Where temporary government debit cards have worked before

Via Dan Newman, who proposed to put your tax rebate on a debit card that had to be spent. A currency version existed even before debit cards.

Called “stamp scrip,” they were so effective in southern Germany in 1931 that leading American economist Irving Fisher advocated their use worldwide. Since the slump of 2003, Bavaria has again printed notes that must be spent quickly to avoid a fee for renewing their expiration stamp.

As for the idea of a government gift card, Taiwan began a similar plan in January. The Taiwanese have until September to spend a government-issued voucher for $108. In terms of gross domestic product per person, that would be roughly $4,000 per person in America. The program began without significant logistical hurdles, and China’s Ministry of Commerce is expected to propose similar voucher programs in several areas.

One Response to “Where temporary government debit cards have worked before”

  1. caugust Says:

    I can’t believe one would use pre-Nazi Germany as an example of good fiscal policy. Do you recall the hyperinflation that swamped that country, with people wheeling around carts of worthless bills just to buy basic necessities, and that ultimately set the stage for the National Socialist takeover?

    The idea that consumption — spending — is what drives the economy, rather than production, is a Keynesian approach that has been disproved time and time again. As Jean-Baptiste Say exhorted “Produce, produce, that is the whole thing!” It is production that drives the economy, and putting money in a bank drives production. How? Because it is lent out and used for other productive purposes.

    The thought that forcing people to spend spend spend their tax refunds is economically misguided. Not to mention a violation of their individual rights.

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