Feb 10, 2020
Andrew Yang New Hampshire Town Hall Transcript
Andrew Yang held a town hall on February 10, 2020, a day before the New Hampshire primaries. The town hall was held in Portsmith, NH. Read the full transcript of his speech right here.
Andrew Yang: (00:00)
For the next seven years running that organization, and we successfully helped create several thousand jobs in the Midwest and the South. So successful that I was honored by the Obama administration multiple times. I got to bring my wife Evelyn to meet the President. So my in-laws were very excited about me that week. But I have this feeling, campaigning around, doing this work in the Midwest and the South, that the water level is going down, not up, in a lot of the country. Are any of you from the Midwest? The South? So traveling-
Andrew Yang: (00:35)
… Of life and not just going a few time zones. And then Donald Trump became our president in 2016. You all remember that night well. How did you all react when Donald Trump won? Depression. Nausea. Someone at another event said bourbon. To me it was a red flag that tens of millions of our fellow Americans decided to take a bet on the narcissist TV star as our president. And even if you were dismayed, we all have family members and friends and neighbors who celebrated his victory. We’ve been presented a whole series of explanations as to why Donald Trump won essentially every night since 2016 until now. I know you’ve seen the same explanations. Go ahead and shout out a reason we’ve been given as to why he’s our president today.
Andrew Yang: (01:22)
Electoral college. Hillary Clinton. Not a politician. The economy. The economy, which we’ll come back to. Yes? Middle of the country. Yeah, I’ll come back to that. The FBI and James Comey, emails, the Russians, DNC, ignorance, sexism, ignorance, celebrity, media, all kind of mixed together. Now some of you call-
Andrew Yang: (01:58)
… I started looking through the numbers for an explanation and I found one I think many of you will find very familiar. We eliminated 4 million manufacturing jobs in this country over the last number of years. And where were those jobs primarily located? Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa. All of the swing states that Donald Trump needed to win and did win. The same thing happened here in New Hampshire a bit earlier. You all lost over 12,000 manufacturing jobs, primarily in the northern part of the state, a bit before the rust belt started to lose theirs. And if you’ve been to those towns in the northern part of New Hampshire, you know that after the plant or a mill closed, the shopping district closed, people left, the school shrank, and that town has never recovered. I saw the same thing play out in Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, during my seven years running Venture for America. And what happened to those manufacturing jobs is now shifting to other parts of the economy. How many of you have noticed stores closing around where you live in New Hampshire? And why are those stores closing?
Andrew Yang: (03:03)
Amazon primarily. Amazon is like a giant spaceship hovering over the economy, sucking up $20 billion a year in business, closing 30% of your stores in malls. And if you’ve been to a mall that’s lost its JC Penney or its Sears, you know that these malls can go from cheery to spooky pretty quick. But most importantly, the most common job in the economy is retail clerk. The average retail clerk is a 39 year old woman making between $8 and $12 an hour. After her store closes, what is her next job going to be?
Audience Members: (03:34)
Andrew Yang: (03:38)
We are not sure. I’ve not heard that one, but multilevel marketing. What I have heard and things like, “Maybe she could go to Amazon and get a job there.” You can go to one of their fulfillment centers. I don’t know if you’ve seen the stories, but the fulfillment centers, they have all of these machines doing work and then they have humans doing work too, but the humans have bracelets on that chirp at them if they don’t work hard enough in any given five minute period.
Andrew Yang: (04:03)
I don’t know if you know this. Yes. So it’s possible. Maybe she could start working at Amazon. We see the changes around us with the stores closing, the self-serve kiosks and the CVS and the McDonald’s. But the changes are more widespread than most people realize. When you all call the customer service line of a big company and you get the bot or software on the other end, I’m sure you do the same thing I do, which is you dial zero, zero, zero say “Human, human, representative, human, human,” until you get someone on the line. Raise your hand if that’s what you do.
Andrew Yang: (04:35)
Oh yeah, we all do that. That software is miserable. We’re all like, “A person must work at this company somewhere, and I’m now going to find that person.” But if you fast forward a few years, Portsmouth, the software is going to start sounding like this. “Hello, Andrew, how are you? What can I do for you?” It’ll be fast, seamless, efficient. What will this mean for the two and a half million Americans who work at call centers right now making $10 to $14 an hour? Maybe they too can work at Amazon. Maybe we will all start working at Amazon.
Andrew Yang: (05:04)
How many of you all know a truck driver here in the state? It’s the most common job in 29 states. Three and a half million truckers in this country. My friends in California are working on robot trucks that can drive themselves. They tell me we are 98% of the way there. A robot truck just transported 20 tons of butter from California to Pennsylvania last month with no human intervention. Why did they choose butter for this maiden voyage? I have no idea. But if you Google robot butter truck, you will see the story. And at the end of the route was a giant stack of pancakes. As far as, I made up the pancakes, but everything else is real. What will robot trucks mean for the three and a half million truck drivers in this country? 94% men, average age 49, or the 7 million plus Americans who work at truck stops, motels and diners that rely upon the truckers getting out and having a meal every day?
Andrew Yang: (05:57)
Portsmouth, we’re in the midst of the greatest economic and technological transformation in the history of our country. What experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution. Chances are this is the first time you’ve heard a politician even say the words fourth industrial revolution, and I am barely a politician. Imagine being an entrepreneur. I really am barely a politician. I don’t know if you could tell.
Andrew Yang: (06:24)
But imagine being a guy who was getting awards and accolades for helping to create thousands of jobs and realizing that your work is like pouring water into a bathtub that has a giant hole ripped in the bottom. The water’s just rushing out faster and stronger. It helps put Donald Trump in the White House. We don’t understand it. We scapegoat immigrants for problems immigrants have very little to do with.
Andrew Yang: (06:42)
When you go to a factory in Michigan, you don’t find wall to wall immigrants doing work. What do you find? Wall to wall robot arms and machines doing the work that people used to do. So I went to our leaders in DC with the sets of facts and figures and said, “Look, we’re going through this historic economic transformation. What’s the plan? What are we going to do to help our people manage this transition?” Now put your DC hats on, Portsmouth. What do you think the folks in DC said to me when I said, “What are we going to do?” Well, number one, let’s study it.
Andrew Yang: (07:15)
Number two, we can’t talk about this. And number three, which you’ve heard before. We must educate and retrain all Americans for the jobs of the future. Raise your hand if you’ve heard that one. Oh yeah, we’ve all heard that one. That’s politician speak, but I’m the numbers guy, Portsmouth. I looked at the studies. Do you all want to guess how effective the government funded retraining programs were for the manufacturing workers who lost their jobs in the Midwest?
Andrew Yang: (07:39)
You know it’s low because I’m anchoring you low. But you also know it’s low because you have common sense and you know people. You know if you have hundreds of manufacturing workers who lose their jobs, they don’t all march outside and say, “I’m here for my coding retraining program now. You get me my laptop, I’ll be on this in no time.” The success rates of these programs were abysmally low. 0% to 15%. The reality is that almost half of the manufacturing workers in the Midwest who lost their jobs left the workforce and did not work again. Of that group, almost half filed for disability. We then saw surges in suicides and drug overdoses in these communities, to the point where America’s life expectancy declined for three years in a row. You know the last time America’s life expectancy declined for three years in a row?
Andrew Yang: (08:26)
Great Depression is a great guess. It’s a little bit earlier than that. It’s the Spanish Flu of 1918, a global pandemic that killed millions a hundred years ago. You have to go back a century because it’s very, very unusual for a life expectancy to go down in a developed country like the US. It ordinarily just goes up because you’re getting richer, stronger, and healthier. But here it went down and then down and then down again. And when I said this to the folks in DC, one of them said something that brought me here to you all today. He said, “Andrew, you’re in the wrong town. No one here in DC will do anything about this because fundamentally this is a town of followers, not leaders. And the only way we will do something about it is if you were to create a wave in other parts of the country and bring that wave crashing out down on our heads.” And I said, “Challenge accepted. I’ll be back in a couple of years.”
Andrew Yang: (09:18)
And that is how I came to run for President. And I have to say it’s a thrill being here with you all because you are among the most powerful and influential people in our country today. I know it doesn’t feel like it. You’re just living your lives, checking out the presidential candidates who come through, but I have done the math. Do you know how many Californians each New Hampshire voter is worth?
Audience Members: (09:36)
Andrew Yang: (09:38)
1000 Californians each. That’s right. So look around this room, this bar, how many of us are together? I’m going to give a Trumpian estimate. There are 2000 people here today at this bar. It’s the biggest bar anyone’s ever seen. Looking at this, I’m going to say there may be 120 people here today, which would still be three football stadiums full of Californians and voting power. That’s the kind of power you all have to do something the rest of our country only dreams about, which is to take us in a better direction and make our government work for us again as opposed to who it’s working for now. Who is it working for now?
Andrew Yang: (10:18)
If your first name is Big and your last name is Company, our government has a concierge service for you. But other than that, they’re having a hard time hearing us anymore. It’s one reason why Trump won. If your corporate profits are going up and life expectancy is going down, which do you care about? I mean, if you’re us, you care about life expectancy because it’s literally our lives, but if you’re DC, you just follow the money. Washington, DC today is the richest city in our country. Think about that for a second. What do they produce? None of us knows, but business seems awfully good. Donald Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp. Portsmouth, I want to do something a little bit different. I want to distribute the swamp. Why do we employ hundreds of thousands of government workers in the most expensive city in the country? Why wouldn’t we move some of those jobs to Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire? You would save billions of dollars immediately.
Andrew Yang: (11:18)
And I would argue that these agencies would make better decisions because they were living someplace normal as opposed to the DC bubble where they just talk to each other. I’m for term limits for members of Congress. They should be heading to DC to do our work and then come home. They should not go there and say, “Oh, I like it here. Let me stay, let me stay.” And here’s how we actually get it passed. I’ll be your president in a year from now. Thank you for that. And then I will go to Congress and say, “We should have 12 year term limits, both houses, but current lawmakers are exempt.” Do you think they’ll pass that? Oh yeah, they’ll passed that the next day. They’ll say, “We do this for the American people.” Because it doesn’t affect them.
Andrew Yang: (12:05)
It just affects everyone who comes after them. But eventually they’ll get phased out. They’ll come home. And then we’ll have a legislature that actually turns over and is more dynamic and responsive. The biggest issue is the lobbyist cash and the corporate interests that have overrun our government for years and decades. I’m going to tell a New Hampshire story. A friend of mine from Exeter went to work on Capitol Hill. He’s a good man, went with the best of intentions, and he told me he would never become a lobbyist. How does the story end?
Audience Members: (12:34)
Andrew Yang: (12:35)
He’s a lobbyist. That’s what’s really going on in our government today. If you have money on one side and people on the other, the money’s going to win. So how do we solve this problem? Democrats will talk about overturning Citizens United, which is correct. We should try and get dark money out of politics. But it would take a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and corporate money ran our government even before that ruling. It’s not like everything was great and then that ruling came and it’s like, “Oh no, now it went bad.” So what we have to do is unite the people and the money. Now, how do we do that? Right now, only 5% of Americans donate to political candidates or campaigns. So if you’re in that 5%, pat yourself on the back, you’re one of the most politically engaged Americans in the country. My proposal is we give every American voter a hundred democracy dollars you can give to any candidate or campaign you want every year, use it or lose it.
Andrew Yang: (13:37)
What percentage of Americans do you think would make a donation then, if you had a hundred free dollars to use?
Audience Members: (13:41)
Andrew Yang: (13:45)
That’s a little low. Let’s say it’s 40% or 50%. it’s certainly not going to be 100%. you can’t get 100% of Americans do anything. Some of them would be like, “I don’t like this plan.” But if you got it up to 40% or 50% you would wash out the lobbyist cash by a factor of four to one. Because imagine if you had 10,000 Americans give you their hundred democracy dollars, that’s $1 million. And then when the lobbyist comes over and says, “Hey, I’ve got $80,000 for you,” you’re like, “I don’t want to touch your $80,000 because they’re going to notice and they’re backing me and I’d much rather get the money from them.” So this is how we unite the people and the money, actually bring them together and flush out the lobbyist cash that’s overrun the government. These are changes that need to start at the top. As your president, I would pledge not to take any speaking fees for personal gain for the rest of my life.
Andrew Yang: (14:40)
And this is borne of the fact that I see what’s happened in terms of the revolving door between government and industry. As soon as you show up as a regulator in government, some company’s there with a giant bag of money saying, “Hey, I will give you all this money after you leave your post, and by the way, go easy on us.” And then that’s their incentives. They’re like, “All right.” You know who actually just came out and said this? Sheila Bair, who was a banking regulator in DC, she said, “Look, all of my incentives are to go easy on the company. It’s because they’re just offering me a bag of money after I leave.”
Andrew Yang: (15:09)
So if you want to make it so that we’ll actually do right by the people, you have to make this a one way street. You have to say you can’t go back to industry, but you should probably pay people enough so they don’t have to worry about their needs over the next number of years. That’s the only way we’re actually going to get government working for us again. Even more important, and I know that sounds like that is the number one thing, but even more important than getting government working for the people is getting this economy working for more of us and our families. Right now, more and more Americans feel like we’re running in place where your wages don’t change, but your costs keep creeping up and up and up.
Andrew Yang: (15:45)
Now, if you’re here today, you know I’m standing for a very dramatic sounding proposal that we give every American $1,000 a month starting at age 18 until the day you die. How many of you know that’s what this campaign is built on? Now keep your hand up if you think this is too good to be true or unrealistic. Oh, don’t be shy. It’s cool.
Andrew Yang: (16:02)
Oh, don’t be shy. It’s cool. I understand that reaction entirely, but this is not my idea, and it’s not a new idea. Thomas Paine was for this at the founding of our country. He called it a citizen’s dividend for all Americans. Martin Luther King fought for this in the 1960s. It is what he was fighting for when he was killed. Milton Friedman, the patron saint of libertarianism, and a thousand economists endorsed this plan. It’s the first time Milton has actually just gotten a round of applause, but I mean, I’ll take it. I mean, I do cite him for a reason. So Friedman and a thousand economists endorsed this plan in the 1960s. It was so mainstream, it passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice in 1971 under Richard Nixon. The Family Assistance Plan would have guaranteed an income floor for all American households.
Andrew Yang: (16:48)
And then 11 years later, one state passed a dividend where now everyone in that state gets between $1,000 and $2,000 a year, no questions asked. And what state is that, and how does Alaska pay for it? And what is the oil of the 21st century? Data, technology, AI, self driving cars and trucks. A new study came out that said that our data, your data, is now worth more than oil. How many of you saw that study? How many of you got your data check in the mail last month? If your data is now worth billions of dollars a year and you are not seeing a dime of it, then where’s all of that money going? Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, the trillion dollar tech companies that are paying zero or next to zero back into our country.
Andrew Yang: (17:37)
You see how this game works? This value is leaving, and you’re looking around being like, for some reason I think that things are not going to where they’re supposed to, and our goal is to get some of that value that’s leaving, literally sometimes made off of your data, and bring it back to you in the form of this dividend of $1,000 a month. Particularly because after this money is in your hands, where will it actually go? How much of it would stay right here in New Hampshire? Most of it, not all of it. You might get your own Netflix password, but most of it would go to car repairs you’ve been putting off, and daycare expenses, and Little League signups, and another night out at the bar, and local nonprofits and religious organizations.
Andrew Yang: (18:23)
Portsmouth, this is the trickle up economy from our people, our families, and our communities up. This would work, and this is the only way we’re going to rebalance the most extreme winner-take-all economy in the history of the world, which we’re in right now, and make it work for both families and big companies, for both rural towns and big cities, because we’re getting stretched in both directions. Raise your hand if you’re a parent like me and my wife, Evelyn. If you’re a parent, you have had this sinking feeling that we’re leaving our kids a future that is less bright, less prosperous, and less secure than the lives that we have led. Why do we feel that way? Because it’s true. And it’s not just climate change, which is obviously the biggest reason to feel that way, but right up there is the fact that if you were born in this country in the 1940s, there was a 93% chance you were going to do better than your parents did. That’s the American dream. That’s what we aspire to for our kids. But if you’re born in the 1990s, you’re down to a 50/50 shot, and it is declining fast. That is why the parents feel the way that we do. That is why the young people feel the way that you do. You feel like the deck is stacked against you in ways it was not for previous generations. You are right. That is what we have to change. We Democrats have to stop acting as if Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems. He’s not. He is the symptom of a disease that has been building up for years, and tomorrow, Portsmouth, we get a chance to start curing the disease.
Andrew Yang: (19:55)
Imagine a country where parents could look their kids in the eyes and say to them, your country loves you, your country values you, and your country will invest in you and your future. Think about whether that would start to turn it around. We have record high corporate profits right now in the United States of America. We’re being told how great things are. You’ve seen all the headlines. Stock market prices, record highs, GDP, record high, corporate profit, record high, headline on unemployment, looks great, but what else are at record highs in the United States of America? Debt, depression, suicide, overdoses, substance abuse, anxiety … Rudeness? I don’t have a number on that one, but I buy it. Stress, polarization, the temperature, medical bankruptcy, student loan indebtedness, all of these things are at record highs.
Andrew Yang: (20:52)
You know what are at record lows right now in the United States of America? Starting a business for a young person, getting married, having a child, all the things you would associate with a healthy, thriving society are at record lows in the U.S., and our economic measures keep telling us how great things are. But once again, we feel like things are actually not that great. And once again, we are right. We’re pretty good that way. I know how off base the economic measures are in part because of my own family. My wife is at home with our two boys right now, one of whom is autistic. How much is her work valued at in our economic measurements? Evelyn gets a zero. How about every other stay at home parent in the country? How about every caregiver taking care of an ailing loved one? What about volunteers and activists trying to do something positive in the community? Most coaches and mentors looking out for our kids, most artists, sorry, artists.
Andrew Yang: (21:49)
Now, one thing we don’t talk about, Portsmouth, but it’s crucial, how about local journalists? We have put almost 2,000 local newspapers out of business over the last number of months, because all their advertising revenue went up to the cloud and you cannot run a newspaper on that. There are now 200 counties in the U.S. that don’t have a local news source at all in the county. What does not work very well if you don’t have any local news? Democracy, because how can you vote on what’s going on in your community if literally no one is covering what’s going on in your community? These are the things we’re supposed to value most in our lives, our children, our families, our community, our democracy, and they’re getting zeroed out, one by one by one. They’re getting zeroed out because we have been collectively convinced that economic value and human value are the same things.
Andrew Yang: (22:32)
And what we have a chance to say to our fellow Americans tomorrow is that we each have intrinsic value. Our kids each have intrinsic value as citizens, as people, and as owners and shareholders of the richest country in the history of the world. We can let our fellow Americans know that we and our families do not exist to serve the economy. The economy exists to serve us and our families. We’re in the midst of this economic transformation, and it is gaining steam very quickly. I spoke to a group of 70 CEOs in New York City, and I asked them, how many of you are looking at replacing your back office clerical workers with artificial intelligence and software? Guess how many hands went up out of 70? All 70. The fact is you could fire any CEO who did not have his hand up. That is the system we have built. We have a system built to maximize the bottom line of these companies, and we’ve been pretending that the bottom line of the companies works for us, when it has not worked for us for quite some time. And this technology revolution, the simplest way to think of it, Portsmouth, is that the tech is getting stronger and more capable, more powerful all the time, and we are not. Our kids are getting smarter, yes, but the adults in the room know we feel lucky if we didn’t get dumber on any given day. If we can still find our keys, that’s a good day. The technology is ramping up in unprecedented ways, and it’s about to make this extreme winner-take-all economy even more extreme very, very quickly.
Andrew Yang: (24:12)
I’m not running for president because I dreamt about being president. Those were not the conversations in the Yang household. My parents were not like, “You’re going to be president someday,” and they were more like, “You’re terrible. Clean your room.” I’m running for president simply because I’m a parent and a patriot who has seen what the future holds for our kids, and it is not something I’m willing to accept. They deserve better. We must give them better, and we have a chance to give them better starting tomorrow morning. Instead of pretending that the bottom line of these companies is our bottom line, we should actually start measuring our economic progress by how we are doing, our health and life expectancy, our mental health and freedom from substance abuse, our kids’ success rates, the number of us who can retire in quality circumstances, clean air and clean water. These are the real measurements of how our country is progressing, and as your president, I would modernize our measures to include these things and then present them to you every year at the State of the Union. I’ll be the first president to use a PowerPoint deck at the State of the Union. And if you like that visual, you’re like, I should vote for him just because I want to see that deck.
Andrew Yang: (25:27)
This is how we are actually going to start solving the problems around us. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t even acknowledge it exists, and unfortunately that’s where we are with a lot of these issues. Donald Trump is our president today because he had a very simple, powerful, and compelling message for the country. He said he was going to make America great again. How did Hillary Clinton respond? America’s already great. You remember that? It’s been a long three years, I know, but it’s now coming to an end. That response did not work for many Americans, because the problems in our communities are all too real. We have to acknowledge their depth and severity and reality, but then we need real solutions that will move our communities forward.
Andrew Yang: (26:08)
What were Donald Trump’s solutions? Build a wall, turn the clock back, bring the oil jobs back. Portsmouth, you know we have to do the opposite. We have to turn the clock forward. We have to accelerate our economy and society to rise to the real challenges of the 21st century, like climate change. We have to evolve in the way we see ourselves, and our work, and our value. I am the ideal candidate for this job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. Thank you all very much. Thank you, Portsmouth.
Andrew Yang: (26:41)
You may not know this, Portsmouth, but math is an acronym. And what does it stand for?
Make America think harder.
Andrew Yang: (26:47)
Make America think harder, that’s right. That’s your job tomorrow. It’s your job to move this country we love not left, not right, but forward. And I know that’s just where you will take us. Thank you, Portsmouth. Let’s make history tomorrow and leave a future we’re actually excited about for our kids. Thank you. And I think Conrad’s got a mic, so we can take some questions.
Speaker 1: (27:09)
Hi [crosstalk 00:27:09].
Andrew Yang: (27:09)
I’m sorry I had my back to you the whole time.
Speaker 1: (27:19)
Oh no, no, the back of your head is wonderful. So I voted Trump in 2016, because I felt like I didn’t have a better option, and I just wanted to say thank you for giving us a better option. That is all I wanted to say. Thanks.
Andrew Yang: (27:41)
Well, that was a, I love that question.
Speaker 2: (27:51)
Do you think it’s fair to say that we’re on the verge of a fascist society if Trump is elected, reelected? And I use the word fascist deliberately. You know what I mean.
Andrew Yang: (28:05)
I believe I do. The goal is to not find out. The goal is to beat Donald Trump. And there are people that believe that if Trump is reelected, then some of his worst impulses will actually be unleashed, because he’s like, well, I don’t have another election to worry about. That is a concern, and I really do not want us to have to discover whether that concern is justified. The goal has to be to beat Donald Trump in November. And I believe that we can do just that. And I also do believe he would step down. I know there are people who are concerned that he would refuse to give up the office, but it’s not really him himself that can make that decision. He would literally need the top 20 military officers in our armed forces to back him on that, and I just can’t imagine that happening. So job number one has to be to defeat Donald Trump this fall.
Speaker 2: (29:00)
[inaudible 00:29:00] Thank you.
Speaker 3: (29:05)
You’ve never really talked about it by name, but you’ve basically covered all the facets of it, but have you heard of the happiness index, and is that something that you consider in reference to like our GDP centered country that’s focused on those big things that don’t actually affect the common person?
Andrew Yang: (29:22)
Are you talking specifically about the one that’s used in Bhutan, or the one that other countries were looking at, and as a composite?
Speaker 3: (29:29)
Andrew Yang: (29:30)
So there are different measurements that are out there in the world, and I’m happy to say that a lot of them have a lot of value. I don’t think I’ve seen one that I’m like, ooh, we should just use that one explicitly, including the happiness index. But there are bits and pieces of each that I think are very important. It’s going to be tremendous to actually have a sense of where we are, because if you saw that we’re in a mental health crisis, which we are in the midst of, we’re having a wellness depression, like volunteerism, civic engagement, all these things are really in not positive levels. And if we have those measurements, then we’ll actually start, I believe, making progress. It’s a very natural human impulse to kind of improve what you measure, and right now we’re following GDP off a cliff. You know, AI and self driving trucks will be great for GDP and corporate profits, but it’ll be very bad for us. So I like a lot of the other measurements I’ve seen, but I haven’t seen one that I’d say I want to adopt that wholesale.
Speaker 3: (30:35)
Speaker 4: (30:36)
Thank you. I want to say on behalf of all the volunteers in the state and myself, thanks for inspiring us to get involved. Let’s win this whole thing.
Andrew Yang: (30:42)
Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate the heck out of you.
Speaker 4: (30:48)
My question is, could you give a sample of what a fireside chat with President Yang might sound like, especially if assisted by AI?
Andrew Yang: (31:02)
Well, the AI assistance, I think that’d be kind of spooky or eerie. I don’t know. So I’d want to keep it old school so Americans felt like it was a fireside chat, but we would have probably an interviewer that people like and then rotate them around, so it’s not like there’s a particular voice that becomes too prominent in it. And then I would talk about the issues of that period. I would try and give a transparent perspective on the things I was most focused on in that period. And then we’d just put it up. It would be like an asynchronous podcast or YouTube recording, and just have it out there for the world, and then hopefully take questions from Americans during the time. Sort of a combination of one of those old school radio broadcasts using some modern technology. I think it’s really interesting how there’s this whole battalion of journalists who go to D.C. and then they talk to the press secretary, who is supposed to talk on behalf of, and I think with modern technology you can have a little bit more access to the president, what he or she…
Andrew Yang: (32:03)
… have a little bit more access to the President, what he or she is working on at any given time, that you don’t need so many layers for every single interaction. Obviously, there are some things the President probably would not be open to talking about. Aliens. No, kidding. But there are many, many things the President is working on that he or she could share in a way that would give many Americans, I think, a degree of comfort and reassurance that they know where the government’s attentions are focused. I like to think someone talked [inaudible 00:32:35] there is a mental health crisis in this country. I like to think that having a President who’s calm and lucid and reasonable would be positive for our mental health too. You know?
Speaker 5: (32:48)
I am so grateful to you for doing this fight and bringing the conversation towards the humanity first. As an acupuncturist, I see people in the most stressful times in their lives and job security issues, and it just gets inhumane.
Speaker 5: (33:05)
If you had to rewrite the primary process, if you had the opportunity the next time around, how would you like to see it go? Would it be more coalition-based so that people that you mostly agree with can actually not cut each other at the knees and actually build something forward?
Andrew Yang: (33:30)
I have to say, as a civilian who’s running for President, I have learned so much. Oh, my gosh. Like that first televised debate, I was like, “What is going on?” There are people walking around backstage practicing their lines. I was like, “This is like my high school play.”
Andrew Yang: (33:50)
There are ideas I’d have to how we can improve our democracy. The single biggest thing we can do, a lot of things we could do, but one of the biggest things we could do would be ranked-choice voting. That alone would be such a game changer for our democracy, because people could vote their honest preferences without being worried about quote unquote wasting their vote. You’d have a much more vibrant, multi-party system over time.
Andrew Yang: (34:16)
Because right now, self-identified Independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in our country. So there are millions of Americans who look at the parties and think like, “Neither of these parties is really doing it for me entirely.” But those voices are completely stifled, because right now if you vote one of those third-party candidates, you do feel like, “Well, I’m wasting my vote here.” You know, Gary Johnson. No offense to Gary Johnson, and if you voted for him, it’s cool. But you know what I mean. So if you had a ranked-choice voting system, then you could be like, “All right, I just get to throw down on the one I want. I’ll just rank these people,” and then you’d wind up with a much more vibrant system over time the way it’s happened in other countries.
Andrew Yang: (34:55)
I think the two-party duopoly is not working very well. What’s been happening because of the two-party duopoly is the parties have been playing you lose, I lose, you lose, I lose for years and years. Who’s been losing? Us. We’ve been losing the whole time. This pendulum swings back and forth, and we’re like, “Oh my gosh, things are sinking into the ground in various ways, and these guys, their incentives are not tied to whether we succeed or fail.” They succeed or fail based upon the pendulum swinging back and forth. So I believe ranked-choice voting would help that a lot.
Andrew Yang: (35:29)
I think we should try and invigorate our democracy in other ways too. I would make Election Day a national holiday. I would allow for automatic voter registration, so when you get your driver’s license, you just get registered to vote. There are all these things we could do that would make it easier and more powerful.
Andrew Yang: (35:48)
But the big thing would be ranked-choice voting and trying to introduce some more truth and dynamism into the people you’re allowed to vote for. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (36:02)
First of all, Andrew, thank you so much for being here today and giving us hope. It’s so refreshing just to hear this and feel your enthusiasm for the country.
Andrew Yang: (36:14)
Speaker 6: (36:19)
My question is, you spoke about the two-party system. What types of ideas do you have to get the parties talking to one another? Because as you just saw or we all witnessed the impeachment procedures, and Republicans were basically supporting a party as opposed to the truth. So what types of ideas do you have that maybe we can get back to reaching across the aisle and having discussions instead of vitriol and all the hate that’s going on? What ideas do you have?
Andrew Yang: (36:50)
Well, thank you for the question. I do love this country deeply. My parents came here as immigrants for the American dream, and I have lived the American dream in so many ways. Growing up in upstate New York, there were only three TV networks at the time. You guys remember this. [inaudible 00:37:06] a little bit older. There was like this American culture that I grew up with that I wanted to belong to very, very badly. Now I have two little boys. I know what this country has meant for me and my family, and I want to have that stay true for my kids, but also be true for millions of families around the country.
Andrew Yang: (37:27)
In terms of bringing the parties together, I think I’m uniquely situated to be able to do this on a number of levels. For those of you who really want to beat Donald Trump, people who are betting money on these things, the head-to-head matchups on the internet have me as the heaviest favorite to beat Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup. I’m three to two. I’m three to two, and every other Democratic possibility is, at best, even money.
Andrew Yang: (37:54)
So the reason why I am the betting favorite to beat Donald Trump head to head is that 18% of college Republicans said they would support me over the President in the general. 10% of Trump voters here in New Hampshire, in one survey, said they would support me over Trump in the general.
Andrew Yang: (38:08)
You know who’s figured out that I’m Trump’s worst nightmare matchup is Donald Trump. I’m the only candidate in the field he has not tweeted a word about, because I’m better at the internet than he is. His most potent attacks are that “You’re a corrupt DC politician,” which doesn’t really work on me. This is a long-winded way of saying that after I am President, there are many Republicans and Independents that are actually very, very open to working with me, because they see that I’m not ideological, I’m not out to villainize anyone, I’m very data-driven and solutions oriented.
Andrew Yang: (38:44)
My flagship proposal, this Freedom Dividend, this is a bipartisan proposal. Alaska, the only state that’s had a dividend for almost 40 years, is a deep red conservative state, and it was passed by a Republican governor. Republicans and conservatives and Independents do not hate the idea of economic freedom in American’s hands. What they really hate is a giant bureaucracy that makes everyone’s decisions for them.
Andrew Yang: (39:05)
So after I’m President, I believe I can get Republicans and conservatives on board, because they would see this would be a major win for rural areas, for red states on the interior that they represent. Then hopefully, we can come together on things like infrastructure that both parties have traditionally agreed on.
Andrew Yang: (39:22)
I cannot believe that Donald Trump didn’t even get infrastructure right. I thought he would build all this stuff just to put his name on it. You know what I mean? I thought we’d have Trump everything. I was willing to accept it. I was like, “Sure Trump everything, whatever, just build the stuff.” But it didn’t happen.
Andrew Yang: (39:37)
So that is, I believe, how we get the country back together again. There was one friend of mine whose mom is an avid Fox viewer and gets all of her news from Fox. She said that, “Andrew Yang is the only Democrat in the field I would vote for, because he’s the only one who does not seem to be judging me.” I think that is how we pull the country back together, let people know we’re just trying to improve everyone’s way of life. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (40:07)
This will be our last question.
Speaker 8: (40:11)
Hi. I really love your policies on healthcare, because I like that it’s …
Andrew Yang: (40:17)
[inaudible 00:40:17] You can use this one.
Speaker 8: (40:19)
Okay. Does that work?
Andrew Yang: (40:19)
Yeah. [inaudible 00:08:22].
Speaker 8: (40:20)
Does this work?
Andrew Yang: (40:21)
Yeah. [inaudible 00:40:21].
Speaker 8: (40:22)
Okay. I really love your policies on healthcare, because it’s very economics math-based, anti-big pharma. But that’s not something that I hear you talk about a lot. Could you touch a little bit on why you think that your proposed healthcare plan is better than just implementing universal healthcare across the board?
Andrew Yang: (40:39)
Well, thank you. I am for healthcare as a right of citizenship in this country. If you’re an American citizen, you should have access to quality healthcare.
Andrew Yang: (40:51)
I do not believe it’s the best approach to legislate away everyone’s private insurance plans. Many people enjoy their private insurance. Many people negotiated for it. If you like your plan, you should be able to keep it.
Andrew Yang: (41:03)
The big changes we need to make are really around what we’re paying for in our system. We’re spending so much money on our healthcare right now, $3.6 trillion a year, but it’s not designed to make us stronger and healthier. What’s it designed for? Maximal profits and revenues for the drug companies, the insurance companies, and the device manufacturers.
Andrew Yang: (41:24)
The worst element of this is that it being tied to our jobs is such a disaster on so many levels. One, if you get sick and you can’t work, then you start losing your insurance, and then where are you? But two, how many people do you think in the country have thought about switching jobs, doing something different, or even starting something new, and then froze in their tracks because they didn’t know what they’re going to do about their healthcare? Raise your hand if that applies to you at some point. Yeah. Think about how much dynamism and entrepreneurship and creativity has been lost, because we’re all locked in place.
Andrew Yang: (41:58)
The fact that our health insurance is tied to our jobs is purely an historical accident. We had pay caps during World War II, so companies said, “Hey, I should try and find a way to attract employees.” So they started paying for health insurance, and now we wound up with this hodgepodge health insurance on top of your job system that makes no sense on any level.
Andrew Yang: (42:21)
So we have to start trying to push things in the right direction. We need to integrate mental health into our healthcare system, because a lot of these conditions actually have very much a mental health aspect. A lot of it is about trying to tie the incentives to our actual health outcomes.
Andrew Yang: (42:38)
I’m going to tell two stories. One’s a New Hampshire story, and one’s a family story. I met with a guy named Dean Kamen here in New Hampshire. Raise your hand if you know who Dean Kamen is. He invented the Segway. He has a helicopter in his living room. He’s like the coolest guy ever. Anyway, he told me about how he invented this portable dialysis machine that allows you to actually get dialysis done in the comfort of your own home. I thought, “Well, that’s the coolest thing ever.” The lifestyle’s better. The health outcomes are better. So of course now everyone’s using portable dialysis, right? Oh, how does this story end?
Andrew Yang: (43:10)
All of the companies that are making $70 billion a year on inpatient dialysis centers went and lobbied and said, “No, no, you have to cart the person to the inpatient center, plug them in, and do it there,” even though that’s miserable, worse for everybody, and much more expensive. But they’re making a lot of money off it, whereas they would not make any money if you just sent the person home with a portable dialysis machine. So we’re losing $70 billion a year on that one thing in a way that doesn’t even make our people healthier in the least.
Andrew Yang: (43:42)
The other story that happened in my family, my father-in-law had a stroke, and then he was debilitated, he was recovering. He was told he was going to be on drugs for the rest of his life, blood thinners, the rest of it. Then he said, “You know what I’d like to do? I’d like to see a dietician and try and modify my lifestyle.” The insurance company said, “We will not pay for you to see a dietician.” He was like, “Wait a minute, you’re telling me you’re going to have me take these drugs for the rest of my life, I’m trying to avoid that, and you won’t pay for me to see the dietician?” And they were like, “Yeah, that’s right.” So then he paid out of pocket to see the dietitian. He then modified his lifestyle entirely. He’s not taking the drugs. He’s the picture of health, and he managed to save our entire system tons and tons of money. He’s kind of miserable to eat with now, but this is a much, much better outcome for us all.
Andrew Yang: (44:37)
In a more rational system, that insurance company would have been dying to pay for the dietician. It’s like, “Please see the dietician, because I don’t want to pay for the drugs you’re going to be on for the rest of your life.” But the system right now is like, “Oh, the drugs, we’ll all make more money, so use the drugs.”
Andrew Yang: (44:53)
These are some of the things that I’ve seen in our system that we just have to try and get the incentives lined up with our own health and wellbeing and not maximal profit and revenue for these companies. If we do that one thing, then we will see just how much money we are spending on healthcare that could be much better utilized in ways that would help our families be stronger and healthier. Thank you.
Andrew Yang: (45:18)
Thank you, Portsmouth. We need your support tomorrow. Let’s make history together and leave a future that we’re actually proud of. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (45:28)
[inaudible 00:45:28] round of applause for the next President of the United States, Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yang: (45:33)