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Andrew Yang campaigns in the Gate City

NASHUA – “If you’re here tonight, at some point you heard this: ‘There’s an Asian man running for president who wants to give everyone $1,000 a month,” Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang told supporters gathered inside The Flight Center on Friday.

Yang is proposing a “freedom dividend” which he said would result in $1,000 cash for every American per month. He plans to fund this through a 10% tax on the goods or services that businesses produce.

“The first time you heard that, it sounded like a gimmick. It sounds like it was too good to be true. It will never happen. But if you dig into our history, you’ll find it certainly was not Andrew Yang’s idea,” he said.

According to Yang, philosopher and political activist Thomas Paine called this the citizens’ dividend.

“When you start getting the freedom dividend and it’s in your pocket, what are you going to do with it in real life?” Yang asked. “Most of it will stay in New Hampshire.”

“This is the trickle up economy,” he added, arguing that this will make the country stronger, less stressed and healthier.

Yang believes the country is in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in its history and calls it the fourth industrial revolution. He attributes it to the power of technology.

“I was just with 70 CEOs and I asked them point blank: ‘How many of you are looking at replacing your clerical workers with (artificial intelligence) software… Guess how many hands went up? All 70,” Yang said.

“If you come to that company with software that can replace hundreds or thousands of workers .. then every CEO will do that deal. This is the nature of the fourth industrial revolution,” Yang said.

“Donald Trump is not the cause of our problems – he’s the symptom. He’s a manifestation of the fact that things have been changing on the ground in a way that has been making Americans miserable for years,” Yang added.

A major concern of Yang’s moving forward is truck drivers losing their jobs to semi-automated drivers.

“Driving a truck is the most common job in 29 states in this country,” Yang said. “My friends in California are working on trucks that can drive themselves. Why? For the money.

Yang said teleoperators of these trucks would be sitting in a warehouse in a different state and be able to operate the truck similar to a video game.

“What is that going to mean for the 3.5 million Americans who drive a truck for a living right now or the 7 million Americans who work in truck stops, motels, dietary and retail settlements, that rely upon the truckers getting out and having a meal. We’re talking about the lifeblood of a lot of the country,” Yang said.

Yang said has happened to manufacturing workers in Rust Belt states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan is ripping through other parts of the economy.

In looking to address the issue, Yang said he traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak on his concerns with the problems technology is causing.

“Someone in D.C. said something that brought me here tonight,” Yang said. “He said, ‘Andrew, you’re in the wrong town. No one here will do anything about this set of problems because this is not a town of leaders. This is a town of followers and the only way we will do anything about it is if you create a wave in other parts of the country and bring that wave crashing down on our heads.'”

“I said, ‘Challenge (expletive) accepted,” Yang said.

Yang believes New Hampshire voters can create that wave.

“Most of the country, they look up and say, ‘My vote doesn’t matter. We have these giant government pipes that are clogged with money,’ and they’ve given up hope. And you know what? They are largely correct. Most of their votes don’t matter. But that’s why I love coming here, because here, your votes can flush the pipes out,” Yang said.

Yang sees his campaign as “not something that is left or right. It’s forward.”

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.