Is Andrew Yang Entirely Wrong?

Donald Trump is an outsider to the American political system. So is Tulsi Gabbard. And so is Andrew Yang.

Drop the labels. Drop the party colours. Imagine that Yang was running as a Republican in 2024. Precisely what is wrong with what he’s saying?

86 Replies to “Is Andrew Yang Entirely Wrong?”

        1. The Freedom Dividend is essentially a pay raise for the middle class who currently are paying an unfair amount of taxes.

        2. I think when another person calls another person an idiot is a questionable person themselves. Either play hard or go home

    1. Get over it!! Harmless fun! He is our one true hope to bring our country together. He is truly humanity first! #Yang2020

    1. At NO TIME during the WHOLE long interview about all his “21st Century” claptrap … did he say one word about how he was going to $PAY$ for his “FREE” monthly check. He didn’t say VAT once. He didn’t say a single word about dismantling social security and Medicare. Why? Those stooges wearing “MATH” hats didn’t actually make him show the … oh, I don’t know … MATH!!??

      Nor did he say if EVERYONE (including millionaires and billionaires) were going to receive a $1k/mo. check as well. If true, isn’t that what Demoncrats always whine about with tax cuts? That the wealthy are just getting wealthier?

      This is all just more “magical” rainbows and unicorns utopian rubbish … with a laughable “21st Century” slogan

        1. Funny you should say that … because in the video, Yang imitates Bernie Sanders voice in recalling what he told Yang during one of the debates. So Yang … a CHINESE man! … attempts to imitate a half-senile, old, dottering, white man’s accent. OMG!! Can you imagine if Sanders (a half-senile, old, dottering, white man) attempted to imitate CHINESE-American Yang’s San Francisco drawl and nervous laugh?!! He’d be eviscerated !!

          1. Hey, at one time I could affect what I thought was a passable Irish accent. However, when I did it in front of my Irish parish priest, he told me it was a passable stage (or stige) Irish accent, not a real Irish accent, and insulting to the Irish. So I stopped.
            I honestly cannot do a FOB (fresh off the boat) Chinese accent. Something in me mitigates against it. However, my son, born here and having mostly run of the mill American friends, can do an embarrassingly good one. Even though he otherwise speaks perfectly good English.
            P.S. I see you are ignoring all my Liverpool gloats. That is your right. But even though they are a little over the top, be tolerant. Three of my four teams (UCLA basketball, Dodgers, Liverpool) are traditional powerhouses who have not won the big prize for a while. Strangely UCLA BB was the most recent, 1995. Liverpool won UCL last year, but last won Top division in England in 1990, and the Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988. And now it is so close I can taste it.
            Tomorrow is the big test for Liverpool in Champions League. They better not stumble with Red Bull Salzburg and crash out of the Champions League.
            P.P.S. I have found Mexican language over the air stations who telecast European soccer live. Telemundo does EPL, and Unimas does UCL. I am sure they have stations in the Bay Area.

          2. OB … I’d love to hear your son flip back and forth from FOB Chinese to Santa Monica SO CAL beach bum. It’d be too funny. Oh, and I forgot one day that my neighbor was Korean (he’s also just an ex So Cal beach bum) … and did MY FOB accent (I just like accents, and can do several regions of England quite well … except the Welsh … that’s just too damn difficult) in front of him … ugggh. Such a whitebread mistake. Notice I didn’t say (above) that Yang had a FOB accent … more of a laid-back Nor. CAL drawl.

            Sorry, I’m not prowling the Reader tips the past few days. Uh, yeah … go ahead and crown Liverpool Champs. They’ve got the golden touch these days. I have always liked Origi … and having him simply step on the field and SCORE is a hell of a luxury this time of the season, when teams are playing an exhausting schedule. And OX … and Shakiri … and Lallana. the team is LOADED with scoring power.

            But …

            I have been following Leicester very closely the past few weeks. Oh MY but I am impressed. The team is FAR more than Vardy, and they’re playing AT PACE … like City (when they have their sh_t together). It’s not JUST long ball to Vardy … although that THREAT is always there, and it stretches defenses which allow giant openings. Hate to say it, but Leicester owns just about EVERY #1 statistic in the EPL. #1 Defense, #1 Scorer … they are looking to be Liverpool’s competition. Careful now … Brendan Rodgers has got his team in top fiddle! Don’t falter.

        2. To Dustoff:
          Yang’s surname is a homophone to half of the Yin/Yang dualism in Chinese, which symbolizes dark and bright. Roughly translated, you can say “Yang magic” is white magic as contrasted to black magic.

      1. He, and any other candidate that is talking about ramped up spending, wants to implement MMT. The theory is embraced by Bernie, of course, by one of his prime aids.
        They run the printing press to fund any shiny object they want. They fund min8m7m incomes, with the assumption that it will have no effect on employment (hah), or any effect on inflation.
        Inflation is controlled by taxes, not interest rates.
        All sounds fancy on paper, and far fetched too. Here’s the thing. Governments are basically insolvent. They can’t raise rates, it will create chaos. NIRP and ZIRP don’t work as intended, Japan has been trying that for 20 years, and now Europe is down that path, to try unsuccessfully to stimulate their economies.
        Governments can’t help themselves with their lust to build new shiny things that their activist leaders think “we” need. MMT is coming, like it or not.
        It explains why Meethead is so eager to spend like a madman, though Trudy isn’t there, maybe there is a paucity of sanity with the Laurentian Elite handlers.

      2. Kenji, it will be paid for by debt and the inflation of the currency until the value of the guaranteed income is worth just what it will be, freaking nothing. All government subsidies are worth just that at the peon level, freaking nothing.

      3. Why does he need to say them? Apparently you already know the answer to all of his questions. And he’s very facts and data driven, if someone asks him to show the math, he would definitely do it.

      4. He did say how it would be paid and also yes millionaires would receive it too and it is not dismantling Medicare what rock do you live under!

      5. He has explained in plenty of other interviews how he plans to pay for the 1k a month, who gets it, and his views on VAT. He is realistically the only competent dem running.

      6. That’s where your own research comes in. Have you been to his website to find out how he plans on paying for it? This whole Make America Think Harder includes a bit of reading, as you should be doing for ANY candidate you decide to vote for!

      7. I see how much you love to keep money in the corporate and political elite.Either you are one of them or you are a gullible innocent to put it mildly.

  1. Doesn’t matter how he says “it”.
    The it is called socialism and it always runs out of other people’s money.
    Every time.

      1. Are you serious with these childish lines? “capitalism that doesn’t start at zero?” That’s it? It’s a meaningless remark. In capitalism, you start at zero, then you work at a job and then you’re no longer at zero. I learned this in junior high school when I was still in my parents home. I worked at a gas station and suddenly had my own money for the canteen at school, clothes, gas for the truck that I bought myself. Any politician that bases his campaign on “I’ll give you better stuff than the other candidates” gets lumped into the same garbage can in my book. The only thing that matters is how much of my time and effort are you going to give back to me in the form of points off of my income taxes. Get serious if you are going to come around here with that garbage.

      2. I come from a socialist country and nothing he says relates to comunism.Socialusm focus on funding the gov so it can provides for the people.No socialist country put money in people’s hands. Funding people is the ultimately capitalist idea.Is the post capitalism

  2. I think he is one of the more interesting people running. He is very smart. He also is an entrepreneur. He supports individualism. His big concern is the disappearance of jobs via developments in technology. He is very knowledgable and convincing. He introduces the idea of a guaranteed income in the context of radical job losses, which would cause some sort of major upheaval. Maybe this is not a problem for another 50 years, but job loss due to technology is very real and at least Yang is thinking about the problem.

    1. So. When vast numbers of Americans lost their jobs and incomes during the depression … the government created jobs … doing and building … actual things … in exchange for a government check. As horrific a precedent that set IMHO … at least it required able-bodied Americans to DO SOMETHING for their checks.

      I hate to break it to Mr. Yang … but GIVING people money for nothing will unleash a myriad of unforeseen (or at least unspoken) social and psychological problems.

      And what is Mr. Yang’s immigration policy? That giant sucking sound you hear is the high powered vacuum of Yang’s “FREE MONEY” sucking a billion foreigners to America’s borders. You think there’s a “child separation” border hopper problem now!!??

      1. Kenji: Couple of things came to mind.

        What Linda is saying cannot be disputed: “…Maybe this is not a problem for another 50 years, but job loss due to technology is very real and at least Yang is thinking about the problem…” AMAZON being an Excellent example. Another on right here in Calgary – “Skip the dishes” (a delivery service) that will get whatever you want to eat from wherever it’s prepared and deliver to your doorstep. A Service that will itself will become automated in short order via DRONE delivery.

        So to me, there’s no arguing that Tech is definitely changing the workforce of the 5 major employment sectors he mentioned. All to be automated as equip/tech develops to replace human involvement.

        As to Immigration – legal and otherwise – that on its own would be a massive issue for anyone attempting to institute a UBI. You don’t have enough soldiers or walls tough enough to keep the invasion of free loaders out – that, added to all the other potential issues with giving Money away for doing squat.

        My question is what entity will give away THEIR money to others for doing Dick all..? NOBODY. Thatcher was 100% Correct….it will Collpase.

        Mankind needs a mission….without which, it will consume itself.

        1. No argument about the pace and transformation that technology is making in the workplace. However, just as a human was needed to bolt fenders on the assembly line … now someone needs to operate and maintain the robot that’s bolting the fender on Musk’s stainless steel pickup trucks.

          I don’t subscribe to the belief that jobs are disappearing. Are they changing? Sure.

          What’s missing in all this “oh so cerebral” MATH hatter “21st Century” world is … the human factor. Sorry to tell these futurists a fundamental fact … mankind is essentially unchanged from 2,000 years ago. We still think and emote the exact same way. Our human characteristics are immutable. For example, both men and women NEED to be productive … to be ALIVE and mentally healthy. Money for nothing will not alter that immutable FACT.

          And puhleeze … don’t tell me a FREE monthly check will FREE everyone from menial jobs so they can all become “entrepreneurs” working in their living rooms … publishing their music, or craftwork. When your “music” has no buyers … you’re still a LOSER. You will STILL have a hole in your soul, that can only be filled with PRODUCTIVE work. We yearn to CONTRIBUTE … to do something USEFUL. It’s in our DNA. Collecting a check for NOTHING is Soul-crushing.

          I remember Nancy Pelosi making a similar argument for Obamakkare … that now … allllll the “artists” will have FREE medical insurance. Freeing them from menial work (serving at the local restaurant) to pursue their “art”. Puhleeze. And how’s THAT worked out?

        1. Which will be more than offset by a $15k tax increase. Because … evidently … Yang can do MATH. They’ve even had hats printed with that word “MATH”.

          Meh. I prefer MAGA on my hat … KAGA if you wish

    2. The same was said about Personal Computers. Direct affect on my industry, I could in effect, do the tasks of 5 people, all at my desk. Steno, Drafting, Accounting, Design, Communications.

      The projected job losses didn’t occur (overall), even the old drafters had to evolve, similarly. Instead, the offices became far more efficient, allowing more work to be produced, and expanded operations. And that’s just one industry.

      As with any hyped out issue (Y2K, PCs, Climate Porn, and now AI), the real world effect is bound to be very much different than those who make predictions of doom.

      1. I do the work of 20 hand drafters in a quarter of the time, yes productivity has sky rocketed and 19 drafters are no longer needed, I’m still working 50 plus hours and the machine wants more. I’d love to go back to a time where more people could be employed in my field and my family could live off just my income, go on vacation , and not have to worry when the recession is going to occur. I remember when a full bag of groceries cost 10 bucks now it’s 30 or more, a truck was the cheapest vechical you could buy, now there the most expensive. I’m not complaining I consider myself very lucky but I don’t see how one can have a family on what companies pay people these day.

  3. GMI will not dispose of the welfare net and it will destroy the work ethic of many making things worse.

    I’m not convinced that technological advancements reduce employment – the entire history of man is on my side.

    Yang is at his core a pessimist who sees wealth creation as a zero-sum gain. And thus is not a believer in free markets. And thus not a conservative or republican.

    1. “I’m not convinced that technological advancements reduce employment” — suggest you read his book. He may be thinking the problem is closer than it is, but there are many, many examples of automation putting people out of work. He has examples of whole communities destroyed by this. He also explains what is going on with AI and machine learning, so the jobs affected are not just blue collar. This is not something humanity has faced before on this scale, so the lessons of history are not relevant.

      1. Ams how many buggy whip manufacturers are still around after the widespread use of the automobile commenced? How many harness and horseshoe makers? Horse drivers? Stables? Buggy builders? How many ocean-going passenger-liners are left after the massive rise of air travel? I went to school with a girl whose family immigrated by ship. That was then.

        I remember when the computer arrived on the scene. We were all going to have our workday reduced to just 4-6 hours.

        AI amd ML (assuming they ever seriously progress from someone’s academic hobby to serious performer) will enable massive shifts in the way we work. As always. But we are a good century or 2 away from robots designing and building commercially viable functiong robots.

        AI will be a tool. And like all tools, its introduction will require people who know how to use them.

        1. There are still buggy whip manufacturers around, only the strong ones. Many carriage makers and bicycle makers started manufacturing automobiles. The automobile industry employs many more people than carriage makers ever did. One carriage per family has led to almost every adult family member now owning a car. And instead of horseshoes, buggy whips and sheds we have countless automobile accessories, a massive tire industry and garages galore.
          Ocean going passenger ships are now dwarfed by thousands of massive passenger cruise ship lines. There are more people now travelling by sea then there ever was before. By far.
          The trade off for automation is cheaper goods and more of them and cheaper services and more of them which has in turn resulted in a trade off between the cost of goods and services and the volume of goods and services available and therefore more net jobs. I see AI as merely propagating this trend.

          The complexity of the human brain, its perceptiveness and sensitivity cannot be matched by AI and wont be for a long time. Those that claim otherwise need to do a bit more reading and quit being so gullible. We only have to look at the utter uselessness of general purpose self drive cars versus the naïve gullibility of their owners to put things into perspective.

          1. Self- driving cars are one of Yang’s examples in his book. These will put truckers out of business, according to Yang. Now self-driving cars do not work especially well at the moment, but it is early days for those. All new technologies have a rocky start. The big question, in my view, is not whether or not technology will take over many jobs, but when. Yang sees it as just around the corner. I would say more like 30 or 40 years into the future.

          2. The only truckers that will be put out of business are mine haul or log haul trucks on closed private roads. Trucks by law will require that an operator be on board because of the hazardous goods that trucks often carry or the risk of theft or sabotage/terrorism and the risk/safety hazard that large trucks pose to everything and everyone near them. You wont see a self drive bulk truck or van on a public highway for a very, very, very long time. The scale, cost and complexity of large trucks as they stand now along with the value of the payload are such that the economics of having an operator on board is still a very good investment.

        2. I learned AutoCAD when I was 50. I already knew how to draft and how to design interiors and architecture. CAD was an extra tool which I was reluctant to embrace at first. I am so pleased that I did so – all of a sudden, I could send CAD files to other professionals (structural engineers, mech/elect engineers) to do their work. I could send PDF files to clients to print off for review. CAD was so precise to 1/16″ accuracy if need be (and much more for mechanical tolerances) for architecture. Even the sharpest pencil could not do that. It allowed me to work long-distance to the building site for the last 3 years of my professional life.
          AI is a tool and will allow so much more to be developed. Sadly though, there is a strata of society who still drop out of high school as soon as possible (usually Grade 10). Most jobs now require a high school completion as a foundation for learning on the job. The world does not have much use for manual ditch diggers or house cleaners. They will be left behind.

          1. They will become hunter-gatherers. And I don’t mean they are going to go live in the wilderness. They will stay in built-up areas, where their prey lives.

          2. Ha! BM … Me too. I was farrrrr too slow to adapt to cad. Part of the reason was that my hand sketches (which I still do) are … well frankly … gorgeous. My clients, and colleagues loved them. That “analog” work is still part of my presentations … however … cad (and pdf files) have given me the ability to produce as (a sole practitioner) as much work as three people … at least … and transmit it at the push of a button.

            You and I are still old enough (I assume) to remember working prior to personal computers … where we hired typists, and employed; cut and paste, pin register drawings, transparent film overlays, line tapes … ohhhh the humanity!! What a sloppy, inaccurate, cumbersome MESS. And taking paper velum drawings to the print shop, and waiting for the plan sets. All of that now done in-house, at the click of a mouse. Lots and lots of jobs already destroyed by technology … BUT … the productivity of each human has exploded due to that technology!

            And here’s how I got-over my longtime fear and loathing of cad. A close Associate recommended Vectorworks as a more nimble cad program than Autocad (now supplanted by Revit) … so I purchased the program along with video tutorials. I paid my youngest (math degree graduate) son to “learn” the system and teach it to me. He sat with me LITERALLY for 1/2 hour … and I finished my first drawing in half a day. I felt like such an idiot for resisting the change for so long. I have an interesting brain which is quite literally equal parts “artist” and “engineer” … the “artist” won the argument for far too long … now the two sides of my brain are getting along much better.

      2. When the minimum wage goes up, it is cheaper to have robots and self checkouts at grocery stores. Automation isn’t the problem, it is excrement eating morons who push their creepy “government’s job is to take care of everyone” cult.

      3. I will reply to your comment further on here:

        When the steam-powered loom came onto the scene it did the work of 3000 labourers. That era – the industrial revolution – delivered efficiencies on a scale far more massive than what we are experiencing today – yet the demand for labour exploded – to the point where child labourers were for the first time paid for their work in the most menial jobs such as coal-mining. And that was in an era where families were far larger and the need for paying work far higher.

        Certainly self-driving vehicles will displace those drivers in your example – but who is going to work on building, selling and servicing all of those new vehicles that will replace the current fleet. And, with the plummeting of transportation costs we are going ship and travel far more… And we will have more productivity which means more real wealth to spend on goods and services that will mean more jobs…

        Again I would ask you or anyone else to cite a technological advancement that was commercialized that reduced the world’s wealth and thus the level of employment.

        Yang et al ( and – i fear – you) are modern-day Luddites – people who at their very core are cynical pessimists who see technological progress as a negative. Certainly there is upheaval – creative destruction – to use the term in its schumpeterian meaning – but in toto there is increased job demand – not less.

        As a footnote – there is one KEY difference in this era of change: AI is the first advancement EVER that will deliver its first and largest efficiencies at the top of the labour pyramid rather than the bottom. Professions like Medicine, Law and Finance are already being rocked by it and that rate of change will accelerate. The impact on society is unknown as it may be THE greatest disruption of the elites in all of human history – bigger than the crucifixion of Christ, than the guttenberg press and the Iphone.

    2. Yang (and the ignorant MATH-hatters) spent quite a bit of time discussing the “depression” and “guilt” of wealthy people. THAT seems to be his prime motivation. And it reveals the typical ivory tower parochialism of rich liberals … diminishing the capabilities and motivations of all those little people. So, to assuage his guilt, he’ll just triple taxes on YOU! and hand it out like Sinterklaus. I’ll wager he also believes “black people” are unable to produce certified identification at their local polling place.

      1. All three of those exuberant twits look like they are about to have an orgasm right in their pants. Who knew that politics was erotica for ugly people.

  4. Yang is not going to be able to issue a substantial dividend to every American householder, no questions asked, until he insists on the American people’s reclaiming their sovereign right to issue money and regulate its value from the banks.

    If he won’t promise to do that, then he is at best maddenly misguided, at worst a charlatan.

    1. While I disagree with your “gold standard” claptrap … I DO agree on this … that $1k/mo. will quickly become the exact amount of the dollar’s devaluation and inflation. 1k%

      What do those “MATH” hats mean? If they can’t do basic math?

      Wearing those hats is like graduating from college in Ethno-Studies … and actually believing you got a “college education”. Those hats mean NOTHING.

      1. Nobody even mentioned gold, Kenji. What ought to be non-negotiable is the right of the sovereign, not the banks, to issue money, and the sovereigns duty to regulate the value of money in the interest of the people, not the banks.

        Most money circulating in developed economies is issued by banks, not the sovereign. That was the case even during the days of the gold standard. If Yang is serious about his dividends, that has to change.

        1. Got it, sorry for my implication. I suspect you know and understand monetary policy better than I do. I am somewhat baffled by M1, M2 … and all the subtleties of interbank interest rates, inflation, deflation, etc.

          My current “feeling” is that there is MASSIVE inflationary pressure (a bubble, if you will) currently in our economy that is being artificially suppressed by FED policy. I fear the FED is enlarging, not reducing the bubble … and it could explode in catastrophic fashion. Just a “feeling” (and direct observation of our markets) … the same one I had just prior to the 2008 crap-mortgage crisis.

    2. You are stupid. Why do morons always push this creepy money cult stuff?

      Gold has no intrinsic value; it cannot be eaten, it cannot be used to fashion tools or weapons. It only has value, because people agree that it can be used as a medium of exchange. In the end, it is slightly better than crypto currency, as you don’t need a power grid and global network to pass it around, but that is it. Paper currency, at it’s most basic, at least could be used to start a fire.

      If you want things of intrinsic value, you are talking about food, water, water purification, cloth, blankets, lumber, etc. Things that actually allow you to continue living directly.

      Without a society, issuing currency is useless. Wish in one hand, and issue currency into the other, and see which one fills up first when there is no power grid, no police, no fossil fuels, no law, no order. I believe you will find both hands half as empty as your head.

      1. Gold does have intrinsic value. It has characteristics that other metals don’t and is the preferred material for many uses, including modern weapons (that have electronic circuitry).

        It’s not part of my personal bug-out bag or survival stores for short-term catastrophes or long-term economic collapse, but at some level it is worth owning. Guess how much China has and is still buying?

  5. Tulsi Gabbard would make a great Republican presidential candidate were she not a communist in all ways but carrying the card. Why does someone who seems to love her country so much want to destroy it? Naivety?

  6. “Precisely what is wrong with what he’s saying?”

    Nothing, if you agree with the NDP. His solutions all involve the state increasing its intervention aimed at problems brought about by disruptive market dynamics and made worse by existing state impediments to adjustments. It’s the flushed toilet bowl vortex of increased statism leading to hell.

  7. Massive sharing of ignorance on this site. READ HIS POLICIES! Should be easy cuz unlike other candidates he has the guts and facts to list everything.

  8. Hey there guys. Software engineer here. We all don’t know the future. But what was said about AI being a tool by the folks above are incredibly correct. What we should be afraid of is singularity AI, or AI with free will. It will be the next level of efficiency and we can pretty much learn from singularity at that point. We are no where close to that. But the progression is there, and maybe it feels far away like 50 years or 100 years from now, it could be exponentially fast if we make certain discoveries, it’s really about the speed of discovery and the amount of smart people working on it. Which will increase in the future, so maybe 25 years is a good estimate.

    Anyways, current AI, if you read more about it, is just going to do its thing and increase human efficiency. The internet, computers, and industrialization were huge game changers. To Learn from history, it seems as every layer of efficiency we go through, a layer of repetitive labor becomes obsolete. AI will take out a lot of repetitive labor and jobs with repetitive thought or working memory. That could be government workers, paralegals, insurance, retail positions, security surveillance, etc. AI is going to create a lot of jobs. Actually, the human mind and ingenuity creates them. The jobs that remain will require articulating thoughts or government has regulations that require humans in those positions.

    Imagine sentient androids were here and they were super efficient in everything, would it make a man pissed off enough to go to mars because all the sentient androids on earth are taking his jobs and he couldn’t qualify for one? That’s a futuristic problem, but as you see free money or guaranteed universal basic income doesn’t work as pointed out by others.

    Andrew Yang is only creating fear by talking about problems from AI and bribing people with free MONEY. Free money will devalue a lot of life. This is dangerous. I foresee a lot of chaos and a lot of violence. Andrew Yang might end USA.

    1. Well-put. I will only differ in saying that the Yangs of the world are but speed bumps on the road to greater prosperity – his pronouncements will seem as silly as those of Alvin Toffler and the Luddites before him.

  9. Value added Tax, Universal income, having doctors legislate abortions (Weasel words IMHO) , making gun manufacturers liable for shootings, has all but said he want’s open borders…favors a gov’t department to monitor social media (Geez, what could possibly go wrong with that idea?) I could go on but I won’t.

    You do you…but I’ll take a hard pass.

  10. Here is how he is going to pay for the UBI:
    “The “Freedom Dividends” that are now the signature policy of his campaign would provide every adult $1,000 per month, no strings attached, through a new tax on the companies benefiting most from automation.”
    I like that he has at least looked at the impact of technology on jobs and proposed a way to deal with massive job losses. He works in tech, so he is bound to see the possibility of a major hit on jobs in a one-sided, over-hyped way. But in the long term, his predictions are not wrong. Massive job losses would completely destabilize the economy, so it is good to at least think about how the world would cope.

    1. Those “Freedom Dividends” would last until the companies paying for them left the USA, much like all the jobs in those swing states he mentioned at the start of the interview. In other words as soon as it looked like Yang would get elected, those automated factories would be packing up and shipping out to China, India or any place that doesn’t tax automation. Then you would have lots of large empty building to house your starving populace, then who do you tax? Not the rich because they will have already left, not the poor because they are living on govt handouts already and the middle class – whose jobs all left with automated factories – have just joined the poor! You won’t have to worry about driverless trucks since there won’t be much to ship except the new food product Soylent Green. All the trials of UBI that I have heard about have failed, maybe they should have tried that in Venezuela.

      1. That would be true if he were proposing a wealth tax, but he is proposing a Value Added Tax, which taxes the companies at every stage of production, no matter what country they’re in. Many countries in Europe have already successfully implemented this.

        1. You mean like Greece? VATs that are above 10% drive the economy underground – making all of society tax-cheats with the predictable corruption of society that that creates.

          Ted Cruz had the best idea – a flat tax on gross business spending – and internal VAT if you will – charged before a product as sold thus removing much of the temptation to deal under the table.

        2. Those companies would have to pass the costs of that VAT on to us, the consumers and their accountants would rapidly point out that if the product was produced in the USA it would be unaffordable. Since the VAT would be applied at every stage it would make buying raw materials from the USA more expensive so why not locate your plant in Mexico and buy your wood and other materials from Brazil? So you have destroyed manufacturing (the Value Added component of VAT) and the resource sector in one fell swoop making the populace who can’t support themselves(grow their own food) i.e. city dwellers, totally reliant on the govt for survival. The VAT in England is 20%, the worst is Hungary at 27% but Sweden isn’t far behind at 25%, that type of taxation drives the economy underground, resulting in increased taxation…. and the death spiral accelerates.

  11. So 1. Nixon proposed a UBI when he was president. This is not a new concept or a liberal or conservative concept.
    2. Social security itself was created with the idea that this will eventually become a UBI, but the idea was ‘let’s get started by giving a basic income to elderly first.’
    3. How much does it cost to administer all the various forms of welfare that exist? I would bet that nearly half of the budget for food stamps goes to social workers a beauracrats. UBI would actually shrink the size of government, and likely not cost the taxpayer significantly more.

  12. I am late to this discussion (outside of a soccer post to Kenji) so I’ll just give my views rather than answer specific comments.

    I have no doubt that the age we live in (aside from the attempts at social control by the leftists) is the most benevolent of the average person in the history of the world, and not Gibbons’ age of the Antonines. Way back in the fifties after the Second World War, this was generally believed to be true. (And how far have we advanced from then!) There was a very popular TV series called “The Life of Riley” which depicted the life of ease and luxury. Riley was an auto worker. So let us start there.

    It is common wisdom to sarcastically mourn the lack of jobs for buggy whip workers in the aftermath of Henry Ford’s great innovation of the assembly line which, true to his word, put a car in every garage. But as a matter of fact the sentiment is accurate. Not only did the Model-T Ford, which ushered in the auto age, give the greatest mobility to the working class, it provided jobs heretofore unimagined, in the car factories and in the service stations. It is not hyperbole to say it provided one of the greatest advances of the human condition. But it wasn’t the first. (As an aside to those who bemoan the “dirty air” the car introduced, compare our city environment to that of late nineteenth century London, where horse manure piled ten feet high had to be removed from the streets daily.)

    “Socially conscious” writers, from Oliver Goldsmith to Charles Dickens, bemoan the industrial revolution. I was made to read Goldsmith’s Deserted Village in junior high school, but even then as a preteen, I wasn’t impressed. There was an overriding reason why the village was deserted. All the young people went to the cities to the factories to better their conditions. Yes, the factories were dingy and sooty, the hours were long, the working conditions were horrid, and yet they went on their own volition, because even so their conditions were improved from the villages, were they literally lived on the edge of starvation, beholden to the weather.

    One of the greatest advancement in the industrial revolution was the train, before the automobile, which first provided mobility to the masses. But the greatest advancement was electricity, cheap and universally available. It ushered in countless labor saving appliances in the home, and freed housewives from much drudgery. Ironically, it is this very electricity, low cost and universally available, that the supposedly socially conscious leftists are trying to destroy.

    Yes, each technological advance caused social changes to adapt to it. There were many who resisted, either because they worked in a job replaced by the change, or they disliked the social changes. But we are not talking about a zero sum game. In each case, countless jobs, previously unimagined, were created — much, much more than the jobs replaced. And the lot of the common people improved. It is truly wondrous the improvement in that lot over a mere century, perhaps a century and a half. And even as labor saving devices keep getting invented, jobs have not disappeared. Somehow, world economy has managed to provide jobs for a world population that has quintupled from 1900 to now, with generally speaking much better working conditions, including yes much shorter working hours.

    As a small example, just think about the improvement in the television. It started as a scanned cathode ray tube with faint black and white images, to hundreds of thousands of individually controlled pixel elements. That allows eighty inch televisions with crystal clear picture, plus the possibility of diverse display control (including simultaneous monitoring of multiple football games) from cable access. To provide all of that, many more people are involved in the stations and studios than ever before. In principle, and in contrast to what I have said about Musk, I have no objections to advancements in the automobile, from energy source to controls and displays. After all, why shouldn’t the automobile enter the computer age? The problem is, Musk is not the prophet, but just a huckster who tries to foist an immature product on an unsuspecting public. The experience with Musk may actually mean a retardation of true advancement of the automobile.

    That is how I generally feel about AI, as part of the general technological advance of computers. In fact, much of the principle has already been applied in industry, from automobile assembly lines to warehousing. And in terms of automobiles, much of the advances is necessary to manufacture ever increasing complex cars. The experience of the last century and a half has shown that it isn’t fiction or wishful thinking to say that the condition of the average person has immensely advanced, from better working conditions, to shorter hours, to much better income, thanks to by and large advancements fostered by free enterprise.

    Advancement is not a given. Societies that do not advance stagnate, or even regress. China was preeminent in the conditions of the average person, from at least the early seventh century, when Chang An was the eastern terminus of the silk road, providing luxuries Europe could not dream of, from silk to porcelain, to the early fifteenth century, when Zheng Ho sailed with his fleet of 60 ships and 30,000 men at far as past Kenya, at least three times, and brought back live elephants and giraffes. But then the Ming emperors actively promoted ignorance of the peasants and stopped all advancement, and Europe caught up and passed China as a result of the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution, as well as the development of modern science. There are those among us now who want to do the same thing, stop advancement by severely limiting energy availability and curtailing innovation with state control.

    1. We have been promised Voice Command for our computers since the late 1990s. Yet here we still are having to type our comments.

      1. That’s nothing. When I was in grad school in the late sixties, there were people doing research on controlled fusion, providing boundless energy, and success was supposedly imminent. And here we are, AFAIK, no closer to the promised land.

  13. Imagine if we, Canadians, could get to know our candidates for PM or Premier like this. This is one thing the USAians do much better than Canadians.