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Swiss May Get to Vote on a $55 Billion Helicopter Money Idea

This content was published on October 20, 2020 - 10:35

(Bloomberg) -- A group of Swiss voters wants the central bank to take a dramatic new step and issue helicopter money to people at a cost of at least 50 billion francs ($55 billion).

The measure would require the Swiss National Bank to pay out 7,500 francs tax to every citizen, according to a text published in the Federal Gazette on Tuesday.

The idea was proposed by seven private individuals, who now have 18 months to collect the requisite 100,000 signatures to kickstart the process. A national vote will still be years away, however, as both the government and parliament will need to weigh in on the matter.

With the SNB and many of its peers around the world 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.

Although the concept dates back to Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman, mainstream policy makers have typically been wary of implementing it.

The European Central Bank’s Governing Council says it has never discussed helicopter money, and SNB President Thomas Jordan has dismissed it in the past

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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