“Vetting” is a series of essays that will provide in-depth analysis of the records of the more overlooked 2020 Democratic candidates.
Andrew Yang is yet another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate I never heard of until he announced a run. So who is Andrew Yang anyway?
Andrew Yang was born in Schenectady, New York on January 13, 1975. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy for high school, Yang went on to Brown University. After graduating with a degree in economics, Yang earned a law degree from Columbia University.
After law school, Yang was hired by Davis, Polk, & Wardwell, the same law firm that employed another 2020 hopeful, Kirsten Gillibrand. After realizing that corporate law wasn’t for him, Yang quit after five months, saying, “I looked around me and saw that there weren’t other people there whose lives and careers I wanted for myself. So I thought, you’re definitely going to leave this place eventually, and it’s only going to get harder, not easier, to leave over time.”
Yang then launched Stargiving.com, a website where people would donate money online in order to be entered into a lottery for a chance to meet a celebrity. Yang managed to sign up a few celebrities and to scrounge up some seed money. However, the site attracted little traffic. And, when the dot com bubble burst, Stargiving.com failed.
Yang, then went to work for Crisp Wireless, a mobile software company. Worried that Crisp would also go belly-up, Yang threw parties and taught the GMAT. He left Crisp to found MMF Systems, Inc, a healthcare software company. He also became a director at ProPhase, LLC, “ a global provider of specialty services focusing on applied measurement in CNS…as well as other indications in the healthcare spectrum…which require calibration of observational assessment.”
But Yang made his fortune at Manhattan Prep. Manhattan Prep, a company that Yang and a friend founded in the early 2000’s, was a company that helped students to prepare for the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT. Kaplan acquired the company in 2009.
In 2011, Yang founded Venture for America, a non-profit which “ will recruit top college graduates to work in start-ups and early-stage companies around the country with a focus on regions undergoing economic change.” Yang hoped to create 100,000 jobs. Shortly after launching the organization, Yang scored an invite to the White House as a Champion of Change.
Yang wrote a book, Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America in 2014 and The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future , which advocates for universal basic income, in 2018.
However, Yang realized that Venture For America would fall short of its ambitious goal of creating 100,000 jobs. (As of this year, Venture for America has only created about 3,500 jobs.) He also became increasingly concerned about the effects that automation would have on the American workforce.
In November 2017, Yang filed paperwork with the FEC in order to participate in the Democratic primary. Yang has decided to run for president on the platform of Universal Basic Income, or, as he likes to call it, Freedom Dividends. The three main policies that Yang is pushing for is Universal Basic Income, Medicare for All, and “Human Centered Capitalism,” which according to Yang’s website, is based upon the tenet that “humans are more important than money.”
Other planks in Yang’s platform include:
- Congressional term limits
- eradication of the penny
- Puerto Rican statehood
- free marriage counseling for everybody
- the revival of Congressional earmarks
- the subsidization of work-related relocation
- and a call to end media fragmentation
Did I miss anything? Did I get anything wrong? Let me know in the comments section below.
Bill de Blasio will be featured in the next installment of “Vetting.”