Biden challenger Dean Phillips backs reparations, universal basic…

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips broke with President Biden’s views on reparations and universal basic income in an exclusive interview with The Post, revealing new details about his campaign platform.

Phillips (D-Minn.) has gradually been rolling out his policy proposals since launching his campaign in late October, with his website promising more will be coming “as he listens to people across America.”

Headlines about the 54-year-old have been dominated by Phillips’ insistence on making the incumbent’s age and low polling numbers a focus of his campaign.

But in a half-hour conversation with The Post at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters, Phillips confirmed he would embrace paying reparations to African-Americans for slavery and experiment with universal basic income — both proposals associated with the left wing of the Democratic Party.

He also elaborated on his plans to secure the border and criticized some Americans for being “ignorant” about Israel.


Phillips said he believes in reparations, which to him means that all disadvantaged communities should receive investment from the government to raise their standard of living.

“I believe that reparations have to start with acknowledging the injustice that was done to black Americans,” he began.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN) speaks during a campaign stop at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, New Hampshire. REUTERS

“To me, the answer is to invest in every community that is underrepresented, disenfranchised, has been segregated or has been subject to horrors.”

“That means outstanding education for everybody, that means outstanding healthcare for everyone. That means childcare and pre-K education, it also means housing for everybody. That’s to me the best way we can make reparations, is to do so by raising the foundations for everybody. That certainly includes black Americans because the injustice is horrifying.”

Federal cannabis legalization and criminal justice reform are also forms of “reparations,” argued Phillips, who joins independent presidential candidates Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in supporting the sweeping actions.

Biden has largely been silent on reparations, to the dismay of some liberal Democrats.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton, center rear, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie, 2nd from right, Majority Leader of the New York State Senate Andrea Stewart-Cousins, 2nd from left, and others as she signed a slavery reparations bill at the New York Historical Society on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 in New York, N.Y. James Keivom

Universal basic income

Phillips also said he would be open to experimenting with universal basic income due to the onset of artificial intelligence.

“I do believe a UBI pilot should be initiated,” he told The Post. “There have been some. I think it’s time to do more, because we are going to lose millions of jobs to artificial intelligence, and right now we do not have any plan to address it.”

The Minnesota lawmaker added that he thought initial dry runs of UBI programs “have been really promising.”

“If you entrust people with resources, they usually figure out how to care care of themselves,” he said. “But if they don’t have any resources, they have to rely on the public system or the private sector.”

Harris County, Texas recently announced it would be giving a monthly payment of $500 to each resident for up to 18 months. The cash will be drawn from unused COVID-19 relief funds.

“I think it’s worthy of exploring. But that doesn’t mean that just money alone fixes it. We need to raise the entire foundation of support, along with ensuring that people have a little money in their pockets,” Phillips added.

Securing the border

Phillips has championed securing the southern border since he launched his campaign, telling The Post he would also be open to using “barriers” where necessary and also promising to reinforce the northern border with Canada, which has seen an uptick in migrant crossings.

Thousands of migrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol at a make-shift transit center after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas on December 20, 2023 Go Nakamura for NY Post

“The wall is a metaphor for security,” he said. “I believe in border security. That means barriers in some places, that means technologies, that means human resources and it means comprehensibly reimagined ports of entry.

“It is a national security crisis. And it’s not just the southern border. We do not have a northern border. We have farm fields where they can walk right across.”

While a record number of illegal border crossings have been recorded during the Biden administration, Phillips said the crisis is the fault of both parties.

“I don’t know why just about every president in my lifetime has failed to secure our borders,” he said. “I don’t understand. And this notion that ‘Canada is our friend?’ Well there’s going to be a crisis, I guarantee you. Whether it’s through another pandemic, or through a lack of access to water, or famine, or war, there’s going to be a crisis at some point where our borders are going to be much much more important that we realize.”

Medicare for all

Medicare for All, prominently championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a policy that has been “proposed for generations” and the US “is an outlier amongst all developed nations” in that it allows citizens to go without any coverage, Phillips argued.

Dean Phillips speaks at his Manchester, New Hampshire office opening. Dean Phillips for President

“I’m going to present this as not a progressive notion, it’s actually a remarkably centrist and moderate notion, that everybody should have insurance,” he said. “The government should not be engaged in the care, in the provision, in the hospitals — not at all. It’s just that there should be single-payer covering the costs, and if we did that, we would spend a lot less money.”

Phillips acknowledged the policy would lead to a rise in federal taxes, but would lower costs for Americans overall.

“In some cases, taxes would have to go up a little bit, but in most cases they would go down for people because the money is already being collected. It’s just not taxes,” he said. “I think we’re being taxed whenever we pay our health insurance premium. That’s a tax. So it depends — if you’re talking about a federal tax versus the tax of healthcare right now, well, the healthcare tax is probably twice as high as it needs to be.

“So ultimately, will the dollars have to go to the government to pay the bills? Yes. But it’s going to reduce by — I would argue we could get to a point where it might reduce by at least a third, if not half, of our total expenditures.”

The Middle East

Phillips, who is Jewish, endorsed a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians following the Jewish state’s current war against Hamas.

Mass pro-Palestinian protests broke out across the US after the terror group launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel Oct. 7, killing approximately 1,200 people — including 33 Americans.

“I think two things can be true at once. Israel has a right to exist, and needs to, and America should support it. And I believe Palestinians have a right to exist and deserve self-determination and also safety, security and opportunity,” Phillips said.

Turning to the wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling across the US, Phillips said that “many Americans are ignorant as to history.”

Phillips endorses a two-state solution to the Israeli conflict. REUTERS

“Many Americans are ignorant to the fact that there are 200 or so Christian-majority nations in the world, 140 Muslim-majority nations or so, and only one Jewish-majority nation in the world. That alone is rationale for understanding and support.

“Do I believe that the [Benjamin] Netanyahu government is responsible for some of Israel’s problems right now? Absolutely,” he added. “I think the settlement policy, I think the judicial reform initiative and others have made the preservation of Israel more complicated. I think Hamas has to be eliminated.”

Phillips has focused his campaign on New Hampshire, where Biden is not on the ballot following a primary scheduling dispute between Granite State officials and the Democratic National Committee.

He has said Biden’s age is “dangerous” for the US and is fighting to gain ballot access in states choosing not to hold Democratic primaries due to already having an incumbent in office.

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