A recent survey revealed something that is probably not a shock to many: A majority of older, wealthy Americans don’t like the idea of free cash handouts to every U.S. citizen.
Echelon Insights, a data research company, conducted a survey on 1,006 registered voters in late June. The results showed that 61% of the audience that made $125,000 or more per year were either “somewhat opposed” or “strongly opposed” to a $1,000-per-month handout to every citizen that is being lauded by 2020 Democratic hopeful Andrew Yang, according to CNBC.
Yang, a 44-year-old entrepreneur, has made his universal basic income, or what he calls the “Freedom Dividend,” the main component of his campaign.
What probably comes as no surprise is that as income levels decrease, so does opposition to the handout. Only 23% of respondents making less than $30,000 annually were against the idea of free money every month.
Opposition to Yang’s universal basic income also grows as age increases. A whopping 68% of registered voters polled who are 65 and older were against then plan. Compare that to only 28% voters in opposition between ages 18 and 29, according to the survey.
The data seems to correlate along political party lines as well, with 67% of Republicans in opposition while only 26% of Democrats polled were against Yang’s Freedom Dividend.
But Yang doesn’t see the Republican opposition as an insurmountable obstacle. The 2020 hopeful conducted an “Ask Me Anything” recently on the popular website Reddit, answering almost any question thrown his way. He argued that in order for Congressional Republicans to oppose his plan for handouts they would have to vote against free money for constituents within their own districts. Yang’s response, per Reddit:
“For the Republicans, they’ll be like, ‘Wait a minute. Do I really want to sabotage the Dividend that will help my constituents in rural areas and areas that have been devastated by automation?’ Imagine their offices back home and phone lines. Cash is a hard thing to demonize. It’s tough for Mitch McConnell to argue, ‘The money will hurt you.'”
McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has not specifically called out Yang’s Freedom Dividend, but he has been a vocal opponent to increasing government spending. In an October 2018 interview, McConnell stated his desire to reduce government spending and make cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security in order to reduce the ballooning budget deficit, according to CNBC.
So how exactly does Yang propose paying for a plan to give over 300 million Americans $1,000 every month? Back in April, Yang published an op-ed on CNN calling on big tech companies like Amazon and Google to foot the bill.
Yang isn’t the only Democrat with crazy ideas that don’t prioritize funding, but his Freedom Dividends have to rank up there as one of the most idealistic proposals. Only time will tell where it goes, but this survey clearly shows that it’s got some obstacles to find a way around.