I hear a lot of people who are moderates, independents, or even some conservatives say that Andrew Yang is the smartest and most reasonable guy on the Democratic primary stage right now.
He may be, but he’s still a blithering ideological idiot.
I don’t care how he’s supposed to be some tech entrepreneur genius, he’s a macroeconomics moron.
Frequent readers of this blog know that I have taken his UBI to task. It won’t make people better, it will subsidize indolence and rob people of their motivation and dignity. Assuming it doesn’t cause hyperinflation and collapse the value of our dollar, what does paying a person $12,000 per year do. A person working minimum wage full time is making $14,500 pre-deductions.
So how many minimum wage people would quit working or quit working full time to be idle and live off their UBI?
The idea that people would still work full time and then have a combined income of $26,500 per year (pre deductions) is fantasy and not reflective of how humans really behave. A UBI would be a disaster, and it has been everywhere it has been tried on the small scale.
But there are two clips I saw last night of him at a town hall that really nailed just how dumb he is on macroeconomics.
Andrew Yang: The goal of our climate plan is to make it so we don’t “own our own cars” pic.twitter.com/ucN0cowjVl
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 19, 2019
First of all, government control of our ability to travel freely is a massive restriction on our rights. I agree with the great Iowahawk, we need a Second Amendment for cars. The great Bill Whittle did a wonderful video about how the car is freedom and restricting car ownership restricts freedom (watch it, it’s excellent).
Those are good points but this is post about economics.
Yang demonstrates his total lack of knowledge of the Tragedy of the Commons. In a nutshell, people don’t value and take care of things they don’t own.
When nobody owns a car and we all share in a fleet of vehicles, who will care about keeping them clean or running? Nobody. That fleet of self-driving cars will make the NYC subway system look clean. It will be the biggest waste of money as those vehicles are turned, very quickly, into sel driving dumpsters.
Then there was this clip:
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 19, 2019
Let us crunch some numbers. The US is responsible for less than 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Only 9% of US greenhouse gasses come from agriculture, and only 42% of all agriculture emissions come from animal agriculture.
Put that all together and 42% of 9% of 15% is 0.57%. Less than six-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gases come from all US animal agriculture. Being generous, let’s say that beef is half of US animal agriculture, which is three-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gases.
According to the USDA, the Beef industry was worth $67 Billion in 2018. The meat industry as a whole was worth $864 Billion, or 6% of the American GDP. The meat industry employs half a million people directly and more than six million including distributors and others.
So Yang here wants to make meat, especially beef, more expensive, perhaps prohibitively expensive for working-class Americans, over greenhouse gases.
To put numbers to it, he wants to put hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans out of work, disrupt a near trillion-dollar segment of our economy, and make life more miserable for many, many people all to slightly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of an industry that is right now responsible for a fraction of a percent of global greenhouse emissions.
That is bullshit.
This guy is an economic clown. He may know how to make himself rich in tech, but in terms of macroeconomics, his a fucking idiot.