Julian Casablancas, Andrew Yang Chat on 'S.O.S. -- Earth Is a Mess' - Rolling Stone
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Julian Casablancas and Andrew Yang Talk Universal Income, Democracy Reforms on ‘S.O.S.’

Former Democratic presidential candidate appears on second installment of Strokes frontman’s new Rolling Stone interview series

Andrew Yang joined Julian Casablancas for a wide-ranging discussion on the second episode of his new Rolling Stone interview series, S.O.S. — Earth Is a Mess.

The conversation found Yang discussing his presidential campaign earlier this year, the differences between candidate marketing and corporate marketing, and also the reforms he would like to see to make the democratic process more fair and accessible. For Yang, the two biggest changes needed are opening up primaries and instituting ranked-choice voting.

“Right now, millions of Americans get bullied by saying, ‘Don’t waste your vote, don’t waste your vote,’ ” Yang said of the latter. “And if you have ranked-choice voting, then you can put whoever you want first, and then you can put someone else second or third, and you don’t need to worry about it. To me, this is a process change that can reinvigorate our democracy in a huge way. I would want open-legislative primaries, so it’s not that the party controls who ends up in the general.”

Yang also discussed the key tenet of his campaign — instituting a universal basic income — and how that idea has only grown more reasonable during the Covid-19 pandemic. While Yang first proposed $1,000-per-month for every American over the age of 18, he says he’s for more dramatic measures now due to the pandemic-fueled recession.

“There’s an Emergency Money for the People Act in Congress that’s pushing for $2,000 a month for every American, which I think is correct,” Yang said. “We should be doing that because we’ve lost tens of millions of jobs at this point, and millions of families are struggling and suffering. So it turns out, I wasn’t even dramatic enough with my proposal of $1,000 a month for every American. Even though, at the time, people thought it was very far out.”

Casablancas then chimed in, “Well isn’t it more like a million dollars a day for corporations? Isn’t that the stimulus plan?”

“That’s correct,” Yang replied. “Of the $2 trillion-plus that got approved, the vast majority of it didn’t go to people or families, it went straight to big companies.”


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