The third worst Democratic presidential candidate

Meet Andrew Yang

%28Courtesy+of+Andrew+Yang+for+President+2020+official+Facebook+page%29
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The third worst Democratic presidential candidate

(Courtesy of Andrew Yang for President 2020 official Facebook page)

(Courtesy of Andrew Yang for President 2020 official Facebook page)

(Courtesy of Andrew Yang for President 2020 official Facebook page)

(Courtesy of Andrew Yang for President 2020 official Facebook page)

By Neil Singh, Letter Contributor

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Aside from the hypocrisy and improbable economics of a Bernie Sanders presidency, or the Assad-friendliness of a Tulsi Gabbard presidency, there is one last member of the now 18-person Democratic presidential candidate list that I cannot, in good faith, put any support behind: Andrew Yang.

Despite Yang’s relationship with online communities through his embrace of modern meme culture, which in turn allowed him to receive $1.7 million in donations from over 80,000 individual donors, his primary selling point to many has been his supposedly extensive actual policy plans. This is to the point that most of the #YangGang advertising of his cause relies on this point, referencing his proposal for a universal basic income, and naming him a “true winner on policy substance.”

With simple and catchy slogans, his policy outlines around a hundred different proposals, each with a page explaining the issue and Yang’s solution. It’s impressive how much thought Yang has been put into each of them, and I find it unfortunate that I must point out that a majority of the solutions outlined are inherently flawed by being absurd, foolish or unconstitutional. And that’s before I address his flagship proposal of “Freedom Dividends.”

Allow me to give a few examples of this trend among his positions. Consider the plan to establish a “Public Council of Advisors,” where the president would appoint consulting agents from whom he would seek advice on different assigned topics. Presumably, he decided to ignore the existence of councils that already existed in advisory capacity to the presidency, like the President’s Management Advisory Board, in order to propose the idea as something he came up with.

Or maybe consider his ridiculous “Foreign Policy First” topic, where he discusses the actually reasonable idea of changing American diplomacy. Yang wants to transfer many responsibilities from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the State Department by increasing State Department funding, and utterly ignoring that quite a few of the American interventions across the world for the War on Terror have massively reduced terrorist threats in the United States. Yang also demands regular DoD audits, when the DoD has been undergoing an audit for the past 28 years, which has revealed that the Pentagon’s waste has been statistically minimal for such a large organization. But hey, he’s supporting the State Department, something we should never have stopped funding consistently in the first place. Or not, since then in his plan to “Limit Bureaucracy in the Federal Workforce,” he outlines a decision to “hire a management consulting firm to identify areas of inefficiency in the federal workforce” and then cut 15 to 20 percent of the workers involved. In this incredibly vague proposal, where he assumes that any private consulting firm can solve the government’s problems, he outlines cuts more massive than any federal cut proposal in the history of the country, and this is after the fact that GOP cuts have left the government bureaucracy more critically understaffed than it has been in the last 40 years.

I could go on, for each of the hundred policies he addresses, but I imagine you get the point, so I’ll summarize the trend. Yang approaches the problems of government the way an eager venture capitalist with too many advisors would approach creating a startup: with plenty of vision, broad and sweeping solutions, and absolutely no introspection on any of it. He relies massively on a belief that as president, his control of the country would reflect a CEO’s or majority stockholder’s control of a company. Sounds familiar?

If this isn’t obvious already, he suggests an old political classic of “Rebuild American Infrastructure,” except to achieve it, he proposes the most egregiously unconstitutional policies I’ve heard since sedition laws. He proposes a new branch of the military focused on improving domestic infrastructure that would be called the “Legion of Builders and Destroyers,”because apparently we’ve adopted naming schemes from 1980s Saturday morning cartoon villains, which would be commanded at the whim of the president and have the ability to practically ignore all local laws. Finally, Yang ignores evidence pointing out flaws in his policies.

All one needs to do to come to this conclusion after going through his policy page might be to discover his flagship proposal, Universal Basic Income. It involves providing $1,000 per month to every adult in the United States, growing the economy by “12.56 to 13.10 percent” alone, citing a study done by the Roosevelt Institute, an accredited economic think tank. Brilliant, except for the part where he answers how it would be paid for by suggesting the creation of a value-added tax. What’s wrong? Sadly, it contradicts a line from halfway through the summary available on the first page of the study he cites that states, “when the model is adapted to include distributional effects, the economy grows, even in the tax-financed scenarios.”

Vote for somebody else, for heaven’s sake, somebody with a grasp of what they’re doing, if you want to fix this nation’s problems.

Neil Singh can be reached at [email protected]