While many Americans are still awaiting their stimulus check from the U.S. government, some will be receiving one from Andrew Yang himself. The former Democratic presidential candidate is giving away $250 checks to Americans who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, through his group Humanity Forward. On Thursday, Yang announced that more payments would be going out soon.
Yang announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had donated $5 million to Humanity Forward, funding more checks that are meant to promote the practicality of Universal Basic Income and similar programs. Yang made a name for himself in the Democratic primary through his support for UBI, which he said was a necessity due to the impending threat of automation on the job market. With the economic fallout of COVID-19 and the focus on stimulus checks, Yang has been vindicated in many people's eyes. On Thursday, Yang announced on CNN that 20,000 Americans would get a check for $250 each through Humanity Forward.
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is donating $5 million to Andrew Yang’s organization, Humanity Forward, the former 2020 candidate announced.— New Day (@NewDay) May 21, 2020
“We’re going to give $250 to 20,000 Americans,” Yang said. pic.twitter.com/mLETUn9MjY
Yang said that Humanity Forward already has as many requests for COVID-19 financial relief as it can handle, "and more," so Dorsey's donation has likely already been earmarked to go out. Still, Yang said that he is "incredibly grateful" to Dorsey and that his money will "improve the immediate situation for literally thousands of Americans."
Before jumping into the political arena, Yang was a corporate lawyer with a background in the tech industry, who saw automation through robotics and AI as a considerable threat to the economy. In his book, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future, Yang argued that automation would soon be taking over jobs that would not be replaced, and society would have to prepare for the creation of an unemployed population.
Like others in his field, Yang advocates for a system that taxes companies for their use of automation and uses that taxes to pay a "basic income" to those displaced workers. While this issue seems far off to many, Yang says it is not — pointing to industries like long haul trucking, which will soon be taken over by driverless cars. Part of his presidential platform was the creation of a "Freedom Dividend," ensuring that Americans could get at least $1,000 per month in basic income even if they could not find work. Yang now works as a political commentator for CNN.