Andrew Yang: presidential candidate, New Paltz weekender

If you aren’t already a recruit to the Yang Gang, and your familiarity with presidential candidate Andrew Yang is based mainly on his performance in the Democratic primary debates, here’s what you probably know about him: He’s smart and articulate, with a sheen of Silicon Valley nerdiness. He made a lot of money starting up an online business preparing students to take standardized tests, Manhattan Prep. He thinks that America’s biggest problem – and a major motivating factor for blue-collar workers, some of them formerly identifying as Democrats, who voted for Trump – is the loss of jobs to automation: the subject of his book The War on Normal People. And his prescription to solve that problem is a concept that economists call Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Perhaps because UBI might easily be confused by some with the acronym for urinary tract infection, Yang prefers to call his presidential platform’s flagship program the Freedom Dividend. He proposes that every American over the age of 18 receive a check from the government for $1,000. If enacted, Yang believes, the economy would get a sustained boost from people having more disposable income and being able to pay down existing debts. That an extra $12,000 per year will serve to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation is also, presumably, a hoped-for goal.

If push comes to shove, not many Americans would say no to a monthly check for $1,000. But can the idea of something-for-nothing fly in a culture forged in frontier self-sufficiency that scorns the modern European “welfare state” and lionizes so-called “self-made men”? 


So far, the answer seems to be no: Yang’s poll numbers aren’t budging beyond the single digits. But his (mostly young male) supporters are fired with enthusiasm. And maybe there’ll be a groundswell of interest as voters become more familiar with his rationale for this solution to America’s economic woes. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, here’s one lesser-known factoid about the candidate: He has lifelong ties to the Hudson Valley. He spent his early childhood, when his father was working for General Electric, in Niskayuna, and his middle and high school years in Somers after his father went to work for IBM. After college (Brown University, then Columbia Law) he settled in Manhattan. But in 2015, Andrew Yang, his wife Evelyn and their two young children bought a country getaway in New Paltz. That’s where they spend their weekends when the candidate isn’t off somewhere campaigning. According to New Paltz Reformed Church pastor Reverend Mark Mast, as quoted in a recent article in the Journal News/, the Yang family have been active parishioners since their arrival.

Who knew? And who knows what other low-profile neighbor of yours or mine might be contemplating a bid for high political office?

There are 3 comments

  1. Korgull

    This is great, the weekender class in the HV are a great example of “normal” people’s #1 enemy. Too rich, too disconnected, and all the progressive platitudes in the world don’t disguise the fact they the “jobs” they want to create are for graduates, and the actual working class don’t even register let alone count until they need their driveway ploughed or their plumbing fixed.

    1. Alyssa

      He wasn’t handed that weekender status. Both of his parents were immigrants and he learned the importance of hard work through them. He went to law school and then after working at a firm for 6 months decided to become an entrepreneur(which his parents thought was absolutely absurd btw). He’s had start ups completely fail on him and then one picked up. He has been creating jobs for people in cities like Detroit, Chicago, NYC, and others through the National nonprofit he created, called Venture for America. He ended up selling the non profit when Trump was elected, because he felt like establishment candidates weren’t focusing on the real problems.

      This article is a good start but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. I encourage you to watch some videos on youtube of Yang speaking on his platform.

      You mention jobs of the working class. And he does understand the struggle, he’s seen it, you’ve seen it, I see it. Automation is destroying the most common jobs in our country. Truck driving, retail, customer service reps can all be replaced by robots within the next ten years. Malls and local stores are closing. And do you know who is guilty of that? Amazon. Job displacement training programs haven’t worked in the past, and the federal jobs guarantee Bernie proposes wont give people the purpose they look for if forced into working for the government.

      The freedom dividend proposal gives the money back to the people and will be incredible for the Hudson Valley. It allows everyone to have 1000$ a month to fall back on in times of need, in between jobs etc. This will excel the art
      and music industry, help single parents, and encourage people to leave jobs that aren’t for them. People have done the math all over the internet and the profits are greater than 15$ an hour. Oh and he has a full plan that shows you just how he is going to pay for it.

      Its not left it’s not right but a forward way of thinking. I really hope you keep your mind open to supporting this candidate. I’ve never been THIS into politics before but I have donated and bought merch to support him and I am not the only follower of his to say that.

Comments are closed.