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Ross: Why exactly is Andrew Yang giving away $1K a month?

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Why did presidential candidate Andrew Yang announce at the last Democratic debate that he would choose 10 American families and pay each of them $1,000 a month for a year?

It was to demonstrate his promise of a guaranteed basic income for every American. Which we will need, he told me back at the beginning of his campaign, because automation is making more and more jobs disappear. Truck drivers, for example.

“The money behind automating truck driving is over $160 billion a year, and then on the other hand, you have 3.5 million Americans who drive a truck for a living,” Yand said. “How is that going to play out? And I would suggest that its almost certainly going to play out very dramatically and violently.”

Can we act now to stop the rise of the killer robots?

Unless every American gets a guaranteed income. And you can’t call it “socialism,” he says, because Alaska does very the same thing to share its oil revenue.

“And Alaska is a deep red, conservative state,” Yang points out. “And they love their oil check. And so what I’m saying is that this is going to be the ‘Tech Check.'”

Since the debate, close to 500,000 people applied to be part of his experiment, and of course, shared their e-mail addresses with the Andrew Yang campaign in the process.

And whether or not this will soften the sting of automation, I have to say it’s not a bad way to fatten your mailing list.

You other candidates might want to jump in. Not that I’m suggesting a bidding war, but for $2,000 a month, I might send you my e-mail and my Snapchat avatar.

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