“My big concern is that we should make it consistent, and once a month so that if this crisis continues, people don’t see their savings evaporate,” he said. “If you were to have a lump sum in March, that money’s not going to last until May or June.”
“I hope this does become fixed policy,” he added. “But we’re in a crisis right now and the important thing is to just get money into Americans’ hands.”
Mr. Yang said he had harbored doubts about whether the federal government would consider giving money directly to citizens. But he repeatedly expressed “thrill” that ideas similar to his own were being discussed at the highest level of government.
“No one would wish this as a circumstance we’d ever face as a country,” he said. “But I do feel some degree of pride in that I believe that my campaign — with the help of hundreds of thousands of supporters around the country — helped advance a set of solutions that it turns out the country needed in a time of crisis.”
Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Yang called for a monthly basic income that would be provided to American adults from the time they turned 18 until their death. Though several lawmakers have suggested somewhat similar measures to address the coronavirus crisis, many of the plans call for sending a limited number of checks or providing other mechanisms for relief, some of which have been deployed during past downturns.
In other words, one person’s temporary universal basic income is another person’s stimulus check or tax rebate.
Mr. Romney, for instance, has suggested a one-time $1,000 check — not universal basic income — as a starting point; Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has proposed $1,000 payments until the emergency has ended; and Representatives Tim Ryan of Ohio and Ro Khanna of California have proposed an emergency earned-income tax credit that they said would provide a check to Americans who earned less than $65,000 last year.