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NH family tests Yang's ‘Freedom Dividend’

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 9, 2020 - Duration: 02:36s

NH family tests Yang's ‘Freedom Dividend’

A New Hampshire family puts Democratic candidate Andrew Yang's ‘Freedom Dividend’ to the test ahead of the state's upcoming primary, and these were the results.

Gavino Garay has more.

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NH family tests Yang's ‘Freedom Dividend’

The Fassi family of Goffstown, New Hampshire is a test case for what Democratic presidential candidate and businessman Andrew Yang's so-called 'Freedom Dividend', looks like in practice.

The Fassis were one of 10 families in the United States to receive $1,000 dollars a month for a year, which ended in December 2019.

Chuck and Jodie were nominated by their daughter, Janelle, who's in college.

Jodie couldn't believe it when she found out they were selected.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JODIE FASSI, RECIPIENT OF "FREEDOM DIVIDEND", SAYING: "I mean, who wouldn't want free money?

... I was smiling from ear to ear." The money isn't exactly free.

The universal basic income or UBI model, would be funded by a so-called 'Value Added Tax' on Americans.

The proposal has been controversial among Yang's opponents, who've blasted it as impractical.

This is how the money was spent by the Fassis.

Not long before Andrew Yang himself interviewed the family in January of last year, Chuck lost his job and went from making $80,000, to next to nothing, aside from collecting disability income.

Under so much stress, Chuck went to the hospital for a week for mental health reasons.

He had his wife Jodie, who works as a cleaner, sign a document that said she'd be in charge of finances.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JODIE FASSI, RECIPIENT OF "FREEDOM DIVIDEND", SAYING: "I had the house on the market.

He had a convertible-Camaro; I had it sold.

I just went into survival mode." The Fassis say they were able to stay afloat with that extra cash.

Even though Chuck did land a new job, with a pay cut, an extra $12,000 in the bank meant they wouldn't need to dip into their savings to pay for their daughter's college expenses, which is where nearly $10,000 of that money went.

Where did the rest of the money go?

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHUCK FASSI, RECIPIENT OF "FREEDOM DIVIDEND", SAYING: "In a way we were able to, you know, have some more disposable income to do things, you know, and improv class was definitely one of them." Some psychologists say improv can help treat anxiety.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JODIE FASSI, RECIPIENT OF "FREEDOM DIVIDEND", SAYING: "It helped us pay for our car or that night out that we typically probably would have stayed in because we didn't have the extra money - we went out.

So, it definitely put money into the economy." The Fassis will vote for Yang in the state's Tuesday primary, not because of the money, but because they're thoroughly convinced of UBI's potential... though Yang will face strong competition from his opponents, who performed well ahead of the entrepeneur in Iowa.

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