A day after a CBS host endorsed a 2020 Democrat’s plan to give $1000 a month to every American, This Morning’s Anthony Mason on Thursday asked Andrew Yang if maybe a guaranteed job would be a better idea. During day two of the CBS Yang profile, Mason cheered, “But he's put some ideas on the table that most politicians have not wanted to talk about.”
The co-host hailed Yang’s far-left views as “bold” and added, “He betting that Americans feel things are getting better and want to hear about that.” Mason touted, “Yang’s solution, the cornerstone of his campaign, is the freedom dividend. He'd pay every adult $1,000 a month no strings attached and fund in part with a ten percent value added tax on business production.”
To his credit, Mason (unlike on Wednesday) offered a conservative counter point:
The Tax Foundation, which is a conservative think tank, has run the numbers and says basically said they don't think your math adds up, that you couldn't pay for a benefit that significant with the funds that you're talking about raising here.... The argument is it would discourage people from working.
However, Mason immediately shifted to touting socialist Bernie Sanders’s ideas: “Would it make more sense to guarantee people jobs, like Bernie Sanders is promising?”
On Wednesday, co-host Tony Dokoupil endorsed giving away $1000 a month: “Freedom dividend is a good name, and a thousand a month is a good policy.” Mason agreed, “It's pretty attractive.”
Yang is currently polling around two percent in the 2020 surveys. Yet, CBS interviews him two days in a row?
A transcript of the CBS segment is below:
CBS This Morning
8:19 AM ET
ANTHONY MASON: You’re looking at Houston where the next Democratic presidential debate will take place one week The ten candidates who made the cut include nine politicians and Andrew Yang, the 44-year-old entrepreneur who made millions running a test prep company had zero political experience. But his campaign took off with his proposal to give every American adult $12,000 a year. His early success has surprised almost everyone except Yang himself. In a CBS This Morning broadcast exclusive for our Road to 2020 exclusive, we met up with Andrew Yang at his headquarters here in New York City. This is your headquarters?
ANDREW YANG: Yes. This is it. This is where the magic happens.
MASON: This feels like a pretty modest place to launch a national campaign.
YANG: It was more modest than this before. This is actually, like —
MASON: Now it feels plush?
YANG: Yeah, yeah. This is with furniture and stuff.
MASON: On the walls, headlines chart the course of the campaign.
YANG: When we started in 2018, I was a longer than longer long shot.
MASON: But Andrew Yang thrives on being underestimated. You actually thought you could get somewhere with this.
YANG: Well, I was apparently correct.
MASON: In the first two debates, you were given the least amount of actual speaking time.
YANG [From debate]: The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.
MASON: Do you expect to change this time?
YANG: I do. In the last debate, we raised over a million dollars in the 48 hours afterward, so now I have developed a reputation for making the most of whatever time I get.
MASON: His more than 200,000 unique donors have given an average of $25 a piece, many attracted to his blunt assessment of America's future. How do you feel about the American dream, the idea of it?
YANG: I love it. I lived it. My country immigrated from this country.
MASON: Do you still believe in it?
YANG: I'm a numbers, guy. So the numbers say you have a 50-50 chance of doing better than your parents if you were born in the '90s. And that chance is 93 percent if you were born in ‘40s or ‘50s. So the American dream is dying by the numbers and Americans know it.
MASON: Yang’s dark outlook is similar to President Trump’s, but he blames the rise of AI and automation.
YANG: We automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. And if those states aren’t familiar, those are all the swing states Donald Trump needed to win and did win. So, to me, this was a straight automation story that immigrants are being scapegoated for economic problems they have little or nothing to do with.
MASON: It's not immigration. It's automation.
YANG: It's not immigration. It's automation.
MASON: And it will lead to widespread despair. He writes in his book, The War on Normal People, “creating a hyper-stratified society like something out of The Hunger Games.” Some advisers have said to you should be more optimistic in the way you paint the future of the country.
YANG: Yeah, I have gotten that advice, that's true. I think most politicians have been sold on the fact most Americans don't want to hear hard truths.
MASON: They want to hear it straight, you think?
YANG: Yeah. They want solutions. Not sound bites.
MASON: Yang’s solution, the cornerstone of his campaign, is the freedom dividend. He'd pay every adult $1,000 a month no strings attached and fund in part with a ten percent value added tax on business production. The Tax Foundation, which is a conservative think tank, has run the numbers and says basically said they don't think your math adds up, that you couldn't pay for a benefit that significant with the funds that you're talking about raising here.
YANG: They're correct that it's not that revenue pays for it dollar for dollar, but what they overlook is if you put this money into Americans' hands, the money doesn't disappear. Where does it go? It goes back into our consumer economy and re-circulates over and over and over again.
MASON: The argument is it would discourage people from working. Would it make more sense to guarantee people jobs, like Bernie Sanders is promising?
YANG: The first thing is there is no data that shows us getting $1,000 a month would reduce work levels overall. In terms of Bernie's job federal guarantee, I understand the spirit of it. But in practice, it would be very, very difficult to implement and manage. Imagining that all Americans want to work if for the government is something in Bernie might think is in our minds, but it's not the case when I talk to most Americans.
MASON: Yang said he doubled his campaign staff of about 30 last month and will soon double it again. If you were to not to get the nomination — you’re laughing.
YANG: I know. I like the cordiality.
MASON: Would you consider a third-party candidacy?
YANG: My job is to get Donald Trump out of office. And I wouldn’t do anything that would increase the odds of him sticking around. And I think a thirty-party candidacy would do just that.
MASON: Yang’s candidacy is still a long shot. He’s polling between two and four percent nationwide and lower in the actual states. So, he's got a lot of work to. But he's put some ideas on the table that most politicians have not wanted to talk about.
JERICKA DUNCAN: Very bold.
MASON: Very bold. And he betting that Americans feel things are getting better and want to hear about that.
DANA JACOBSON: It's also interesting to see if those ideas spark other ideas within other candidates as we move forward.
MASON: He wants the idea of a unique, I mean a universal income to actually become policy. He says he doesn't want it to just be talked about. He wants it to happen.
DUNCAN: Never heard anything like it, but we shall see.