Meeting Andrew Yang in Cedar Rapids and Learning How He Plans to Become President

I just got back from the Andrew Yang meetup in Cedar Rapids — it was held at Groundswell Café, which is one of those community spaces that lets you “pay it forward” and buy another person’s meal for them (and if you’re in a situation where you need food, you can come in and enjoy one of the paid-forward meals), so already it was like we were on message.

Them that hath shall give, for a change.*

The Food Dividend.

Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend, which is rapidly gaining traction on various parts of the internet, is a universal basic income plan of $1,000/month for every American over the age of 18. (No, it shouldn’t lead to mass inflation, just like Seattle’s $15 minimum wage didn’t lead to mass inflation. The thing that drove gentrification and housing cost inflation in Seattle was “a growing number of people that had a lot of money,” not “a lot of people that suddenly had a little more money.”)

This is not Yang’s only policy plan, and we spent the morning discussing everything from Medicare for All to mitigating the effects of climate change to stopping the endless wars — but the truth, as it seems to be at the moment, is that we need to solve our country’s economic problems before we can deal with larger-scale issues.

As Andrew Yang explained (paraphrased):

Trump became president because his campaign correctly identified many of the biggest issues facing the United States: increased automation, job loss, economic insecurity. However, his presidency has done nothing to provide solutions to these problems.

Yang’s solution, and his plan of action, are as follows:

  1. Focus on the Freedom Dividend. This is a unifying issue — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents have all shown enthusiastic support for the “$1K a month” plan, and we have memes of people trading their MAGA hats for Yang hats (and reports of Trump supporters re-registering as Democrats so they can vote for Yang).
  2. Place in the top three in the Iowa primaries.
  3. Win New Hampshire, which has a large Libertarian crowd that should provide additional support.
  4. At that point, Yang told us, his face is on the cover of every newspaper. Globally. “Who is this guy and how did he beat all those established politicians?” The Freedom Dividend goes mainstream, and a lot of people get really excited about an extra $12K every year.
  5. Win the election.
  6. Institute the Freedom Dividend ASAP. Both halves of Congress should be on board because it’ll pour a lot of money into red states, and if they don’t give people their $12K, they’re going to have a lot of angry constituents.
  7. Once Americans see that their country can accomplish big goals that benefit everyone, and QUICKLY, they’ll be ready to tackle even larger problems like climate change.

(By the way, I love that Andrew Yang has both a tactical plan for winning the election and is willing to share those tactics with all of us.)

“You have the history of the country in your hands,” Yang told us — referring, of course, to the Iowa Caucus.

But it can also refer to all of us. ❤️

If you want to learn more — AND I HOPE YOU DO — go to Yang2020.com.

*I am of course referring to the Bible, Matthew 13:12, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” Coincidentally, Groundswell is part of a larger mission called Matthew 25, which “exists to strengthen core neighborhoods on the west side of Cedar Rapids and to provide opportunities for people to act on their values through service.” In the Bible, Matthew 25 includes the parable of the wise and foolish virgins and the parable of the talents, but ends with the famous verses “whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.”

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