Instead, I became a lawyer for five unhappy months and then an entrepreneur. In 2011, I started a nonprofit organization, Venture for America, to help bring talented young entrepreneurs to create thousands of jobs in Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Birmingham, Baltimore and other cities around the country. I chose those cities because there I experienced the aftermath of automation and witnessed the devastating effect it had on people's lives.
And then Donald Trump became President.
The challenge for the Democratic Party is to solve the problems that got Trump elected. However, when I went to Washington in 2017 to meet with lawmakers on this issue, no one wanted to touch automation and the changing state of our economy.
But here's the reality: We are undergoing the greatest economic transformation in our history, and we are dealing with it by pretending nothing is happening. I have two young children, and I have no intention of leaving the country in shambles for them.
We need to wake up to the fact that it is not immigrants
who are causing economic dislocations. It is technology and an evolving economy that is pushing more and more Americans to the sidelines.
We must reformat our economy to work for Americans around the country. My plan consists of three major pillars: First, I would offer a freedom dividend -- or a universal basic income of $1,000 a month for every American adult starting at the age of 18. Thomas Paine
, Martin Luther King Jr.
and Milton Friedman
were all for this idea. This would create over two million new jobs
and ease the transition of an evolving economy for tens of millions of Americans. It would be paid for by a new tax that falls most heavily on the big winners of artificial intelligence and robotics, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Uber.
Second, I would introduce Medicare for All. We must separate access to quality health care from one's employment -- especially given that 94% of new jobs created
from 2005 to 2015 were temporary, contract, freelance and gig-economy jobs that do not necessarily include quality benefits. This would free up many Americans to pursue different opportunities and ensure those who are already employed under these increasingly common arrangements access to health insurance.
Third, I would encourage a human-centered capitalism. What good is a high GDP if some, or even many, Americans are left behind? We should instead measure our progress through our average health, childhood success, mental health, environmental quality, affordability and other metrics that would actually tell us how people are doing.
In other words, we need to build a trickle-up economy from our people, families and communities up. This is the only way to create a path to prosperity for most Americans during a time of unprecedented technological change.
This may seem like science fiction to you. But you are reading this
on a supercomputer, Trump is our President and your local mall might have just closed
. We are living in unprecedented times and must rise to these 21st century challenges.
So, why am I the right candidate to tackle this challenge?
I see these problems clear as day, and I am bold enough to propose solutions to fix them. This vision is attractive to people across the political spectrum, and since announcing my candidacy, our national "Yang Gang" has welcomed former Trump supporters, libertarians and progressives -- who all see that the path is not left or right, it's forward. More than 90,000
of these individuals have donated an average of $18 to our vision, and we are set to make the debate stage in June.
Trump is the symptom, not the problem. His solutions are to turn the clock backward, build the wall and bring old jobs back. I'm suggesting we do the opposite -- accelerate our economy and society and move us forward to solve the problems that got him there in the first place.