Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is urging the federal government to give every American $2,000 a month throughout the remainder of the coronavirus pandemic. Yang, who made Universal Basic Income (UBI) a centerpiece of his Presidential campaign, told FOX 11 anchor Elex Michaelson that the pandemic, and the economic crisis it has sparked, “has accelerated the rate of change” and the need for UBI.
"They essentially helped pay last month's bills," Yang said of the current stimulus payments of approximately $1,200, which millions of Americans are still waiting to receive. "This month's bills, and next month’s bills, are right around the corner. We have to put $2,000 a month into everyone's hands for the duration of the crisis… because that money doesn't disappear, it goes right back into our local economies, into groceries, rent, fuel, and things that help keep our communities, frankly, functioning."
I’m for $2,000 for every American adult for the duration of this crisis. #MoneyForThePeople— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) April 15, 2020
This is not the first time Yang has mentioned the idea. In mid-April, just as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began depositing the first stimulus payments into the bank accounts of some 80 million Americans, Yang proposed on Twitter at the federal government should give every American a monthly stimulus check of $2,000 "for the duration of this crisis."
Later speaking with Axios, Yang cited the rising unemployment numbers, which have since surpassed 30 million, stating that "we are at unprecedented levels of joblessness." He added that we "need to make very dramatic moves to allow millions of Americans to have the dollars that they can feed their families with in the days to come."
"This, to me, is a necessary investment. When your house is on fire, you don't worry that much about the water you are using to put it out. We have an equivalent of a $21 trillion fire on our hands, and we have to do everything we can do help people get through this," he said. "In the absence of this kind of stimulus, you will see unthinkable things happening. I mean, unthinkable things are happening right now."
Currently, there is no plan for a second wave of stimulus payments. Such a measure has been met with mixed reactions from lawmakers. Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Ro Khanna did, however, introduce the Emergency Money for the People Act last month. Backed by a growing number of Democratic co-sponsors, the proposed bill would give nearly every American $2,000 per month for at least six months.