Andrew Yang thinks the president of the United States should be paid $4 million a year.
That's a ten-fold increase from the current salary of $400,000, but just the type of suggestion we'd expect from Yang, a long-shot Democratic presidential candidate who has distinguished himself with other unconventional plans, such as one that would pay American citizens ages 18 to 64 $1,000 a month in free cash.
Yang says this eye-popping raise for the country's top office would come with an important caveat: That person could no longer accept speaking fees or any "lucrative board positions for personal gain" once the person's role as leader of the free world has come to a close, as Yang's website explains.
Notably, Yang says the pay raise doesn't have to impact his own compensation, were he to be elected.
"And I'll say, this raise can go into effect for the president after me. I do not give a sh-t how much I get paid," Yang tells Stephen J. Dubner in an episode of the Freakonomics podcast published Wednesday.
@AndrewYangVFA on why the U.S. needs a universal basic income of $1,000/month to each and every American adult 18–64: "We are the owners and shareholders of the most wealthy and advanced society in the history of the world. This is a dividend for us."
His intent, says Yang, is to reduce conflicts of interest for the President while he or she is serving Americans.
"If you're going to get paid a quarter of a million by some company after you leave office just to show up and schmooze and give a speech, then human nature is like, 'Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on this company,'" Yang tells Dubner.
He continues: "But the president after me should get paid enough so that we know that they're just looking out for us and not going to just speech it up afterwards."
The current trajectory from politician to handsomely-paid lobbyist is ripe for corruption, Yang says.
"Right now we expect people to be sort of martyrs if they enter into government service, and then they turn around and become lobbyists to make a lot of money. We need to take advantage of the fact that the government can pay much, much more, and then just require people to not go back to industry afterwards," Yang tells Dubner.
Yang, a 43-year old entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is admittedly a long-shot candidate for President. He himself has seen odds of "200-to-1" calling his chance of winning the White House, he says on the Freakonomics podcast.
Nonetheless, he is charging forward.
Even if he himself doesn't win president, however, Yang hopes his ideas will gain traction.
"I just want to solve problems, man. I don't really care about the seating chart," Yang tells Dubner. "And someone said to me, 'Hey, what if Joe Biden takes all your ideas?' I would say that's fan-freaking-tastic. I'm not some freaking crazy person who has been measuring the drapes since I was 16 or any of that jazz. I just want to keep this country together for your kids and mine."
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