The War on Normal People
The War on Normal People The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future By Yang, Andrew Book - 2018

Listen, I don't know if Andrew Yang will be president or not. My gut says no, but I'm currently sitting here in a shirt that says "Vote Yang" on the front. Take that for what you will.

Overall, this book is a combination of Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford and Raising the Floor by Andy Stern. In the acknowledgements of this book, Yang even mentions those two books specifically as inspiration. In general, I would say Yang's book is lesser than those two. He's a fine writer, and I admire his ideas, but the influence of those books is so very obvious as to be distracting at times. Yang's book is neither as chilling a look at automation as Ford's, nor as deep a dive into the logistics of Universal Basic Income as Stern's. In many ways it is a primer on the subjects, written for those who have never before encountered the concepts. But those other books are more definitive volumes on their individual topics than Yang's is on either.

That said, where Yang's book shines is when he has definitive data to work with and crunch. He does a great job of making numbers make sense. I do wish he had spent more time in this book on how he aims to pay for the "Freedom Dividend" (his rebranding of Universal Basic Income), but que sera, sera. He's also remarkably funny despite his doomsaying, which helps to make the book more accessible. In one portion of the book, he is vicious with Ivy League universities and how they make money and manipulate their books, students, the government, and public perceptions of education. Harvard, according to Yang, has become little more than a means to be able to say that a lawyer "used to play cello."

I'm sold on UBI as a concept, however, and feel certain it will need to happen if our economy is to continue functioning without major disruption. I also hope Yang is the person to institute it because I find him a compelling and likable character. But should he not become president, which, as I said early on, I have my doubts about, I hope he will continue fighting for these policies. He has done more for UBI than anyone else and the war on normal people is a war worth fighting.

And if you don't believe there is a war being waged on normal people, or don't believe it is in Arkansas, do a quick Google search on "Arkansas plants closing." Here's a shortlist: Columbia Forest Products, Flexsteel, Kimberly-Clark, Ball Metalpack, Georgia-Pacific, ABB Gearmotor. That accounts for approximately 1,301 Arkansas jobs vanishing in the next two years.

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