By Ineye Komonibo published
Unless you've been living (or hiding—totally relatable in our current political climate) under a rock for the past couple of months, you've probably heard that literally everyone is running for president. Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but only mildly; more than 20 different politicians initially entered the 2020 presidential race to unseat Donald Trump in the White House, with most of them gunning for the Democratic nomination. In a literal crowd of seasoned politicians with decades of law-making and upholding under their belts, 2020 candidate Andrew Yang's policies often get lost in the political sauce.
From Instagram to The Ellen Show to the main debate stage, our Democratic candidates have made sure to use their time in the limelight to share what they hope to do if elected to the highest office in the land. Many of them are familiar faces with policies that you're (hopefully) well-acquainted with by now. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, possibly the farthest left-leaning of the pack, are both in favor of universal healthcare and free college. Kamala Harris wants to get rid of the electoral college and ban fracking. Cory Booker wants to increase federal aid for students to decrease debt. And Joe Biden wants to "restore the soul" of the United States...whatever that means.
Still, if you're tired of the same old, same old in Washington, there are a couple of key points about Yang's campaign that you might want to pay special attention to. Here's the breakdown of some of the most important policies that the New York businessman plans to execute if elected President of the United States.
The Freedom Dividend
In what many consider to be one of the most radical policies in the 2020 election, Yang is proposing the implementation of universal income. Called "the freedom dividend," the universal income would be a baseline number of $1,000 per month for every American between the ages of 18 and 64, regardless of the factors that usually effect one's income and overall quality of life such as economic class, profession, gender, and race. The freedom dividend, says Yang, will allow citizens to take care of their basic needs.
Sure, getting a stack from the government every month sounds cool, but what's the catch? Well, taxes on goods and services would have to go up in order for the freedom dividend to work. The increased taxes that major companies like Apple and Microsoft would have to pay the government would then be funneled into the funds for the universal income. So that monthly check would probably come with some higher prices on some of your favorite products.
Medicare for All
The United States is a major player in the international sphere but has one of the most ineffective and inefficient healthcare systems in the world. Statistics from a recent study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) state that, compared to countries like the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and the Netherlands, the U.S. has a lower rate of amenable mortality; this means that there are more preventable deaths in this country due to limited access to and quality of healthcare. Needless to say, the system is in desperate need of repair, if not total overhaul.
As a businessman, much of Yang's perspectives towards healthcare are informed by his history of being an employer who had to provide healthcare for his employees. He discussed the concept in his book The War on Normal People:
"Our job-based health insurance system does the very thing we most want to avoid – it discourages businesses from hiring. For employers, company-subsidized health insurance costs are a major impediment to hiring and growth. The costs get very high for senior people with families – my last company was spending more than $2,500 a month on certain people’s insurance plans. If these costs weren’t on our books we definitely would have hired more people. Health insurance also pushes companies to make as many employees as possible into part-time gig workers or contractors."
Like Sanders and Warren, Yang wholeheartedly supports the idea of Medicare for All. This plan would involve the democratization of healthcare, meaning that the government would mandate that every American citizen have access to the same type of health insurance. In exchange, everyone's taxes would have to go up to offset the coverage—an idea that many Americans aren't very enthused by.
While some of his opponents and their supporters are outrightly rejecting the tenets of standard capitalism (feel the Bern), Yang is encouraging Americans to lean in while embracing a new type of capitalism, one that prioritizes people over the dollar. With human-centered capitalism, the aim will be to improve the economy in order to improve human welfare. Yang suggests that the government take on new ways to measure the success of the economy; he argues that looking at things like social and economic mobility, childhood success rates, and health-adjusted life expectancy is a more practical way of seeing how the economy is doing compared to numbers and dollar amounts.
He also wants to implement a new type of currency, called the Digital Social Credit, that can be converted into actual dollars. It's similar to the Chinese social credit score that made headlines last year, a system that keeps track of the good deeds of Chinese citizens, corporations, and government officials. Yang's idea takes it a step further by monetizing the credit, hypothesizing that the fiscal reward for "driving significant social value" would encourage civilians to contribute to society in a meaningful way, ultimately leading to an overall increase quality of life.
Whether you agree with all of his policies or not (I don't know about you, but that $1k monthly deposit is low-key speaking to me), the fact that Yang has made it this far in the presidential race says a lot about what the country thinks about him. Tonight, we'll see if Yang's radical policies will hold up as he faces down with the other nine Democratic candidates in Houston to talk about the future of the United States—watch it all go down on ABC at 8pm EST.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
25 Animated Movies Every Adult Should Watch
The 43 Best Musical Movies to Get You Singing
'Bridgerton' Season 2: Everything We Know
The viscount and his new love interest will hit your queue in 2022.
By Andrea Park • Published
Will 'True Story' Have a Season 2?
The future of the Netflix limited series is up in the air.
By Quinci LeGardye • Published
'Firefly Lane' Season 2: Everything We Know
In the immortal words of Tully Hart, "Firefly Lane girls forever!"
By Andrea Park • Published
Cory Booker and Rosario Dawson's Relationship Is No More
After three years of dating, the power couple have decided they're better off as friends.
By Marie Claire Editors • Published
Education for Women and Girls Is Crucial for Climate Justice
In an excerpt from her new book, 'A Bigger Picture,' Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate discusses the impact educated African women and girls can have on solving the climate crisis.
By Vanessa Nakate • Published
It’s Time to End Equal Pay Days and Pass the Equal Rights Amendment
The passage of the ERA is a chance for our country to prove it truly values women.
By Hala Ayala • Published
In Conversation: Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Emily Tisch Sussman
“It’s ridiculous that we’re the only advanced nation on the planet that doesn’t help families with childcare.”
By Emily Tisch Sussman • Published
EMILY's List President Laphonza Butler Has Big Plans for the Organization
Under Butler's leadership, the largest resource for women in politics aims to expand Black political power and become more accessible for candidates across the nation.
By Rachel Epstein • Published
Anita Hill Believes We Can End Gender Violence
Three decades after her landmark testimony in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the esteemed professor and lawyer has a message for leaders: The time is now to prioritize anti-gender violence policies.
By Rachel Epstein • Published
For Teachers, Going to Work Can Mean Life or Death
Stefanie Minguell, a COVID survivor and second grade teacher in Florida's Broward County, almost died of COVID-19 and is immunocomprised. When she teaches in the classroom, she’s forced to choose between her health and her students.
By Megan DiTrolio • Published
Periods Don’t Stop for Pandemics—And Neither Have Our Nation’s Moms
Policies touted in the $3.5 trillion budget plan and other Congressional bills are missing a core component of maternal well-being: menstrual access and health.
By Christy Turlington Burns • Published