Switzerland’s $58 Billion ‘Helicopter Money’ Vote Plan Stalls
A proposal to get Switzerland’s central bank to give out 53 billion francs ($58 billion) in “helicopter money” has stalled.
The measure envisioned giving tax-free 7,500 francs to all citizens from SNB coffers but the initiative appears unlikely to get enough signatures to move it forward for a national vote.
Swiss newspaper Blick reported that only about half of the necessary 100,000 signatures had been collected with an end of April deadline looming.
“It is very difficult to collect signatures during a pandemic,” Luca Volar, a local politician in the canton of St. Gallen and one of the backers of the plan, told the newspaper. “We would have hoped for a little more support from the population.”
The initiative was launched in late 2020 when the SNB and many of its peers around the world were battling weak inflation. The notion of getting central banks to create cash out of thin air and distributing it directly to the people -- known as helicopter money -- has gained popularity in certain circles as a way of boosting the supply of money to the economy.
The phrase dates back to Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman who coined the term to illustrate the effects of monetary expansion on inflation and the costs of holding money.
Mainstream policy makers have typically been wary of implementing it. SNB President Thomas Jordan has dismissed it in the past.
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