United States: Basic Income becomes more prominent at the Democratic Party 4th Debate


It seems that it is no longer just Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang who is speaking about basic income (his version of it) at Democratic Party Debates. And although basic income is still a minor issue debated at these events, it is relevant to acknowledge that other candidates are also casting their support for the idea. That has been the case of Tulsi Gabbard, and Julián Castro, both present at the latest forth debate. Gabbard has stated that “I think universal basic income is a good idea (…) Universal basic income is a good idea to help provide that security so people can make choices that they want to see”, and Castro has shown openness to conducting basic income pilots in the United States territory.


Meanwhile, Andrew Yang’s campaign has been rising exponentially, even though being actively ignored by major news outlets. The list of public figure endorsements has been gaining weight, including names such as Elon Musk (Tesla, Space X), Sam Altman (Y Combinator), Scott Santens, Andy Stern (ESP, SEIU ex-president) and even Nicholas Cage. Fundraising has also been rising steeply, from 1,7 million US$ up to 10 million US$ within 2019 alone (almost a 6-fold increase), 99% of which comes from small donors (200 US$ or less, averaging 30 US$). Also, Yang has qualified for all four Democratic Party Presidential debates so far, and is already setup for the fifth one (on November 20th 2019), and has been attributed the responsibility for introducing basic income into the American wider political discussion.


More information at:

Delia Paunescu, “The fourth 2020 Democratic presidential debate, explained in under 25 minutes”, Vox, October 16th 2019

Universal Basic Income Gains Momentum Beyond Yang at Fourth Debate as Gabbard and Castro Add Their Support”, Basic Income Today, October 16th 2019

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 352 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • gespil

    UBI is good.
    Yang’s fake UBI increases the dependency of the very poor and the government from the spending mood of the very rich.

    Yang’s UBI is fake because somebody somewhere must perpetually spend 10k first so that somebody somewhere can have 1k later.
    Paying for the UBI with money from consumption (VAT, etc.) creates serios dependence of the very poor and the government from the spending moods of the rich.
    Yang’s UBI is fake because it is consumption based.

    The real UBI is always based on taxing ownership of Wealth. (i.e. the current market value of all sort of assets, bank accounts, patents, copyrights, shares, bonds, land, estate, products, reserves, art, deeds, legal tender, etc., etc. etc even your aunt’s silverware if somebody is willing to accept it as payment.)

    Wealth tax is “impractical” and confusing only if you are wealthy. …. we constantly hear comparisons about “who is the richest of them all”, surely since we know that we can tax them on it.
    Wealth tax is not double taxation, there is taxing Income, there is taxing consumption and there is taxing wealth.
    We can tax you when you earn a dollar , when you spend a dollar and when you keep a dollar. Three different things.

    Under Yang if there is no spending on VAT goods there is no UBI even though there are mountains of Wealth just waiting there to be spent when the owner is in the spending mood.

    Most UBI plans I have seen are based on taxing mostly Income and/or consumption.
    None of them UBI plans tax the ownership of wealth.

    The real UBI is always based on taxing ownership of Wealth

    Bernie’s Wealth tax should be used to fund the real UBI instead of being used for government-run projects.

  • Most countries have a VAT (Value Added Tax). It is simply a tax on most items except basic necessities. It is a realistic way to bring in tax dollars, and a logical underpinning to an Unconditional Basic Income. As Andrew Yang has said, taxing the wealthy has been tried, and has not worked, because the uber-wealthy have ways of hiding their money that you and I have never even thought of.

    Andrew Yang has obviously thought through these issues, and has a solid plan on how to finance his Freedom Dividend of $1000 per month for every adult.

    His policies have the potential to turn the US economy around, and, if adopted in other countries, could eliminate poverty worldwide, and be the basis of a sustainable economy for the 21st century.

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