| September 12, 2019 08:40 PM
Andrew Yang has drawn cheers, jeers, chuckles, and even legal scrutiny for his odd plan to give 10 American families $1,000 a month for the next year, paid out of his campaign coffers.
This is actually a great plan. And here’s why:
1. It’s a field test of a policy proposalNothing is less scientific in America than public policy. Looking for evidence is unheard of, much less conducting experiments. Yang here is running a pilot program for his central policy proposal: A Universal Basic Income that provides $1,000 to every family every month.
Of course it’s not a full test, as there will be macroeconomic effects of giving $120,000 to more than a hundred million families that won’t appear when you give that to 10 families. But if we see how those people spend their money, how their lives are changed, it will tell us something about this policy.
A willingness to field-test your proposal during the campaign? That’s pretty bold.
2. It may be illegal, and it will draw the ire of the fedsMost Democrats want to regulate political spending more and more. Everything is becoming illegal, and Democrats want to make more things illegal. If Yang gives people money, to help them out, and to test his idea, and then the Federal Election Commission brings down the hammer, Yang will be the enemy of the state and the hero of the people.
3. It’s much better than the other things campaigns spend money onWhen campaigns spend money, as Yang hinted, it enriches Beltway consultants and television stations. Giving money to a campaign, then, is giving money to some former congressional staffer now living in a mansion in McLean funded by all sorts of campaigns. Now, Yang makes it clear that if you give money to him, you’re funding some American family.