The accepted term for this idea is “helicopter money,” a term coined by Milton Friedman, an economist who, like Dick Nixon, is generally beloved by conservatives but who had some kinda wild ideas if you dig down a little. For Friedman, dropping free money out of a helicopter in an effort to create the optimum supply of money was a thought experiment. But now, in the real world where we live, after many years of “quantitative easing” have failed to produce the high-functioning global economy that you, the consumer, demand, the idea of helicopter money—which could also have the salutary effect of reducing economic inequality—is beginning to be discussed as a real possibility, by people who wear nice suits.
Let us track the steady creep of helicopter money’s increasing mainstream respectability, just this week:
ITEM: A Governing Council member of the European Central Bank gives an interview in which he “warned against starting a discussion” of helicopter money. This interview succeeded in fueling the discussion.
ITEM: Mainstreamest of the mainstream Wall Street Journal economics columnist Greg Ip also writes a column on the topic today, in which he writes that helicopter money is “actually not that exotic or, for the U.S., unprecedented. It’s a logical option for any country struggling with deflation and slow growth.”
Dude if this shit happens... it’s gonna be awesome.