Progressives on Saturday welcomed news that Rep. Rashida Tlaib is calling on the U.S. Treasury to exercise its power to issue platinum coins to fund the coronavirus recovery, calling the move an example of thinking outside the box and celebrating the universality of her proposal to give everyone in America cash payments.
"I fully support the House Financial Services Committee Democrats #COVID19 economic response proposal," the Michigan Democrat tweeted Saturday. "I also want to encourage leadership to consider my truly universal relief proposal on behalf of #13thDistrictStrong."
This includes the Treasury using its legal authority to create a new mint program to fund:
Direct payments via preloaded $2,000 cash cards to everyone.
Recharging with $1,000/month until a year after the economy recovers.
Read all about it here: https://t.co/JJI0z2bNFy
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) March 21, 2020
"This is a really ambitious and creative plan from Rep. Tlaib taking advantage of ideas that financial experts began exploring during the debt crisis showdowns of the Obama years," tweeted HuffPost reporter Zach Carter.
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) March 21, 2020
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The "Automatic BOOST to Communities Act" (pdf) would deliver a $2,000 pre-paid debit card to every American, with $1,000 being paid monthly after that until a year after the coronavirus crisis ends. Tlaib proposes to pay for the cost of the program by calling on the Treasury to use its authority under federal law to issue two trillion dollar platinum coins. The move would not add to the debt.
"Tlaib wants to take advantage of an obscure Treasury authority to issue new currency through minting platinum coins, and then give that currency to people," said Carter. "No new debt, no weird Federal Reserve programs, just cash straight to folks."
The bill also uses a broad definition of "every person," including non-citizens, children and other dependents, those in territories and protectorates, and those without bank accounts.
Under the bill, "an emergency corps will conduct a targeted outreach program to at-risk populations (homeless, elderly, etc) to ensure they receive cards, and at the same time perform a wellness check to assess whether they need additional assistance," said Modern Money Network president Rohan Grey, who helped write the bill.
"It's been a thrill to work on this proposal, but it is important to note that while emergency cash relief is critical, it is not sufficient on its own," Grey added. "We need far-reaching debt and expense relief, additional income and benefit protection and expansion, including direct payroll support, repurposing and public ownership of key industry, and direct worker support through a job guarantee that supports emergency and solidarity work, remote work, and begins planning for what the post-crisis recovery looks like."