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Andrew Yang
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Ross: Was Andrew Yang’s ‘Freedom Dividend’ actually a good idea?

In this Feb. 7, 2020, photo, Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang has dropped out of the Democratic race.

His big idea was the Freedom Dividend, based on the concept that any American who needed the money could opt to receive $1,000 a month from the federal government, no strings attached.

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That’s because Yang says Trump doesn’t understand the real reason workers are struggling.

“I’m calling out the reality of the fact that it’s not immigrants that are causing economic dislocations,” said Yang. “It’s the fact that we automated away four million factory jobs and we’re in the process of doing the same to millions of retail jobs, call center jobs, fast food jobs and on and on.”

I talked to Yang a year ago between campaign stops in Manhattan, and I asked him how do you get past the idea that this is just a handout.

“So we have to broaden our definition of work, and I use my wife as an example,” he described. “My wife is home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic and right now her work is valued at zero.”

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He argues that by purposely raising the incomes of low-paid workers so they can buy homes and start families, the additional consumer demand would create over two million new jobs.

But now Yang is out, and as the robots continue to spread, the day gets closer when they’re making everything. And I guess the millions of human workers no longer on the payroll will just have to … shoplift?

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