Sen. Josh Hawley slammed New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s signature 2020 presidential campaign promise of giving every U.S. resident $1,000 a month.
The Missouri Republican referred to the proposal in his new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, as a means to make people beholden to Silicon Valley, calling it “the ultimate corporate liberal proposal.”
Hawley claimed the gains of a universal basic income credit would be offset by the more permanent damage of job loss in industries dominated by the middle class.
“By 2020, a few tech denizens were beginning to feel a certain unease, even a sense of responsibility regarding this state of affairs,” Hawley wrote. “But their solution, memorialized in the presidential campaign of tech guru Andrew Yang, was not to question corporate liberal globalism or the basic business model of Big Tech, not to recover the independence of working Americans, but to pay those unfortunate workers to be obsolete.”
The senator described the concept of UBI as a type of income for those “whom the globalized economy had left out” that would make them dependent on Big Tech companies for help.
But one of Hawley’s latest bills proposed a similar program that would give some married parents $1,000 checks every month via the creation of a “Parent Tax Credit.”
“Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences,” Hawley said of his bill. “American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.”
The tax credit, which aims to help working parents start a family and raise children, could offer up to $12,000 per year to married couples with children under the age of 13.
The proposal from Yang as a presidential candidate would have gone further, giving U.S. citizens over the age of 18 $1,000 every month for life.
As a leading mayoral candidate in New York City, Yang pitched a similar proposal to low-income residents, offering a $2,000 annual payment to about 500,000 residents in the city. The proposal would cost about $1 billion a year.
“I’m identified with universal basic income for a reason,” Yang said, according to the New York Times. “I think it’s the most direct and effective thing we could do to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans who are struggling right now, and anything I do in public life will be advancing the goal of eradicating poverty in our society.”
Bipartisan support for government assistance, whether in the form of tax credits or UBIs, has gained traction since the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy. Hawley also championed a push with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to give people $1,200 checks in the second round of COVID-19 aid and later called for $2,000 checks for anyone making under $75,000 per year.
The senator’s book, which hits shelves on Tuesday, chronicles the rise of Silicon Valley, highlighting what he deems are tech companies’ biggest threats to civil liberties, free speech, and the middle-class economy.
The book was initially slated to be published by Simon & Schuster, but the publishing house dropped Hawley as a client after he objected to certifying the Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden on Jan. 6, a day that ended in a riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The book instead was picked up by Regnery, a conservative publishing house that has also released books by Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Ken Buck, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.