LOS ANGELES - “The first thing we need to do is put money in people’s hands so we can weather this crisis.”
With more than 30 million Americans having filed for unemployment as a result of coronavirus, Andrew Yang is calling for every American to be paid $2,000 a month until the pandemic passes.
Yang told FOX 11 anchor Elex Michaelson that more money is needed because, although it provided a temporary sigh of relief, the $1,200 stimulus check distributed via the CARES Act was not enough.
“They essentially helped pay last month’s bills,” Yang said. “This month’s bills, and next month’s bills, are right around the corner.”
“We have to put $2,000 a month into everyone’s hands for the duration of the crisis… because that money doesn't disappear, it goes right back into our local economies, into groceries, rent, fuel, and things that help keep our communities, frankly, functioning.”
Yang made Universal Basic Income (UBI) a center-piece of his Presidential campaign, running on a “Freedom Dividend” by which every American over the age of 18 would be guaranteed $1,000 per month from the US government, “no questions asked.”
“What I said [during the campaign] is that we should make this move because of the rate of change,” Yang said. “Unfortunately, the crisis has accelerated the rate of change, where we’re experiencing 10 years of automation and displacement in 10 weeks.”
As a result of that rapid change, UBI, which garnered only modest support among members of Congress during the campaign, has since become a foundational element in many relief efforts.
On Wednesday, the “Paycheck Security Act” co-sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) proposed providing grants to certain businesses for six months to cover wages of furloughed or laid off employees who earned up to $90,000.
The “Paycheck Security Act” follows similar efforts by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), whose previous proposals would cover 80% of wages, or wages up to $100,000, respectively.
“I’m thrilled that my campaign helped advance Universal Basic Income right before this crisis,” Yang told Michaelson of his influence on current legislation, “because we need it now more than ever.”
When asked if he thinks such UBI-inspired issues could make it through Congress, Yang appeared optimistic, citing the near-unanimous passage of the CARES Act.
“This is going to be bipartisan,” Yang said. “Universal Basic Income is going to be front and center, and I believe it’s going to pass this year.”
In a wide-ranging interview on The Issue Is, Yang also discussed discrimination against Asian Americans in the wake of coronavirus, his lawsuit against the NY State Board of Elections over the cancellation of the Democratic Presidential Primary, his own political future, and what he learned about himself, and America, throughout his campaign for President.
"The Issue Is" is California's only statewide political show. Watch FOX 11 Los Angeles Fridays at 10:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. For more showtimes and information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.