Presidential debates are the time that winners make a memorable impression and losers get off the stage. Before the one-note wonders disappear, voters should listen carefully.
The first Democratic debates gave 20 presidential candidates the chance to show the gravitas and the money to go the distance to next year’s Democratic convention. Among the predictably experienced candidates were two complete unknowns who brought something new to the table.
Marianne Williamson is an author. Comedian Seth Meyers joked that her first phone call as president would not be to Iran or China but to Narnia. She has probably seen her last debate podium, but she offered a valid perspective.
Fear, Williamson said, is President Trump’s political tactic and fear is powerful. While love may not defeat Trump next November, as Williamson promised, voters should recognize that fear is being used to manipulate.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang only got one chance to explain a platform that seems crazier. He proposed that the federal government pay every citizen a thousand dollars a month, no strings attached.
There is no deserving in his proposal, only getting. That violates every American instinct. However, there are reasons that the proposal, if not Yang as president, should be given some consideration.
Jobs are already disappearing as artificial intelligence technology is implemented. Adaptation by newly superfluous workers will take time. Chang believes the whole country will benefit if money continues to flow through the economy while everyone figures out what to do about jobs. His system requires only checking identification and depositing monthly checks.
By eliminating all the rules, qualifications, auditing and paperwork of the current unemployment and poverty programs, the nation could save billions in administrative costs.
Yang’s direct payments might also eliminate the demeaning, disheartening qualities of current federal programs that require recipients to “prove” they are incapable of cutting it in the job world and worthy of help.
Paying everyone would cost a lot. Over a trillion dollars, Yang admits. Those who have enough not to need a check would get one anyway. Taxes might be higher on those who benefit most as the economy continues to grow.
Who knows if either of those one-note candidates have workable ideas, but they may not be entirely off key.