Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is once again making universal basic income a central tenet of his political campaign – this time for the New York mayor.
"It makes us stronger, healthier, safer, more mentally healthier, and improves our relationships," said Yang of the concept of guaranteed income. "55% of Americans are now in favor of cash relief in the long run and 85% are in favor of cash relief during this pandemic."
Yang's proposed income program would give New York City residents living in extreme poverty an average of $ 2,000 a year and cost $ 1 billion a year, according to his campaign website.
The mayoral candidate told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" Monday night that he would be reaching out to landlords in New York City like Madison Square Garden to pay part of the bill.
"MSG's tax break alone is $ 40 million a year," said Yang. "If you look at this money and get it back in the hands of the city and invest some amount of the city's resources, we can alleviate extreme poverty here in New York City."
Yang also commented on the dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the US, calling it "a devastating time for the Asian-American community".
According to the Center for Hate and Extremism Studies, reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the US in 2020 increased 149% year over year. New York City saw anti-Asian hate crimes rise 833%, according to police data.
"We need to label these incidents as hate crimes and develop links with the Asian-American community, as unfortunately many of these incidents are still not reported," said Yang. "Many Asian Americans don't have that kind of relationship with law enforcement and city officials, and I want to change that."