes it digestible. Otherwise it’s $1000 or $0.

  18. Worth the hour spent watching this interview. Love the honesty of the two voters and the npr host— all not afraid to ask for clarification or to follow up if they feel the questions were not answered satisfactorily. Wha t I like about Yang is that he is not afraid to tweak a solution if he someone comes up with a better one, and that he is open to exploring all options in order to solve our complex problems.

  19. "Winners" in the economy will be pleased as punch to lower the gates and venture back into a healthier ane happier commons. UBI's biggest impact will be on crime.

  20. I can't help but think that if Andrew Yang becomes president and UBI is successful, which it will be. Then it will most likely spread like wildfire to other nations around the globe.
    Andrew Yang becoming president could in fact be a planetary game changer.

  21. The MSRE reactor, built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, operated critical for roughly 15,000 hours from 1965 to 1969. In 1968, Nobel laureate and discoverer of plutonium, Glenn Seaborg, publicly announced to the Atomic Energy Commission, of which he was chairman, that the thorium-based reactor had been successfully developed and tested.

  22. Some people are just unrealistic and almost want candidates to BS them. The guy with nuclear energy. Like yang said we use a lot of energy and people aren’t going to give that up. It’s only going to increase in the future and so all solutions have to be on the table. If you can build nuclear but get rid of oil and fracking then at least it’s still a partial win until one day in the future yes you can get rid of nuclear also. Like if fission is ever figured out.

  23. Great final answer. I don't think his response to the wealth tax holds up though. There is no telling so far how politically driven those repeals were.

    Also wish he would have referenced our current dependency on nuclear. It's not feasible to do away with it for the foreseeable future

  24. NPR if you want to challenge status quo, which i doubt you would. I dare you to put Warren or Biden or SAnders in one of your hot seats and ask them really tough questions on their own economic policies. You ask good questions to Yang and Yang comes prepared. Will Biden come prepared?? Or do these people get a FREE pass because they have government work history.

  25. 2 jobs, long commute, paycheck to paycheck, more credit card debts will remain with me if I vote for Biden, Warren, Sander, Trump, or no one. At least, my life will improve if YANG BECOMES THE PRESIDENT OF THE UBI, THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE FREEDOM DIVIDEND OF AMERICA. For once I see my vote really change my life.

  26. Thorium 232 is irradiated with an additional proton to make TH-233. This naturally decays to protactinium-233, which decays to uranium-233. Which is the fissile material used to produce thermonuclear chain reaction. By using thorium to breed uranium-233 is far safer and easily controlled and stopped than trying to control the decay of solid rods of uranium-235.

  27. If automation is sure to happen than UBI is a must because societies will break-down if massed unemployment occurs. We cannot even rely on our family members for financial help because they will be unemployed too.

  28. Universal income – problem 1) won't this just drive the price of everything up 2) won't more people want immigrate to America if they can get money for nothing. 3) people living in the states who are not citizens with green cards or whatever, won't it make it harder for them to live as price just goes up on everything also maybe some resentment and perhaps turn off talented people coming to the states who want to work and are needed vs the spongers

  29. Vat value added tax. Easy way to think of it. I collect a piece of wood and sell it. Person buys it and transforms it into a chair. The wood is now more valuable, hence a tax is added to it.

  30. 14:00 a poor person has to spend 10000 dollars to fully negate the benefits of the freedom dividend, lets says he spends 1500 dollars/month on stuff 10% vat is 150 , his net profit is still 850/month +andrew said consumer staples like food etc is exempt

  31. humans dident cause global warming

    space caused global warming, a supernova flare hit the ozonelayer in 1994 and the perfect spot in antartica to melt the ice ans reveal whats frozen, but dont worry the ozone layer is already healing it self

    aliens, angels and demons are very real folks, the time is comming, the red cold river of planet x is on its way, humans are not smart enough to rip a hole in the ozone layer, only more advanced technological humaniods can achive this, be aware of the greek god ererbus when he arrives, jesus and zeus saw his comming this not a joke the only change for earth will who controls it… but have faith and hope, have inspiration, have belief, have disipline and controle and RISE LIKE YOU ARE THE BIG BROTHER OF GOD!!!!!

  32. Please stop asking Andrew Yang if he wants to win the nomination and if he would work together with another nominee. That's disrespectful to Andrew and his supporters and you wouldn't ask this question another candidate. Other than that nice and fair interview 🙂 #YANG2020

  33. I'm both shocked and so happy to hear people argue that UBI shouldn't come at the cost of other benefits. Especially given these people's tax bracket.

    It's just not an argument you expect to hear from anyone that isn't some crazed lefty living below the poverty line.

  34. Also kinda interesting to see these two voters grappling with their cognitive dissonance. Give them time, they will come around 🙂

  35. 17:20 – UK person here. I can't believe Americans are just discovering value added tax. Here's how we implement the rates of VAT It's a nice indicator of where Yang's VAT may be headed.

  36. Here's an idea…anyone who wants to tax the ULTRA WEALTHY can't use Amazon, Facebook, or Microsoft after they vote for Yang. Our lives have been DRASTICALLY enhanced by these evil ULTRA WELATHY people, THINK ABOUT IT. THINK. THINK. THINK. Don't be fooled by this nonsense. Uttter nonsense.

  37. I'm a former Trump voter and I'll vote for this guy, you dems hope that's your nominee cause I'll go with Trump if he's not! #YANG2020

  38. Why not I could not trust his policy,
    I think his policy does not hit me nothing, I’d like to have lot of questions for his policy and standard…American use your brain
    From Japan

  39. No one seems to understand in the media or in government how easy it is to LEGALLY circumvent taxes… even with tougher regulations. In the business world, this is not even an argument because an argument requires an opponent.. and no businessman making even $200K annual would argue that they can't escape the wealth tax OR a tax on the rich! Ugh! Okay, here are a few ways:

    Induce tax for higher income doesn't work because…
    Tricks that orporations use:
    — Investments in future products and services, asset depreciation and capital loss claims, buying property and other assets under the business name, intentionally buying failing businesses to offset income, off-shoring profitable business divisions to favorable tax countries, showing that you will be paying executives (i.e., paying themselves) more in stocks or cash bonuses in the next tax year… are all LEGAL ways to mitigate tax burden (or to push burden forward into a less profitable year)… and there are many, many other ways… LEGAL ways that you can't make illegal because those methods are the same methods that make small businesses possible!

    For high income individuals:
    — As for individuals, they use analogous methods, as well as: showing residence and/or citizenship in another country, show higher business related expenses, keep only $50 Million in your own name and 50 mil in each family member's name, show that your salary is $1 and keep the rest locked up in your businesses, create new corporations (Inc. or LLC, etc.) and "invest" every dollar you make over $50 Million into those corporations, show elderly relatives as dependents or pay your grand children each $75,000 per year to take care of elderly relatives (at least the money will stay in your family)… so many other ways, so many!

    Wealth tax:
    The wealth tax will be a watered down version by the time Bernie or Warren gets to implement it… and even that version will generate only 20% of what she boasts (because of the methods I listed above, and because there's no way to measure "wealth")… and that 20% will be used up by the government in trying to collect the taxes in the first place (just ask the IRS how much each audit costs them!). In addition, couples can get divorced and still live as a family (this would DOUBLE their wealth allowance). Parents can give wealth to their two children, which QUADRUPLES your wealth allowance). The rich can renounce citizenship and still stay in the U.S. (many have already done this).

    Love Bernie… his and Warren's tax plans show a genuine and ethical desire to change things… but the business realities are not understood by politicians, even if they claim that their tax "experts" have looked at their plans.

    Anyone reading this, DO the research… not political research by listening to talk shows about candidates, but TAXATION research. If you don't want to, then at least don't comment based on your opposition to me or support for a candidate… or because you think you are qualified to discuss taxation law through your politics work. This stuff is too obvious (meaning, the points I made above) but most Americans think it's tough to beat tax regulations so they'll read these points and say, "well, the rich must pay!", or "well, we'll just have to get tougher on taxes and regulation".

    Sorry for the rant, and thanks for reading. And for the love of God, I'm begging the tax accountants and business folks like me to comment here and confess how true all my points are! I've been in the technical and corporate world for over two decades… there must be other professionals watching this who can confirm what I have said??! Please help out the young viewers who think they know about taxes!

  40. I’m a Christian Conservative, and I really like Yang. Seems to be the best the Democrats have to offer. Should be a good battle between him and Trump for 2020.

  41. Where to get the money? Cut that insane US military budget. Look folks, if we don't get rid of the monetary system itself which is no longer necessary and causes more havoc and than solving anything, there won't be much of change. The reward ( make money) gained from corruption, eating meat, war, poverty and waste pollution far overshadows fixing these planetary economic inequalities. Peace isn't profitable neither is eradicating poverty. Why would you? There's too much money to be gained from keeping things as is. Besides, money is typed on a computer screen….its created out of nothing. It looks like science fiction! : ) Smile!

  42. I voted for Trump last election if Yang gets the nod all vote for him if not I'm staying with Team Trump sorry it is what it is

  43. Wealth tax will never work! If you are smart enough to grow your wealth to that level, you are going to do whatever it takes to keep it. You don't know rich people. They rather give up their loved ones than part with their wealth. It going to be 1000 times harder to implement wealth tax than forcing Trump to admit he's a liar.

  44. that lawyer wants the wealth tax so rich people will hire him to get out of paying the wealth tax. smart 5d chess guy

  45. A couple of points I think Yang could have answered better…

    1, Re: VAT being punitive to lower income groups. A much simpler answer is that you’d literally have to consume 10k/mth per adult to be worse off. Only quoting that it’ll increase buying powers of 94% of Americans sounds too abstract.

    2. FD vs existing welfare. I think the key is that FD is a right of citizenship, while other welfare programs are means tested / need based. So it’s logical that if post-FD, the individual is no longer in need, then s/he will stop receiving welfare. If post FD, the individual is still in need, then we should have a welfare program that make up the difference. But the point is, FD is NOT a welfare, it is part of our right of citizenship.

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