OSSIPEE — Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang came to Hobbs Tavern last Thursday and spoke to approximately 75 people on the merits of a trickle-up economy.
Yang, 44, is a New York-based entrepreneur who was in the area as part of his Humanity First Tour.
Yang was in North Conway in March for The Conway Daily Sun’s first Meet at the Press editorial board, which was open to the public.
Yang is perhaps best-known for proposing a universal basic income system called the Freedom Dividend which would give every adult American $1,000 a month. It would be paid for in part by taxing big companies like Amazon and streamlining other benefit programs.
At Hobbs, Yang asked the crowd where they would spend their $1,000 per month and received a variety of responses, from paying bills to covering bar tabs at Hobbs Tavern.
“The beer will definitely flow on the night the dividend comes out,” said Yang. “A lot of the money is going to circulate right back into our neighborhoods, and Main Street. A lot of it is going to stay right here in New Hampshire. This is the trickle-up economy.”
He said the dividend would create 20,000 jobs in New Hampshire.
Yang also spoke of other priorities, like implementing Medicare for all and fighting climate change.
“Donald Trump is our president today in part because he got the problems essentially right, but what were his solutions?” asked Yang. “His solutions were build a wall, turn the clock back and we’ll bring the jobs back. And we have to do the opposite of those things. We need to turn the clock forward.”
Then he asked if everyone had seen his “MATH” Hats, which a campaign aide was wearing. “What does MATH stand for?” asked Yang, as if leading a cheer, and the audience replied “Make America Think Harder!”
He said other candidates are trying to use 20th-century solutions for 21st- century problems.
According to Yang, studies have shown 44 percent of jobs are going to be automated. Between 20 and 30 percent of American jobs will be automated in the next two decades. He said one thing that can be done is to promote the trades.
In response to other questions, Yang said he would “end the forever wars” and rebuild relationships with other countries who see Donald Trump as “erratic and unreliable.”
Asked about fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s plan to break up the big tech companies, Yang said some companies need to be broken up. But he said that’s largely an outdated solution because nobody uses the fourth best app.
“None of us wants to Bing anything,” said Yang.
He said a bigger and more pressing problem is the fact that teenagers spend so much time on social media apps.
Yang also came out swinging against the opioid crisis, which he noted has hit New Hampshire particularly hard.
He said he would go after Purdue Pharma’s $30 billion profits of what he called “blood money.” He said the company fueled the opioid crisis with its prescription drugs. He also took aim at the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma.
“I’m very passionate about this because it’s an example of how far gone we are as a society where we think somehow this was all (a lack) of individual responsibility when there was a company and a family that profited to the tune of $30 billion on the backs of our fellow citizens,” said Yang. “That’s a failure of government.”
A man in the audience asked if the universal basic income would lead to inflation.
Yang replied that market competition would prevent restaurants and stores from raising their prices. He said the number of dividends distributed would be pegged to the cost of living.
“Do you remember voting on the $4 trillion bailout of Wall Street?” said Yang. “I don’t either, but we did it, and there was no inflation. So we can do this, and it won’t cause massive inflation.”
For more information, go to yang2020.com