income inequality

Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People

 

Notes from the article: Print Less but Transfer More Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People  By Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan

Problems:

us-dollar-benjamin-bandage

 

Insufficient spending keeps the economy in stagnation

Starved up Economy: Lower Income Economies Save up as security and so spend far less than they could actually spend in development/ infrastructure – this leads to stagnation and austerity measures.

Retirement Fears: Middle-aged adults save up more and spend less in goods and services.

New printed money: Not the solution because inequality grows because it is not distributed from the bottom up.

Fiscal Policies have lowered taxes and improved government spending – this hasn’t worked as an effective incentive

Monetary Policies: the recipe that created the crisis in 2008 was the lowering of interest and the increase of money supply. This is now known as Greenspan’s recipe for disaster.

Tax rebates and stimulus packages don’t create sustainable solutions.

– There is no real consensus on how to best use taxes or spending efficiently to stimulate the economy.

 

QE Bernanke Quantitative Easing Recipe for disaster

Quantitative Easing (QE) by Bernanke: the formula of printing loads of money by purchasing billions of dollars worth of mortgage backed by securities and government bonds has been an attempt to boost stock and bond prices, only leading to furthering the bubble on to QE 1, QE 2… 3? to no avail

Since the end of the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the US Federal Reserve has been, essentially, printing money to boost the US economy.The programme, known as “quantitative easing” (QE), is about to come to an end in October.

Source: BBC News – Has quantitative easing helped the US economy? http://bbc.in/1r1kXrq

– European Central Bank (ECB) attempted to make interest rates negative to increase consumer spending

Did Consumer Spending increase? No

  • – Housing markets have overheated
  • – People do not borrow money because debt is too high

Expanding balance sheets through Q.E. is similar to inflating a hot air balloon, it will invariably fall back to the ground.

Fear of Spending: People hesitate to spend their money – this fear of spending causes instability and prolonged stagnation leading to

  • – High unemployment
  • – Low wage growth

 

Tax on the wealthy? It’s not a popular measure as this discourages private investment and further stagnates the economy. This shouldn’t be a punishment to anyone

What do we know thus far? All of these methods are not working!

Then… Why hasn’t the government provided Cash Transfers yet?

Governments Must Do Better!

 

 

 

Solutions

Governments Should Boost the Bottom/Low Income Households

– Central Banks – such as the Federal Reserve – Should Hand Consumers Cash Directly into Millions of Individual accounts.

  • – No more asset purchasing
  • -No more interest rate shifts/changes

– Cash Transfers stand a better chance than interest rate shifts or Quantitative Easing Policies.

How?

– Giving Tax paying households a certain amount of money

– The Government could distribute cash to all equally OR

– Give money to the bottom 80% low income households

The point is to: SUPPORT those that have The Least

Lower Income Households are more prone to consume, therefore handing them money means: they would boost the spending immediately

Central Banks wouldn’t need to print more money as they are now doing with Quantitative Easing.

 

Question: Would this offset “Income Inequality”?

No if a policy of implementing higher wages for people active in labor market is implemented along with the provision of Cash Transfers or a Living Income such as what we propose in the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Most economists agree that Cash Transfers from a Central Bank would stimulate Demand.

This is the First Significant Innovation on Monetary Policy since the Invention of Central Banking!

Cash Transfers become Monetary Policy as soon as the Banks begin using them.

– Payments should be exempt from taxes

– What about the inflation excuse? No problem, transfers can be a flexible tool and so inflation can be managed.

 

What about the Wealthy? They can provide higher wages to boost the bottom and so benefit themselves by expanding consumer base.

– Bank of England, European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve have 20% excess assets = this means that they could Invest Back on the Citizens

 

How will this money be used?

Each country and its government can decide to place certain conditions on how this money is spent. For instance

  • – To save money: retaining funds as savings for the future
  • – To finance their education
  • – To pay-off debts
  • – To Start a Business
  • -To invest in a home, car, etc.

This will lower income inequality as well as promote a culture of investing and spending in a Smart manner.

 

The ultimate question is: Why this measure hadn’t been implemented before?

This has to do with Central Banks: Central Banks were not designed to Manage spending. Their functions were

  • – To issue currency
  • – To provide liquidity to the Government Bond Market
  • – To Mitigate Banking Policies
  • – Q.E. which is a variant of Bond Buying function which has achieved little effect on economic growth, because the bottom was not supported.

Money printing

Here is to realize that Printing Money is Not the issue – as it is already what is been done with Q.E. However, the Federal Reserve Bank is extremely resistant to legislative changes, because it will affect its current monetary policy as no more bank-bailouts would be able to take place. This we all know was a grave mistake and now the actual bailout must be handed to the majority, which is subsumed in poverty.

How money is created is another discussion of itself that will take further steps to give a real value back on money –  however these are first steps toward a supportive policy that benefits the majority

There is NO Reason for Governments to Not try Cash Transfers out!

 

Rewards:

Cash Transfers as an initial version of the provision of a Living Income would generate the following positive changes in the economy:

– They would increase spending, which is what has been sought all along as solution to revive the economy

– No need to spend more in infrastructure or government spending

– No need to do immediate changes in the taxation code

– No more poor payoffs

– No more poverty, no more homelessness

– Better living standards = less criminality

– No more perverse consequences benefiting a few at the top and leaving the bottom with no solution

– Inequality is addressed without skinning the rich, eventually everyone benefits from this = it is a win-win solution

– It’s time to Innovate: we cannot continue following policies from a century ago.

We require the Courage, the Intelligence and Leadership to try something New. We fully agree, it is about time we stop living in crisis modality and start supporting win-win solutions coming from Central Banks. It IS possible, so why aren’t we doing this already?

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal for Further Innovative Solutions to make of Cash Transfers a genuine groundbreaking supportive model for the Economy

 

Watch our Living Income Google Hangout discussing this Council of Foreign Relations article and other developments toward the provision of a Living Income/ Basic Income

 

cash-transfer1

Why are higher wages a Win-Win Solution?

 

Everyone knows that having money enables us to cover our needs and live in a comfortable manner, however the less we earn, the higher prices go up, the more taxes we pay and the more wealth is accumulated in the hands of a few means that the less opportunities exist to change the way the economic model works now. But, we have to learn this has not always been ‘the way the world works.’

Let’s take the most usual example. The growing rate of income inequality in the United States of America and around the globe has its most recent roots in 1978 when the taxation to the rich was diminished and the financial industry deregulation, enabling the infamous 1% to grow richer and richer to the exorbitant data that we find today wherein 400 individuals may hold half of the wealth of the entire Nation. The problem in itself is not their wealth, but how it is used – meaning, it’s not being reinvested back into the economy in ways that it reaches the population – it mostly goes to bailouts, lobbying, political campaigns or other forms of capital investment that are not taxable. From my perspective, this ability for the corporate powers to define what the government does is what the ideal of ‘Free Market’ becomes when government does not regulate the greatest casinos on Earth – Wall Street – and exorbitant amounts of invisible money are able to be created out of thin air, out of bidding on the actual assets and work that real people do, which means that this world is in reverse: human labor – whichever form it is – has been ousted from the benefits of any form of ‘economic efficiency’ or ‘growing economy’ in GDP numbers, and instead, the middle and working class have been tied to a noose where instruments used for further polarization of society, such as inflation along with a stagnant rate of wages for over 35 years have led to the ongoing crisis since 2008 worldwide: a few people having all the money they want and the rest having less and less power of acquisition, which results in an ever straining bubble about to burst when realizing that even those with great wealth depend on those that helped create their great wealth in the first place: the middle class that is now being eradicated to become part of the poverty lines.

As Nick Hanauer nailed it: Costumers are the Real Job Creators and explains how the middle class expenditure is what has made companies like his own the extremely profitable business it is. Why? Because the more people can afford to buy, the more businesses win – therefore, the less people can afford buying products = the less profit great business owners have. It is obvious that limitations in one side of the society inevitably catch up on the wealthy rest too, if those millions do not generate economic activity.

 

The problem with wealth is that it’s not reintegrated back to society, it’s mostly spent in some other forms of investments, are equally ‘bubbly’ goods such as gold, hedge funds, art or financing government members to deregulate the markets, which only continues to widen inequality.

When looking at the problem and tracing the point back to how individuals go from middle class to poverty, one can see that there has been a problem overlooked when large corporations take the jobs of small businesses, resulting in going-out-of-business  which means jobs are lost; when technology reduces the amount of human labor required, when having no ‘good job opportunities’ forces underemployment and lower wages because we have collectively accepted that ‘it’s best to have at least a shitty job with bad wages than nothing,’ which in turn makes the idea of ‘higher education being the key to live well’ another planned obsolescence tactic to rather generate debt in college people so that their working money – if they do happen to find a good job – is able to be slashed In half to pay for an education that most likely won’t get people having the job that was expected to give three to four times more than what they earn on a yearly basis, plus paying taxes that won’t go back in social benefits. This is the current straining reality: the problem is the structure of how money is being used, but also the complacency and ignorance to accept things ‘how they are’ instead of realizing that: this is Not the way life’s meant to be, this is Not the way economies have always operated. We have reached the bottom and we can only go that far.

 

income-inequality-living income

 

What happens when wages are not good enough?

Besides growing discontent toward governments, corporations through protests and worker’s strikes, some of the immediate coping mechanisms that newly unemployed people do is saturate credit cards to pay for basic needs like food/services/transportation and education, take low-end jobs or resort to criminal activities, resulting in worse consequences at a collective level. Others went through the expectancy of ‘earning more money’ through refinancing their houses – which created the big bubble that burst in 2008 – leaving many in a declared state of poverty and bankruptcy, working two or three jobs to make ends meet – and sometimes not even that is enough. Using up savings or retirement funds for healthcare bills became a way to care for the essentials, leaving many homeless people living in tent cities while millions of houses are left empty and owned by banks that essentially propitiate debt to make profit… and we have fallen for it.

This is obviously a stressful and unacceptable situation considering that personal taxes paid to the IRS are not directly benefiting people with any form of unemployment plans – which have been recently cut for millions of Americans – as well as the 40 billion cut in food stamps over a decade – or creating of ‘new jobs’ since we know that the problem is this gaping inequality stemming from the stagnation of wealth in the hands of a few and having the rest having to cope with inflation, debt, rising health costs, topped credit cards, gigantic mortgage and college debts that seem insurmountable since wages have not gone up at all since then 1970’s.

On top of that, paying taxes without getting any support back is a slap in the face considering that:

“The US is now locked into a system whereby the government issues bonds to generate the funds for their operations, bonds that are backed up by the taxation of the public’s own labor. […] the most outrageous fact of all is that not one cent of the money collected by the income tax goes toward payment of government services. This startling admission was confirmed by the Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, better known as the Grace Commission, a Congressional investigation that was appointed by President Reagan in 1982 and concluded:

“With two thirds of everyone’s personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the federal debt and by federal government contributions to transfer payments. In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services [that] taxpayers expect from their government.”

  – James Corbett

 

End the Torment with Living Income Guaranteed

 

Solutions

The Debt hole is able to be stopped first of all by stopping the need to go into debt and because right now it might be impossible to ‘create jobs’ from out of thin air – since there’s no economic flow – a first and necessary input that generates a new flow has to be created: to provide a Living Income to people that currently are unemployed and give Higher Wages to those that do work. This is why we support the movement that is gaining momentum in the US to raise wages from the average $7.25 to 15 dollars or more, as it is well know that people that earn higher wages become loyal workers, enhance their dedication and working skills with the general incentive of gaining more money, which means a higher quality living standard, better quality products, better education as well as considering that higher power of acquisition is the best cure to an anemic economy. This will in turn not only truly generate ‘jobs’ but a better quality jobs in new ventures that will go beyond the usual retail and service industry, which currently has the most job placements and the least pay, keeping a stagnant society designed to manufacture, serve with no use of our true skills and potential that we all have as human beings.

Therefore the real capital that must be recognized is ourselves: the human capital, understanding that any speculative bubble will eventually burst as it should, since it was never real in the first place and instead, focus on supporting the ‘middle class’ with better wages, which in turn will create better job opportunities and eradicate poverty by providing a Living Income to everyone that so requires it.

This will also remove the need to create ‘extra funds’ – and their eventual cuts in the emergency of further ‘budget crisis’ – for unemployment or pension plans, since the provision of a Living Income is No Longer linked to Personal Income Tax, but through other means that we suggest are used to fund the Living Income, such as using the money that goes to military budget, foreign aid, nationalizing companies that profit from the use and sales of natural resources and value added tax, which will in turn create a system that stands by its own spending-movement profit rather than taxing the poor to siphon those funds to pay governmental debts.

 

The Living Income Guaranteed model will not only enable the provision of a basic income or living income in a sustainable manner, but it will also enable the following changes in the economy of any nation that implements it:

 

Suggested Documentaries:

 

Living Income Guaranteed - Eradicating Poverty

We know the extent of poverty in the world yet we keep pretending that our picture perfect life is all that exists – would we ignore the neglect of life if it was at our doorstep?
We can change this picture with a
Living Income Guaranteed by Equal Life Foundation
www.livingincome.me

artwork by Matti Freeman