Don’t Blame Stimulus Checks For Inflation: Andrew Yang

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Fourth federal stimulus checks don’t appear to be coming, and they are unlikely to come either. Many believe the primary reason for no stimulus checks is their role in pushing inflation up. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, however, doesn’t believe one can blame stimulus checks for inflation. In fact, Yang still favors a universal basic income, or UBI programs.

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Don’t Blame Stimulus Checks For Inflation: Yang Says

Yang, who has long been in favor of a universal basic income (UBI), recently said that coronavirus stimulus checks are not to be blamed for the recent surge in inflation. He noted that coronavirus stimulus checks were “maybe 17%” of the money issued under the CARES Act, the first stimulus package approved by Congress amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Where did the other 83% of the money go? It went to institutions. It went to pipes,” Yang told CNBC recently on the sidelines of the Bitcoin Miami conference. “Money in people’s hands for a couple of months last year — in my mind — was a very, very minor factor, in that most of that money has long since been spent and yet you see inflation continue to rise.”

Yang has long argued that staples such as education, health care and housing contribute largely to inflation. Talking about the recent surge in inflation, Yang said the lack of availability of goods is driving up the demand, and in turn, inflation.

Like many others, Yang also believes Bitcoin could prove a hedge against inflation.

“People know if you just have a bank account full of money, unfortunately, that’s losing value right now, unless you’re getting paid above the rate of inflation, which is, what 7%, nowadays,” Yang said.

Bitcoin Can Help With Universal Basic Income Programs

The former presidential candidate still favors sending regular stimulus checks to support workers from disruption due to the pandemic. Yang wants to send guaranteed monthly payments to all citizens aged 18 to 64.

Yang does not just believe that cryptocurrencies could prove a good hedge against inflation but could also help in rolling out the universal basic income programs.

“The intersection is very significant, because if you’re trying to get buying power in people’s hands, one tool to do so is the U.S. dollar, and I ran for president on making that case, but there’s no reason why it necessarily needs to be in U.S. dollars as opposed to bitcoin, or some other asset class or currency,” he said.

Yang suggests using a similar model that Beijing is considering doing with the digital yuan, such as adding expiration dates and other spending rules.

Mark Cuban made a similar suggestion during the coronavirus pandemic. Cuban suggested sending cash cards with an expiry of two weeks to residents, who can use it only at locally owned small businesses. The primary objective of such cash cards would be to boost the local economy.