tv Firing Line With Margaret Hoover PBS September 20, 2019 11:30pm-12:01am PDT
>> he's theen epreneur-turned-candidate who is raising the stakes in this presential race, this week on "firing line." >> and i'm the right man for the job, because the opposite of donald trump is aasn mano whlikes math. >> he's a newcomer to politics, but that didn't stop arew yang from making the cut for the september deba. his signature oposal -- to every american adult. >> this is how we will get our country working for us again, the american people.re >> aw yang! andrew yang! an the idea is popular with the so-callg gang.au >> [ ling ] i' but not everyone is sold. >> it's original give you that. >> the former ceo is bankingme on an unusual strategy. >> i'm gonna be the first president to use powerpoint in the state of the union. >> powerpoint! powerpoint! >> yeah! w t does andrew yang say now? >> yes! this is the nerdiest presidential campaign history!
>> "firing line with margaret hoover" is made possible by... additional funding is provided by... corporate funding is provided by. >> andrew yang, welcome to "firing line." >> oh, it's great to be here. thanks for having me >> so, when you decided you would run for president, did yoi evgine you would be ahead of people like senator cory booker and beto o'rourke? >> well, when i decided to do sthis, i'm not sure beto famous yet. [ both laugh ]s but i nfident that if i made my case to the american people that we would do very well. and so i'm probably less surprised to be here than some observers. >> so, i mean, you're a thinkern when you go to your website, you have more than a hundred policy proposals.po >> yes. >> everything from make election day a holiday to the penny makes no sense. >> yeah, it doesn't. ] [ both lau >> but your signature policy is
the freedom divi you reminded people in the last debate what the freedom dividend s by telling them that you are going to give $1,000 away.ke let's look. >> it's time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. that why i'm going to do something unprecedented tonight. my campan will now give a freedom dividend of $100 a month for an entire year to 10 american families, someone watching this at home right now. this is how we will get our country working for us again,wo the american people. >> all right. so, explain in more detail what exactly it is that you're proposing. >> i'm proposing what has tradionally been called a universal basic income, which i've rebranded the freedom didend of $1,000 a month for every american adult,tarting at age 18. and this seems dramatic, but if you look at our natios history, it's actually a very american idea. >> it was an idea, you point out, thomas paine had ted. >> martin luther king in the
'60s. it passed the u.s.se house of repatives, a version of it, under richard nixon in 1971. it was called thess familytance plan. >> which had been supported by milton friedman. >> yes, and a thousand economistsad a study saying this would be tremendous for our economy. and alaska has had dividend in place for almost 40 years, where everyone in alaska gets between $1,000 and $2,000 in oil money every year. so if you're a family of four, you might get $8,000. and what i'm saying to the american people is that what oil is to alaska, technology is tomerica and that we can easily afford a $1,000 dividend for every american adult out of technology money. our data right now is worth mor than oil, one watching this remembers getting their data check in the mail, and no one watching this is going to see any of the benefit of artificial intelligence w doing all thk. >> how'd you pick $1,000? >> the poverty line in the u.s. is about $12,800 a year, and so $1,000 a month is enough to make a huge difference of millions of amens
but it's not enough so that everyone is sitting pretty. >> oy. so i want to go brass tacks and figure out exactly how you're gonna do this, but first let's talk about why u're doing it. the reason you're doing that because you're concerned of the united statnomy because of automation and artificial intelligence. >> i'm concerned about the future and the present, wherif you look at what happened in 2016, donald trump is ourid prt, and he won becauset, we'd automated away 4 milliomanufacturing jobs in michigan, ohio, pennsylvania, wisconsin, iowa, all the swing states he needed to win. and if you go to those communities, as i have, you see that many of them have never recovered from what happened to those manufacturing jobs. so that's the biggest victim of automation to date. but now you see the exact same forces eliminating hundre of thousands of retail jobs as 30% of stores in malls close, fast-food workers are being replaced by self-serve kiosks, and soon we'll get to call d limo drivers.ck drivers
and so these are the most common jobs in the country. none of this is speculative anymore. future,cerned about th yes, but i'm equally concerned about our present. >> there have, for many, many years, been concerns that technology and modernization will displace people permanently from the workplace, right? i mean, this is the argunt of the luddites. >> yeah. >> this is the argument about the horse and buggyar and wherall the stable boys gonna go when you have the car. are throbots really coming for us, or is this just a transitional moment in ouron y, where, in the end, we'll have just as many jobs, i re? they'll just look dramaticallyl different. >> there are new jobs being created all the time, sand there are many new j that will be created by this fourth industrial revolution. the problem is that the new jobs will tend to be for w different peoph different skill sets in different placesff than the jobs that a being lost. and so if you're a trucker in nebraska and you lose your job, are you going to move to seattle
and become a web designer? no, you'reot. are there going to be some new web designers thatet minted in seattle? of course. so, i've dug into the numbers on what's happening, and our labor market is not transitioning. and the easiest example is, l if yk at the manufacturing workers that lost almost half of them left the workforce and never worked haain. and then half ofgroup filed for disability, and you then saw surges in suicides and dr overdoses in those communities, to the point where american life exectancy has decned for last three years. so this is not a situation where time is healing all wounds. me is actually pushing more americans to the sidelines in disastrous fashions. >> so, then explain what would happen to the people who are ono rnment assistance whenhey have the opportunity to have the freedom didend. do they have to choose, or -- and how do they go aboutoo ng? >> so, every american is eligible for thefr dom dividend, but if you opt
in, it's optional because we're obviously not gonna force money on you. but if you do opt in, then you're choosing to forego cashike benefits forhings like heating-oil assistance, food stamp housing assistance, things that are essentially cash substitutes. >> so how do people fire out which is gonna be better for them? >> most every americ immediately knows whether it's going to be better for them, because if you're not on assistance, you say,do "heyou want the dividend of $1,000?" and that's a very easy call. and then, if you're on assistance, you generally know whether you're gettie or less than $1,000 a month, and then it's a fairly easy caulation. >> so, the freedom dividend would distribute $1,000 to those people who really ne it who don't have jobs but also to everybody. >> yes. >> so, why not tart it to the people who need it? why does bill gates or jeff bezos or mark zuckerberg need $1,000 a month? >> one of the reasons jeff bezos $1,000 a month givi
is that, if we pay for it by having tax on amazon, which is my plan, then jeff's going toen up paying hundreds of millions or billions into the system. and then, if we try and give him ,000 a month to remind him he's an american, that'sn probably a win. it's immaterial to us whether jeff takes or doesn't take the $1,000 a month. >> you've proposed paying for it by a vat. >> yes. >> a value added tax, which is very comn in europe and other countries, but it's a consumption tax.ue and one of theions you get is that it's people at the lower end of theconomic spectrum who end up paying more. i mean, the hit against it is thatt's a regressive tax. so, how do you account for that? >> tre are a few things. there's a saying, like, "why did you rob the bank?" "'cause that's where the money was.wh soe is the money today? the money is all in the amazons and googles and facebooks and ubers of the world, like, these billion- and trillion-dollar tech companies that are payg very, very low tax rates -- amazon literally
paying zero in taxes last suyear -- and that's not u for them. they generally pay zero orear zero.an so then, you look at and say, "okay. how do we change that?" because they're very, very good at avoiding oucurrent corporate income tax structure. and so if you have this value added tax,ou end up generatingge hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue. >>ut how do you generate that -- i mean, you're not taxing amazon in order to pay for this, though. you're taxing consumption. >> well, you're taxingaz every sale and transaction, including a lot of the business-to-business stuff that goes on that doesn't even uch consumers. but in the absence of the dividen it is true that people's prices might go up a smidgen. but in this case, we're going to increase the buying power of like 94% of americs by delivering this dividend into their hands. a >>nd how do you, more broadly, on a macro sense, prevent inflation? cause everybody knows there's more money 'cause everybody knows everybody's got 12,000 extra dollars. >> so, if you look at the
sources of inflation in r economy right now, they tend to fall into three categories -- unfortunately, the three thingsm that make erable -- housing, education, and healthre. if you look at other categories, like food, clothing, electronics, media, books, the prices are staying more or less improving.or the quality is so putting money into our hands is not the thing that's causing inflation right now. let's say i'm a business, and then i like, "ooh, everyoneas more money to spend," and i decide to, like, ratchet up my prices.al it takes is one business in my category. let's call it a restaurant. that does not raise the prices for there to be pressure on me to like bring my prices back down, because just because i have aittle more money does not all of a sudden make me cost insensitive. >> competition is what's gonna g create price stabilization. >> yeah, in dynamic s, in these consumer categories,au yes, b if you give me an extra thousand bucks a month, it doesn't mean all of a sudden i don't like bargas
or i don't like good values. people will still be sensitive the fact that meals cost a certain amount. >> so, there are some studies that suggest that this kind of a policyould actually hurt productivity of the nation overall. it would hit gdp. >> this is -- i love this question so much. you know, our kids are about the same age. om wife's at home with our boys, 6 and 4, one of s autistic. and right now, her work counts as your own gdp. except i think most people watching this would agree that her work is among the most vital and difficult work that's bein done, and it's immensely valuable. if she were to go to, let's y, to work and become a management consultant,ea tht, would be for gdp. but, you know -- [ laughing ] but i would ggest that might not necessarily be good for society. and so, to m looking at gdp as your measuring stick is actually one of the things that's getting us into trouble right now, wre you have something like self-driving beucks would be great for gdp, but they're gonnery bad for the 3 1/2 miion americans who drive trucks for a living
or the 7 million who work in truck stops, motels, and dinersc so we should replace gdp with measurements like childhood education and success rates, mental health, and freedom from substance abuse, our own health and wellness, environmental quality. gdp's almost 100 years old, and it's driving us off a cliff. >> so, gdp needs to be modernized, right? >> yes, that's exactly right. if we persist in following gdp and these capital efficiency measures, we're gonna turn on each other. 're going to wind up following them off a cliff, because we can't win. we're in a race we cannot win.ly our ay out is to change the race to one that optimizes for our own well-being, our own society, our kids' success, our environmental quality. r if we change te to something that we can all actually participate in, thenth e are massive opportunities. there's an alternate world where we're celebrating the liberation of hundreds of thousands of truck drive from a job that's, frankly, brutally
punishing and demanding, itth take away from their kids. and they're high-fiving, saying truck anymore.have to i'm going to do these her things." but instead of that world, we're in a world where truckers are going to be protesting the automation of thei next month in washington d.c. >> this idea ouniversal basic income -- which has, by the way, been supported by people on the right and on the left... >> yeah, very bipartisan. >> ...and spised by people on the right or left, as well. >> [ laughing ] >> one of the hits from thee' right is, thsomething there's something working. in your book, you do write that some people might work less as a result of a freedom dividend. it was before your clever ubi. rebranding. but let me just read to you from it. you say... what about other people who workforce besides mothers?
what is the answer, ultimately, to reigniting the workforce so that the are more jobs? >> this is the central challenge of our time. and again, to me, marget, donald trump is a symptom of this fourth industrial s volution, and americans need to understand, irtainly not immigrants. it's technology that's causing these disruptions.di and the transition is going to be messy almost no matter what we do. if you look at the turn of the 20th century, which for some reason we seem reto have forgotten, but t were mass riots. we inaugurated labor day in response to riots at killed dozens of people.gi we oted labor unions. we implemented universal high school in 1911. and so there are some people who lazily say, it's like, "oh, we've been through this before., it's leah, we did go through th before, and it was terribly difficult and messy ane even v. and the best projections say that this industrial revolution will displace two to three times as many workers as that
industrial revolution in a shorter timeframe. the examples i use are the ones that we can already see around us. being a retail clerk is the most common job in most of the country. the average retail clerk's a 39-year-old woman making between $9 and $11 an hour. 30% of stores are closing. we can see it around us all the time.an the way they're closing is not that a robot all of a sudden came in and took the erk's job. it's that the robot is in the amazon fulfillment center that is sweeping away all othe malls and stores. will be indistinguishableans from robots within a number of months. alouright, so i want to sh something. we used the chat function on your campaign website.ca and we asked it, "are you human?"ba and it sai to us, "please provide your e-mail address, and we'll get back to you."ai so we asked "are you a robot?" said, "i'm afraid i didn't understand. could you please try again?" n is it a robot or a hu on your campaign website? >> oh, that's definitely a robot because that would be a
pretty bad human who -- [ laughing ] >> how many jobs a you displacing in your campaign with robots? >> well, we're hiring like mad. so we're definitely an example of humans and machines working together to try and ke a society that works for humans entirely.ac though ournes are the friendly kinds. >> one of the things i've noticed is that you like t point out that cservative economist and nobel laureate milton friedman supporte something similar to universal basic income, the negative income tax, which means that if your income is below a certain lel, you actually get money from the government. so why not a negative income tax? >> well, negative income tax is like the sibling to the dividend. and so if we came out with a negative income tax, i would be thrilled. i prefer a dividendin to a negativme tax because of some of the administrative reportingm and e timing
of payments issues. >> your argument is it's more efficient. it goes directly to directly to individuals who need it.>> yl these both reporting requirements and the incentives to say you make less money.to because if you had a negative income tax, i have a feeling you'd ve all these people you know mysteriously finding that they made below whatever the threshold wa >> milton friedman was a guest on "firing line" -- "firing line," which is apr ram that william f. buckley jr. hosted b for 33 years, from 16 to 1999, and william f. buckley was on p thgram talking exactly about that idea. and you even tweeted clip. to that li you may not know that. it could've been a robot from your camign office. >> no, i remember this. >> let's take a look at what lton friedman had to say about universal basic income d negative income tax.
>> ...by this one general measure, maybe we can get rid of some of these otr. >> another sort of version of the universal basic income is that it should just eliminate all of the social-welfare programs that exist already, partly for these efficiencies. right? if we got rid of all of social security and all of the social security disability payments a food stamps, tanf, that, actually, you would have a high degree of savings by eliminating the administrative costs of those programs, and that
would actually help pay for something like the why are you not in of that? >> the last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from peoplem nder people. and so, to me, to the extent that there is any trantioning from existing programs to the freedom dividend, it would be over an exteed period of time and almost >> look, you were getting at something a second ago which i want to just return to briefly, which is this id that there is a kind of capitalism that's that is going be ablee, to modernize for this fourth... >> industrial revolution. >> ...industrial revolution, you called it -- industrial volution, technological revolution. you referred to something called human capitalism. what is human capitalism? >> so, capitalism is worki almost exactly as it's designed to. it's designed to maximize returns capital. the problem is that we've assumed that human workers would be central to the process
of optimizing our capital. what do i mean by that? so, in the 20th century, if ia hag, successful company, i would need to hire lots of people, i would need to pay them enough so they could buy my stuff, i would need care about what happens in my hometown, and the economic benefits get distributed throughout socty. now i can have a very successful company. i do not need to hire lots of people. if i do hire them, i don't need to treat them while i give them i can turn them al gig workers or uber drivers. i don't need to care about what's happeningn my hometown because i don't sell just to my hometown. i'm a global company. it and so the benare not being distributed the way that we assume. but our system is working exactly ast's designed, because it's still maximizing returns on capital. so t capital is getting hoarded in the hands of fewerhe and individuals,zations and the average american is just looking up, saying, >> so you put the emphasisng." on people because you want to be ableo incorporate
all these other elements into capitalism that you think that our system is excluding or leaving behind? well, our system's not designed to include them. what'm saying is, the system working exactly as it's designed. >> so, here's what i find very curious about ur approach is that you're ill talking about capitalism. and you are now, in most polls, fifth or sixth in the democratic primary. but you're third amongst young voters, 18- to 29-year-olds, 18- to 34-year-olds. >> oh, good. g >> and this is a very -- you're not running from it.lism, it's a very different mee from democratic socialism. do you intend to defd and improve capitalism? do you intend to provide an alternative to democratic socialism that hasap sored the imagination of so many youth? >> well, i think that theal som/capitalism dichotomy is extraordinarily out-of-date and unproductive. and what i do is, i quote my friend eric weinstein o said that we never kne that capitalism was going to
get eaten by its son, technology. that's where we are right now. >> but you'raring that capitalism just needs toe made more human. >> i'm arguing that capitalisme needs to evo and change its very goals,d at if we can actually turn capitalism's energiesng towas mas healthier and stronger and happier and mentally healthier, then that would be a win. >> a couplother things have popped on the campaign trail over the weekend. the new york times imblished a new allegation of sexual misconduct about supreme court justice brett kavanaugh, and several of the democratic candidates, your competitors, have called f him to be impeached. do you join them in calling for his impeachment? >> yeah, i think that -- to me, it's a shame that he was ever confirmed. and if we can get him out of there, then i am all for it. to me, the fact that he got esentially crammed on to supreme court and merrick garland was blocked, to
me, suggests that we n have term limits for supreme court justices.ok and i would o expand the number of supreme court justices as president. >> do you know what happened last time they tried to pack the court? >> i do. and, you know,t's been a long time since then. we've had five supreme courtry, justices, we've had 12 or 13. thers nothinanywhere written that it needs to be a particular number. justice kavanaugh out not because of his behavior but because of the process that puth hie and the breakdown in the process. >> i think his confirmation was a mistake. i think that -- >> because of his judicial philosophy or because of the fact that merrick garland didn't t a vote? >> i just don't think that brett kavanaugh belongs on the supreme court. there's no entitlement to be a supreme court justice. it's a job interview, and it's one of the most important job inteiews in our country. and so, if you have very, very clear question marks, at a minimum, about a person's character, you wouldn't give
d em that high-impact a job. >> he was confirrough a normal process. >> you know,o me, that process still was relatively hasty. there was this sort of hry-up investigation that clearly was not terribly thorough. and so i had problems with both the process and the outcome. >> one more question -- you were asked a question about alarter schools in the debate, and you weren't given the opportunity to answer it. buwhy don't parents who ar stuck in school districts that aren't performing, why shouldn't they be able to choose which school they can take their children to? s well, i said on the debate stage i'm pro goool and that there are good schos of every type that i've seen,d at's all what -- you're a parent, i'm a parent. that's all we want. we just want to be able our kids to a school that we'ret excited about. >> so you're in favor of charter schools? >> i think that there are manyr charhools that are doing fantasc work and that we should not somehow paint all ofs schools with a broad
brush. >> you said one thing in thede te that i'd love to have you take a look at. here's what you said about how people should start businesses. >> i was an unhappy lawyer for five whole months, and i left to start a business, and i'm gonna share with you all one of the sec entrepreneurship. if you want to start something, tell everyone you knowoi you're to do it, and then you will have a choice. >> that struck me because we met a couple of years ago,an one of the first things you told me is that you were u nna run for president. and i wonder if re telling people you were gonna n for president, because at that point, if you tell enough people, then you have to do it. >> [ laughing ] ll, i meant what i said, which is i discovered a long time agoe that if you teryone you're going to do something, then you're going to do it. and so when you become certain you're going to do something, then you should tell the world.e and somethey even drop everything and help you. >> andrew yang, thank for cong to "firing line." >> thankou. it's great to be here.
hell eryone, and wcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. the bigst climaterotest yet as children around t world take their school strike to the street. author jonathan safran foer tells us what we can do, and then -- >> too much trauma that people are going through that they shouldn't have to go through in the richest country in the world. >> spiritual guru, author andic de cr democratic presidential wild car milamson talk about the tter to him. >> welcome to "downton abbey." >> a blast from the past as "downton abbey" hits the big screen. writer and producern jul fellowes tells me why we're all happily riveted by t up strs downstairs blockbuster.