By CCN Markets: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang appeared on the Bill Maher show over the weekend. He discussed his Universal Basic Income (UBI) plan in detail, suggesting that big tech companies including Amazon could foot the bill. The clip is taking off, with more than 300,000 YouTube views already:
Yang has been promoting giving Americans money by taxing big tech companies. With the Department of Justice launching antitrust actions against Google and other tech titans, Yang’s platform looks increasingly relevant to investors as bipartisan support for a tech crackdown builds.
Yang’s Big Idea: $1,000/Month
Yang has made his UBI proposal the centerpiece of his campaign. He plans to give every American 18 and older $1,000 per month without any qualifications. He claims that this will restore American economic vitality, create jobs, promote small business, and even reduce domestic violence.
While the idea of simply giving people money no strings attached seems radical, Yang notes that folks ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nobel Prize-winning economists have supported this effort.
Critics, however, have been quick to say his idea is too expensive. Yang readily admits it will cost something like $1.5 trillion per year. The government currently spends $4.7 trillion per year. Thus, this is a gargantuan 30% increase in overall government spending. So how would Yang pay for it, especially as the government already runs a massive deficit as is?
Build A Social Safety Net; Make Bezos Pay For It
Yang didn’t mince words when telling Maher his agenda:
“The way we get the money: How much did Amazon pay in taxes last year? Zero….We have to create a mechanism where the American public actually benefits from artificial intelligence. If we had even a mild value-added-tax and gave the American public a tiny slice of every Amazon sale, every Google search, every Facebook ad, every robot truck mile, it would generate over $800 million in new revenue.”
In an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show, Yang further laid into Amazon. Responding to Carlson’s question about companies avoiding income tax, Yang said:
“Amazon is the most egregious example, where they’re soaking up $20 billion in business and causing 30% of American malls and stores to close. And taxpayers are seeing zero in return.”
Yang noted that other developed countries have a value-added-tax that is much harder for companies to dodge than the U.S.’ current system.
“We need to wise up to the fact that companies like Amazon are very smart and are moving their earnings through places like Ireland where the American taxpayer will see none of it. The value-added-tax will make it impossible to sell to us without paying into our society their fair share.”
Yang and Sanders: Different Views on the Minimum Wage
While both Yang and Bernie Sanders have garnered support from millennials due to their concern for underpaid young workers, they have different solutions to the problem. Sanders recently crashed the Walmart annual shareholder meeting to demand that they pay $15 per hour minimum to all their workers. Yang says this approach is counterproductive:
Yang Has ‘Fun with Crypto’
In his Maher interview, Yang said “it is not immigrants” that are causing economic problems for average Americans but rather “it’s technology.” However, there’s at least one technology that Yang strongly he supports. He recently posted a photo with Litecoin creator Charlie Lee:
Yang has promised voters “Fun with crypto” in the White House if elected and has a policy page on his website devoted to his plans for the industry.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN Markets.