Give third-way candidate Andrew Yang a chance

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Give third-way candidate Andrew Yang a chance

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Luke Widenhouse

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Liberty is the basis of our democracy and should be our primary political and economic goal. Through this lens, we should support Andrew Yang for President of the United States.

Yang is a fairly “Third Way” candidate. The Third Way is essentially a form of libertarianism from a leftist viewpoint. It aims for the improvement of labor supply, investment in human capital, equality of opportunity, personal responsibility, environmental protection, and a commitment to balanced budgets, free trade, and free markets. Politicians like the French President, Emmanuel Macron, could be classified as Third Way-esque.

His most prominent policy is Universal Basic Income (UBI). Under his proposal, known as the “Freedom Dividend,” every American would receive an unconditional income of $12,000 a year. It would increase personal choice, allow us to reduce the bureaucracy, and would apply equally to everyone no matter their income.

Some may say UBI is big government. It is, after all, free money. Yet UBI is in fact the least intrusive of any sort of social programs the government could provide. It may seem to be in general self interest or a moral principle that people have some form of protection against extreme poverty or hunger. UBI provides a minimum standard of social safety to everyone but ignores who gets it, what it gets spent on, how it gets spent, and so forth. In many ways, UBI is the tool to reducing the bureaucracy and welfare state. It therefore assures a minimum protection against extreme hunger or poverty but also ensures that government intrudes very little in individual lives.

It’s often said that what is unfair about today is not that there is inequality but that this inequality did not arise out of work or creativity but from corruption and laziness. In other words, the top one percent made their wealth by exploiting and taking advantage of people rather than starting a business people wanted and building their wealth from there. If people begin the race to the top at the same level and rampant inequalities arise from there, this is acceptable due to the fact that everyone was given the same opportunities to reach the top. UBI is precisely the way to ensure full equality of opportunity.

But it’s not just UBI which makes Yang the best candidate in this election. He aims for what he terms “human-centered capitalism.” Socialism has too often failed to be considered a viable option. Capitalism is very clearly the best option to maximizing personal liberty and bringing wealth and prosperity. It is the best means to ensuring free choice and open competition. However, it is important to recognize that the freedom of the individual should reign supreme, not that of corporations. We should adopt a system similar to the capitalist “social market economies” of Germany and the Netherlands. These models adopt both a free market and social policies establishing fair competition and a minimum standard of social safety for all. Yang aims to do this.

In the spirit of fairness, there are two things that may make him unattractive. The first is his tendency to make a big deal out of trivial issues such as his belief in “making taxes fun,” or “empowering MMA fighters.”

The second are his immigration views. He aims to “secure the border” just like so many of our other politicians. Borders are a plague to our country, the hallmark of the nanny state which thinks government should do whatever it can to “help” the people. Any type of border “security” restricts individual liberty. Virtually all immigration, customs bureaucrats, and law enforcement officers are the downfall of entrepreneurship and prosperity in our country.

Besides this, Yang is, ultimately, the best candidate in the upcoming election. He is hard headed in his support for capitalism yet equally committed to the ideal of a fairer society. He aims to simplify the social safety net while ensuring adequate security for all. Thus, in spite of flaws in some of Yang’s views, he is the best candidate in this election as the advocate of competition, innovation, choice, and adequate social safety.