Much of America felt a bit of outrage and feelings of regression as no person of color qualified for the December Democrat presidential debate, until today! Andrew Yang will be the 7th and likely final candidate to qualify for the debate. Yang supporters around the nation sat in front of screens, small and large, with fingers crossed, awaiting the Quinnipiac University Poll. Spaces erupted after the announcement of Yang’s successful 4% support, up 1% from last month. 4% was the qualifying number for the December debate as Andrew Yang and the #Yanggang achieved their required 4th qualifying poll.
As the country awaited the latest polls, some debated the role of the Asian community in the larger conversation about issues related to people of color. At this point, no person of color qualified for the debate and Andrew Yang was the closest to qualifying, needing only 1 more poll with at least 4% support. 2020 presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, is very careful about leading with his identity as many politicians have used race, class and gender to exploit voters and/or create divisions. Yang has opted to engage America through a critical analysis of our moral and economic positions. Calling the country back to its highest obligations and reminding the nation of the sacrifices of our past.
Martin Luther King Jr. was violently assassinated in 1968. At the time of King’s death, King was a strong advocate for the Guaranteed Income concept as a means to eradicate poverty. This measure would craft a new safety net, providing an economic stimulus to all Americans. This idea would go on to be accepted and rejected by individuals on both sides of the political spectrum. Now, Andrew Yang has once again brought the idea to the forefront during the 2020 campaign season in the name of Martin Luther King Jr.
“The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Martin Luther King Jr.
There are many parallels between Yang’s Freedom Dividend policy and King’s Guaranteed Income concept. Both ideas rest on 5 key pillars. Automation, Eradication of Poverty, Redefining the Meaning of Work, Affordability, and Liberty. The 1960’s engaged the American imagination and pushed us towards major advances in technology. These advances will reach a culmination very soon as we continue to see entire industries and workforce sectors become automated. King witnessed the destruction of industry towns as robotics became more prevalent as early as the 1960’s. We are at the threshold of 2020 and Yang echoes King’s warning about automation as many of those communities King was most concerned about suffer from a lack of low-skilled labor opportunities and poverty. When work disappeared, the robots became more visible. From the post office to the neighborhood grocery, robots are partially responsible for scores of workers being displaced.
Andrew Yang urges the American voter to consider the shifting meaning of work. Through the use of a value added tax on those tech corporations rolling out automated technologies (affectionately know as the robot tax), the American citizens will be compensated in the form of a $1000 monthly dividend as the shareholders in the evolving automated economy. Andrew Yang encourages tech corporations interested in automation to maximize profits as long as the displaced American worker also benefits. Allow the robot to drive nonstop, but give the displaced driver a cut of the profits. Furthermore, Yang pushes for the activation of property rights related to compensation and the fair use of individual’s data by these same tech corporations.
Perhaps this dividend and compensation will smooth over our transition as we redefine labor. Perhaps the freedom dividend will allow us to volunteer more often or spend more time raising our children. Maybe we will finally have the security and capital to start our own businesses. Maybe we will finally be able to enjoy a regular night out with that special someone. Nonetheless, this transition can propel our understanding of liberty as the American citizen may soon be free from the toil of exploitative labor. Not only did a person of color qualify for the 2020 Democrat presidential debate, but the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. will also be present on that stage.