Must make universal basic income 'right of citizenship' in US: 2020 hopeful Yang

George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
6:48 | 04/07/19

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Transcript for Must make universal basic income 'right of citizenship' in US: 2020 hopeful Yang
serial entrepreneur. I'm not a politician. Meet Andrew yang. You may not have heard of him before. But the 44-year-old tech exec has been running for president since 2017 on one idea. Universal basic income. He calls it the freedom dividend. Imagine being able to look your teenage son or daughter in the eye and say, starting at age 18, you'll receive $1,000 a month from your country. Your country loves you, values you, you're just as American as everyone else. Yang says it's the best solution to future job loss from automation and artificial intelligence. He's gaining traction. This is truly democracy in action. Just this week, he announced over 80,000 campaign donors. Crossing a DNC threshold for the first debate in June. Andrew yang is here live. Welcome to "This week." So if you make it on to that stage, what is going to be your argument for why you're best qualified to take the white house? We have to solve the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016. To me, we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, the swing states he needed to win. We're in the third inning of the greatest economic and technological transformation in the history of the country. We need to evolve for Americans to have a path forward. One of your solutions is universal basic income. $1,000 to every American adult. Why should well off people like you and me get $12,000 a year from the government? This has been in place in Alaska for almost 40 years. Where it's universal. Everyone in the state gets between $1,000 and $2,000 a year because it's universal, there's no stigma attached. There's no rich to poor transfer. It's wildly popular in a conservative state. What we have to do is make it a right of citizenship of all Americans. We have to do with technology for everyone around the country. They had the surplus. This is going the cost $2 trillion to $3 trillion. How are you going to pay for it? If you look around, who are going to be the biggest winners from ai and technology? Amazon. Google. Amazon paid zero in federal taxes last year. We have to join every other advanced economy and have a value-added tax that would fall on the Amazons of the world. Because our economy is so vast. A value-added tax would generate over $800 billion in real revenue. The value-added tax could hurt people at the lower end of the income scale. You want to consolidate welfare programs and the $1,000 would be offset against any other federal benefits it gets. Couldn't it help well-off people much more than those at the lower end of the income scale? The people at the top end of the income scale consume a lot more. You can actually make of that so it falls more heavily on luxury goods as opposed to consumer staples. The way for us to get this money is to go to where the money is. And where the money is is in the hands of the Amazons and the googleand Facebooks of the world. You have come out for pardoning all nonviolent drug offenders. Here you are at the national action network this week. I would pardon everyone who is in jail for a nonviolent drug-related offense. I would pardon them on April 20, 2021, and I would high-five them on the way out of Does that include cocaine dealers? Opioid dealers? We have to confront the opioid epidemic. A plague in our country. Eight Americans are dying of drug overdoses every hour. I would decriminalize opioids. In that particular segment, I was referring to marijuana-related drug offenses specifically. So only marijuana. Not all nonviolent drug offenders. Correct. You mentioned Amazon and Facebook. They've been winners in this economy. I spoke with Mark Zuckerberg this week. He's now come out for government regulation of Facebook. Let's take a look. It's not clear to me after working on this for a few years now that we want a private company to be making that kind of fundamental decision on what is political speech and how should that be regulated? How do you respond to some who say, wait a second. It's your responsibility. It's your platform. It's your company. I think broadly we would say that's setting the rules around political advertising is not a company's job. There's been plenty of rules in the past. To this point, they're not updated to the modern threats that we face. I see you nodding your head. Kind of surprised to E see mark Zuckerberg calling for regulation. You say we should go farther and have a department -- an entire department overseeing social media. A department of the attention economy. The data shows that in addition to problems from people getting information through social media, we're also seeing a huge surge in depression, anxiety, and emotional issues. He said that the research is not that clear. You disagree? Yeah, I do. The data is very clear. If you look, you see that the surge in anxiety and depression among teenage girls in particular is coincident to smartphone adoption and social media. One thing that has been a surprise in your campaign is some of the support you have been getting from members of the alt right and white supremacists like Richard Spencer. Here he was on a podcast. Now we have Andrew yang, who is conventionally liberal on a host of issues. But who will offer us a thousand bucks a month. Trump offers us bluster and And no dollars per month. Andrew yang comes in and offers us this. Why don't we get on the yang gang. I know you said you don't want support from white supremacists. But do you understand why they're drawn to you? Do you need to do more to separate from them? I have completely disavowed support from anyone who holds a hateful or racist ideology. I'm the son of immigrants myself. That's antithetical to what I believe. I want to stay focused on trying to solve the problems of the we are destroying many, many communities' paths forward in the 21st century. 30% of malls will close in the next four years because of Amazon sucking up $20 billion in commerce each year. Working in retail is still the most common job in our economy. How do you translate the online support into votes? I'm already polling nationally at 1% to 3% depending upon the poll. So most people still have not heard of me. As more people hear about me and my message and my vision for a trickle-up economy, our support will keep on growing. I have a CNN town hall next week that is a great opportunity. Andrew yang, thank you for coming in. It's been a pleasure. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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