I would not have expected to see some intellectual innovation among the Democrat presidential candidates. Andrew Yang's scheme for showcasing universal basic income (UBI) does not rise to that level, but it could actually morph into an innovative idea worth considering.
Andrew Yang’s offer from the Democrat debate stage last week to pay ten American families $1,000 a month for a year to showcase his universal basic income campaign promise has drawn almost a half a million email entries into the $120,000 lottery. The offer also helped the 44-year-old long-shot presidential candidate collect $1 million in donations in the 72 hours following the debate, Yang’s campaign told Politico
The campaign said that over 90 percent of the email addresses are new, a huge expansion of the candidate’s email list. He also gained more Twitter followers over the course of the debate than any other candidate. While some rivals on the debate stage laughed and rolled their eyes at the ploy, Yang’s campaign sees the “Freedom Dividend Pilot Program” as an example of why their internet-first campaign has pushed them to sixth place in the crowded contest. We’ve got a 21st-century candidate and we’re running a 21st-century campaign,” Campaign Manager Zach Graumann said in the Politico report.
“When you donate money to a presidential campaign, what happens?” Yang asked in his opening statement at the debate. “The politician spends the money on TV ads and consultants, and you hope it works out. It’s time to trust ourselves more than our politicians.” ... “If I gave a million dollars to [a] media company or consultants or hired like a small army of canvassers no one would blink an eye, but if we give the money directly to the American people somehow that’s problematic,” Yang said. “So, it just speaks to how messed up our system is where giving money directly to Americans actually raises eyebrows.”
- It is one thing to give away your own money, voluntarily, or to pool privately donated, voluntarily surrendered money into a give-away pool, as his campaign does;
- It is a completely different matter to force other people to give up their cash so you can hand it out to others.
I doubt Andrew Yang will pick up on this idea, but maybe there is a true libertarian out there somewhere, who is willing to run with it...?
*) There are two great books that explain how the welfare state gets people hooked on re-electing entitlement-friendly politicians. Coincidentally, they have notably similar titles:Myrdal, G: Beyond the Welfare State from 1958, and Heckscher, G: The Welfare State and Beyond from 1984. Myrdal was the main architect behind the Swedish welfare state while Heckscher, an influential Swedish politician, gradually went from being a staunch critic to giving up, conceding that the welfare statists had won. His book was an attempt to help the winners - the socialists - make the best out of the disaster they created.