So, I notice the government is still thinking of economic stimulus in terms of let’s keep those dollars circulating. This makes sense because if all the dollars end up in the hands of the billionares, the dollars are suddenly worth nothing at all and the rest of us will create a new currency. However, in terms of keeping us all alive and healthy during this pandemic, passing out money is not the right thing to do.
We have no idea if the USD is even going to be worth the paper it is printed on when this oil war is over, and certainly if the government keeps printing money idiot economists are going to tell us it should be worthless. (There is some level at which this is true, but we’re obviously nowhere near that level if we’re having to loan money into existence)
Anyway, the right solution is to hand out ration booklets, a la WWII. Except, no money changes hands. You’ve got coupons for N calories of food – you can choose whatever food you want, we probably would exclude luxuries like lobster which would still be paid for in USD, but for the most part anything we can cheaply and easily mass produce goes on the list of things you can buy with your coupons. You’ve got coupons for N kwh of electricity, N cubic feet of water, N gallons of gasoline. We have some sort of arrangement via which you can barter the ones you don’t need for the ones you do, and we also give out more resources to the essential workers than to the folks just staying home.
We combine this with rent and mortgage forgiveness for your primary residence, and 0% interest on all outstanding secured debt until the emergency is over.
You see what I’m doing? I’m putting us on the bucketed currency system. *This will work* much in the way that printing checks for $2000 a person per month will simply result in the price of rent becoming $2001 for each person. Essentially this recognizes that capitalism is flawed, and very poorly suited to deal with this type of situation, but we shouldn’t starve to death in the midst of plenty, so let’s temporarily use production for use instead.
Of course, the powers that be won’t do this. They’re not smart enough, or they wouldn’t want to be in charge of things. They also lack mental agility, and even if they didn’t most of our citizens lack the mental agility to consider this situation a war, and know that we need to use different approaches during wartime than we do during peacetime.