Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has famously called for implementing a universal basic income (UBI) where every American adult gets $1,000 a month from the government -- but one New Hampshire family already cashed in on the idea.
The Fassi family of Goffstown, N.H., applied and won $12,000 dollars from the Yang campaign, which was provided in $1,000 payments each month in 2019 as a real-life experiment of his “Freedom Dividend” proposal.
“People think UBI is a gimmick, but thinking about it, it’s very sound policy,” Charles Fassi told Fox News.
Fassi had recently lost his job in the service tech industry and was struggling with mental health issues on top of preparing to send his daughter to college when the opportunity came into their lives. Now two months out of the campaign-sponsored program designed to draw attention to the proposal, the Fassi family says they are doing significantly better.
“Most of the money went to Janelle’s school, then brakes for the car,” Fassi said.
The money also opened up opportunities the family normally wouldn’t have had, such as a family trip and improv classes, he said.
“It definitely changed our spending habits a little bit and a little less financial insecurity,” Fassi said.
The Fassi family was one of 13 families that took part in Yang’s experiment. That’s a very small fraction of the millions of Americans Yang wants to give financial support to with no strings attached.
Conservatives have questioned the enormous cost of such a government-funded income program, with some estimates saying a universal basic income could cost $3 trillion annually. But the Yang campaign argues it would be more effective than current welfare programs.
“The Freedom Dividend is meant to be an alternative to means-tested welfare programs, as they frequently provide a disincentive to work or volunteer, and force people to spend time interacting with an unwieldy bureaucracy,” a campaign spokesperson said.
Fassi expressed support for the government program, saying it would help small business and allow for a better livelihood for lower-income communities.
“I tried to spend my money in a positive way,” Fassi said. “We went out on the weekends to local restaurants and then catch a movie at the local-owned theater.”
Fassi admitted he had to do his homework before he committed to Yang and there weren’t always things he agreed with the candidate on.
“It took me a good eight months before I actually decided that I was going to vote for him,” he said. “In a couple of the early events, he got some foreign policy questions that he didn’t handle his answers very well, but I think he’s crafted his message a lot.”