Politics

Here's how Andrew Yang would handle a recession if he were president

Key Points
  • Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said that if he is elected to serve in the White House, he is prepared to empower the consumer to kickstart the economy if it slips into a recession.
  • Yang told CNBC's Deirdre Bosa that he "would start putting more economic buying power into people's hands so that we have a trickle-up economy" in the event of a recession. He also said he expects a "slight downturn" this year.
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Lightning Round with Andrew Yang in San Francisco

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said that if he is elected to serve in the White House, he is prepared to empower the consumer to kickstart the economy if it slips into a recession.

Yang told CNBC's Deirdre Bosa that he "would start putting more economic buying power into people's hands so that we have a trickle-up economy" in the event of a recession. He also said he expects a "slight downturn" this year.

On the campaign trail in September, Yang said a downturn "would likely be good for my campaign because I'm so focused on this set of issues, and I think it would actually increase the appeal and appetite for some of the measures I'm describing."

"But I would never wish for" a downturn, he later told Fox News.

His position on stimulating an economy in recession echoes his signature proposal, the freedom dividend policy, which promises $1,000 a month to every American adult.

"My vision of the freedom dividend is that it's universal and an opt in," Yang said in an earlier interview with CNBC. "But if you opt in, then you're forgoing benefits that are accruing from certain other programs. So if you're receiving housing benefits and heating benefits and SNAP and some other things, then you would look at it and say like, 'Do I prefer $1,000 cash to these benefits?'"

Yang, a businessman, started his bid for president as a long-shot contender with no political experience. But he's since amassed a loyal base of internet-savvy supporters known as the "Yang Gang" and has received endorsements from celebrities, including actor and rapper Donald Glover and comedian Dave Chappelle.

In the latest round of campaign finance disclosures, Yang's campaign predicted that for the fourth quarter he would raise $12.5 million. But he ended up surpassing that figure, reporting $16.5 million.

He remains unlikely to win the nomination, however, as the primary season kicks off with the Iowa caucus Feb. 3. The RealClearPolitics national polling average currently shows Yang in sixth place in the Democratic primary field at 3.6%.

CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.