Print more money and give it to the poor?
Reading the article linked to above reminded me of something my kids keep saying – in order to help poor people, why doesn’t the government print more money and give it to the poor? As an adult, it’s easy to laugh at this naivety, but why not? After all, the government does print more money (so-called quantitative easing), and the stated aim of printing this money is for it to reach the economy to stimulate growth. So why not cut out the middleman (the banks) and put it straight into the pockets of people who will spend it. That way it goes straight into the economy. Suddenly, the idea seems not naïve but genius!
I can already here the arguments against taking this seriously, not least worry about what people might spend the money on if left to think for themselves (heaven forbid citizens of this country being allowed to think for themselves!). But for the economic argument to work, it really doesn’t matter what it gets spent on as long as it gets spent (I think an economic case could be made either way for spending on criminal activity). No, the real argument is revealed at the end of the article. A quick look at government policy affecting the poor reveals the contempt in which they are held. And that’s why this genius idea will remain for ever only a child’s simple way of looking at the world.