Being Annoyed with Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang was my preferred candidate, and the only one on the debate stage last night I was interested in hearing. So it was particularly grating to hear him repeating cliche and cliche. To start:

As commander-in-chief, I think we need to be focused on the real threats of the 21st century. And what are those threats? Climate change, artificial intelligence, loose nuclear material, military drones, and non-state actors.

And if you look up, we’re in the process of potentially losing the AI arms race to China right now, because they have more access to more data than we do, and their government is putting billions of dollars to work subsidizing the development of AI in a way that we are not.

We are 24 years behind on technology. And I can say that with authority, because we got rid of the Office of Technology Assessment in 1995. Think about that timing. I guess they thought they’d invented everything.

The next commander-in-chief has to be focused on the true threats of tomorrow. And that’s what I will bring to the table as commander-in-chief.

What the f*** is a “non-state actor?” And why are they particular problems for the 21st century as opposed to earlier centuries? It’s just a Gee-Oh-Political buzzword people use to signal how smart they are. There’s nobody in the audience demanding he say that. In fact, the audience doesn’t like hearing words they don’t understand.

PARKER: We now focus on an issue facing many Americans, childcare and paid family leave. Here in Georgia, the average price of infant daycare can be as much as $8,500 per child per year. That’s more than instate tuition at a four-year public college in Georgia. Mr. Yang, what would you do as president to ease that financial burden?

YANG: There are only two countries in the world that don’t have paid family leave for new moms, the United States of America and Papua New Guinea. That is the entire list. And we need to get off this list as soon as possible.

(LAUGHTER)

I would pass paid family leave as one of the first things we do. I have two kids myself who are four and seven, one of whom is autistic and has special needs, and it’s breaking families’ backs. We need to start supporting our kids and families from the beginning, because by the time they’re showing up to pre-K and kindergarten, in many cases, they’re already years behind.

Studies have shown that two-thirds of our kids’ educational outcomes are determined by what’s happening to them at home. This is stress levels, number of words read to them as children, type of neighborhood, whether a parent has time to spend with them.

So we need to have a freedom dividend in place from day one, $1,000 a month for every American adult, which would put in many cases $2,000 a month into families’ pockets, so that they can either pay for childcare or if they want stay home with the child. We should not be pushing everyone to leave the home and go to the workforce. Many parents see that tradeoff and say if they leave the home and work, they’re going to be spending all the money on childcare anyway. In many cases, it would be better if the parent stays home with the child.

This is at least better than average Democratic politician in that Yang understands that you can’t count the gain from workforce participation and ignore the cost of the now-necessary daycare. But why didn’t Yang advocate deregulation? This was a golden opportunity, and he just changed the subject. Perhaps he was afraid the Democratic audience would hate the answer. Or perhaps he doesn’t see infant daycare costing 8,500$ a year as a sign something is seriously wrong with the system. And as for the word count crap, has Yang never heard of behavioral genetics? No one prompted him to say any of that stuff. It seems he may actually believe it.

And, second, I would say the days of meddling in American elections are over and we will take any undermining of our democratic processes as an act of hostility and aggression. The American people would back me on this. We know that they’ve found an underbelly and they’ve been clawing at it, and it’s made it so that we can’t even trust our own democracy.

The third thing I would say is that we’re going to live up to our international commitments. We’re going to recommit to our partnerships and alliances, including NATO. And it was James Mattis that said that the more you invest in diplomats and diplomacy, the less you have to spend on ammunition.

I’m not seeing how anyone who’s ever read a history book could believe that. I can see why James Mattis does, he’s never read a history book, or any book. But Yang?

Yang didn’t say anything interesting, and for the fourth straight time, came dead last in speaking time. He may be smart, but he’s weak. I’m switching my endorsement to Tulsi Gabbard. She sounds like a broken record repeating “end regime change wars,” over and over again. But she has strength. Yang, like the current President, doesn’t.

2 thoughts on “Being Annoyed with Andrew Yang

    1. It’s a buzzword. When I hear people use it it’s like hearing “chemicals are polluting the environment” from someone who has no specific chemical in mind nor any specific measure to solve or mitigate the problem. The people who use the term tend not to have any specific non-state actor in mind, nor any specific solution to the problem. Yang was limited by time during the debate, but he has unlimited space on his website to propose any solution or mitigating step to address the new 21st century challenges proposed by non-state actors. He has not done so AFAIK.

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