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In-Depth Interview: 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Warns That Robots and AI Will Displace Millions of American Workers

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Andrew Yang, author and founder of Venture for America, is running for president in 2020 as a Democrat, centered on Universal Basic Income idea.Yang ran some successful start-ups before starting Venture for America, which has created jobs in depressed areas.  His new book, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income is Our Future, details his ideas for retraining our workforce while re-tooling capitalism.  Yang supports universal, single payer health care, reproductive freedom, and many other progressive positions.  His campaign website is here.

We open with some questions about Trump: will we return to “normal” when he’s gone, and has he permanently changed our politics and rhetoric?  Yang says Trump is an anomaly, and that people will support outsiders, as Trump has exposed the weakness of the professional political class.  Yang also comments on the GOP tax cuts, defense spending, and the Sanders-Clinton split in the Democratic Party.

Yang makes the case that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will leave many jobs obsolete in 10 or 15 years, including truck drivers and retail workers. His Universal Basic Income plan, together with the expansion of the standard deduction to $12,000 per person under the new tax law, would lift most Americans out of poverty.  Yang explains he would pay for it with a VAT or value-added tax.

We cover many more issues in this conversation, and Yang demonstrates strong knowledge of key issues facing working Americans.