Andrew Yang is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a 2020 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. He is also an accomplished lawyer and the founder of a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to create employment in American cities. Political analysts downplayed his 2017 announcement to run for the presidency in 2020. Critics argued that his ethnic background could have been the major cause. His appearances on several television shows and podcasts has increased his popularity in the past year. The people of the United States should vote for Andrew Yang to be their 46th President because of his impressive personal life, and his comprehensive and detailed campaign policies, headlined by Medicare for All, Freedom Dividend, and Human Centered Capitalism.
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Yang was born in Schenectady, New York on 13th January 1975 to immigrant parents, Kei Hsiung Yang and Nancy Yang (Villa, par. 9). His parents came to the United Sates from Taiwan during the early years of the 1960s and met while studying in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. Yang’s success can be attributed to the guidance of his well-educated parents: his father had a Ph.D. in physics while his mother had a master’s degree in statistics. His father was an accomplished physicist who registered over 69 patents while working as a researcher at IBM and General Electric. On the other hand, his mother was a university system administrator who deserted the corporate world to pursue a passion in art. He has a brother who is a professor at New York University.
Yang attended Phillip Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and graduated in 1992 (Villa, par. 9). As a young child, Yang accomplished several feats. For instance, he had a SAT score of 1220 out of 1600, he attended the Center for Talented Youth, and participated in the world debate championships in London. He was accepted to Brown University where he studied economics (his major) and political science, and graduated in 1996 (Villa, par. 9). After graduation, he attended Columbia Law School and graduated in 1999.
Yang’s first job post-graduation was in corporate law. He joined Davis Polk & Wardwell, a law firm in New York where he worked for five months. After leaving the organization, he collaborated with a colleague to start a philanthropic fundraising website, Stargiving.com that mainly targeted celebrities. Unfortunately, they ceased operations after two years. Later on, he became the vice president of a healthcare startup (MMF Systems), but left after 4 years to join Manhattan Prep. (Villa, par. 9).
He became its CEO, and as its leader, he spearheaded its expansion program that increased its locations from five to 69. The company was later acquired by Kaplan Inc. and Yang resigned as the president after serving for about two years (Villa, par. 9). During the 2000 financial crisis, he conducted analyst classes at various corporations, including Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs.
After leaving Manhattan Prep., Yang created Venture for America (VFA), a nonprofit organization with the primary goal of creating jobs and economic opportunities in American cities (Villa, par. 10). The program trains graduates from around the country who work for startups located in different cities in the US. Yang resigned as the CEO of VFA in 2017 to concentrate on his presidential campaigns.
Yang’s presidential campaign has an elaborate and comprehensive list of policy proposals covering different areas of the economy. However, it is centered on three main ones, namely Freedom Dividend, Medicare for All, and Human-Centered Capitalism (“Our Policies”). His popularity on the internet has led to the title “The Internet’s Favorite Candidate.” His supporters use social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit to spread his messages. They use various techniques such as viral videos and memes to capture the attention of Americans. Each of the aforementioned policies covers key areas that he thinks will improve America and the lives of its people.
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Medicare for All
Access to high-quality healthcare by everyone should be the major goal of the American healthcare system. However, many Americans are uninsured and cannot get quality care. This policy aims to mitigate the high costs of healthcare and its limited access (“Our Policies”). Millions of Americans cannot afford proper care, and those who can, are overburdened by the high costs (Yang, “Smart People Should Build Things” 76). Yang believes that medical services in America are expensive and they have poor health outcomes. He is advocating for reforms in order to create a holistic system that will favor the employees and the patients.
Yang argues that the current system has achieved significant progress since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The legislation provides funds that allow more people to receive medical care. However, it does not guarantee that all citizens get medicine and the incentives offered to healthcare providers do not motivate them to provide quality and efficient care (“Our Policies”)Yang wants to change this situation through the implementation of a Medicare for All policy.
It aims to control costs by setting fixed prices for specific services in order to lower employee turnover and reduce redundant tests (Panetta). Paying doctors a flat salary will ensure that they focus their resources on providing holistic healthcare to patients (“Our Policies”). This will improve the quality of life, lower costs, enhance health outcomes, and extend life expectancy.
This policy aims to solve several problems that Yang has pointed out as wrong with America. Technology is displacing innumerable workers as automation increases, about 40 million Americans live in poverty, good jobs are becoming scarce as income lowers, and the unavailability of financial resources for people to pursue activities that have positive outcomes is rising (“Our Policies”). Moreover, many people are engaged in jobs that they do not like because of the need to survive. Yang is concerned that technologies like artificial intelligence will replace about 33% of workers in the American labor force by 2030 (“Our Policies”). This could destabilize the economy and society if mitigation measures are not implemented.
Yang proposes the policy to address the aforementioned issues. The Freedom Dividend would include monthly and yearly basic incomes of $1,000 and $12,000 respectively for individuals over the age of 18 years (“Our Policies”). This money would be given to qualified Americans regardless of their employment status. The income would cover major expenses: bills, education, and healthcare among others. The basic income would be adjusted accordingly to align with the cost of living (Panetta).
Changes to the policy would be accomplished with a constitutional amendment. Yang believes that the implementation of this policy would grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent and increase the workforce by about 4.5 million people (“Our Policies”). He argues that it is important for the government to put money into people’s hands in order to promote the creation and growth of jobs and the economy (Flower, par. 13).
The adoption of the capitalistic system as the foundation of the American economy has been the cause of unprecedented innovation and progress. Many people consider it a better system than socialism with regard to the generation and implementation of ideas. However, Yang believes that a purely capitalistic system cannot exists as seen in the growth of corporatism and institutional capitalism in America (“Our Policies”).
The current system is more focused on profits rather than the people’s welfare. Increased automation is likely to worsen the situation (Yang, “The War on Normal People” 67). Yang proposes the development of Human capitalism, an improved version of the system that will maximize human well-being and bring more fulfillment (Panetta). The proposed form of capitalism rests on three pillars: humans are valuable than money, the basic unit of the system is an individual and not a dollar, and the main goal of markets is to serve people’s goals and values (“Our Policies”).
Yang is concerned that our current economic system is not made up of the aforementioned pillars. An effective system should have the primary objective of maximizing human welfare and not making more money (“Our Policies”). The competition for ideas sometimes leads to suboptimal outcomes that affect both the economy and the people (Flower, par. 16). The numerous problems that Americans are experiencing are due to a faulty economic system that is not founded on human values. The implementation of this policy would solve the problem of a market that undervalues the factors that are core to the human experience.
These include preventative care, character, serving the poor, infrastructure, the environment, arts and creativity, caring for loved ones, and the success of small businesses (“Our Policies”). If elected president, Yang will make the economy work for the people, invest directly in the improvement of human welfare, and create measures to evaluate the economy that are based on people, not dollars. For instance, he promises to change the use of GDP to evaluate the economy’s performance and apply alternatives such as Social and Economic Mobility, Mental Health, and Median Income and Standard of Living measures (“Our Policies”).
Andrew Yang’s 2020 presidential campaign is based on three major policies: Freedom Dividend, Medicare for All, and Human-Centered Capitalism. These proposals are aimed at improving human welfare by increasing access to healthcare, making the economy work for the people, and improving the living conditions of all Americans. Yang is the best candidate for the presidency because of his comprehensive policy proposals that aim to address a plethora of problems that Americans are facing currently.
His three major proposals are centered on healthcare, the economy, and the improvement of human welfare. Of great interest is the Human-Centered Capitalism that proposes a shift from the current system that is more focused on the generation of profits. Yang takes a more humanistic approach to capitalism by suggesting that the economy should serve the people since they are its basic units. Americans should vote for Yang so that all Americans can get access to quality healthcare and experience improved living conditions through poverty alleviation.
Flower, Andrew. “What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?” FiveThirtyEight. 2016. Web.
“Our Policies: Andrew’s 3 Big Policies.” Yang2020. Web.
Panetta, Grace. “Andrew Yang Is Running for President in 2020. Here’s Everything We Know about the Candidate and How He Stacks up against the Competition.” Business Insider, Business Insider. 2019. Web.
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Villa, Lissandra “Inside Andrew Yang’s Outsider Campaign.” Time, 2019. Web.
Yang, Andrew. Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America. Harper Business, 2014.
Yang, Andrew. The War on Normal People: the Truth about America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. Hachette Books, 2019.