I just attended Andrew Yang’s presidential run kickoff meeting at the Impact Hub. It is either due to my stupidity or devine intervention that I went South West from 16th and Mission street Bart station in an attempt to reach the meeting place. I felt like I walked through a third world country. Every other storefront is jagged with halted construction, rusted and twisted metal gates, marijuana, street vendors selling Latino music CD’s (what?) Wrist watches and socket wrenches(what?) …. Then I turned around at the Armory realizing I went three blocks in the wrong direction. Wow…. I feel pampered never having experienced this side of San Francisco in the decade I’ve worked here.
Andrew Yang is running for president of the United States in 2020 as a Democrat. He is running on the slogan of Humanity First and proposed to introduce unviersal basic income (UBI) for American Citizens.
He and I both great up on the east coast.
American educated American born American. Chinese American means good records keeping–won’t be wasting time on finding that darn birth certificate. He has good protestant work ethics–thats as best as I can imagine to describe the trait. It is remarkable that he is proud of his dad’s prolificity at IBM and GE. It shows an American success at assimilating and integrating family of Asian culture. I brag about my dad’s work all the chances I get too. He’s charismatic, has two sons and beautiful wife. Very nice!! Entrenpenurer, lawyer, very respectable. He is a rare breed of politicians who is both willing and able to express agreement with both Trump and Hilary Clinton on very large issues. That’s honesty and nonpartisanship. He seems very knowledgeable, drawing on Napoleon for Strategy and Summarian political mechanisms for Asian culture, being able to take lesson from past deeds by oneself or others is considered a great attribute. He watches American TV and movies as all Red-blooded Americans do and can communicate very complex societal structure and dynamics effectively using TV show plot contrivances and their memes. He has a data science or quantitative mind. For example he talks about Administrator-to-student ratio at colleges as an improvable metric. It is nice to hear some one talk about incontrovertiblelly measurable metrics when they talk policy. Very very nice.
The Economics and Policies
The UBI is to be covered by a new VAT to be leveed on American companies. Avery time American company adds value to material by transforming or combining it to make a product, the Value-Added is Taxed. The monies goes to American people $1000 per capita. The VAT will be less than European countries’ national VAT. (VAT can be a very interesting subject by itself without UBI)
His Economic theory needs exposition. Hopefully his book will disclose it well. He processes his fear of the dark side of human nature as the biggest problem UI will face. A person would join a local artisanal backery more freely because making a living is no longer a problem. But he could also buy drugs or guns with that money. He argued that UBI is pro-capitalistic in an interesting way.
Also, he is able to establish that UBI is not socialism or communism–those seem to require a greater degree of control of means of production by government than merely establishing UBI.
His message was oriented towards younger crowd tonight, and also… maybe hippies? San Franciscans, however, didn’t seem to appreciate it. There was a lot of questions about his basic premises, is UBI realistic, etc. We didn’t even get to the tougher debate questions like lack of: leadership experience in large organizations, military experience, foreign policy, diplomacy, clarity of his stance on the China-Taiwan Strait, and the Middle East. What about Obama care? What about the how of undoing Trump? These ought to be answered as the campaign continues.
One important question might be whether he is too smart to be the president? That’s a tough thing for me to say given the likables above. I don’t know that America voters wants a smart president–I certainly cannot imagine anyone really liking a super smart Asian kid who kicked your ass on the SAT and LSAT…, and then started a school to train kids to beat your kids at the same tests… I think Americans like to be the smart ones. I’m not sure Andrew can navigate this subtlety all the way to presidency… yet.
Also he might want to work on his euphorisms a bit. He stumbled while trying to express the condition of uncomfortable poverty when not employed… inelegantly… Other things like placing some unreasonable oppositions at a pole of the intelligence spectrum… Private citizens and holder of other jobs can do that but a presidential candidate cannot. IMMHO.
The question is then : will he be ready by 2020?
I wouldn’t be upset if he doesn’t prevail untill 2024.
Trump… May still have interesting things up his sleeves. I’m still cheering for that wall that Mexical pays for(like how China is paying for the tax cut). It’ll generate electricity using the sun light from the Mexican air space, and it justifies development of massive autonomous drone patroling system to protect the expensive equipment… or just really tall walls.. Amongst other things. There’s still a lot of interesting stuff in the Trump plan… and you sure as heck cannot change horse mid-race, right? That’d be like changing a jet engine mid-flight…
and finally, while I want monthly free money and will end up voting for him if he makes it to the primary, I fear that I do so knowing he will lose. I am a huge wimp when it comes to these things. I don’t recall the exact post where I argue that white Europeans descendants should be leaders of the world because no other race has demonstrated they are able to lead the world to present day prosperity. Unconscious bias or not, I have never seen an Asian-American business or technology leader that inspired confidence and trust in me as many white European descended leaders do, no matter how successful they are–Yang is no exception, something always seems not right when they lead, maybe it’s the bone structure affecting the swagger? Maybe it’s the rate of blink? There is an inexplicable uncanny valley that must be overcome.
In similar thinking, I fear UBI may cause social instability in America. Those truckers who without UBI have to spend all their time looking for work and scraping together a living, will instead, under UBI, have the leisure of organizing protests and revolts. Why wouldn’t they? They should get two grand a month instead of one right? There’s some merits to all that communism craze–if you give free money or service to all people for free, you better be able to control what they produce very carefully. Without that control, there is no guarantee that the good will happen–unless you are an optimist and humanist and have faith that the good grace of god shall transpire–all at once.
I guess if there’re enough people with those believes, it could work…
Let’s see what Yang makes it in 2020.