2020 contender Andrew Yang says "basic income" proposal is not socialism

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By: Camilo Montoya-Galvez | CBS News
March 8, 2019

New York businessman and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang believes his "tranformational" universal basic income proposal — which would give every American over the age of 18 a $1,000 stipend each month — is not part of a socialist platform.

"I'm a CEO and business person and I'll tell you that putting money into people's hands is good for business, it's good for the economy and it's good for markets," Yang said on CBSN's "Red and Blue. "This is not socialism. This is capitalism where income doesn't start at zero."

Yang told CBS News he's not concerned his proposal could become an easy political target for Republicans eager to denounce socialism and government giveaways because he believes the monthly stipends would invigorate America's capitalist economy.

The little-known Manhattan entrepreneur is hoping the issue will set him apart from the rest of the candidates in the crowded Democratic primary field, the most diverse in U.S. history. Although his name recognition across the country is dwarfed by those of other contenders in the race, Yang told CBS News his campaign raised nearly $600,000 in February.

Yang's proposal, he said, "would create millions of jobs around the country and would allow families and individuals to help manage this historic transition that we're in in terms of technology transforming the labor force."