Andrew Yang: Think. Different.


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128 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Disclaimer: I write this without having first read Michael Cain’s essay on Inslee.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

      I hadn’t previously looked to see where Mr. Yang stood on climate change. His priorities are geoengineering first and reducing emissions second. From his web site, “…large-scale geo-engineering measures like shoring up glaciers and reducing solar exposure”.

      I am intrigued by the shoring up glaciers part. Refrigeration on a massive scale, perhaps?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Well, I was more noting how I read your essay on Inslee and said “dang, I wrote the same essay about Andrew Yang”.

        Changing specifics, of course.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

          But Yang doesn’t run everything through the one lens. His web site claims that climate change is nearly the existential threat that automation is (that’s at least close to a quote). But his solution isn’t UBI-ish. Inslee, OTOH, says that the solution to not enough jobs is to create millions and millions of jobs replacing infrastructure and major consumer gear with the stuff needed to eliminate fossil fuels in the near term (eg, rebuild the power grids, replace cars that use ICEs, vastly upgrade energy efficiency and fuel use in houses).Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Well, the line “The other candidates are just fighting the last war. Andrew Yang wants to prevent the next one” is one that also applies to Inslee.

            (And, heck, Williamson for that matter. Maybe it applies to all of the kooks.)Report

          • George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Climate change is a threat rivaling dryer lint explosions. Drive two hours north and you’ve got another hundred years to not worry about it. Or, if you’re a believer, we’re down to 14 months and then it becomes irreversible and we all die, in which case what’s the point of even having an election in 2020?.

            We wouldn’t need to upgrade home energy efficiency if people would just move a warmer climate. Oh wait, we’re having a warmer climate come to us!

            We could create more jobs than Inslee’s plan if we’d just run around breaking windows, and we could revitalize the construction industry by burning down existing neighborhoods. Something about “return on investment” argues against it, though.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    Weird personal note: I have this strong suspicion that I met Andrew Yang at my tai chi class in the early oughts. I can’t say for sure, but it kind of seems like it. He was just a guy who was good at tai chi who visited the class, because he knew some people, but couldn’t full time because of his startup, etc., etc.

    Sometimes a candidate is in the race because they want to put an issue on the table, and have a national conversation about it. Inslee is like that, Yang is like that, in spades.

    I like his ideas. I support UBI. Like the Freedom Dividend, he has all the chances of a donkey in a horse race.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I like how he’s asking us to think about things differently early, because we’re going to have to think about them differently eventually and getting practice on changing how you think about things is one of the best things you can do to prepare for the future (even if you don’t know how you’ll be thinking when it comes around).Report

  3. JS says:

    Yang lost any possibility he had at my vote the day after the first debate, where he pushed a conspiracy theory that he was “silenced” by whatever network was running the debate, during the debate, and used it to try to drive fundraising.

    To me, that says one of two fundamental things. Either he is perfectly willing to gin up baseless accusations and dabble in conspiracy theories and paranoia to get votes, or he actually believes them. Neither one of them is something I find a good trait in a President. If I liked that, Trump would have my vote.

    I think a lot of hay has been made about the fact that character matters, when it comes to the Presidency, because it’s not the President’s platform that matters. We know their platform because it’s the party platform. Any generic Democrat or Republican will do 95% of that stuff, and the other 5% is often heavily dependent on Congress. UBI, for instance, is a meaningless plank unless it gets into the party platform. It’s the stuff that’s not in the platform that matters, the emergencies and unforeseen problems and various crisis situations.

    And I can’t help but worry about a man who, when facing mic problems in a debate, comes up with “I was silenced by the Man. Give me money.”

    I have the same problem with Gabbard, whom I believe is currently suing Google, although she’s turned the know to 11 now.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to JS says:

      I don’t know much about this, only what you’re saying, so I could have this all wrong. At the same time, my sense is that if someone is supporting Yang financially it’s because they want his message to get out, not so much because they think he’ll win. And if his mic was dead, his message didn’t get out, so he needs more money to get that message out.

      Whether it was intentional or not, it was the responsibility of the organizers to give him a good mic, and they didn’t do that.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to JS says:

      Judge for yourself. There is video. With sound. (Or *SOME* sound, anyway.)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Marianne Williamson had similar complaints.

        Perhaps Marianne Williamson is in on the “conspiracy”.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

          I mean, you could definitely hear moments early on where Gillibrand was speaking at the same time as Biden or Sanders but the sound was muted, which meant that it wasn’t her microphone picking her up; it was Biden’s.

          And there was the way Harris’s bit about the “food fight” was surprisingly clear and loud despite every other candidate talking at once.Report

          • JS in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Basic common sense there. 10 mics on stage. They can’t all be live simultaneously. They were all undoubtedly set to trigger at a certain volume threshold, but you still had audio engineers having to mix them and turn up and down volume, with the primary cue being whomever was addressed by the moderator.

            They’d have been better off simply not allowing cross-talk at all with that many people.

            Instead what you got was several candidates who clearly didn’t realize their mic couldn’t be live every second and still have an audio input the engineers could work with on the fly. Not to mention “Speak up or the mic won’t hear you” is rather counter-intuitive given the purpose of a microphone, and that’s just for basic automatic prevention of picking up breathing or coughing.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to JS says:

              Yang: “they cut my mike”
              JS: “that’s a conspiracy theory that makes me lose respect for Yang, also of course they cut his mike”Report

      • JS in reply to Jaybird says:

        I did. That’s a studio with ten mics, which means a busy audio engineer. Yang is fairly soft spoken, and he was also coughing quite a bit previously. He wasn’t speaking loud enough to pop through the threshold set on the mic, a threshold that was likely a bit higher to prevent his coughs from being picked up.

        By the time the sound guys noticed, he’d given up. That’s inexperience from Yang. Quite forgivable inexperience. Mic discipline for a crowded stage like that, with multiple hot mics and a single audio feed is not exactly a common skill, despite the fact that it should be obvious to anyone that a 10 man debate couldn’t possibly have 10 live mics with high sensitivity on simultaneously.

        It’s the jump to “I was deliberately silenced” that speaks of ill character. He was polling at 1%, which has now risen to 2%. He’s simply not important enough to be silenced, even if someone actually had the urge to silence candidates they didn’t agree with.

        He levied an accusation of pure malice against an entire company, due to a rather common mic issue for a large debate, with reasoning that was frankly ludicrous unless you’re predisposed to conspiracy theories in general.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to JS says:

          So his mic was turned down deliberately, but it was because the sound guys were busy. So it’s not that it was *MALICIOUS*.

          Have I got that right? I don’t want to characterize your position incorrectly before I move on to the next part.Report

          • JS in reply to Jaybird says:

            “My car didn’t stop fast enough when I hit the brakes”

            “Someone sabotaged my brakes” and “You didn’t press the brake pedal down far enough trigger or hold it down long enough to stop” are not the same thing.

            Intent, for starters. Actual mechanics of a working car for another.

            Of all the people in the world that might create a conspiracy to silence them, in all the ways one might conspire to do so, the notion that MSNBC tried to stifle the voices of two people polling within the MoE of “no supporters” is ludicrous as all hell.

            If you want to entertain yourself with such stupidity, feel free.

            And there is no next time. As I age, I realize life is short and there’s no point in talking to someone uninterested in conversation.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to JS says:

              At this point, I’m not trying to create an analogy. I’m just trying to restate, fairly, what you’ve said.

              Your argument is that Andrew Yang’s mic was cut, but it wasn’t cut with malice. It was just cut because he had a cough and he undercut himself by not continuing to talk when he realized that his mic was cut.

              Do I have that right?Report

  4. CJColucci says:

    I oppose extending Daylight Savings Time because all those extra hours of sunlight will fade my drapes.Report

  5. Fish says:

    Why isn’t everyone on board with Yang and the UBI?

    “We need to stop sending money to foreign countries and focus on helping the people here.” <– UBI
    "The government takes too much of my paycheck in taxes!" <–UBI
    "The cost of [insert medical thing I need to live] is out of control and I can't afford it without subsidy." <–UBI
    "Access to high-speed internet is very nearly a necessity in modern America, but many families can't afford it." <–UBI
    "The only way to save small-town America is to subsidize young people to move back home." <–UBI (This is something I've given a fair bit of thought to, being from one of those dying small towns: If money were no (or less of) an object, how many people would choose to move back to their small home town?)
    "I despise Daylight Savings with the fury of a thousand suns!" <–not UBI, but I'm on boardReport

    • DensityDuck in reply to Fish says:

      We’ve discussed UBI here before but the primary objection seems to be that it would be so strongly opposed as to be impossible, and that trying to make it happen would take up time and goodwill best spent on something that might actually happen.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

        There is a percentile below which the UBI puts money in your pocket and above which it takes money from your pocket before giving it back to you.

        We should figure out what that percentile is.

        If I had to guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between $38,000 and $46,000 a year.

        But I don’t know. Is there someone out there good at math who could explain what it would probably have to be? (Am I thinking about it wrong and the break even point is smack dab in the middle of the pack at 50% and that means that it’d be $55,000?)Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

          Assume $1,000 per month. Is that per individual, or per household? Is there a cutoff for youngsters? Your percentile is going to depend a lot on the answers to those questions.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

          There is a percentile below which the UBI puts money in your pocket and above which it takes money from your pocket before giving it back to you.

          If memory serves the last time we talked about this someone presented a link to a UBI which we could implement without cutting existing programs and the break even point was $28k. I.e. someone making $28k would get a UBI of X and also have his taxes go up by X to pay for it.

          Everyone above that level of income would be a net loser, everyone below would be a net winner. This was done by a serious supporter of the UBI.

          It’s possible to mess with the numbers and get very different answers, but we have 327 million people in the US. Assume all of them, including children, get $1k a month. So the program costs $327 Billion dollars a month, or roughly $4 Trillion a year. So double all gov spending combined. Let’s assume we don’t cut existing programs.

          Taxes need to rise by $4 Trillion a year, and if we’re planning on eating the rich there won’t be a year two of this program… which means the VAST BULK of people need to pay for their own UBI.

          $28k means the bottom 25% are net winners. However the majority of those will be “winners” only technically. Similarly a lot of the losers will only be losing a small amount.

          Politically I think the math of this is a loser. Economically… I’m not sure. We really should test this out at the scale of a city or three and see what happens.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

            Well, by starting it at age 18, that changes a handful of things. I imagine that it reduces the price by a hair… but even if that means that people who make as much as $38k/year are the ones at the break even point, I’m not sure what this gets us.

            I mean, I kinda like the idea of *ME* (or you or him or her) having an extra $1000/month. I’m not sure what happens when *EVERYBODY* gets an extra $1000 month.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

              even if that means that people who make as much as $38k/year are the ones at the break even point,

              Intuitively, moving from 28 to 38 will be pretty expensive. 10% of your population shifted from being losers to winners.

              I mean, I kinda like the idea of *ME* (or you or him or her) having an extra $1000/month.

              That’s the marketing and emotional kick.

              The reality is unless you make darn close to zero you’re not getting an “extra” 1000 a month. The top 75% won’t benefit from this. Most of the bottom 25% STILL won’t really benefit from this.

              This is NOT “an extra $1000 for me and mine”. This is “welfare without the micromanagement”.

              Now maybe that’s enough, maybe we’ll find out just handing out money is the way to make the bottom 5%’s lives much better. I used to have negative income, maybe more money would have enabled me to create a successful business.

              Or maybe a lot of people at the very bottom are at the very bottom for a reason; And we’ll find out mental illness and addiction don’t really respond to simply having money thrown at them.

              More likely we’ll find out both of those things.Report

      • Alaska in reply to DensityDuck says:

        What about the Alaska Permanent Fund?Report

        • greginak in reply to Alaska says:

          Ugg…The PFD is different from a UBI and quite the current bone of contention. You, as the actual state, should be aware of how contorted the entire sporking budget is over a yearly varying amount that if far from supporting a person like a UBI but enough to get people to gut the uni, kick homeless people further onto the street and kids out of pre-k. Any functioning UBI can’t lead to yearly arguments about who to screw over to keep getting the UBI.Report

    • North in reply to Fish says:

      There’s a lot of details. For instance if UBI is pushed as a replacement for a whole host of current safety net payouts then it, maybe, could be done without breaking the bank. But if you try and tack it on in addition to the rest then the bank is done right busted.
      There remains the question as to whether the economy and technology has developed to the point where a UBI is imperative and current unemployment stats suggest that the answer is currently no.
      Personally, I’m pretty positively disposed to a UBI so long as it’s
      non-securitizable- No recipient can sell their annuity for a lump sum payment and the Gov won’t enforce any contract that tries to nor garnish the UBI for anything except maybe child support. Creditors can’t get their mitts on it.Report

      • Mr.Joe in reply to North says:

        The non-securitizable and non-garnishable seems essential to me. Creditors are still going to bust their ass to find ways to try and get in front of the individual to take a cut, but lets not make it easy.Report

        • North in reply to Mr.Joe says:

          Absolutely fundamental, otherwise there’ll be a massive sprawling industry designed expressly to food off 18 year old idiots (but I repeat myself) into signing away their UBI for a lump sum and profiting off it. And then the destitute idiots will still be with us.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

            Fwiw, I understand the concerns here, but from where I sit the worst outcomes of securitization and creditors seizing UBI payments are still preferable to no UBI.

            I mean maybe not a buncha 18-y-o millionaires running around, but broadly if they have a business idea I don’t think it would be the worst thing. I think the extent of it will be limited. If you’re smart enough to become aware of and execute the idea you’re smart enough to see how much of a greater value it is to have the safety net under you, generally.

            I should add that in terms of old-age poverty, Yang has recently made the rather major tweak to his plan to separate it from Social Security. (It’s rather amazing that wasn’t how he introduced it, but as far as I understand right now, it wasn’t). So the choice is between life-long income-qualifying benefits like SNAP, etc. and UBI, but not Medicare or Social Security, which stay in place. So if able-bodied kids securitized it and lost it, that would just leave them roughly where they are now.

            But I agree, that condition should be attached.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

              …Also the protection against creditors should be attached. …But again, if it weren’t, worst case folks are still making progress against their debts or at least their monthlies with dollars they didn’t have before. They still had that overhang

              If anything, UBI with or without a garnishment ban should probably be seen as one of the most debtor-favorable policies in the tool kit (and, yes, creditors would probably benefit a lot too). So what’s not to love?Report

              • North in reply to Michael Drew says:

                I like UBI but I think the that one simple rule would make it better. The UBI would still be coming in and the creditors and scammers would still be able to try and wring the dollars out of the recipients as each 1k installment came in but they should have to do it the hard way. Otherwise the 17 year old American coming up on their 18th birthday would become the most hunted animal on the planet.Report

            • North in reply to Michael Drew says:

              Preferable to no UBI? I’d agree it’d be preferable to no UBI but ungh, the predation; I mean we already have the military, every companies marketing department and universities panting after late teens; if you could convince some 18 year old idiot to sign away a 12k per year annuity for peanuts (and let’s not be naive, it’d be easy as hell)? It’d be a feeding frenzy of the worst kind and would inevitably spawn a sprawling thicket of new rules to try and protect those young idiots future selves from their present selves. Yes, some would sign on the line and make it big in business but a lot more would fail in business and a hell of a lot more would fish it away on a car or a trip or whatever. I mean we’re talking about 18 year olds here.

              Way better to nip it in the bud and tell the entire business world “We don’t care what you get them to sign; unless they fathered/mothered a kid with you we won’t garnish, divert or assign even a penny of their monthly UBI to you and you’ll need to go to court to pursue your piece of each 1k installment on your own dime every month.”Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

        The fine print includes a 10% VAT plus other taxes.

        The cynical part of me remembers the Fairtax days and how they got derailed by the 23%/30% math positioning problem… when it turns out they should have simply led with a bigger PREBATE, lowered the initial roll-out % and sold it as a revenue neutral(ish) income redistribution program. The gradual (and inevitable) increase of the VAT % could have been phases 2 and 3.

        Now, I’m not 100% against a VAT (I’m a little concerned about adding a VAT as another separate income stream with no offset/adjustment to our current taxation regime) but I’m a little concerned about a UBI that gifts us a VAT with purchase.

        Also, as JB noted above, I am quite literally the guy who wonders why my class won’t hoover up many of the UBI $$ with our (or really our overlord’s) rent seeking powers. Yang Twitter directed me to a UBI friendly article purports to show why that wouldn’t happen. It was a link to a Medium article and my response was :- |

        Plus, and here I hate to go all liberte, fraternite, egalite on us all… but giving my household $36k on top of my earnings while asking the welfare recipient to chose between benefits or $12k (but not both) strikes this bleeding heart conservative as probably miscalculated on the justice scale.

        My problem is that I want to believe in UBI, its my unbelief that needs help.Report

      • Fish in reply to North says:

        Oh, no denial that I’m vastly oversimplifying (and maybe being a little cheeky). I’ve always considered UBI as an “in addition to” rather than “in the place of.” For me, it all comes down to something I repeat time and again: We’re a wealthy nation and we can pay for whatever we choose to. The question becomes: What do we choose to pay for?Report

        • Fish in reply to Fish says:

          Ooooh, in more closely reading his policy page, I see that his UBI is an either/or.Report

          • North in reply to Fish says:

            A UBI would be really really (x10 more really’s) expensive. I don’t see any way you could enact it now without cutting some massive expenses to make room for it. But, again, I don’t know if the economy/tech is to the point where a UBI is needed rather than merely an interesting idea.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to North says:

        A big gob of the cost of a UBI would be ameliorated by just treating it as normal taxable income. It would replace a bunch of welfare by raising recipient’s income above eligibility thresholds. And then a binch more would be naturally clawed back by normal progressive income tax. So maybe only ~half of it would actually be new money. Not insignificant but not nearly as much as the initial calculation would say.

        Alsotoo, I suspect it would have a much greater stimulative effect than any Republican tax-cut boondoggle aimed primarily at the already wealthy.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Fish says:

      I’m on board with UBI, like in a big way. The biggest problems are political, but sometimes political problems can be solved. Maybe this one will be.

      As an actual serious candidate for President, I’m not on board with Yang.

      The first reason is extremely straightforward, and I bet will be mostly uncontroversial:

      He has zero experience. Yes, Trump also has zero experience, but look how that turned out. Not that he appears to have any of the other issues that have made Trump such a wreck. He isn’t any more of a weird narcissist than any other businessman running for President of the United States, and I gotta agree with @Jaybird that I respect with the guy’s desire to think about and try to solve some problems.

      The other issue I have I think people aren’t going to like. I think it’s kind of OK that they don’t like it because part of me doesn’t like it either.

      But he has drawn a lot of his support from the absolute creepiest parts of the online political world. He doesn’t like that he has a bunch of creepy white nationalist supporters, which is good, but seems largely befuddled by them, which is not so great. And it’s worse because his inexperience and isolation from any sort of establishment is going to provide a lot of openings for them to insert themselves into his campaign, and in the (admittedly not at all likely) even of his victory, his Administration.

      This feels like a horribly unfair thing to hold against a guy who appears to be well-intentioned and has no idea how to deal with a problem that I don’t have any idea how to deal with either. But fairness may not be the point, because one of the partisan impulses that is the most insidious (and one that has screwed me up no small number of times) is the one of thinking that being fair to candidates is the most important thing.

      It’s not

      Then again, since he’s not going to win, voting for him as a vote for UBI may still be Good, Actually.Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    He’s a whackjob that I think appeals to a few people who probably would not vote Democratic otherwise and are certainly not positioned strategically enough or are large enough to carry the electoral college presuming Democrats receive the normal turn out otherwise.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      certainly not positioned strategically enough or are large enough to carry the electoral college presuming Democrats receive the normal turn out otherwise

      This is a great criticism and we should have used it against Clinton when we had the chance.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Since no chance was present to use it on Clinton that’s a pretty moot point.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to North says:

          If we all agree that it’s important that we be forward looking and try to win the next war rather than re-fight the last one, that’s a good policy that Andrew Yang supports.

          I urge you to explore his policies page and see if there’s other stuff that he supports that you also do. If there is, why not caucus for him? Why not vote for him in the primary?Report

          • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

            Because he’s running for political office and hasn’t shown that he knows how to do that job? People who vote or work in political party primaries tend to think politically. It’s more than just position papers. Presidential candidates need to persuade voters that they could staff a government, haggle with legislators, show solidarity with a variety of voting populations, deal with foreign leaders, and so on.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            What CJ said… but I will add that Yang is lucky to have you on board Jay.Report

    • Chris Pratt in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Maybe try giving this a few minutes … and you’ll see he is very intelligent.

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      He’s a whackjob…

      Well shit, if that isn’t a stunning rejoinder and surgical criticism of the man, I don’t know what is.

      Right up there with, “The Bible says so.”

      I am thus convinced.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Here’s a list of the 20 candidates running for the nomination.

        I dunno about you but my “likely to be seen by Saul as whackjob” and “likeability” have an r of more than 0.7.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Whackjob might have been too strong but Yang remains the candidate of the reddit set. I have my doubts on UBI being successful considering as Erik Loomis states, centuries of American notions of self-worth are wrapped up in work and labor. People will fight for wages and better work environments but they often see a lot of value in labor itself.

        The people who like UBI tend to be a handful of highly-educated misfits who discovered that their passions are not exactly financially rewarding. This is not going to convince people to go for Yang.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          There is nothing wrong with his ideas, he’s trying to make things better. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want him in the Oval Office*, but I wouldn’t simply dismiss his ideas as whack. As someone noted, we have a long history of doing variations of the same things that tend to fail anyway. Might as well try something new.

          *VP maybe, or somewhere in the administration where his ideas can be heard.

          PS I am a highly educated misfit whose passion is very financially rewarding, thank you very much.Report

  7. Marchmaine says:

    ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS… is pretty good as far as hooks go.

    I was more interested in his HUMAN-CENTERED CAPITALISM policy program.

    I can see why he pushes ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. But I’m more interested in a candidate who can lead with Human Centered Capitalism and what that might mean.

    My impression of Yang from this exercise is that, yes, he’s looking at things from different angles… and I appreciate that. He strikes me at this point as more of a coalition of ideas in search of a leader instead of the other way around. That’s ok, we need idea guys too.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I don’t know that he has successfully guessed what the future will be like… but his policies say that that’s what he’s looking to guess about.

      Which tells me that when the future hits (and it will), he’ll be on his front foot rather than his back one.Report

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    If you look in the mirror one morning and think that “smart affable guy with some interesting ideas” is qualification enough to lead the most powerful country in the world, then you just might be a whackjob.

    If after careful thought and deliberation, you conclude that the greatest threat facing America is the lack of a UBI, then yeah, you really are a whackjob.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      He’s got a lot of policies on his policies page. UBI is the most interested elevator pitch, but he’s got a *LOT* of good ones one there.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        Everyone who writes for this blog has a lot of good ideas, probably better than his.

        Good policy ideas are just cocktail party favors, things that without the requisite skills and organization are meaningless chatter.

        He’s never held office, never run for office, never lead a large complex organization with competing factions even remotely similar to the US Government. And worse, brags about that fact.

        Most of all, he seems utterly detached from what motivates and inspires the current political debate.

        Touching on my exchange with George, its like a guy at a initial meeting of Boston colonists debating the merits of a war for independence, piping up that what the colonies really need is a postal system, and interstate turnpikes to connect them.

        Nice ideas, just tone deaf and oblivious to what’s going on.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          He’s never held office, never run for office, never lead a large complex organization with competing factions even remotely similar to the US Government.

          Say what you will about Trump, but he’s been President of the United States.

          Most of all, he seems utterly detached from what motivates and inspires the current political debate.

          The guy who was tuned into it last time won, that’s for sure.

          debating the merits of a war for independence, piping up that what the colonies really need is a postal system, and interstate turnpikes to connect them.

          This war will be won by defeating Trump. Trump will be defeated by putting someone up there that we can vote *FOR* rather than merely someone who isn’t Trump.

          Yang explains why he’s worth voting *FOR*.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          So what ideas does a candidate *have* to be focused on to be focusing on the right ideas for this political moment (apparently to the exclusion of UBI)?

          Your experience point is valid; my blue-sky vision for the trajectory of Mr. Yang this cycle would be that he gains enough support to force some of the experienced, top candidates to at least start to have to talk about some of the crap-ass reasons they have for not having this proposal themselves, and perhaps be offered a position of some kind in an administration or support for future political endeavors which could lead to the experience that could fill in the gap that you aren’t wrongly concerned about.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Drew says:

            We have the dominant political party which has the support of about 40% of Americans which has become hostile to the idea of liberal democracy.

            They have contempt for the other 60% and refuse to consider them co-equal citizens worthy of rights and protection under the law.

            That’s a pretty important thing to be focused on.

            Because honestly, I wandered across places like Quillette, Powerline, and Gateway Pundit and seen conservatives- Josh Hawley’s crowd- talking earnestly about a UBI or some form of massive government intervention in the marketplace to protect workers from displacement. Subsidies for coal, or bailing out small agricultural towns, maybe some massive military or infrastructure sort of thing.


            For rural, hardworking pickup truck driving Real Americans only.

            So no, I don’t want Socialism, if it is of the National variety.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              I mean most of the candidates really aren’t focused on that stuff that much more than Yang. They have their plans for helping the material needs of Americans, and that’s mostly what they focus on, too. And Yang has stuff to say about that stuff as well.Report

  9. Mr.Joe says:

    I don’t think Yang has the marketing savy or the debate skills needed to go up against Trump. It is going to a brutal battle to control the media and attention. I have seen exactly no interviews where aggressively argues, only calm detailed explanations. That will not get it done in the debates let alone twitter. Hillary got almost totally shut out of the narrative of the 2016 election, outside of a few negative things. Whomever, blue team puts up is going to have to be a lot louder, smarter in marketing, and willing to what is needed to “stand up to Trump”. I will happily change my opinion if Yang goes on a show like Hannity or debates Bill O’Riley and is able to get aggressively confrontational while still steering the conversation.

    I think he would be great VP pick. He would do well in a debate vs. Pence.

    Like it or not, Politics at the National level is no longer really Liberal vs. Conservative it is Pro-Trump vs. Anti-Trump.Report

    • North in reply to Mr.Joe says:

      A New Yorker? Yang is not gonna be a VP pick.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Mr.Joe says:

      I concur especially because my thoughts on Trump are that he is suffering from serious cognitive decline and is this makes him further descend further into blowhard mode. My thought today was he always looks like he is in fullscream like a less intelligent version of Lee J. Cobb’s bigot from 12 Angry Men.

      Trump or his staff seem to think his best bet for 2020 is a repeat of 2016 (concede the popular vote but win the electoral college) and he is going to do it through being a pure racial demagogue. Too bad we can’t nominate Henry Fonda but Harris or Warren are probably the best bets.Report

      • Mr.Joe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think he has managed to mostly calibrate his racial demagoguery, I doubt it will change much from here. I expect he plot a path to victory based on the data, like 2016. Being able to read crowds to adjust messaging and platform will be a huge part again. Whatever gets increasing numbers of people to show up at rallies and cheer will be his platform. I don’t know what policy and rhetoric crowds will be buying 6 months, 12 months, 15 months from now, but it is a fair bet Trump will be selling it.Report

  10. LeeEsq says:

    Yang wants to ban the ancient and holy rite of circumcision. That makes him a no in my book. The brit millah is one of the most important aspects of Jewish identity. We will not stop doing it to satisfy modernity.Report

    • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I don’t feel quite this strongly about the subject, but it’s still a sign of Online Politics Poisoning, and it’s still a bad idea.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There’s going to be a shift from “I belong to my parents” to “I belong to myself”.

      Let them grow up and choose to join the covenant and get the operation. Don’t have it thrust upon them when they aren’t even old enough to… jeez. 8 days is really young.

      In the same way that parents shouldn’t assign genders to children, they shouldn’t mutilate them.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s a lot of enforcement costs for something that is 99% a point of principle.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

          Eh, just stop doing it in hospitals to people who aren’t old enough to consent.

          Consent consent consent.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yes that is a very good way to substantially increase the costs by having it done more frequently to people who aren’t old enough to consent in other environments.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

              Hrm. Maybe going after brisses that aren’t done in sterile environments might be the way to go, then.

              (I went to a briss at a neighbor’s house back in the 90’s. In their kitchen!)

              Surgery needs to be done by a medically trained professional who has been licensed by the state of California (or wherever) and if you engage in unlicensed surgery, there are approximately 700 laws that cover that.

              Have it done in a hospital, by a specialist, or not at all.

              (To be honest, I can’t believe that they had people with religious degrees, of all things, in charge of doing this for a few thousand years.)Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                For a few thousand years the person with the religious training was going to be the most educated and knowledgeable person around for miles.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s a lot more likely to actually work, because it’s a pretty easy thing to comply with, in relative terms.

                Probably need to spend some time building support for it though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Eh, I imagine that just expressing incredulity that this is still happening even though it’s 2019 should be a good enough start.

                See who lines up where.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

            I think we should also require adult consent for cleft lip surgery, which is another foreskin issue.

            But that’s a fight for another day. Perhaps Thursday.Report

    • veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

      @LeeEsq — Honest question: over time, do you think that more liberally minded Jews could come to accept delaying circumcision until adolescence, when the child has enough “self concept” to understand what is happening? Obviously the more orthodox types would never accept this, but could we convince those more liberal?

      It is a valid issue of bodily autonomy. It does permanently alter the body, which indeed has an effect on sensation and sexual function.

      The point: why does it have to happen to infants? “Because it is written” or “because it is tradition” are both reasonable answers, but God did not give us the capacity for reason with the expectation that we would not use it.Report

      • pillsy in reply to veronica d says:

        Possibly? But I still contend that while it may be a valid issue of bodily autonomy, it is, in the grand scheme of things, a pretty minor one, and if it isn’t connected to a broad, compelling, consistent case (which to be blunt rarely seems to happen in the Wilds of Online) it’s unlikely to work,

        And you’re still left with the issue of more conservative people rejecting it, which leads to those enforcement costs, which may well not be trivial.

        Honestly if you want to stop it as a widespread practice, allowing for religious exemptions is likely the easiest route forward.Report

        • veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

          I’m absolutely not suggesting any kind of enforcement (under the assumption that trying to force orthodox Jews to break their religious laws would be … not effective).

          I am suggesting a culture change. Even if only N% of Jews change their practices, that is N% of people who get to make a choice about their bodies.

          I certainly think the practice should be stopped in general, but that’s a separate issue.

          Also, I’d question how “minor” it is. The weight of a permanent body alteration depends on the value it has to the person themselves, not the value it has to a bystander with an opinion. I’ve met people who very much regretted their circumcision.Report

          • pillsy in reply to veronica d says:

            Yeah and if the argument is for shifting cultural norms, well, it may work!

            But when politicians start talking about it people start thinking, reasonably enough IMO, that there’s an enforcement mechanism on the horizon.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

        Not really. The Reform Judaism movement of the 19th century did all sorts of innovations to make Judaism seem less strange to non-Jews. They moved Shabbat from Saturday to Sunday, got rid of kosher laws and Hebrew, etc. They debated getting rid of circumcision but it was considered so essential to Jewish identity that it was a bridge too far. It was kept. I can’t see any current Jewish movement go against it. It really is just seen as one of the things that is absolutely required.Report

        • veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

          That’s unfortunate.Report

          • CJColucci in reply to veronica d says:

            When I was born, circumcision was the norm even among the goyim. (I was born in a military hospital, and suspect that the surgeons and the barbers trained together, but that’s another story.) The reasons were sanitary rather than religious, obviously. And remembering my sanitary habits as a youngster, I was probably better off not having a foreskin. I think the first time I ever saw an uncircumcised penis was in a porno movie. While I don’t doubt, veronica, that you know people who regretted circumcision, my own experience has been that nobody much cared, having nothing to compare it with.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci says:

              I would just be fascinated to know how it started, really started.

              I mean, who was the guy thousands of years ago who looked down at his tender sensitive tip of his junk, then at a razor sharp knife and said, “Hey, ya know what would be cool?”Report

              • pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m certain it was preceded by, “Hold my beer.”Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, that’s because it didn’t really happen that way. Women thought it up and made them do it.

                This comports with the idea that the Biblical J author was a woman. Joseph’s brothers are jealous of his pretty coat? Samson’s power comes from his long flowing hair? That’s not how men think. So the J author just wrote the crazy ritual into the story because she liked her men to have a certain look.

                Then all the guys were in a panic because if the story is true, and if they’re really Jews and not worshipers of Ba’al or Ra, they shouldn’t have that extra bit of skin. They’d risk getting found out when they use a public urinal (Back then the entire Middle East was a public urinal, which is why it was covered in sand).

                Back alley circumcisions ensued, quickly replaced by less traumatic infant circumcisions (“If Joseph don’t remember the crazy place where he was last week, he ain’t gonna remember this, either,”) and the rest is history.

                And frankly, once mankind developed clothes we no longer needed the extra armor protection. All it did after that is fill up with mud, lice, fleas, mites, crabs, lint, and occasionally coins and Monopoly tokens, which can make playing the family game with Uncle Louie pretty darned awkward, let me tell you.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It would be neat if there were a website to help answer questions like that:


              • Chip Daniels in reply to veronica d says:

                You mean the one which says it’s origin is “not known with certainty”?

                Ima become a Wiki editor and add “Hold my beer” as one of the origin reasons.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I suspect it started in different ways for different groups. Consider this: ritual scarification is pretty common as an initiation ritual, so … it’s just kind of a thing that humans do.

                I feel like “why” is the wrong question. They do it because magic.

                “But surely they had a rational, considerate reason…”

                Probably not.Report

            • pillsy in reply to CJColucci says:

              Yeah I mean from my perspective it’s just always been like that and it seems to work fine.

              Makes it harder to do miniature sandworm cosplay, though.Report

            • George Turner in reply to CJColucci says:

              Except out West (where hippies are prevalent), most men in the US are circumcised. Rates in the Midwest approach 90%. It’s also the norm throughout Africa and the Middle East, and used to be just as prevalent in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

              This meant Nazi prison camp guards couldn’t tell which American POWs were Jewish and which weren’t. Thus, they had to ask. An American master sergeant from Knoxville was named as Righteous Among the Nations for having all his men stand forth as Jews when the Germans were trying to sort them for execution. He stared down the German commander holding a pistol to his head, saying that all the American soldiers were Jewish and that the commander would have to shoot each and every one of them, and then he’d be tried for war crimes. The German commander walked away in frustration. Saving the life of even one was worth every foreskin on the planet.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to George Turner says:

                I now have an excuse to tell one of my favorite stories. Decades ago, I asked a Jewish friend of mine (at least I thought he was a friend) about the little black boxes — tfillen — that I had seen Jewish men wearing on their foreheads while worshiping. I asked what was in them.
                My “friend” asked me if I knew the story of Abraham. In those days, I was pretty conversant with the Hebrew scriptures for a goy, so I showed off my ecumenical knowledge, including the bit about Abraham’s covenant with G_d and circumcision as the symbol of that covenant.
                My “friend” asked if I had ever wondered what happened to the foreskin afterward. I hadn’t. He told me, with a straight face, that it was put into the tfillen so worshipers would be reminded of the covenant.
                Made sense to me, and years later, as he probably knew I would, I recited this “fact” in mixed company, to predictable reactions.
                If I ever find the sonofabitch again……Report

              • George Turner in reply to CJColucci says:


                I couldn’t ever top that one. 🙂

                Maybe I could start a rumor that the foreskins are used as a plasticizer when they make any VISA cards with “MRS” in the name.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                “But if you rub it, it becomes a suitcase.”Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s a great joke. I almost inserted it into my story, but thought it would be too much.Report

  11. Marchmaine says:

    There’s going to be a shift from “I belong to my parents” to “I belong to myself” to “I belong to the guarantor of myself” to “The guarantor operates for our good under a new covenant” to “these are the things the covenant requires before we release you to yourself”

    Its strange to think that we’ll ever “belong” solely to ourselves…

    Edit: should be threaded to Lee-Pilsy-JBReport

  12. Marchmaine says:

    Who/What guarantees the Radical Individual? As an infant? What if there’s no possible vector to Radical Individualism?

    Edit: heh, I’m promiscuously threading today.Report

  13. Jaybird says:

    On immigration:


  14. Jaybird says:

    Dave Chappelle has just endorsed Andrew Yang:


  15. Aaron David says:

    And Yang is not in tonight’s debate.


  16. Jaybird says:

    This is exciting.