Mike Shedlock

People constantly ask me what it would take for me to abandon my stance that "hyperinflation is not going to happen in the US".

My answer has always been "free money" (not credit), on a big enough scale. Note that QE causes huge economic distortions but it is not "free money".

Free Money Proposal

In Switzerland, enough signatures have been gathered to put a "free money" proposal on the ballot. To collect, all you have to do is breathe. Rich and poor alike would get the money.

New York Times economic-writer Annie Lowrie discusses the idea in Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached.

Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear.

The proposal is, in part, the brainchild of a German-born artist named Enno Schmidt, a leader in the basic-income movement. When we spoke, Schmidt repeatedly described the policy as “stimmig.” Like many German words, it has no English equivalent, but it means something like “coherent and harmonious,” with a dash of “beauty” thrown in. It is an idea whose time has come, he was saying.

Go to a cocktail party in Berlin, and there is always someone spouting off about the benefits of a basic income, just as you might hear someone talking up Robin Hood taxes in New York or single-payer health care in Washington. And it’s not only in vogue in wealthy Switzerland. Beleaguered and debt-wracked Cyprus is weighing the implementation of basic incomes, too. They even are whispered about in the United States, where certain wonks on the libertarian right and liberal left have come to a strange convergence around the idea — some prefer an unconditional “basic” income that would go out to everyone, no strings attached; others a means-tested “minimum” income to supplement the earnings of the poor up to a given level.

Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for Sitka Pacific Capital Management.
TOWNHALL FINANCE DAILY

Get the best of Townhall Finance Daily delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Townhall Finance!