Andrew Yang’s $1000 a month UBI is a very good idea.

What I’m of course, not thrilled about is the inevitable epically effluvial chants of “BUT INFLATION” that are sure to result from such a proposal. (These chants are why I often tell students that one or two semesters of College-level Economics is usually worse than none.)

The short version of why inflation is likely not a concern: At the risk of going all American Exceptionalist; we are presently a nation of hustlers, for better or (probably) worse. I recall Trevor Noah, deeply interesting and useful outsider, remarking on the quintessentially American way we greet one another — “What are you working on?” Because, you know, you always have to be working on something. Better make something up if you don’t have an answer at the ready.

This follows. Despite what you may hear from welfare naysayers and other incorrect people, there is very little on this side of the pond that closely resembles persistent reliance and trust that the state will take care of you.

Bills will get paid. Debts will get settled. More bills will get paid. Brilliant business plans will get planned and put into action. Awful and stupid business plans will also get planned and put into action, and even those will contribute to the economy through b2b investment (and perhaps negative learning as well.)

Regardless, those extra dollars are going to bounce around and serve regular folks far better than the stagnant chunks of wealth hoarded by the 1%, in fact, this precisely makes those chunks less valuable, which they ought to.

So yes, bring on the Free Money. It’s not magic, but it’s better than what we’ve got.

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  1. Hi John, the problem is, that those 1% are not hoarding money. They are hoarding assets like real-estate properties or shares of companies. If you start printing money like crazy, you effectively take it away from the working class, who are the only ones who really rely on money as a way of storing value. The resulting inflation, in addition to people trying to escape from the inflation, would further greatly increase the value of the assets that the top 1% are already holding, making them even richer. That’s basically already happening now, through the extremely low interest rates, but it would become even worse.