After tweeting last week about an issue about which he says there are many false "preconceptions" and much "misinformation," Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang spoke with Daily Beast to explain his strong stance against circumcision. His call for action on the issue, Daily Beast's Will Sommer points out, appears to make Yang "the first presidential candidate in history to take a public position on circumcision."
In response to the entrepeneur-turned-presidential candidate tweeting that we should consider decriminalizing opiates "in order to more effectively treat more people for addiction," a follower asked him, "Do you have an opinion on routine infant circumcision?"
"Negative on it." Yang responded. Asked for clarification, Yang replied that he's "against the practice" of routine infant circumcision.
In an interview the Daily Beast published this week, Yang explained his position: If elected, he'd incorporate his anti-circumcision stance into his public policy by promoting initiatives that would inform parents that circumcision is not necessary to protect their child's health.
The idea that circumcision is a health necessity, Yang told the outlet, is "sort of pushed on parents in many situations." But after looking into the practice, Yang said he now strongly agrees with the "intactivists," those who believe we should not snip the foreskins of baby boys. "I'm highly aligned with the intactivists. History will prove them even more correct," he told Daily Beast.
"From what I’ve seen, the evidence on it being a positive health choice for the infant is quite shaky," he said, explaining that he initially considered circumcising his sons for fear that they'd end up being "self-conscious" if not, but his wife changed his mind.
He made clear that if he is elected president, he'll take his personal conviction about the issue and make it public, saying he'd promote government initatives that tell parents there are "costs and benefits" to the practice, thus promoting "more choice" for parents and attempting to "diminish the possible preconceptions or misinformation various parents are receiving." The result: a "better" society, he said. (Read Daily Beast's full report here.)
Yang addressed the issue again on Twitter on Tuesday, writing: "Just to clarify — I support the freedom of parents to adopt circumcision for any religious or cultural ritual as desired. Actually have attended a brit milah myself and felt privileged to be there. Thanks Mikael. Always up to parents."
While Yang's circumcision stance may be historical, his most talked about proposal is his radical plan to pay every American adult $1,000 a month. Here's how he pitches the universal basic income plan on his website (formatting adjusted):
Andrew would implement a Universal Basic Income, ‘The Freedom Dividend,’ of $1,000/month, $12,000 a year for every American adult over the age of 18. This is independent of one’s work status or any other factor. This would enable all Americans to pay their bills, educate themselves, start businesses, be more creative, stay healthy, relocate for work, spend time with their children, take care of loved ones, and have a real stake in the future. [...]
A Universal Basic Income at this level would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent—or about $2.5 trillion by 2025—and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 to 4.7 million people. Putting money into people’s hands and keeping it there would be a perpetual boost and support to job growth and the economy.