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Andrew Yang qualifies for first DNC debate with 65k unique donors (axios.com)
153 points by yasp on Mar 14, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 208 comments

Another topic Yang brings up frequently besides the Freedom dividend is retraining.

Automation in retail, driving, etc. has the potential to make jobs obsolete at a rapid pace. Rather than trying to fight to save jobs that can be done by machines the idea is to retrain people in these industries to do things machines aren't good at.

The idea is to not slow down progress but also not abandon people who happen to have built a life in a dying field.

I listened to him talk a little bit on Joe Rogan's podcast, and it seemed to him that the UBI/Freedom Dividend is his plan explicitly because stuff like retraining these fifty year old guys who have been truck drivers or coal miners their entire lives to become computer programmers or something is really unrealistic. I guess it would be more possible to retrain the younger people that populate retail, but really I think retail is viewed as just something people do to put themselves through college or during highschool rather than a life-long career like truck driving. That's not to say there aren't people in retail who aren't going to get screwed by automation, but that's sort of the appeal of UBI, it's something that applies to everyone versus having to try and justify to someone that you deserve help for your specific circumstances.

>retraining these fifty year old guys who have been truck drivers or coal miners

While thats true, I think the premise is wrong. Techno-types love to imagine that automation is just going to sweep through these industries.

The devil of these things is in the details. Yes, perhaps the tech can get to approximate 90% of what a human can do. However, the real problem are outside of tech. Like liability insurance. Who gets sued when one of Elon's driverless trucks plows into a school bus? Surely not the "trucking company"? So the software company will have to assume that...Now, imagine there are 50M driverless vehicles on the roads, what does that monthly policy look like? What insurance company will underwrite that? What happens if a zero-day is found? etc. etc.

>Who gets sued when one of Elon's driverless trucks plows into a school bus? Surely not the "trucking company"?

Actually, yes, the trucking company gets sued. This is pretty well established. If your Toyota malfunctions and you hit someone, you get sued. You may sue Toyota afterwards, but you're going to get sued first.

This has literally happened before. It's not a what if. Toyota recalled thousands of trucks about 3 months ago because of a braking issue. I fail to see the difference between this and car insurance of the future.

Even if insurance were the issue, it's fairly easy to solve; in the contract you sign to use an automated vehicle, you'd assume liability.

> This is pretty well established. If your Toyota malfunctions and you hit someone, you get sued. You may sue Toyota afterwards, but you're going to get sued first.

It's not unlikely if the immediate crash investigation even hints at a product defect, you (all of driver, driver's employer if done in course of employment, and owner if different from the preceding two), Toyota, and everyone in the chain of commerce between you, plus the people up the chain from Toyota with regard to the part at fault will all get sued, simultaneously, in the same action.

The only change self-driving cars bring is eliminating the driver as a distinct target from the manufacturer and a whole bunch of upstream suppliers, but the person or company owning and the one (of different) directing the operation of the vehicle are still potential liability targets, as well as the upstream chain of commerce.

>If your Toyota malfunctions and you hit someone, you get sued. You may sue Toyota afterwards, but you're going to get sued first.

You extrapolating that future markets will work exactly like the past, because "its a car".

But its doubtful it will. The reason why the auto industry evolved the way it did (driver gets sued), is because 90+% of the time it is operator error.

Look at another example. Kraft distributes 10M packages of poisoned cheese, what happens: (a) All the local grocery stores get sued? or (b) Does Kraft get sued?

Obviously "B" would be the case, since the local grocery stores would say: "We had no way to test the cheese for poison, it was pre-packaged from Kraft"

This is very similar to what would happen in a 100% autonomous vehicle situation. The owner doesn't have access nor the capability to judge the engineering / code.

>Toyota recalled thousands of trucks about 3 months

Not the same. Toyota doing a recall to replace a $200 part doesn't come close to the potential liability that a autonomous manufacturer that had thousands of accidents...each potentially costing millions each.

>Even if insurance were the issue, it's fairly easy to solve; in the contract you sign to use an automated vehicle, you'd assume liability.

Yes, and the trucking companies will just say: No

Their insurance rates would skyrocket so high, that it would be cheaper to just continue to use human drivers.

No, people don't just sue the drivers because it's driver error, they sue because they have a chance to get money. People who get t-boned by a driver running a red light get sued by the insurance company of the driver that ran the light. It can have nothing to do with who is at fault, ultimately, just who is the easiest target.

In your Kraft scenario, the store would likely be sued, as would the corporation running the store, Kraft, and potentially the packaging company.

Here's a perfect example; the Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak happens, right. A man eats a salad at a restaurant, gets sick. Who does he sue? Everybody. Has nothing to do with who is responsible, has a lot to do with who is going to pay his bills.

Why is the liability for a $200 part lower? If the cars can't apply the brakes properly and people die in car accidents, are they any less responsible?

Trucking companies won't say no, because it's extremely unlikely that all the cars will get into accidents all the time, and they don't have to pay more because the car didn't have a driver than they would if the car was being driven by their employee. Why would their insurance rates skyrocket? It appears there will be far less accidents with automated cars.

It's not just trucks, though. He gives a lot of examples, some of which are observable today. Like a lot of work done by paralegals and junior lawyers is just research - plowing through books and writing summaries and references. It's slow, tedious, and error-prone. A computer can do it much faster and better. How about reading x-rays? Train an AI by having it review the results from millions of other x-rays. That's a lot of radiologists whose work is replaceable.

And that's really Yang's point. It's not just truck drivers. Any job that is basically rote work - even jobs requiring a high level of education and professional certification - is vulnerable to advances in AI and robotics. If your work isn't essentially creative, there's a good chance that it could be done cheaper, faster, and better by a robot at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Unless you are a developer , while we built more abstractions and automation into our software engineering we also attempt more complex problems. I don't see dev being in lesser demand in the next 30 years

Sure. Software is essentially creative work. I'm not worried about our industry. I'm worried about what our industry will do to other industries.

I think it will still affect software. Things can always be done faster. I think it'll be like farming where it won't go away but fewer people can do more work.

I can imagine a day where voice recognition can allow marketing folks to just say what they want changed on a website and AI makes the update and asks for confirmation before pushing it live.

I'm not worried. I've been in this industry for 25 years now, and seen multiple technical revolutions. (Back in my first serious job, we were hand-rolling streaming data protocols with lex and yacc on raw sockets! There was no ssh, no xml, no json, and http was a lab toy in Switzerland.)

Requirements are hard. Understanding what needs to be done, and doing it all in the correct order, with buy-in from all concerned parties, is an essentially human, creative problem. It's not a simple matter of "marketing folks ask the AI to update the site", because they don't know how to ask it. Software is like all those tales of people getting their wishes granted by a genie or something, and regretting it because what they asked for wasn't actually what they wanted.

And who turns someone's dreams into something the genie will do correctly? Programmers. We're the interface between the world of human needs and the world of technical realities. We're doing craft. Our tools may change, but our problem is constant.

Yeah, software devs will be the rich/elite in 20 years (we'll be the only ones employable).

Nope. Most software development jobs, along with many other "creative" jobs, will be automated as well.

eventually, but -- creative will go AFTER doctors/lawyers/etc... I can't wait for politicians to go.

The UBI of $1K a month is insane. This would be 320 million Americans receiving $1K a month per person? That's $320B a month...$3.8 Trillion a year. That's DOUBLE the current Federal government's annual expenditures. He argues, with hand-wavey logic, that this will solve our problems and we can tax tech companies and all of this...but no, there's not enough annual revenue at the big tech companies to cover this enormous welfare program.

You don't know anything about his "hand-wavey logic", or you'd know right away that it's not "320 million Americans". It's only adults from age 18-65 (or whenever they choose to retire to Social Security, presumably).

It would be whatever bastardized form of it Congress passes and by the way, Social Security is already on the path to insolvency. It's still a multi-trillion dollar proposal, a huge economic experiment that could easily end in catastrophe and not be easily reversible (as people would come to depend on payments, try taking that away from them). It's batshit crazy.

In his book, Andrew Yang points out that one of the major factors damaging Social Security right now is a sharp rise (like a doubling) in disability cases. And the amount of people on disability maps directly to areas of economic depression and underemployment. Basically, it's become an alternative form of long-term unemployment for people who are unable to find work. And worse, since getting a job will likely lead to losing benefits, it actively discourages employment and makes people think of themselves as broken failures.

That all said, what is your alternative? Let huge swaths of the country degenerate into poverty and despair? Wait for them to vote an actual fascist into office? Or riot?

Given a choice between higher taxes and civil war, I will gladly choose higher taxes.

Sensationalize much? Taxes wouldn't just be a little bit higher under this proposal they'd be double what they are today...in the name of social welfare. And when that ruins the economy, you'll be dealing with another Venezuela.

Social security isn't on its way to insolvency because of disability expansion...it's on its way to insolvency because it was designed in an age when we had an average of three children per female and life expectancy was shorter. Now that we're down to two and possibly dropping...there's less workers per retiree.

Is the UBI taxable income? Perhaps UBI would generate enough revenue to be cost neutral or even cost positive.

Exasmple: food stamps generate $1.73 in tax revenue for each $1 handed out. It's just good policy - to a point.

From his interviews the UBI is not taxed, but the money comes from:

1. Consolidating existing welfare programs with large bureaucracies (500-600BN)

2. 10% VAT on companies which report 0 profits (800BN)

3. Projected economic growth leading to sales taxes (this is like the foot stamp example you shared)

4. Healthcare, prisons, etc (100-200BN)

1. What prevents the UBI from generating its own large bureaucracy?

2. VAT taxes come in the form of higher prices on everything. No such thing as a free lunch.

4. Healthcare, prisons is handwavey logic. Again, we already provide free healthcare to the poor via Medicaid. So there are no gains to be had there. He makes the wild guess that welfare payments would reduce crime, even though we saw the highest crime rates in the 80s and 90s prior to welfare reform (which reduced the number of people on welfare). So no, I don't buy any of it. There is no experiment of this being tried in the wild, at the city, county, or state level. Why would you take an epic proposal and immediately propose a huge shift of resources in the economy without any evidence to back it up?

1. "The government is bad at a lot of things but it's great at writing checks to people on time", because there's no income cutoff or other eligibility requirements it becomes a lot easier to manage than existing welfare programs.

2. VAT is designed to capture value from companies which employ few people, generate a lot of value, but report little in profits, which are a lot of tech companies today.

4. We spend more on healthcare to worse results than other developed countries, a lot is institutional inefficiency.

There's definitely evidence out there to support that people are suffering more even though GDP goes up, look at the labor participation rate of working-age men in these swing states.

Epic proposal? Alaska has been running a UBI from the 60s, instituted by a Republican governor and it's wildly popular. A UBI almost passed under Nixon as well, passing the house and getting killed in the senate twice because democrats wanted the amounts to be bigger.

The way I see it, we either do this now or we continue to keep our heads in the sand while the country rots from the center.

Apple earned $60B in taxable income in 2018. Amazon $2.8B. Amazon has a business model where they continue to reinvest profits in the business. Amazon employs 500,000+ people at minimum wage of $15 an hour. They do plenty for the economy as a whole. And if you tax them with VATs, they'll just increase prices on goods. There is no way around it. If you tax with VATs and extract value out of Amazon, you get less capital investment from companies like Amazon, which are highly efficient at capital allocation. That's the reason our economy grows in the first place. Redistributing capital to consumers only incentivizes and subsidizes consumption. To some extent consumption is good, but too much consumption and not enough production leads to a stale and stagnant economy.

Alaska has a budget crisis right now, and they owe back pay to their citizens on the PFD. Besides that obvious disaster, it's a variable payout based on oil money. How sustainable do you think that will be once, say, electric cars become a thing?

The variable payout has been as high as $2,000 a person per year...to as low as $800 a year.

Alaska has benefited, like many oil-rich nations (including Norway), from a relatively small population with relatively large oil reserves and huge markets to sell those reserves to. Alaska has a population of about 750,000. Smaller than most large U.S. metropolitan areas. If they had the population of Texas (28 million)...that oil dividend would amount to $54 a year (in its highest amount ever).

The U.S. is almost three orders of magnitude larger than Alaska in terms of population. A LOT changes at that scale. Especially when the U.S. is THE largest market on the planet. We are the market other industries strive to sell to. Wreck that market, and you'll wreck the world economy.


I think "progress" is a culturally and personally subjective concept.

To me, a lot of the progress we're making is efficiency only for the sake of profit. We should be answering the deeper question of "what's the point of work?" Do businesses exist to make profit for a small group of people or do they exist as privately-owned community pillars providing services and wages to citizens?

Personally, I lean towards the latter. And that's as a business owner twice-over.

We should also be asking ourselves "why do we make the products we make?" Are we building and consuming to fulfill an urge created by advertising? If so, can we scale back advertising and thus consumption and thus waste?

Unionization and employee-ownership are other options for fairly distributing wealth based on effort. A shop that unionizes can vote to automate – or not – and thus control their own destiny. Granted we're not there yet legally; our laws skew heavily in the favor of business owners. So were a union shop to vote to _not_ automate, a shop that fired all of its employees and automated would more than likely succeed in the market.

And that brings me full-circle – is succeeding in the market and being profitable more important than keeping people employed in a democratically-controlled workplace?

Here's my question about unions and worker controlled workplaces.. What happens when the entire shop becomes uncompetitive?

It's the same as when a country is happily going about their day and suddenly tanks show up at your door because someone else wants what you have.

that's just human nature, I don't see a way around it.

I don't believe it's human nature. I believe it's decades of prioritizing profits over civic results – we've warped our culture to the point of valuing monetary progress/success over humanity itself.

I'm sure this sounds very bleeding heart, but as a business owner, I'd rather give up stake in my own business to keep my employees and their families fed rather than opt for automation, firing my employees, and sitting in an empty office with piles of cash.

Business owners and shareholders need to learn empathy and start valuing the community at large over their own narrow interests.

To answer your question, though: I don't know.

The U.S. is an owner/exec-first economy, with labor holding very little political power. "At will" employment and "Right to Work" are inherently anti-union policies and although some states have successfully beat them back (Missouri for example), a majority of the country's labor is still without ways to organize.

It's a chicken and egg problem. A unionized shop probably couldn't compete against a full automated shop (depending on the industry). So until _most_ shops are unionized – which won't happen with rulings like Janus – it's almost an impossible task to organize the working class.

More reading:



Businesses exist to make a profit. Do you care that a washing machine or dishwasher replaces the work of what used to be a labor intensive activity? Do you care that construction workers are using backhoes instead of shovels (which would employ more people)?

Unionization made sense in part due to the very labor intensive work of the early 20th century. Conditions were poor and pay was low and you had massive numbers of people doing related work together. It made sense. Nowadays unionizing is like herding cats across disparate, ephemeral organizations.

I don't think you can take a 20th century approach to 21st century problems.

Workplaces aren't democracies.

> Workplaces aren't democracies.

Some already are (co-ops, worker-owned, etc.) and all _should be_ if we want to keep society from pulling itself apart.

> Businesses exist to make a profit. Is that their only purpose? Profit über alles?

Sounds a lot like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerationism

Yang talks about coming up with a more wholistic measurement than GDP to optimize on which is more in-line with how we value people culturally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2FnZPXjRyI&feature=youtu.be...

> Do businesses exist to make profit for a small group of people or do they exist as privately-owned community pillars providing services and wages to citizens?

If that's your take on businesses, would you support a requirement for corporate charters to keep public as stakeholders?

Ie, removing the oft-repeated opinion that corporations have a fiduciary duty to their stockholders to make the most money possible?

I'd love to read more about this. Does this concept have a name? At face value, yes, some sort of contractual agreement that considers externalities of production, employee well-being, etc. sounds like a solid idea.

Retraining is a ridiculous proposition to address this issue, which is what he says about the topic as well.

Just train all of the cashiers and truck drivers to become mechanical engineers. It's simple! /s

Why do you jump from blue collar to high tech in the retraining conversation? Sounds like an extreme that people aren't arguing for. I think retraining a cole miner to use similar tools or equipment (like in a quarry) would be what most people are talking about. Or retraining retail to be in customer service.

The Green New Deal would create tens of thousands of blue collar jobs. Can a coal miner be retrained to install and maintain solar panels? I bet they can.

So what if they can be trained to install solar panels? Are there going to be gobs of new solar panel installation jobs in their hometowns where the coal mine closed? This is a huge part of the problem. The brightest and most ambitious get out of dying communities and go elsewhere (heck, America is made largely of the descendants of people who did exactly that). But not everyone wants to move away from their hometown. Not everyone has the resources to start over somewhere else, even if they wanted to do so.

> Are there going to be gobs of new solar panel installation jobs in their hometowns where the coal mine closed?

Maybe if everyone's, say, getting a $1000/mo UBI...

Is anyone silly enough to think even one former coal miner is going to spend their $1k on solar panels?

I don't see why you're silly enough to think none would. I certainly agree that a former coal miner with no source of income but the UBI is unlikely to, at best. But a former coal miner re-employed, with an additional extra $1k, doesn't seem any more unlikely than baseline.

And if all the still-unemployed former coal miners in town have $1k/mo instead of $0/mo, there is much more opportunity for former coal miners (and everyone else in town) to offer them services.

Retraining is literally the #learntocode meme.

That seems like a gross oversimplification. Retraining could fit as a component of a much larger plan to tackle the issues facing the job market and employability of people in these fields. Or maybe it can't. Either way, oversimplifying doesn't further the discussion.

It doesn't have to be from coal miner to software engineer, or some kind of massive transformation. Skills training and education for adults is more than that, IMO.

It's not a meme, it's a good advice. There is no person who will regret learning to code. Even if they end up doing something else, knowing how to code would definitely come in handy for something.

I think the point of contention is that not everyone is well suited for it. Certain people are strong creatively but not analytically. If you love socializing and want to work with people or love being outdoors and working with your hands or tools there's no reason to learn how to code.

It's like saying no one will regret learning to farm or hunt. They're essential should for some of us but we become incredibly inefficient as a society if we all try to learn all of the important skills.

My academic background and work experience is 95% outside the software field but I've always liked the idea of programming. Since a little kid with an already anachronic ZX Spectrum. I would write programs by hand in a notebook waiting for it to arrive.

When the time came that my profession sort of blended in with data science (or rather that data science became a part of it and we'd rather keep the domain experts), I had/am having a great time. So I understand the tunnel vision.

The thing is that people have different talents and inclinations. Despite the outstanding role of economic necessity, liking or even being proud of something about one's work life is a psychological necessity that has to be much more common than enjoying code. I see construction workers on top of tall buildings to be, looking into the sky -- they must like this feeling, or the endorphins of hard physical labor, or the fact that something so tangible and durable is coming out of their muscle aches. Or something. There are easier ways to make a lower-class wage than work on top of buildings.

I don't like dealing with new people a lot, so I would be miserable working the cashier in a 24/7 store. But there has to be some psychological return to this work. Despite people resenting it and sort of being stuck for economic reasons.

Would these people have the same sense of accomplishment and belonging-in-the-world as middling coders in the typical death-march situations coders experience in real life?

It’s idiotic advice. It’s a meme to troll with. Nobody thinks that a 50 year old life long trucker is going to pick up programming. If they do think that, they shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions for society. Hell, they probably shouldn’t even be allowed to vote.

Or maybe the new #learntoread meme?

and UBI is an excuse to write off the bottom half the population.

All 3 are popular with the HN crowd. Not surprising.

The argument for UBI is that society is going to write off the bottom half of the population anyway, so something is better than nothing.

The counterargument is we could just not write them off.

We will, though. Globalization and automation aren't going to stop, and we're going to end up with an entire class of people rendered surplus to requirements whose labor value in the marketplace will be zero or well below subsistence levels.

Trump's populist promises to keep the coal mines open and auto factories rolling and dial the American economy back to the 1950s won't work, the world has moved on. Reeducation and retraining won't work at scale, especially not in the US where education means an unpayable private debt in many cases.

So if not UBI, then what?

And how do you propose we do that?

First it'll be the bottom half, then the bottom two-thirds, then the bottom 90%. Automation isn't going to stop at manufacturing, truckers, and retail workers: it'll hit radiologists, accountants, lawyers, etc eventually.

I don't read him as big on "retraining" at all. He's certainly critical of how it's usually expressed politically - "We'll just turn those 50 year old truck drivers into computer programmers!" It just doesn't work that way.

He does frequently bring up retraining, but in the context that government-sponsored retraining programs have between a 0% and a 15% success rate. E.g. the graduation rate for former military employees who then go to college is 0%.

So retraining isn't a solution to jobs being lost by automation and even if we get significantly better at retraining it's still probably not a solution.

You're going to need to provide a source for your claims that 0% graduate. A handful of my classmates from Carnegie Mellon were veterans (some with trauma) and all graduated within the typical timeline. The NVEST report from 2017 on student veterans [0][1] show an approximate 54% graduation rate within 6 years (18% were still enrolled, 28% dropped out) greater than the general averages. While the washout rate for 2 year programs is particularly high, your idea that retraining isn't achievable is flawed.

[0]https://nvest.studentveterans.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03... [1]https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/why-is...

Hmm apparently I'm just wrong. I could have sworn there was a Wired article about this from a few years ago, but I can't find any evidence of it online or in my notes or in my previous HN comments.

If they got into CMU they're already the cream of the crop. The low rate covers all the other people who never made it to CMU, dropped out of the labor force and got onto disability.

The NVEST numbers (54%) include everyone though.

I see, I missed the part where it was veterans. I'm not informed enough to know why that program's success is so much higher than the ~37% success for manufacturing workers or Michigan's No Worker Left Behind (30% unemployment vs 40% for those not retrained).

If I had to guess, it could be because vets are younger and more able to learn new things, or it could also be that measuring graduation rates is different than measuring employment (plenty of college grads don't find employment in their field of study).

Are there any retraining programs that have more than a 50% success rate? Has retraining ever been a realistic option for job loss? Seems more likely the next generation would make up for the lost jobs on paper

I always hear about these “retraining programs” but I’ve never met anyone who has done one. Where do these programs even happen? What are they training people to do? Is it offered to people who file for unemployment or meant to be more proactive?

I teach data science at a masters programs (University of St Thomas graduate programs in software in the twin cities) and we have some students who are part of retraining programs. Apparently if a big company lays off a significant chunk of workforce and off-shores it, there are programs funded through corporate taxes that the laid off workers can use to go to school. The students in my anecdotal experience (2 semesters so far) are pretty good. I think there must be more than one such program because some students required a sign off from me but others didn't. It's just a few students that I know of so it's not a super large scale but it's nice to know that such programs exist at least.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm pleasantly surprised to hear the programs include such high-level courses.

People don't have that kind of elasticity on skills, the ability to retrain a 20 year old and 50 year old are very different

Nope. Retraining has never worked. Yang is quite explicit about that.

And he's wrong. Retraining has been effective in several European nations like Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, especially for older adults (there's a reason even DeVos and Trump name drop them). The fundamental difference (from the US programs attempted in the past) primarily lies in the amount of money per worker spent and the level of state control/centralization. Furthermore, companies there seem actively enthusiastic about ensuring they have a skilled population pool in the future regardless of the short term ROI.

Personally I think the 2017 tax cuts should be rolled back for a lot of industries and used as an incentive for companies to develop proper apprenticeship programs and collaborate with universities/community colleges/trade schools to teach the exact skills they're looking for.

Lol @ software engineers complaining about ageism and at the same time thinking retraining a 50yo truck driver is a reasonable solution

> Lol @ software engineers complaining about ageism and at the same time thinking retraining a 50yo truck driver is a reasonable solution

I'm not sure who these software engineers are. Anonymous online comments are unlikely to be a good source of determining how many people truly believe what you seem to think some of them believe.

Is retraining a 50yo truck unreasonable? Retraining them to become a software developer is probably unreasonable for most. But what about other jobs and types of labor? What about training them in more general skills that are valued in today's workplace and economy, as a part of a broader approach to tackling the issues facing the job market and economy?

I fear your military stat is inaccurate and taken out of context, making it meaningless for any inference on this matter.

Military population jas a selection bias for people with high thresholds of tolerance for difficult tasks amd by end of training usually have otjer confounding factors affecting their graduation, ie. Ptsd, lack of purpose, loss of fraternity, etc.

Can you back that zero percent number up with any sort of data? This article https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/why-is... says that the number isn’t even officially tracked, though it’s probably low.

However, it also points out some places do manage to graduate a decent proportion of veterans, so it might be a matter of finding the right approach rather than an impossibility.

I'd be interested to know how many of those vets end up getting a job after they graduate though, other retraining programs measure job retention as opposed to program completion.

that is in every program since dawn of 20th century: Here is https://www.axios.com/trump-workers-program-ivanka-automatio...

Prediction: UBI won't go anywhere, because it has a branding problem. If we rebrand it as a Negative Income Tax it may actually go somewhere.

In Wisconsin we have zero corporate taxes, so they tried to explain the Foxconn "tax incentives" to us as a "negative income tax" for corporations.

Just saying that there may be some branding problems with that in the critical states. (And by critical, I mean the states that aren't going to just vote liberal or conservative anyway. Basically just a handful of states in the upper midwest. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, maybe Ohio and Iowa.)

That's what the "Freedom Dividend" branding is all about!

Dividend implies a share of the revenue. What happens when people start thinking about where the revenue comes from?

Nobody will ever think about that.

Does anyone think about where the "dividend" on their stock funds comes from? Free money!

It comes from taxes. Most Americans are supportive of taxing the rich if they get some sort of fair benefit, which a across the board dividend will be.

Why don't we try to increase tax revenue and pay down debt for a couple of years first, see how that works?

You can't win elections without giving stuff away, if there ever was a weakness of democracy in America, it would be that.

I don't think that's good enough. Dividend still have a connotation that you are getting a handout.

Yang says flat out that he calls it "Freedom Dividend" because that's the phrase that polled best. Maybe you can come up with a phrase that would poll better, maybe not.

Dividends have a real capitalist connotation, and who doesn't like freedom right? It's a dividend for being a US citizen, in theory you're contributing to civic life.

UBI is a handout is it not?

Not necessarily. If you think of resources as something we all own as citizens - like air, water, broadcast frequencies, patent offices, etc - then it's quite reasonable for Americans, as the owners of these resources that businesses profit from, to charge rent for the use of those resources.

This is how the Alaska Permanent Fund works. The oil underneath Alaska is considered the property of all Alaskans, both current and future. The state charges a substantial fee for its extraction, and redistributes it to all Alaskan citizens every year (about $1k-2k). And it's in a trust, so it will still be there for Alaskans even when the oil runs out.

I'm quite okay with my government charging a fee for the use of scarce common resources, and cutting me a check.

300M people x $1000 per month.

Where does that money come from? (taxes?). What will stop inflation from just negating that 1000 gain?

UBI doesn't have a political problem. It has a math problem.

Let's look at the other side. 65% unemployment.

Everyone is homeless, or starving or both.

These people used to spend 100% of their paycheck at Walmart, local grocers, fast food. Now they spend 0.

So big retail/fast food shops close, more jobs lost.

UBI puts money in people's hands --the people who spend it all in their own local economy.

They can do more to get some of that back through taxes so it's more like 'recycling'. People with money aren't going to commit crimes to feed their family. People w/ rent/food/health ins are happier, more productive, less stressed, and more motivated to work on self-betterment.

Hell, if I had an extra 2-3k/month from a UBI program, I'd quit freelancing and go all in my SaaS I'm building which if it's successful could have at least 10-20 new jobs created. How many other entrepreneurs could have better success if they didn't need to put in 50-60 hours a week on their day job?

You can say it'll never happen, because you think everything will always stay the same, but that's just not the case. 40% of jobs never to be replaced by 2030 is a solid estimation.

What is your suggestion with what we should do w/ that sector? You can't retrain when there aren't jobs for them to retrain to. Should we just euthanize anyone who hasn't worked in the past year or two?

He has answered this question a lot.

Yup. Cheerfully supporting those "unwilling to work".

Compared to the US, Montreal seems to have a larger proportion of people with “weird jobs”: artists and performers, but also small, non-VC backed startups with unusual ideas. I think part of the reason is the more generous social safety net: you can follow your dream of becoming a circus performer or building highly-instrumented clothes for athletic training, without worrying about ending up sick and broke. As a result, people are happier, the city is more interesting, and some of the innovations seem to be panning out.

I don’t actually know of anyone who is out-and-out abusing the system. I’m sure there may be some, but I think a lot of people seem disproportionately worried about someone, somewhere eeking out a meager existence vs. the possible benefits.

I think another reason is the cost of living in Quebec/Montreal is low because they don't allow foreign real estate speculators. You can still rent a one bedroom for ~$800 in Montreal in an area where you don't need a vehicle, or a studio for ~$600 that includes tennant insurance. It's even cheaper in Quebec City, $900 for a large 2 bedroom. In Vancouver or Toronto that same studio in an area where you don't need a vehicle would be well over $1k/mth which is probably why it seems more people with wacky jobs like street juggler live there and not in Vancouver or Toronto despite having a similar safety net.

It's not just speculators. Toronto and Vancouver have large foreign student populations who obviously need a place to live in. Most of them are not the cash-and-cars-flashing millionaires the newspapers constantly feature. Many are middle-class and had to take out loans from their community to afford the tuition.

In general, the major landing points for Canadian immigrants are Toronto, the GTA or Vancouver. The GTA is where the jobs are, so that's where people congregate.

There are some big employers based in Montreal, but you usually need to know French unless you're a developer or in an otherwise non-client facing role. You don't need French to get around in Montreal though, although of course it's appreciated if you make an effort.

Sure, there are a lot of reasons for cost-of-living differences. I think Quebec might have a stronger safety net: childcare and college tuition are considerably cheaper, for example, than in Toronto, and those are major expenses for many people.

I still think the broader point stands though: th city is fun because the cost-of-living (including fallback plans) is low enough that people don’t feel compelled to chase only income-maximizing careers. If I lived in New York instead, I think it’s much more likely that I would be in finance or something similar because I’d be only a few bits of bad luck away from destitution. In Montreal, I feel like I’ve got a reasonable life on a research scientist’s much lower salary.

What's stopping the U.S. from making it illegal for foreign real estate holdings? Take back all the real estate, and auction it off at reasonable values, would go a long way to fix the rent issues. We don't owe foreign nationals anything, you should have to be a U.S. citizen or legal resident living stateside to hold/own land in America. If you live in the house as a legal resident that's one thing, but if you live in mainland china, or hong kong, and are just 'holding onto the real estate' - they should give 1 year to sell or your property will be auctioned and you'll receive 50/50 split -- govt getting the other 50.

Can you explain _why_ you think that would be beneficial?

Why moving abroad for a year you automatically lose your property rights? Does this just apply to real estate or do you release all property rights, such as cash, stocks, property left in a storage unit, car, etc?

Moving abroad you're still a U.S. citizens, I'm talking about non-us nationals buying up property strictly to hold/sell later, or to use as AIRBNB, etc... A little old but here's an example: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/18/foreigners-snap-up-record-nu...

I get if you are a U.S. national and live abroad some times and come back sometimes keeping a home, but a business man in china just holding 5-10 homes, or using U.S. real estate to launder money, definitely serves no purpose.

A dividend is something you get for owning an asset, actually. But yes, if we view payments for passive asset ownership as "handouts", well, yes, a "Freedom Dividend" would indeed be a handout.

And so would actual dividends for equity ownership, as accrued by the capitalist class.

So, if we want a Marxist take, your comment is pretty fair.

But doesn't the word "tax" already have an extremely strong negative connotation to much of the country? I think Universal Basic Income is already the most polished way of saying wealth redistribution.

Technically, a negative income tax is actually a different but similar policy proposal. It has the advantage that it requires a smaller increase in taxes overall and uses existing governmental infrastructure.

Yeah, I'm a much bigger proponent of a negative income tax, mainly because it doesn't disincentivize work as much as just giving everyone the same amount of money.

I don't think the incentive structure is all that different. You're still guaranteeing a certain amount of income to each individual. Where you set that income is probably the bigger deal. If you set it just below a living wage people will still be incentivized to work whether it's a UBI or negative income tax.

Milton Friedman called it that 50 years ago. Nixon proposed it to Congress in 1971. I don’t think associating with Friedman and Nixon is going to help with the branding.

Depends who you are trying to convince.

I would hazard to say many democrats are already convinced and that the GOP has drifted so far in the intervening years that you'll never convince it that UBI is anything but a scheme to turn the U.S. into Venezuala.

Much like other libertarian leaning candidates, a lot of supporters learn right (like, very far right). https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/9/18256622/andrew-yang-2020-...

That's the term evil neoliberal Milton Friedman used.

“Progressive Refund Adjustment”

Also because it’s a bad idea. I like Yang, but I would not vote for UBI.

Maybe mention what aspect you find bad (I mean there are definitely weaknesses and unknowns), and why the explanations on his policy site don't have you convinced: https://www.yang2020.com/what-is-ubi/

It goes over the common ones like how will we pay for it, is this too soon, will this cause inflation, will people not be incentivized to work, etc.

In short, $1000 isn’t anywhere close to enough to fix the problem, and if it was an amount large enough to fix the problem, I believe it would be extremely destructive to society.

The how to pay for it, while important, isn’t even a big concern for me. I think how to pay for it is a moot point.

You qualify for the debate by getting the right number of donors? Wow ...

It seems reasonable to me, for an early debate, assuming the minimum qualifying donation is small (like $1 or $5).

For an early debate, I think one of the main goals would be to give exposure to "deserving" candidates who don't necessarily already have it. Polling isn't good for that since it will exclude anyone people haven't already heard of. But the question becomes what is "deserving" and how do you measure it?

It's not like counting donors is perfect, but what is? And it has some things going for it:

1. Talk is just talk. If you can get a decent number of people who don't personally know you to support you with at least a few bucks, you've got some kind of appeal.

2. There are already a lot of laws, reporting rules, etc. around campaign donations that you can piggyback off of. That is, the campaigns are already tracking this stuff very carefully and, if they cheat the numbers, are risking something a lot worse than being left out of a debate.

Quadratic voting. You can give as many "pushes" to a candidate as you like, but the first costs $1, the second $2, the third $9, the fourth $16... At the end of the game everyone shares in the spoils equally so people get some of their money back.

It's to make sure "supporters" are actual supporters who put their money where their mouth is.

That supposes "supporters" have disposable income, and don't support a candidate in other ways like donating time, or canvassing.

The disposable income can be as little as $1 (though you also need a credit card and access to a computer with Internet), so it's not too exclusionary.

You can also qualify by getting 1%+ support in 3+ "approved" polls.

>though you also need a credit card and access to a computer with Internet), so it's not too exclusionary

You'd be surprised

How would you propose a network select candidates for a debate?

Networks don't select candidates for the debates on their own, the parties at the main drivers; the DNC drove the single-tier big-stage setup for it's 2020 debates, including the ability to qualify by number of unique donors; the RNC drove the qualifications for, and two-tier “grown ups” vs. “kids table” format for it's 2016 debates.

I thought traditionally it was polling numbers. But maybe that was just the RNC clown car from 2016...

The DNC is using two criteria for qualifying for the debates. One is the traditional polling above 1% in three separate recognized polls. The other is a minimum number of donors (65k), with a minimum of 200 in each of 20 different states.

Meeting either criteria qualifies a candidate for the debate, and should the field of qualifying candidates grow to more than twenty (gods forbid) priority is given to candidates that meet both and then by polling average.

65k donors doesn't seem like a lot especially since there's no minimum contribution. So raising $65,000 can put you on the DNC debate stage regardless of how you poll?

A GoFundMe could raise more than that.

How easy do you imagine it is to get that many people to put their name on a list saying they want you for president?

Exponentially easier than polling 1% nationally.

The comparison was to a random GoFundMe, not national polling. Besides, the field is limited to 20. A candidate may still have to meet the polling threshold depending on how the field does.

Polling numbers are great for a field of a half-dozen candidates, but much harder for a field of 20, where the average is 5%. How can you even trust the polls then?

As a Democrat, I'm okay with showing a minimum number of individual donors. It shows real interest in the candidate.

> the RNC clown car from 2016

As opposed to the DNC clown car from 2016 where everything about the primaries was pre-cooked by DNC insiders and their media helpers?

I don't understand how any rational person can claim moral high ground for either party.

> where everything about the primaries was pre-cooked

One, maybe two things, ISTR, no?

There was no realistic chance that Bernie is any other candidate was going to get the nomination at the convention once the superdelegates were pinned down.

That was settled well before the primaries were done, so if that's just one thing, it's enough. You don't even need to get to "two things" like previewing questions with the media for the debates, or purging dissenters from the DNC leadership, for example.

ISTR one of the things was, "Hillary will win."

Unique donors across (I believe?) all 50 states. It's to allow presumably grassroots candidates to achieve access. You can also qualify the normal way of scoring above some small percentage in national polls.

The DNC doesn't require donors from all 50 states, but it does require a healthy diversity of states. I think it is 200 unique donors from 20 different states.

If it’s only $65K and 200 people that’s a low bar. That’s well within range of a determined troll to get a podium on live TV.

200 from each of 20 states.

Not dollars, 65k unique donors. And 200 from each of 20 states.

Why should anything about this be designed to exclude "trolls"? Last time repubs got a troll, and he won the whole thing.

Ha! For the record I’m all for it. I find the entire election procrsss highly entertaining.

The funniest thing I heard on the subject was the suggestion to nominate Trump as a Democrat so he qualifies for their primary debates and can take on all of them at once.

The Republican field had daytime and nighttime debates in 15. But that meant that the daytime people only debated with daytime people trying to get a spot on the nighttime. The debates were horribly crowded too.

The best situation would be something like n-fold cross-validation. With 20 candidates you have 1140 possible arrangements for three-way debates. You have what, 40 to 60 weeks to converge on a candidate? Enumerate those 1140 arrangements, pick M integers from a lottery with white balls and hold weekly debates, preferably all over the country.

For any given candidate, his probability of being on any single debate is 14,26% [0]. The probability that he's in at least one of 40 debates is 99,78%. If this happens, give this candidate an extra slot in the very last debate before primaries.

[0] https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=1%2F20+%2B+(19%2F20)*(...

I'm currently reading Yang's book The War on Normal People and it is kind of terrifying. I highly, highly recommend it in preparation for this presidential race, whether or not you're a Yang supporter. There is a great deal of food for thought. (full disclosure: I'm a Yang supporter and donated twenty bucks)

So, a few observations about him as a candidate. First, I think he's the only candidate really looking outside the box. It seems to me the political debate in this country is basically liberals saying the solution to our problems is more 1960s welfare and 1970s regulation, and conservatives saying the solution is less 1960s welfare and less 1970s regulation. We're stuck with a 50 year old model for the domestic responsibilities of our government.

Andrew Yang is one of us. He's from the startup community, and has seen up close how disruption works. He understands technology, and he understands numbers. And what he sees as a result of this understanding is grim - tens of millions of working-class and middle-class jobs slated for obsolescence in the next couple of decades, and no real alternatives in place for those about to lose their livelihoods. The social implications are terrifying. Don't like his UBI solution? Come up with something else, or commit to ignoring the problem until there are bread riots.

Another thing that strikes me is how he comes across. He reminds me of two important recent politicians - Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders. Obama, because he's so clearly a nerd. It's such a rare pleasure to listen to a politician that I think is actually much smarter than me and not pretending otherwise. And Bernie, because Bernie's superpower isn't his policies - it's his integrity. You know deep down that Bernie isn't lying to you. I get that same vibe from Yang, and that's a very powerful thing these days.

Anyway, just some observations.

Andrew Yang is one of us. He's from the startup community, and has seen up close how disruption works. He understands technology, and he understands numbers. And what he sees as a result of this understanding is grim - tens of millions of working-class and middle-class jobs slated for obsolescence in the next couple of decades, and no real alternatives in place for those about to lose their livelihoods. The social implications are terrifying. Don't like his UBI solution? Come up with something else, or commit to ignoring the problem until there are bread riots.

You could also just disagree with him about the problem. As a developer and founder, I think that most of what people are worried about with regard to automation putting everyone out of work in a decade is overblown. It’s essentially the exact same thing that’s always been said when fearmongering about how innovation and growth is about to destroy everything: “this time it’s different!”

Maybe, but I’ll pass on implementing a huge, untested, disruptive “cure” for a problem that people have been saying is around the corner for 150 years.

Not that there’s any real option of doing that. We can’t pass boring things that have widespread support, but we’re going to somehow magically pass things like UBI or single payer or the green new deal that would reshape the entire American economy and culture in unpredictable ways? OK.

Climate change and automation and the health care crisis are great examples of how we politically cannot get ahead of big problems that require big solutions. It’s basically impossible politically. The best we seem to be able to do is react way too late.

Or maybe I’m just cynical. But I’d love examples of big things we solved in advance that required big political constituencies to be built and were costly to voters.

The pain is already here, it just isn't apparent on the costal cities. It manifests in a low labor participation rate among people (especially men) with high school educations in the midwest, increased drug usage and suicide rates, etc.

I think if he's wrong he won't poll well after the debates and we'll forget about it all, but if he's right, he'll do well in Iowa and the midwest, and we know from 2016 that you can't win the electoral college without those swing states.

I think it's just a timescale calibration thing. It's probably not going to be a widespread problem in 10 years. Within 40 years, it almost definitely will be. Better to start preparing now, especially since it'll probably take a very long time to get anything like this passed.

Again, disagree. Forty years is enough time to adjust to increasing automation.

True, but UBI may be a component of that adjustment.

Maybe, but it won’t be in advance. And 40 years is enough time to not even need UBI, IMO.

The goal of government is to create the most stable, safe, and happy environment as possible for as much of the population as possible. What about the startup community, who obsessively chase endless growth, "innovation" and "disruption", makes you think they would be good at achieving that goal?

He's not saying that the push to growth-by-disruption is a solution. He's saying it's a problem, and we have to deal with it quickly, because it moves quickly. He's not saying we should run the country like a Silicon Valley startup. He's also not saying innovation should be banned or punished (coughcoughWarrencough). He's saying that it's coming, and it's going to mess up a lot of people's lives, and if we don't do something big to deal with that, we're going to have a revolution on our hands.

That's in fact not the stated purpose of the government at all. It is not a utilitarian construct.

We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There you go. Stated purpose of our government. And I think several of those clauses apply to using UBI as a solution to our rapid economic dislocations.

What's it for then?

Check out his podcast with Joe Rogan or Sam Harris, he definitely understands that government is not the same as business, but he also understands markets and incentives (and perverse incentives) a lot better than most politicians imo.

I like Yang, but I think the current partisan culture-war covers up how good he actually is. If Bernie (admittedly, my preferred candidate) had published a book called "The War on Normal People", a lot of us Millenials would be camping out at bookstores to get it like it was the last "Harry Potter" book all over again.

Reading Yang is an eye-opener, relative to Bernie's proposed solutions. Raising the minimum wage doesn't help if minimum wage jobs are being obliterated. Free college doesn't help someone who is 50 years old and isn't really up to starting their life over again. It's not that Bernie's ideas are bad (obviously, Yang adopted Medicare for All)... but they're incomplete. To my earlier criticism, they're just a particularly strong example of "1960s welfare, but more of it".

I don't know if UBI is the solution. But I sure as heck don't know what else might be. That's why I want Andrew Yang in the debates. I very much doubt he'll win the nomination, and I have doubts about his ability to survive the brutality of a major-candidate status, but I want Democrats (and America) talking about both his fears and his solutions, because we really, really need to talk about this stuff.

His ideas are very much needed in the party, especially the economic focused platform on middle America. Less identity politics, more attention to real issues: low labor participation rates even as GDP soars, rising suicide and opiate usage, a scarcity mentality eroding trust and optimism.

All politics is identity politics. (And the politics of thinking that "identity" is for those people is privilege politics.) But that said, there's a distressing tendency for the "coastal elites" to sneer at the midwest working class, rather than recognize and sympathize with their struggles. Which is an identity problem in itself.

Andrew Yang has his finger directly on the pulse of the malaise that led to Democrats losing PA, MI, OH, and WI. He counts the manufacturing job losses due to technology. But the GOP is offering someone to blame - immigrants, offshoring. It's hard to compete with someone who offers the customer a concrete enemy.

>All politics is identity politics.

Oh really? All politics is a matter of changing no policies or social structures at all, but instead pushing for "representation" of the voters' demographic groups among the tiny power elite? Or did you mean that all politics is a matter of antidiscrimination laws?

Your statement is a deepity: it can either be interpreted as meaningfully narrow, but false, or as true, but so broad as to be meaningless.

I think our definitions of "identity politics" are not the same. Nonetheless I agree with everything else you said.

My only hope is that his ideas enter the conversation of democrats or else we'll have a candidate focusing on costal city issues and ignoring the economic forces that matter in the states that have been neglected.

I agree. I am very glad Yang is reaching the debates stage. Bernie comes from an Old Left tradition in which strengthening the working class just will solve our economic problems, because the underlying cause is diagnosed as being an imbalance of power towards the owning class over the working class. Yang prefers to look at technological change, which is itself an important structural factor that requires examination.

If you know a bunch about Yang, could you tell me: what's his diagnosis for why the automation revolution doesn't show up in productivity numbers?

I gave money to Yang for this because I think having an Asian American on the stage would be a good thing for the debate.

The neoliberal media is already trying to paint him as the white nationalist darling candidate[0]

It is getting ridiculous.


That article doesn't seem to be trying to paint Andrew Yang as a white nationalist. It literally quotes him disavowing support from white supremacists and their beliefs.

It does say that his popularity on the internet extends to 4chan, where racists make racist memes about him, and it quotes a tweet[0] by him regarding a New York Times article[1] about death rates among white people, but I don't really see that as white supremacist.



an asian white nationalist - now that is something to behold

The Superdelegates are OK with it, I guess... or are the Superdelegates (AKA supercitizens) still a thing since the 2016 fiasco?

They still exist, but they now only get to vote on the second round if the first round fails.

The biggest problem with them from 2016 wasn't their actual vote, it was that many media outlets (including Google) listed Superdelegates non-binding preference as a delegate in the totals, making one candidate seem far ahead before many states had even voted.

Unclear if that issue is resolve, because it is up to the media. This article as a screenshot from 2016/discussion:


Ha ha ha ha, no. He qualifies for the first debate because the DNC allows him to. If they didn’t want him there, they’d bend and rewrite the rules to prevent it. Witness Larry Lessig’s experience with this:


Thank you, I’m sorry about that.

My recollection is that Lessig was pretty clear from the start that he was running just to raise the prominence of his position on campaign finance, not to actually become president. IIRC he said he would resign after passing one bill.

I can see why party leadership would choose not to participate in what was, from their perspective, a stunt--not a serious campaign for the White House.

The point is that they changed the rules out from under him.

It's correct that they changed the rules to exclude him and most people don't like that in principal. But it's also true that he was not a serious candidate because he said he wanted one bill passed and then he'd resign the presidency, and that one bill wouldn't make it through congress anyway.

> that one bill wouldn't make it through congress anyway

To be fair to Lessig, if the single issue "pass this bill" candidate was actually elected President, congress would feel a lot of pressure to comply.

To be fair to accuracy, members of Congress who campaigned against the bill (as any who planned to oppose it would likely to be forced to of a major party nominee had it as their entire platform, since the question would be undodgeable) would face no meaningful pressure to vote for it, as their constituents would have weighed and accepted their opposition.

Yes, anyone who is elected actively campaigning against the bill would presumably not feel any pressure to vote for it.

Why would congress feel pressure just to do what the president wants? Presidents claim all kinds of mandates when they are elected, congress often goes it's own way.

Congress would feel pressured to do what their constituents want. If we imagine Lessig winning, so clearly focused on a single issue, we also must imagine an awful lot of voters clearly willing to vote based on that issue. Desire to claim those votes rather than driving then to their opponents would be the pressure in question. There's still no guarantee, to be sure, but it's clearly more likely post-Lessig-win than on the face of it.

> Congress would feel pressured to do what their constituents want.

Yes, but Presidents aren't elected by majority vote of voters in a majority of Congressional Districts. That's especially true of Democratic candidates, who tend to be hyperconcentrated in urban districts (in part, gerrymandering, but in part that's just the geographic distribution of Democratic support and why even without state-size biases and gerrymandering, Democrats are structurally disadvantaged by single-member, FPTP representation in Congress.)

Certainly, although some of that applies to the presidential election too. To be clear, I didn't mean to imply any kind of sure thing. Just that looking at the likelihood of Congress to pass the bill in the current setting should be expected to underestimate its performance in the wake of the election under discussion.

Most republicans would not feel pressure to support the supposed mandate behind a democratic president. Today, they'd actively go against it in most cases. It goes the other way too. That's why few democrats support the president or republican agendas.

I just don't see it that way at all. Think about Obama's work on national health care. A ton of democrats were worried about supporting it.

Again, there's a difference between a normal candidate claiming a mandate, when in reality many voted for other reasons, and a genuinely single issue candidate like Lessig.

I don't understand why the above comment was downvoted.

Maybe they don't want to turn him into a martyr like they did with Bernie.


Martyrdom is easy to avoid. They could have just not rigged the game against Bernie, then he would have won all the caucus states, he would have won California, he would have won at the convention, and he would have beaten Trump handily.

Also, the donation counter on his page was fake - it was simply a time-based counter done in JS, and the code took the time from local PC, not the server - if you'd change time on your pc to future (couple days) and refresh the page, donation count would go up.

I've read that this is standard practice because they only get authorized counts from the DNC once every 24hrs. So it's just an estimate that is reconciled daily.

They are allowing 20 people on stage. At a certain point, you have to cut off the line.

I'm fine with saying "top twenty candidates". And I like the idea of splitting it into two debates and randomly selecting who goes where, rather than the "kiddie table" nonsense the GOP did with their large field in 2015.

As a detractor of many of the "kiddie table" participants in 2015, I did have some schadenfreude at the whole situation at least, so there was that redeeming quality.

But no candidate really deserves to be treated that way, so I also like the idea of randomly splitting.

The Republican Party had daytime ("junior varsity", as 538 put it) and nighttime debates during their crowded primaries in 15/early 16.

Lessig was never a serious candidate. I'm not sure what your point is: Obviously the Democratic party decides who they invite to a debate that they're hosting.

If the DNC sets a policy that candidates meeting certain objective criteria can debate, they should uphold that policy. Otherwise they should be transparent about how candidates are admitted.

Andrew Yang is popular for his promotion of Universal Basic Income ("UBI"). I've had success framing UBI as monthly compensation from government for the portion of natural space which has been reallocated to private ownership. In that regard, UBI could be funded though a national land value tax and though copyright/patent fees, both being government granted monopolies, carved from what would otherwise be public space.

EDIT: One of the common critiques of UBI is that it's a "give away". Instead, I see UBI as a payment for natural rights (to walk, hunt, eat and sleep where ever one wishes) that are taken by society though its allocation and enforcement of private property. Hence, in my view, the concept of private property and UBI are intrinsically linked. Given this frame, what this natural right is worth is an important discussion to have -- should society provide basic shelter and sustenance in exchange? Free market perspective gives us an option, it could just be cash without any strings or requirements. But importantly, it's not a "hand out", it's compensation for a taking.

I think you’re being downvoted for the mental gymnastics you’re attempting to haphazardly tie UBI to your personal obsession with land taxation.

This is the guy whose site showed 65k after you changed your local date/time to the debate date, correct?

It seems his donation site is powered by https://secure.actblue.com so if that was true I think it’s an issue with ActBlue’s platform.

It's actually reasonable. There's a little animation that show "live" updates to donation value.

If you were to implement this, would you have every active client update live on the actual amount of donations, or would you just calculate the trajectory from past donations?

Unless the user is going to keep the browser tab open for days on end without reloading, this is going to be a fair and efficient approximation of the actual value.

I don't disagree with you, querying for every page served could easily get out hand.

Strictly speaking, I didn't even write the comment above. Someone else did, it got censored, and I found that disgusting, so I copy pasted and posted it. You can find the original at the bottom if you have showdead.

Change the rules please.

or don't and I'm giving Matt Christman a dollar.

Is he a stalking horse for UBI, ahem Freedom Dividend™?


Apparently, testing revealed that "Freedom Dividend" polled higher with conservatives than "Universal Basic Income". So, in a ham-fisted wide appeal play, he's rebranded UBI as "The Freedom Dividend"



This brings us to our second point, which is a conjecture that such a move has a sniff of witting or unwitting use as a test candidate, not for serious contention of nomination, but as an indicator of conservative support for such a concept. ("stalking horse")

I have a different spin on UBI to address automation. I proposed that any human job done by an automaton must be backed by a license holding human. And humans can only own a single license. But a license is something that you are - not something that you own (no sell/transfer/inherit). So for example to "build" a truck driving automaton, you must also "hire" the license holding human.

it's a clever mechanic, but recursively... what if you want to automate automaton creation? must you then develop a licensing body for automaton creators? and who will administrate this most important committee?

it automaton licenses all the way down ;)

Since automation has rendered the "license holder's" value in the market to zero, companies would "hire" them and pay them nothing.

What you're describing is simply not the way capitalism or automation works, or can ever work. No company is going to pay twice for the same labor.

Lots of companies pay for lots of thing they don't want to pay for - due to regulations passed by society.

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