- 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a New York-based entrepreneur, joined Business Insider Today for a live town hall.
- In addition to discussing his policy plans, Yang answered questions from an in-person audience and comments section in the Facebook live-stream.
- The questions spanned a range of disparate topics such as opioids, guns, student loan debt, universal basic income, and much more.
- Watch the full Business Insider Today town hall event here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang sat down on Tuesday with INSIDER politics editor Anthony Fisher for a live-streamed Business Insider Today town hall to discuss everything from Yang’s universal basic income program – the Freedom Dividend – to data privacy and climate change.
Here are some of the highlights from the event:
- Yang didn’t directly take a position on whether Congress should impeach President Donald Trump, saying, “it’s Congress’ job to investigate Trump and my job to beat him.”
On data privacy:
- Yang explained his policy plan to give peopleproperty rights over their personal data monetized by companies, saying, “It does not seem fair for companies to benefit from our data and we don’t know about it … there’s a little bit of a Wild West going on. If we choose convenience, we deserve a sliver of the economic value. You can have my data, but if you commercialize my data, I should get some share of the profits.”
- Yang said he believes opioid usage should be decriminalized to encourage more people to seek treatment without the fear their addiction will land them in jail.
- “I feel strongly that the government was delinquent in allowing the opioid crisis to get started in the first place,” he said, referring to the government not cracking down enough on Purdue Pharma, the makers of Oxycontin, from deceptively marketing the drug as non-addictive.
- “There’s a plague killing thousands of Americans that we helped cause, the least you can do is say, our first priority is treatment and not a prison cell … we have to get resources in people’s hands, since it’s a human problem, and most people will not be deterred by a stiffer sentence.”
Why the Freedom Dividend is a better solution than free college:
- In recent weeks, fellow Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have rolled out plans to make four-year college free.
- Yang, said, however, that his plan to give every American adult $US1,000 per month would ultimately do more to solve wealth inequality since it would apply to people from all educational backgrounds.
- “Since only about a third of Americans graduate from a four-year college, making college free would only help that top of the third of the population,” Yang said, further pointing that the current six-year completion rate for those who enter four-year college is just 59%.
On student debt:
- Yang said he supports a plan like the one Warren recently rolled out to forgive most outstanding student loan debt.
- “If you have a choice between hundreds of thousands of young people living in their parents’ basements or investing that money back into the economy, we should choose the latter,” Yang said, adding that debt forgiveness would be like a “stimulus of the people.”
On climate change:
- Yang says he believes climate change is an urgent crisis and that the Freedom Dividend would alleviate families’ financial burdens, and free up their energy to care about climate change, citing a “scarcity mindset” he believes exists in the US.
- “The tough reality is that the US only accounts for about 15% of global emissions,” Yang said. “While I support re-joining the Paris Accords and I support a carbon fee and dividend, the US can’t solve this problem all on our own.”
- Yang said that while he supports the “spirit” of the Green New Deal, he believes the Freedom Dividend would be a more direct solution to financial insecurity.
- Yang says he supports a federal buyback for assault rifles, which fellow presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell has also advocated for.
On prisoners voting:
- The question of whether incarcerated people should have the right to vote has recently been a hotly-debated topic in the 2020 Democratic field.
- Yang said he believes that people in prison should have the right to vote “unless they deprived someone of their right to vote,” presumably referring to people convicted of homicide.
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