Why I’m running for President of the United States

By Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

I’m Andrew Yang, and I’m running for President of the United States. I’m the first Asian-American man to run as a Democrat, and, like many of you, I’m a first-generation American. My parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, met in college, and started a family in New York.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me pride in my heritage and in this country. They came here to provide their future children with opportunities they didn’t have. This campaign and the response to it are proof that immigrants make this country stronger.

I wasn’t always a politician. I’m barely one now. I’m an entrepreneur, and I’ve started several organizations over my career. I’ve also worked to help businesses throughout the country grow and create jobs in many areas. But small business formation is at multi-decade lows, and I hear from many people starting local businesses that the rules seemed stacked against them, tilted in favor of the big corporations.

Last year, Chevron, Halliburton, and 89 other Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in federal taxes. Amazon sucked up billions of dollars of revenue, shuttering local businesses, while paying nothing in taxes. Netflix collected data from each and every user with a subscription – data worth more than oil – and didn’t contribute anything back.

Think about your family. Your friends. Your kids’ teachers, many of whom are working a second job. Think about how many of them are struggling to make ends meet. How many are one of the 78% of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck. Think about the system that lets the biggest corporations pay nothing in taxes while too many of us struggle just to get by.

This is the problem I saw in communities throughout the U.S. as I helped to create thousands of jobs through the non-profit I founded, Venture for America (VFA). By connecting young entrepreneurs with local businesses, I hoped to reinvigorate local economies hit hard by the financial crash. But as I spent time in these communities, I saw exactly how much most people were struggling financially. In the richest, most advanced nation in the history of the world, I found this to be unacceptable.

As a parent and a patriot, this wasn’t a world that I was willing to leave my children.

As I dug into the numbers, I saw that, if we wanted our local economies and small businesses to thrive, we needed to rewrite the rules of the 21st-century economy. The biggest corporations were closing down small businesses while giving nothing back.

At the same time, automation has taken away more and more jobs. We already lost 4 million manufacturing jobs, and we know that hospitality, food service/prep, transportation/trucking, admin/clerical, and retail are next. Across the country, we have seen robots start to replace workers, from bartenders and cashiers to truck drivers and call center workers.

The sad truth that I learned through VFA is that, for every job we can create, automation is going to take away hundreds, maybe thousands. And the companies that are benefiting most aren’t contributing back.

The only way forward is to set up a system that ensures the American people get a small slice of every Amazon transaction, Google search, and self-driving truck mile. We need to make these companies pay their fair share and return it to the American people so that they can thrive.

Imagine the impact once we start returning this value in the form of a Freedom Dividend, $1,000/mo for everyone 18 and older. Money that would go directly to your families and neighbors, money invested right back into your main streets. Millions of dollars every year would give each and every community across this country the money they need to start rebuilding their economies and giving their children a reason to stay.

Imagine what this will do for the health, mental health, and stress levels for your community. Once people stop living paycheck to paycheck, they can start to plan for the future.

Imagine what this will do for our children. With less financial stress, we’d set the next generation up for success better than any prior generation.

Imagine what this will do for our local businesses. As an entrepreneur, I know that businesses thrive when people have more money to spend. This money would go to car repairs, housing renovations, and the occasional night out. Instead of having rules that benefit the biggest corporations and cause us to struggle, we can rewrite the rules to allow our small businesses to thrive.

This is the vision for the future of this country that I’m fighting for. One where we rewrite the rules to work for us, the American people. One where everyone has a chance to build the life they want for themselves and their families. One where everyone can live the American dream, with the economic security needed to take a chance on a small business. One where someone can come to this country to provide their children with more opportunities than they had.

One where we can look at our children and say, in earnest, that you can be President one day.

Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and the non-profit founder of Venture for America, an organization dedicated to creating jobs in struggling communities across the United States. He’s running for president because he saw the country he was leaving for his children, and it wasn’t something he was willing to accept.  

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