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Jan 14 2021

Andrew Yang announces $1bn universal basic income & ‘TikTok hype houses’ in his bid to become NYC mayor

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has officially launched his campaign to become New York City’s mayor, with a flashy video and some very bold promises.

“Seeing my city the way it is now breaks my heart,” Yang says in his first campaign video, which was directed by acclaimed ‘Requiem for a Dream’ filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

The tech entrepreneur is one of dozens who have filed paperwork to run for office in an attempt to replace current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will be term-limited out of office.

Among Yang’s promises is a scaled-back universal basic income program, something that gained him attention while he was vying for the presidential nomination from the Democrat Party in the 2020 election. 

The Democrat’s plan for New York would give some $2,000 to each of half a million New Yorkers who are identified as being in the greatest need, and the money would be administered through the city’s Human Resources Department. It would cost an estimated $1 billion. 

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While running for president, Yang promised a universal basic income program that would have provided direct monthly payments to Americans, but his mayoral plan targets only 500,000 of the neediest residents living in New York City, which has a population of 8.5 million.

It’s unclear how he’ll pay for the program, but his campaign says he plans on pulling funds from “public and philanthropic organizations.”

Among his other attention-grabbing plans are “TikTok Hype Houses,” a term that has mostly led to confusion on social media

“Our administration would work to attract young content collectives, such as TikTok Hype Houses, where young artists collaborate,” his campaign website states.

Yang is a longtime resident of New York City, but he was met with criticism when it was revealed recently that he fled the city at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused numerous businesses to shut down due to government restrictions in place. 

Yang explained his decision by saying it was simply too difficult to live in his two-bedroom Manhattan apartment with his children, one of whom has autism, virtual learning.

“We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?” he told the New York Times.

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