Why Is This Man Running For President?

I had come across Andrew Yang’s name in a few articles but never gave him much thought until I listened to a Freakonomics Radio podcast featuring Yang.

For folks who aren’t familiar with him, Yang is an American born Taiwanese-American running for President in 2020.  His campaign is best known for its pitch of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as central to his platform.  While we all have some precepts of UBI and our own biases for or against, it was interesting to hear Yang’s take and his breakdown of the why and the how.

YANG: So to me the rubber hits the road with the truck drivers. I mean there are 3.5 million truck drivers in this country, only 13 percent of them are unionized. The odds of there being a collective negotiation are very low. Eighty-seven percent of them are part of small firms of let’s call it 20 to 30 truckers, and 10 percent of them own their own trucks.

So think about that. If you borrow tens of thousands of dollars to be your own boss and be an entrepreneur and then your truck cannot compete against a robot truck that never stops — the odds then of these truckers showing up at a state capitol saying, “Fuck this, let’s get 30 guys together with our trucks and our guns” and show up and protest the automation of their jobs. So we’re disintegrating by the numbers. You can see it in our political and social dysfunction. Expecting that disintegration process to be gentle would be ignoring history.

Of the candidates in the field for 2020, Yang’s platform seems to touch on some of the key problems our economy will face in the coming decades.  I hope that some bits of his platform will seep into the mainstream view and perhaps get adopted by some peers.


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