- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2020

AMES, Iowa — Andrew Yang on Tuesday played the role of professor, rolling out a PowerPoint presentation for the first time on the presidential campaign trail that sought to help voters visualize the urgent need to address the devastating impact automation is having on jobs and the economy.

Despite missing the cut for the seventh Democratic presidential debate in nearby Des Moines, Mr. Yang is marching on with his campaign and with the argument that putting $1,000 per month into the pocket of every American would be a “game changer” for millions of families when it comes to adjusting to fast-moving economic change.

“The ‘Freedom Dividend’ makes the case to our fellow Americans that we all have intrinsic value — as people, as citizens, as human beings,” Mr. Yang said at a town hall event here. “This thousand dollars a month lays a foundation that makes us all the more able to adapt in unprecedented times of change, which is right now.”

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His slideshow painted a gloomy picture. Suicides and prescription drug abuse are up. Mental health problems are on the rise, and there are more and more single-parent households.

Robots, meanwhile, have wiped away manufacturing jobs and are poised to shake up more industries, he said.

“So to review, you have record-high levels of corporate profits and GDP, but you also have record-high levels of anxiety, depression, financial insecurity, dislocated workers, suicides and drug overdoses,” Mr. Yang said at a town hall event here.

“So if your corporate profits are going up and your life expectancy is going down, which do you listen to? We know which one Washington, D.C., is listening to. They can’t see past the dollar signs,” he said. “They are not paying attention to people and life expectancy.”

The 45-year-old former nonprofit executive has already exceeded expectations in the 2020 presidential race. He entered the presidential race with no political experience and has found a home with a loyal band of supporters who they’ve come to respect as a straight-shooter and a data-driven problem solver.

Mr. Yang maintains that President Trump won the 2016 election because Democrats failed to confront economic anxiety that has come from jobs being automated away in the “fourth industrial revolution.”

“Donald Trump is our president today because he had a very simple message: He was going to make America great again,” he said. “What did Hillary Clinton say in response? America is already great.”

“Hillary’s response did not go over well because the problems are real. They do exist,” he said. “We have to acknowledge their depth and severity and reality.”

Mr. Yang made the case that he is the “ideal” candidate to defeat Mr. Trump in the general election and pointed to surveys that show he has strong appeal with disenchanted Republicans.

“There is only one candidate in the field who [Mr. Trump] has not touched online, and you are looking at him,” Mr. Yang said. “He hasn’t touched me because, one, he knows it is a losing battle because a lot of his supporters actually like me and No. 2, I am better at the internet than he is.”

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