EZ: Craig: To make sure we have the same view of the economy, here’s my view:
GDP is the measure of our productive economy. GDP is the sum of household, business and government spending (and likewise the income of those sectors equals that spending, because all spending is someone else’s income). Our economy depends on household spending (2/3 of GDP). That spending is limited by household income (which comes only from those three sectors). Business provides that income to the extent demand (business opportunity) exists, and government provides the rest (by way of bookkeeping entries to household bank accounts). All that’s important to the economy is maintaining this flow, and with a fiat currency (whose value, by definition, depends only on currency-users perception), there are no limits other than that perception.
The household spending portion of GDP is the FINAL sale of products & services. I’m assuming that is specifically what you’re proposing to discount & that the reimbursement will occur by crediting the vendors’ bank account upon receipt of their submission of their sales report. (The report format & timing requirements would need to be revised & the reporting fully automated (ie, paper eliminated) for the benefit of both vendors & BEA. Full automation would be especially important to ease the burden on small retailers, landlords & service providers, especially those in the household construction and maintenance sectors.)
GDP would dramatically increase, but not necessarily double (with a 50% discount), the PCE/GDP ratio would significantly increase (which I’d deem a significant improvement in manageability of the economy) & I’d expect to see a significant reduction in payday loans & some increase in personal savings. If staple goods/services constitute the major portion of GDP, inflation should not be a problem, due to competition.
The advantage over a UBI would be that the government spending flows directly into household spending (rather than some of it going into savings & investment). I expect that vendor resista/nce would be the most difficult part of selling the program, which could be overcome with a well-designed reporting/reimbursement system (mobile reporting, instant reimbursement). Political resistance could be minimized by starting with a small discount, increasing as the program proves itself. All in all, seems like a reasonable proposal.
Me: That appears to be good detail to me. I would say however that integrating the discount/rebate monetary policy with both a universal dividend and a job guarantee is perfectly doable because of the finality of it being implemented at the terminal ending point at retail sale, and because of how those policies would enable us to completely step out of the current paradigm and implement fully direct personal and fiscal distributism. Taxation is a legitimate sovereign power and right to discourage economic vices and encourage economic virtues, but re-distributive taxation is old paradigm and unnecessary when direct fiscal distributism is made possible by the 50% Discount/Rebate policy. I see no reason to keep any unnecessary foot in the old paradigm.