Entrepreneurs

This presidential hopeful will give away $1,000 a month to demonstrate the benefit of cash handouts

Andrew Yang
Photo courtesy Andrew Yang presidential campaign

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is going to give someone $12,000 in an effort to make it to the White House.

Yang, 43, is running for President in 2020 as a Democrat and his platform is centered on the idea of universal basic income (UBI), or cash handouts distributed irrespective of employment status.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of a universal basic income, Yang announced Thursday will select one New Hampshire resident to give $1,000 a month for a year starting in 2019, according to a written statement from the campaign.

Yang is paying the $12,000 for the demonstration personally, he tells CNBC Make It.

New Hampshire is the first state in the country to hold a presidential primary, and so becomes a focal point for campaigns.

Yang calls his idea for a UBI payment the Freedom Dividend. He says if he is elected president, the government will give every American citizen ages 18 to 64 $1,000 a month.

On Wednesday, Yang will travel to Concord, New Hampshire both to meet with voters and talk about his plan to give one resident a check on the first of every month.

Anyone can nominate New Hampshire residents who are American citizens to win the payment via Andrew Yang's Presidential campaign website.

Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. September 1. Finalists will be selected by October 1 and will be asked to share their stories on Yang'S presidential campaign website and social media accounts.

The public will vote for who should receive the payment, the Yang presidential campaign website says. The winner will be announced in December.

Of course, one person's experience with cash handouts is not sufficiently representative of what might happen if millions of eligible citizens were given money.

"Trying to enlist other UBI champions to make many more awards," Yang tells CNBC Make It via email. "Wish I had more money to give."

According to Yang's platform, a VAT tax, or value-added tax, could pay for a nationwide universal basic income. Yang has estimated a 10 percent VAT tax would raise between $700 and $800 billion in the United States. (For a detailed explanation of where he gets that figure, see here.)

Prior to running for president, Yang was the CEO of the test-prep education company Manhattan GMAT, which industry leader Kaplan bought in 2009. Also, in 2011, he launched Venture for America, a New York City-headquartered organization that trains entrepreneurs in a two-year fellowship program.

Yang is a longshot for getting to the White House, but he is not alone in talking about universal basic income.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is a public advocate for the idea of cash payments and the initiative he co-founded, the Economic Security Project, is funding a pilot program of universal basic income in Stockton, Calif. For the program, 100 residents of Stockton will receive $500 a month for a year and a half. The payments will be distributed by early 2019, according to the SEED website.

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