What Yang Gets Wrong

The thing about Yang’s Freedom Dividend is this, first, it only goes to adults, whereas a large percentage of people living in poverty are children.

It is reasonably generous, maybe too generous considering who it is going to.

According to his plan, if you are already receiving govt aid, you can either choose to keep your aid or take the new $1000 per adult.

So lets take three hypothetical families. all three are two parent, with two minor children (obviously there are a million variations, but this is for comparison)


Family 1

Currently both parents are working fulltime/part time (that is to say they are working as much as they can, but due to greed, many businesses will not let you work full time to prevent you from getting benefits) at low wage jobs earning a combined income of $29,000 per year.

Receives $5700 in Earned income tax credit

Receives Federal Section 8 (HUD) benefits worth a $8000-10000

Receives state and local benefits worth a $3000-5000

Receives state and local benefits through federally funded programs like Medicaid and SNAP of $6000 -$8000

Total benefits, around $26,000, could trade these benefits for $24,000 from Yang’s plan, or keep what they have and miss out on the $24,000 they so desperately need to get out of poverty.

With these anti-poverty measures, most poor working people are still just getting by

Family 2,

earns the average household income, and receives none of the above, but has company subsidized healthcare $62,000 gets minimal subsidies, if any, so Yang adds $24,000 to their already moderately comfortable income, making their life solidly middle class


Family 3

Earns at the top of the lower 90% $178,000 gets a windfall of $24,000 though they might get less of the total take home due both to being in a higher marginal tax bracket as well as might be in the range of purchasing some of the luxury goods that is supposed to fund the dividend.


Family 2, which is most of us, gets the biggest boost, which is great, right? WRONG. We LIKE the extra money, and could probably use it, but the people who REALLY NEED it are the ones at the bottom. We could extend it to the poor without requiring them to give up the very subsidies that keep them alive.


You might ask, well, why hasn’t Yang thought of this? He is well aware, but as a very rich man, he believes two things, one, if the dividend is not paid to a poor minority, he will not suffer in votes, as poor people tend to vote less for myriad reasons, and he will make a lot of lower to middle income people have a personal reason to vote for him, and they do vote. Also, as a matter of principle, he doesn’t believe the working poor deserve more than they are already getting.

He is not proposing anything close the UBI (universal basic income) his fans like to claim, he is shifting some of the wealth from the very wealthy to the moderately wealthy while leaving those at the bottom in no better shape.

I propose this system, I have sent it to him, but I don’t think he likes it.


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