"I oppose the death penalty. It's incredibly costly. We've made tragic errors in our past and likely will continue to do so, and our application of the death penalty is racist in many situations. And so, I would do away with the death penalty."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Do You Support or Oppose the Death Penalty?," nytimes.com (accessed Oct. 7, 2019)
Pro Should Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Be Made Law?
"We need to license guns, implement universal background checks, and get assault weapons out of people's hands. We are the only country in the world with this level of gun violence. We can do much better."
Pro Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal Federally?
"I don't love marijuana. I'd rather people not use it heavily. But it's vastly safer than people becoming addicted to opiates like heroin. And our criminalization of it seems stupid and racist, particularly now that it's legal in some states. We should proceed with full legalization of marijuana and pardon those in jail for non-violent marijuana-related offenses. It's a safer, less addictive means to manage pain for many Americans...
As President, I will...
Support the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level and remove it from the controlled substances list."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Legalize Marijuana," yang2020.com (accessed Oct. 11, 2019)
Pro Should the Federal Government Provide Universal Childcare?
"As a parent of two young children myself, I am so for universal childcare, and the science bears it out. The fact is, a lot of crucial brain activity happens in those early years - number of words read to the child, amount of stimulation they're getting - so we need to help parents earlier on. Universal childcare is a must."
"I would pass a value added tax that would generate $800 billion a year in new revenue, conservatively. And then I would be distributing all of that money back to the American people immediately in a way that would then make our people, families, communities, stronger, make our consumer economy stronger, and make it so that more Americans actually have a path forward. And a lot of that money just ends up absorbed right back into these businesses that are paying in. You can create a virtuous cycle very quickly...
So I would make our income taxes generally a bit, or a lot, more progressive than they are right now, because they’re anomalously low at the higher levels, relative to other developed countries."
Source: The Times Editorial Board, "Opinion: Andrew Yang on Gun Violence, the Decline of the American Worker and 'Freedom Dividends,'" latimes.com, Aug. 14, 2019
"If you were to increase the minimum wage to $15, it would hasten the automation of all these fast food jobs that pay $9... there are all these hardware stores and main street retailers that are just scraping by paying people $9-10 an hour. You take that up to $15 an hour, they are 100 percent going to cut shifts and cut workers. It's much better just to give everyone $1,000 a month [as Universal Basic Income]. It's an effective raise of $6 an hour for anyone who's working full time, it doesn't come out of the pockets of small businesses."
Source: The Rubin Report, "Andrew Yang On How $15 Minimum Wage Hurts Workers," YouTube.com, June 11, 2019
[Editor's Note: On Apr. 30, 2018, Andrew Yang tweeted, "Leave minimum wage to states but universal basic income makes it much less necessary."
ProCon.org contacted the Yang campaign on Oct. 17, 2019 to request a clarification on the candidate's stance on minimum wage, pointing them to the two quotes above. The campaign replied on Oct. 18, 2019, "Would point you to a couple more things that Andrew Yang has said on the topic if you want to expand on the explanation" with links to two additional Andrew Yang tweets on the issue.
The first is a July 18, 2019 tweet with a video in which he stated, "A higher minimum wage does not help people like my wife who's at home with our two young boys, one of whom is Autistic. I mean, what does a higher minimum wage do for her? What does a higher minimum wage do for any of the caregivers, or people who are spending time ministering to their loved ones?
Here in Iowa I am giving a Freedom Dividend personally to a guy named Kyle Christensen who's at home with his ailing Mom, who's recovering from Cancer. And so I would think that what Kyle is doing is some of the most important work being done in our society, that would never be recognized by something like a higher minimum wage. We need to think much bigger about what work is and what value is in our society.
And I would suggest that to people who are trying to retire, a higher minimum wage does not do that much for you either unless you're in a circumstance where you have to go back to work."
The second was a May 29, 2018 tweet of a video in which he stated, in part, "As much as I'm for the fact that no American should work and suffer in poverty, the reality is that if we were to elevate a minimum wage to $15, it would just hasten the automation of many of these jobs... So we need to skip the middle man and just put money directly into the hands of American citizens."]
Pro Should the US Implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI)?
"In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it. To avoid an unprecedented crisis, we’re going to have to find a new solution, unlike anything we’ve done before. It all begins with the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income for all American adults, no strings attached – a foundation on which a stable, prosperous, and just society can be built...
Andrew Yang is running for president as a Democrat in 2020 to implement a guaranteed income. This form of basic income that he is proposing for the United States is a set of guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18. Yes, that means you and everyone you know would get $1,000/month every month from the U.S. government, no questions asked...
Andrew proposes funding the Freedom Dividend by consolidating some welfare programs and implementing a Value Added Tax of 10 percent. Current welfare and social program beneficiaries would be given a choice between their current benefits or $1,000 cash unconditionally – most would prefer cash with no restriction."
Source: Andrew Yang, "What Is the Freedom Dividend?," yang2020.com (accessed Dec. 10, 2019)
"Senator Warren is 100 percent right that we're in the midst of the most extreme winner-take-all economy in history. And a wealth tax makes a lot of sense in principle. The problem is that it's been tried in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and all those countries ended up repealing it, because it had massive implementation problems and did not generate the revenue that they'd projected.
If we can't learn from the failed experiences of other countries, what can we learn from? We should not be looking to other countries' mistakes. Instead, we should look at what Germany, France, Denmark, and Sweden still have, which is a value-added tax."
Source: The Fix Team, "The October Democratic Debate Transcript," washingtonpost.com, Oct. 15, 2019
Pro Should the Federal Funding to Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs) Be Increased?
"HBCUs came into existence out of necessity as a result of racial discrimination that denied Black Americans access to higher education...
HBCUs fill an important gap that currently exists in our higher educational system. We need to ensure they have equitable funding and equal access to resources available to other higher education entities...
I’m for dramatically increasing the federal allotment to HBCUs. The problem with education right now is that it’s become a business. What happens is, schools end up benefiting by catering to the affluent. So, you have these HBCUs that have an incredible historical mission that’s shown to elevate hundreds of thousands of African Americans. But, because they don’t have these crazy endowments that some of the rich schools do, they’re struggling."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities," yang2020.com (accessed Dec. 10, 2019)
"For those who are already getting crushed by student debt I would be for a debt-forgiveness-as-stimulus program. One proposal I'm championing - commit 10% of earnings for 10 years and you are debt free at the end. Then everyone would have a light at the end of the tunnel.
Forgiving student loans would be a great way to stimulate the economy. Young people should be buying cars and homes, starting businesses and families and moving society forward. Instead many are scrimping to service their debts."
"Many progressives are for free college education. I’m for the spirit of that but think it is the wrong policy. You are pretending that college degrees create jobs. They don’t. They create underemployed college grads.
Plus only 32% of Americans graduate from 4-year colleges. Why further subsidize the top third of the population?"
"Everyone eligible to vote on election day should be free to do so. However, too many Americans are unable to take time off from work as they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or are hourly workers who can't lose the time.
Election Day should be a federal holiday, but that doesn't go far enough as it doesn't ensure economic motivations won't keep people from voting. On top of making that day a holiday, we need to implement tax breaks for companies that pay their workers for the time taken off to vote."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Make Election Day a Holiday," yang2020.com (accessed Oct. 7, 2019)
"Two of the past five elections have been won by the candidate with fewer votes. Third-party candidates frequently bring important considerations and voices to the political process, but they’re drowned out by the two major parties, and – fair or not – are usually called spoilers by the losing party.
I’m for overturning Citizens United and reforming (though not eliminating) the electoral college, but those would require constitutional amendments."
Source: Andrew Yang, "My Plan to Restore Democracy," yang2020.com (accessed June 5, 2019)
Pro Should 2020 Presidential Election Candidates Accept Support from Super PACs?
"We all know we have a broken campaign finance system where there is a flood of money and it's overrun our policies, our politicians. I know very little about the Math PAC, genuinely. If it's the case that we have the rules that we have, and the people want to help support my message and my campaign, given the system we have right now, they're free to do so... I just hope that they are aligned with my vision for the country and they invest accordingly."
Source: Nicole Sganga, twitter.com, Oct. 23, 2019
[Editor's Note: Although Yang will accept super PAC support in this election given the current regulations, he has also stated, "I will gladly push for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return the American government to its people. We need to end Super PACs, drown out their influence, and stop pretending that corporations have equal rights to people."
Con Should the US Expand Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Land?
"We also absolutely should not be providing leases to companies that are going to exploit public lands – both on and offshore – to harvest oil, gas, and coal. There is no way to get at these resources without permanently damaging our priceless public lands, and yet you can stake a claim to an acre for a buck fifty. We need to stop the practice of providing these leases, and move to end the current ones as quickly as possible...
As President, I will... Stop all new leases for oil and gas companies on public lands, and end any currently existing lease."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Fossil Fuels: Their Days Are Over," yang2020.com (accessed Oct. 15, 2019)
Pro Should the US Adopt a Climate Change Plan such as the Green New Deal?
"Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal, which accomplished exactly what it set out to achieve: sparking a national conversation about how we define the scope of the problem and the scope of the solution.
The backlash was immediate, and the argument against it was that it will cost us jobs, money, and growth. But I’m a numbers guy, and I looked at the math. This couldn’t be further from the truth...
The Green New Deal has done a great job in starting the conversation, and its goals of lowering emissions, converting to renewable energy, and creating good paying jobs are commendable. We need to strive for these goals and set up a realistic plan utilizing all options in order to get to a fully sustainable economy ahead of 2050."
Source: Andrew Yang, "It’s Worse Than You Think – Lower Emissions, Higher Ground," yang2020.com (Aug. 28, 2019)
Pro Should the US Expand Its Use of Nuclear Power?
"To me, nuclear energy needs to be on the table in a transition to a more renewable economy, because our society consumes a great deal of energy.
And nuclear, right now, it gets a bad rap, in part because the technologies we're using are antiquated. And so, if you look up, we are working on these new generation nuclear reactors that use thorium, instead of uranium. And thorium is not natively fissile or radioactive, so the odds of a catastrophe dropped precipitously.
It's much, much safer to dispose of. It produces much more energy. So we need to upgrade the thorium-fueled reactors. And, to me, though, trying to get rid of all the nuclear power plants that produce 20 percent of the nation's energy is not going to help us accomplish our goals."
Source: CNN Transcripts, "Climate Crisis Town Hall with Andrew Yang (D), Presidential Candidate," transcripts.cnn.com, Sep. 4, 2019
Pro Should the Tariffs Imposed on China by President Trump Be Maintained?
Q: "We want to turn now to national security and the foreign policy issue that has such a direct impact here at home, the US relationship with China, trade and president Trump's tariffs... Would you repeal the tariffs on your first day in office. And if so, would you risk losing leverage in our trade relationship with China?"
Andrew Yang: "I would not repeal the tariffs on day one, but I would let the Chinese know that we need to hammer out a deal. Because right now the tariffs are pummeling producers and farmers in Iowa who have absolutely nothing to do with the imbalances that we have with China...
[W]e have to let the Chinese know that we recognize that President Trump has pursued an arbitrary and haphazard trade policy that has had victims on both sides. So no to repealing the tariffs immediately, but yes, to making sure we come to a deal that addresses the concerns of American companies and American producers."
Pro Should the US Re-Enter a Nuclear Deal with Iran?
"I think it was a mistake that we withdrew from the agreement to try and have them tamp down their nuclear development in return for various economic considerations. I would rejoin that agreement, which is multilateral. There are other countries that are actually still in that agreement with Iran that have been waiting for us to rejoin."
Source: Jeremy Hobson, "America Is 'Decades Behind the Curve on Technology,' 2020 Candidate Andrew Yang Says," wbur.org, June 19, 2019
"The Alabama law banning and criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape or incest is a dramatic step in the wrong direction. Government should not be making decisions on behalf of women. I would protect women's right to choose...
I personally don't think male legislators should be weighing in on women's reproductive rights and freedoms. It should be up to women. I'm happy to let women decide for themselves."
Pro Should the US Switch to a Medicare-for-All Healthcare System?
"Access to quality healthcare is one of the most important factors in overall well being, and yet America is one of the few industrialized nations not to provide healthcare for all of its citizens. Instead, we have a private healthcare system that leaves millions uninsured and bankrupts even some of those who do have health insurance...
This must change.
Through a Medicare for All system, we can ensure that all Americans receive the healthcare they deserve. Not only will this raise the quality of life for all Americans, but, by increasing access to preventive care, it will also bring overall healthcare costs down."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Medicare for All," yang2020.com (accessed Oct. 7, 2019)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the US Continue to Build a Border Wall at the US/Mexico Border?
"Walls generally aren't an effective way of stopping illegal border crossings. I don’t think it’s worth it to tear down existing barriers, but I wouldn’t support adding more unless their utility could be demonstrated in a particular part of the border."
Source:Washington Post, "Do You Support Extending the Existing Physical Barriers on the U.S.-Mexico Border?," washingtonpost.com (accessed Oct. 7, 2019)
Con Should the US End the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy?
"There are millions of undocumented immigrants in this country who were brought here as children through no fault of their own. America is the only home they’ve ever known. They’ve assimilated into our culture and view themselves as Americans, despite living under the constant fear of deportation.
This is wrong.
We need to find a solution that allows these individuals to formally integrate into our country...
Children who have never known any life other than growing up in America should not be living in fear of being deported from the only place they have ever known. We should assure them that this is their home and their future is here. I am the son of immigrants. I understand what this country can do for families and what it means to people. "
Source: Andrew Yang, "Support the DREAM Act," yang2020.com (accessed Dec. 12, 2019)
Pro Should the US Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings?
"Putting border crossers into our criminal justice system costs us billions of dollars and swamps a system that is not designed for it. I would be for criminalizing those who make a business of trafficking people in, or repeat offenders or those who enter after deportation proceedings or conviction of a crime. But individuals or families who cross the border should be treated as civil offenders."
Source: Kevin Uhrmacher, Kevin Schaul and Michael Scherer, "Where 2020 Democrats Stand on Immigration," washingtonpost.com, Sep. 20, 2019
Pro Should Transgender People Be Allowed to Serve in the US Military?
"Everyone would also be free to serve in the military during my administration. Many generals and admirals agree that the current administration’s ban on transgender military service harms combat effectiveness and compromises the military’s values. I would be honored and humbled to serve as Commander in Chief to any patriot who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to protect our country."
Source: Andrew Yang, "Pride Month," yang2020.com, June 1, 2019