Writer: Keitaro H.
Visual: Kiana H.
Editor: Gisele F.
Though it may seem that the next United States Presidential Election is yet to take place in the distant future, candidates have already begun campaigning for their chance to become the next President of the US. The controversial actions of current President Donald Trump have inspired many to partake in the Presidential race. There are several notable Democrats that are challenging Trump for the Presidency in 2020. A strong contender for the job is Bernie Sanders, a prominently established politician who also ran a successful campaign four years ago. Another candidate scoring high in the polls is Joe Biden, the Vice President of former President Barack Obama. Among these seasoned politicians is a fresh, new candidate that clearly stands out from the others, not just because of his ethnicity but also his proposed policies: Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yang, unlike most Democratic candidates, did not have a career in politics before entering the race. Moreover, he was a tech entrepreneur working in Silicon Valley. Ultimately, it is this unique background working as a venture capitalist that Yang believes gives him an edge in the world of politics. This distinct perspective is reflected in his proposed policy changes. One such change would be his signature policy: the Freedom Dividend. This dividend is essentially a basic source of income for US citizens. This dividend would provide $1,000 per month or $12,000 a year for every American adult aged 18 and above. Yang firmly believes in the benefits of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as this policy’s benefits are seemingly endless. Yang highlights these benefits in his debates expressing his support for his idea, saying, ”It will spur entrepreneurship and increase productivity. But also increase the wellbeing of the American People.”
Some skeptics argue that his new policy would damage the economy or seems too good to be true. Yang commonly responds to skeptics with how he plans to pay for this UBI, which is by implementing a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 10 percent. A “VAT” is a tax on the production of goods or services a business produces. It is a fair tax, making it much harder for large corporations, who are experts at hiding profits and income, to avoid paying their fair share.
Lastly, Yang is the only Asian American ever to run for president. His campaign somewhat centers around this fact as one of his slogans is, “What’s the opposite of Donald Trump? An Asian man who likes math.” To many voters, it is important that Asian Americans are represented in politics and Andrew Yang is more than willing to project that representation.
The greater ISM community has some thoughts regarding the candidacy of Andrew Yang. Mr. Winters, an Economics Teacher and US citizen, had some strong feelings regarding Yang’s new policy saying, “Overall, it sounds like a good thing. Because of this dividend, some people who weren’t able to become entrepreneurs in the past now have the ability to do so with the extra money and thus increasing productivity. Also, because of the UBI, more money will be circulated in the economy as the people are going to spend the money, effectively increasing everyone’s salary.” However, he also expressed his concern for a problem with the model, ”Because money is given, some people might become less productive. The question is, are there going to be more productive people encouraged to explore business opportunities or more free riders who decrease in productivity; only time will tell.” On the other hand, Junior Andres B. is focusing on the importance of widespread Asian American representation saying, “Andrew Yang is the representation of the American Asian dream. Every Asian American child will look up and see a role model that they can aspire to become. Seeing him cry during a nationalized debate showed me how much he cares for the country.”
The recent success of Yang has been an interesting subplot to an intense presidential race. His charming wit, self-effacing humor, close connection with technology and the youth is reflected in his campaign as a whole. His campaign, more commonly known as #YangGang2020 has amassed a significant number of supporters. In November 2020, the world will watch as Yang or any other Democrat takes center stage to square off against Republican Donald Trump for the coveted job.