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By James Kirkpatrick | 12 March 2019

THE UNZ REVIEW — The dark horse candidate of the 2020 Democratic primary is entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who just qualified for the first round of debates by attracting over 65,000 unique donors. [Andrew Yang qualifies for first DNC debate with 65,000 unique donorsby Orion Rummler, Axios, March 12, 2019] Yang is a businessman who has worked in several fields, but was best known for founding Venture for America, which helps college graduates become entrepreneurs. However, he is now gaining recognition for his signature campaign promise—$1,000 a month for every American.

Yang promises a universal entitlement, not dependent on income, that he calls a “freedom dividend.” To be funded through a value added tax, Yang claims that it would reduce the strain on “health care, incarceration, homeless services, and the like” and actually save billions of dollars. Yang also notes that “current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally.”

As Yang himself notes, this is not a new idea, nor one particularly tied to the Left. Indeed, it’s been proposed by several prominent libertarians because it would replace the far more inefficient welfare system. Charles Murray called for this policy in 2016. [A guaranteed income for every American, AEI, June 3, 2016] Milton Friedman suggested a similar policy in a 1968 interview with William F. Buckley, though Friedman called it a “negative income tax.” […]