11 votes

Federal Reserve buybacks - Possible usage as UBI?

So the Federal Reserve has recently handed out billions of dollars to banks in recent months by buying back bonds. I've heard that it is now about $3 trillion in total, but I can't confirm that because I cannot figure out the federal reserve's website. It is $120 billion nightly though apparently [Source].

This is a huge sum of money to be handed out, and I don't really understand what happens with it. But my question is if it would be possible (not talking about the chances of it happening, just possibility) that the money could be applied as a UBI, since if the $3 trillion approximation for the past three months, and we assume 330 million people in the US [Source], then that means it could be given as $9090 to each American?

I'm tired btw, and this is just a random idea that popped into my head as a source for money for UBI plans, as trickle down economics clearly isn't working.

5 comments

  1. [3]
    skybrian
    Link
    UBI is about steady income, not a one-time giveaway. Andrew Yang's plan would require almost 3 trillion per year and is better thought of as a redistribution and insurance plan. (The total would...

    UBI is about steady income, not a one-time giveaway. Andrew Yang's plan would require almost 3 trillion per year and is better thought of as a redistribution and insurance plan. (The total would be smaller when you consider that part of it would be people getting back their own money that they paid in higher taxes, much like a tax refund. Everyone getting the same amount is symbolic, not the net effect.)

    However, smaller UBI's are possible and could be funded out of investments. If the US government owned a chunk of the S&P 500 and earned money out of it then this is sort of like a tax on dividends and capital gains, but has better optics.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      ubergeek
      Link Parent
      UBI could also be a near net zero on the current budget, as it could replace a large expenditure on things like TANF. Also, a large number of tax credits could then be removed.

      UBI could also be a near net zero on the current budget, as it could replace a large expenditure on things like TANF. Also, a large number of tax credits could then be removed.

      2 votes
      1. skybrian
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        There is some savings but it apparently doesn't bring the cost down that much. An unofficial but pro-Yang website has the total savings at less than $330 billion. The annual budget of TANF seems...

        There is some savings but it apparently doesn't bring the cost down that much. An unofficial but pro-Yang website has the total savings at less than $330 billion. The annual budget of TANF seems to be about $17 billion federal and $10 billion by the states.

        There is also pressure to make benefits "stack". Yang has decided to do that for social security, for instance.

        If tax credits are removed, that's a different kind of tax increase. Maybe not a bad thing, though.

        3 votes
  2. stu2b50
    Link
    That's not handing out money, that's exchanging one good for another. The net worth of those banks, as a result of that transaction--did not change at all! Say a bank had $1 billion worth of...

    So the Federal Reserve has recently handed out billions of dollars to banks in recent months by buying back bonds.

    That's not handing out money, that's exchanging one good for another. The net worth of those banks, as a result of that transaction--did not change at all!

    Say a bank had $1 billion worth of treasury bonds. Now they have $1 billion worth of dollars. Hurray.

    The point of the fed doing this is to manipulate (though that sounds nefarious; this is their job) the supply of money in the US economy. Sometimes, when the economy is slowing down, we want more liquid money in the economy (i.e buying back bonds). Sometimes, when the economy is growing too quickly, we want less liquid money in the economy to slow it down.

    And monetary policy is enacted decades in advance, hence the reason why the Fed is not an elected body. It was feared that elected positions would be swayed too much by common opinion at the time, and that as a result they would not be able to truly plan for the future, instead beholden to knee jerk reactions in the present.

    7 votes
  3. pocketry
    Link
    I may be mistaken, but I thought this wasn't a giveaway, but more like the Fed acting as another bank in this specific market. They didn't hand out anything but rather exchanged cash for bonds....

    I may be mistaken, but I thought this wasn't a giveaway, but more like the Fed acting as another bank in this specific market. They didn't hand out anything but rather exchanged cash for bonds. Usually there are other banks in this market that will buy bonds for cash, but there is something weird going on with supply and demand right now. The Fed is getting involved to ensure that the other banks in this market do not face a cash shortfall. I learned this from a few episodes of Planet Money and the Indicator podcasts from NPR.

    5 votes