Source: Jill Goldsmith/Deadline
By Ryan Chou
Just two years ago, Andrew Yang was virtually unheard of as he kicked off his 2020 presidential bid. Although he was near the back of the pack as the candidate field progressively narrowed, it is undeniable that the tech entrepreneur has gained much more national recognition. The 46-year old Asian-American is now running to be New York City’s mayor, and unlike his run for president, he’s leading the vast field of candidates.
Yang’s policies and views, for the most part, have not changed between his presidential run and mayoral run. A major proponent of human-centered policies, Yang’s objectives truly have everyday people in mind, or in this case, 8 million New Yorkers. Other public figures clearly see this as well; so far, some of his more notable endorsers include Amy Schumer, Ron Kim, and Martin Luther King III.
If you remember anything about the Asian guy running for president back in 2020, it’s that he wanted to give $1,000/month to every American. Well, he wants to pilot a less extensive program like that as mayor. At a cost of $1 billion/year, Yang wants to give $2,000/year to 500,000 of the Big Apple’s lowest-income residents.
What?! Isn’t that socialism? It’ll ruin the economy! Well, not exactly. It’s true that in basic terms, Yang does want to give free money to thousands of New York City’s people, clear-cut economy-destroying socialism isn’t the best way to describe this policy. The idea of basic income programs like these are to provide a basic social safety net for the most vulnerable. By ensuring people some form of guaranteed income, they would be more driven to take entrepreneurial risks, do what they truly love, and in general, lead more fulfilling lives. In Alaska, residents can receive up to $2,000/year, and what ended up happening? Well, the state stayed in line with other parts of the country when it came to working, and people ended up spending that money on local businesses. Now, if it was $100,000/year, then people might just sit around all day and do nothing, but $2,000/year doesn’t exactly provide much of a lifestyle. It’s enough to cover some bare essentials and free up some income to start small projects, but it’s not radical, and to be fair, it wouldn’t really even give that big of a safety net; the impoverished would have a little stress lifted off their backs, nobody will stop working, and keep in mind, 19.1% of pre-pandemic New Yorkers were living in extreme poverty, with another 41.3% being at risk for falling into such a situation.
Another issue Yang wants to tackle is the environment. Notably, he plans to catalyze the speed at which the city’s vehicles become fully electric. Under Yang’s administration, this will be accomplished by 2035, which will be accompanied by growing the CoolRoofs program in order to keep the city cool. According to the city’s own health department, over 3,000 people are dying and 2,000 hospitalized each year because of air pollution. Addressing this problem won’t just make the city look nicer, it will save lives.
Unfortunately, another problem in the city involves public housing units. According to the Department of Investigation, 55,000 of the New York City Housing Authority Unit’s still may have lead-based paint. It doesn’t take much explaining to say that this is a health hazard, and Yang has already condemned this and plans to end the lead presence in these homes.
A Mayor Yang would certainly be a fresh face to the city, and as the full brunt of the post-pandemic fallout is faced, he is just the one for the job.