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Anthony Fauci: From AIDS To COVID-19, A Pharma Love Story

Anthony Fauci: From AIDS To COVID-19, A Pharma Love Story

Opinion authored by Lorenzo Puertas via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

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Anthony Fauci: From AIDS To COVID-19, A Pharma Love Story

Opinion authored by Lorenzo Puertas via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

After forty-eight years of leading the U.S. government’s responses to infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. His story warrants a closer look for what it tells us about American politics, business, and health care.

For decades before his recent fame, Fauci has been a medical researcher credited with important new understandings of the human immune response, particularly in HIV and AIDS. He also helped develop therapies for several previously fatal diseases, including a treatment of vasculitis which turned a 98 percent mortality rate into a 93 percent survival rate.

For most of his career, he has been the world’s most-cited researcher on AIDS and infectious diseases. He has received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Ironically, Fauci has also presided over a decades-long decline in the overall health of American citizens. During his time in public health, a great number of chronic illnesses have become commonplace. Food allergies, autoimmune diseases, and cancer now affect more than half of American children. Autism, once rare, now affects 1 in 44 children.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2022. (Shawn Thew/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

A Lifetime in Public Health

Anthony Fauci was born in Brooklyn in 1940, the son of a pharmacist. Pharmacy was the family business, and both his mother and sister worked in his father’s shop beneath their apartment. As a young man, Fauci studied medicine at Cornell University, graduating first in his class. After his residency in 1966, he took a research job at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he has worked for the U.S. government ever since.

In his five decades in public health, Fauci has advised every President since Ronald Reagan. Since 1984 he has been the head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID), one of 27 institutes within the NIH, given the mission of researching and preventing infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.

For many Americans, Fauci has been the trusted face of the U.S. government response to the pandemic. It was his confident explanations, both to the public and to policymakers, which led to the use of lockdowns, business closures, masking, and vaccines as the response to the virus.

His many critics see a different Anthony Fauci—a bureaucrat who seems to have made a career of putting politics and corporate profits above public health.

“Dr. Fauci has shaped the American medical world,” said Mary Holland, President of Children’s Health Defense, in an interview with The Epoch Times. “He’s moved American health institutions, NIH in particular, to a very intertwined relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.”

Holland’s nonprofit organization, chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has been a prominent critic of Dr. Fauci’s policies—particularly the mass vaccination of American citizens.

Censorship and Control

Dr. Fauci and his NIAID have played a very dark role in COVID,” Holland said. “The level of propaganda we have lived through in the last two years is unprecedented in my lifetime. I lived in the Soviet Union after law school, fighting for human rights and working against government propaganda and censorship. And now we are living through that in the United States.”

According to Holland, Fauci is the key player in the U.S. government’s efforts to control all information relating to the pandemic and the virus. “The documents are coming out that show that the government has been censoring us, suppressing factual information that relate to this virus and the pandemic.”

Even criticism of Fauci has been censored, says Holland. “Robert Kennedy’s new book, ‘The Real Anthony Fauci’ has been suppressed at every turn,” she said. The 2021 book takes a hard look at Fauci’s career and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy has found it almost impossible to promote his book.

“No major publication in the country would review the book,” said Holland. “The New York Times would not include it on their bestseller list, and he [Kennedy] was not invited on any major media platform, except for Tucker Carlson and The Epoch Times. The level of censorship has been astonishing.”

Kennedy isn’t the only one censored. For two years, mainstream media outlets have ignored the scientists who have questioned Fauci’s views. These scientists have seen their ideas rejected (or later retracted) by medical journals, denounced by government officials, and censored by social media platforms.

Fauci has been candid about his suppression of dissent. “Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” Fauci told CNBC in a June 2021 interview.

In May, the attorneys general for Missouri and Louisiana filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and other White House officials, accusing them of violating the First Amendment by colluding with social media giants to suppress information about the pandemic. According to recently released court documents, the Biden administration worked so closely with social media that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg gave Fauci his personal phone number when the crackdown on COVID-19 information began.

But why this need for control? What information needed to be covered up? According to Holland, it’s the role that Fauci may have played in creating, and prolonging, this pandemic.

The P4 laboratory (L) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on May 27, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“By all appearances they have tried to cover up their role in funding lethal gain of function research in China,” said Holland. “They have also suppressed the use of lifesaving early treatments like ivermectin and hydroxycholoroquine, and they have suppressed valuable research into preventive measures that could have saved countless lives.”

The result, says Holland and other critics, is a dark period in American history.

Fauci’s Pandemic?

Starting in early 2020, Americans faced unprecedented government intrusion in their lives. Business and school closures, lockdowns, mask mandates—and the man behind these government policies has been Anthony Fauci. In countless interviews and press conferences, Fauci positioned himself as the one true source of correct COVID-19 information and guidance.

Emergency orders at the federal, state, and local levels were based on Fauci’s opinions. Fauci himself took credit for the policy of lockdowns, saying in October 2020, “I recommended to the president that we shut the country down. That was a very difficult decision because I knew it would have very serious economic consequences.”

“Anthony Fauci is clearly at the very center of all things COVID,” Holland said. “And he has been in charge of controlling the information about the pandemic.”

From the very beginning, when many scientists were pointing to a lab origin for this virus,” said Holland, “Anthony Fauci put a stop to that important debate.” Despite the discovery of NIAID’s funding of gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Fauci continues to say that the virus likely has a natural origin.

A similar thing happened with scientific opposition to Fauci’s policies. The Great Barrington Declaration, written in October 2020 and signed by over 60,000 doctors and scientists, opposed lockdowns and advocated a new policy of protecting only the most vulnerable populations while allowing the rest to live freely and develop natural immunity.

Fauci called the Declaration “ridiculous” and “very dangerous,” and led a campaign to attack the authors and signatories, instead of their ideas.

It has been remarkable,” Holland said, “to see one of the most influential figures in American life purposely suppressing truthful information—about a lab leak, about scientists who said there should be no lockdowns, about the value of masks and the risks of vaccines.”

“In the COVID response we saw extraordinary corruption,” said Holland. “The origin of the virus was covered up. Important treatments were suppressed. And vaccines were authorized, and mandated, on inadequate science.”

Ivermectin tablets packaged for human use. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)

Suppression of Cures

One of the most astonishing aspects of Fauci’s leadership during the pandemic has been his strong opposition to any potential treatment. In two years, neither Fauci nor any U.S. government agency has published a single treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients.

In contrast, China had a treatment protocol online by mid-March of 2020. The result of an organized collection of data from hundreds of hospitals treating thousands of patients, the Chinese protocol included simple solutions like saline nasal lavage and antiseptic mouthwash to reduce viral loads, and cheap drugs like zinc, Pepcid, chloroquine, and antibiotics.

As of this writing, the United States still has no official treatment protocol. And no protocols have been proposed by any major American university or research hospital. Yet every American doctor who has tried to publish one has been quickly censored and ridiculed.

Dr. Peter McCullough knows this firsthand. The author of the protocol that became the most downloaded medical paper of 2020, McCullough was among the first American doctors to develop, test, and publish a successful treatment protocol, resulting in an 85 percent reduction in hospitalizations and death among his patients.

A medical doctor and author of over 600 peer-reviewed research articles, McCullough at first had no thought of developing his own treatment plan. But he soon became alarmed at the government’s failure to provide treatment advice to America’s doctors.

By May 2020, McCullough began taking action. He quickly set up a network of doctors to share information about effective treatments—something Fauci never did.

For his efforts, he found himself sued by Baylor University, had his Wikipedia page re-written to label him a source of “COVID misinformation”, and had his reputation attacked in print and online. All while major medical institutions did nothing to find a treatment.

“They didn’t even try,” McCullough is quoted as saying in “The Real Anthony Fauci.” “Harvard, John Hopkins, Duke, you name it. There wasn’t an ounce of original research coming out of America to fight COVID—other than vaccines.”

Across the country, Dr. Pierre Kory was fighting the same battle. The co-founder of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), Kory and a team of doctors were quickly developing their own protocol and putting it online. Like McCullough, Kory had discovered the effectiveness of ivermectin, hydroxycholoroquine, and a number of other inexpensive and easily available drugs.

Kory testified twice to the U.S. Senate explaining the success of his treatment protocol. He also submitted a formal paper to the NIH, which quickly dismissed the results as “insufficient data” lacking proper clinical trials. Another research paper explaining the protocol was retracted by the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology due to “unsupported claims”.

The efficacy of some of these drugs… is almost miraculous. We could have stopped the pandemic in its tracks in the Spring of 2020,” said Kory. “Yet Dr. Fauci refused to promote any of these interventions. It’s not just that he made no effort to find effective off-the-shelf cures—he aggressively suppressed them.”

“You had Birx, Fauci, and Redfield doing press conferences every day,” Kory said in an interview. “And not one of them ever treated a COVID patient or worked in an emergency room or ICU. They knew nothing.”

“Dr. Fauci’s suppression of early treatments,” said Kory, “will go down in history as having caused the death of half a million Americans.”

But why would Anthony Fauci suppress effective treatments? Why attack doctors trying to find a solution? According to Robert Kennedy, it might be because safe and effective treatments for COVID-19 would make the new vaccines unnecessary.

Successful treatments aren’t just a marketing challenge for the vaccine manufacturers—they’re a legal obstacle, too. Once a successful treatment for COVID-19 is established, it becomes much less likely that the FDA will grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to new vaccines and new drugs. Under federal law, there must be no approved alternative way of treating or preventing a disease before authorizing an EUA.

The EUA under which the experimental vaccines were given to millions of Americans would never have been granted if COVID-19 was known to be an easily treatable disease.

In “The Real Anthony Fauci”, Robert Kennedy writes, “His bizarre and inexplicable actions give credence to the suspicions held by many Americans that Dr. Fauci is working to prolong the epidemic in order to impose expensive patented drugs and vaccines on a captive population.”

AIDS

COVID-19 isn’t the first time that Anthony Fauci has been accused of using public policy to benefit big pharma corporations. Forty years ago, at the height of the AIDS crisis in America, many AIDS activists called Anthony Fauci a sellout to the drug companies.

“You are responsible for all government funded AIDS treatment research,” said activist Larry Kramer in an open letter to Fauci in the San Francsico Examiner in 1988. “You are part of a government bureaucracy that values thriving pharmaceutical company entrepreneurism over the health of people with HIV.”

Kramer’s criticism: instead of focusing on improving patients’ health, Fauci’s only answer to AIDS was the development of new drugs. “How long will it take you to start focusing on the immune system, how to boost it and how to prevent the opportunistic infections that are killing people with AIDS? Still, you give your blessing to clinical trials of highly profitable toxins…”

“You are a pill-pushing pimp that cooperates with drug companies in forcing dangerous concoctions down the throats of a desperate community,” wrote Kramer. “AIDS drugs are not sold to help people, they are sold to make a profit.”

White House Chief Medical Adviser on Covid-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 11, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Conflicts of Interest

Despite the criticism Fauci endured, the AIDS crisis produced the most important opportunity of his career: using NIAID to develop, and profit from, new drugs. His collaboration with pharmaceutical companies quickly grew into a billion-dollar business.

The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act allowed NIAID and government scientists like Fauci to directly profit from drug development. Under the law, NIAID was now allowed to file patents on the new drugs that their research was creating, and then license those drug patents back to pharmaceutical companies. Individual government scientists could also put their names on patents and collect royalties.

This created a new income stream for Anthony Fauci: royalties on the sales of all drugs developed through NIAID-funded research. Drug development very quickly became the focus of Fauci’s NIAID, and millions of dollars in royalties started to pour in.

According to a 2006 investigation by the Associated Press, NIH and NIAID were concealing millions of dollars in royalties paid not just to the agencies, but to individual officials including Fauci, with little regard for the ethical and legal conflicts of interest. This information was not made public until the Associated Press obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

In early 2022, OpenTheBooks.com, a government watchdog nonprofit, reported over 22,0000 royalty payments totaling nearly $134 million in royalty payments from pharma companies to the NIH and directly to over 1,600 NIH scientists. These payments occurred between 2009 and 2014. Data from 2015 onward is not yet available.

As a co-owner of drug and vaccine patents, Fauci himself receives royalty payments, including from the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The amount of these payments has not been made public.

It is perhaps no coincidence then, that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 plan, “The Path out of the Pandemic”, consists of only one strategy: more government vaccination mandates.

“Think about it,” said Children’s Health Defense president Mary Holland. “NIAID is a joint venture partner with Moderna! How can the government be a joint venture partner with a for-profit corporation? And then set public policy to force the use of that product? The conflict of interest is astounding.”

Experiments in New York

Drug development for AIDS created a little-known episode in Fauci’s career. Starting in 1985, the NIAID provided funding for clinical drug trials on HIV-positive children, studies which included children in the New York foster care system.

According to a 2009 report by the Vera Institute of Justice, 25 of the children involved in these experiments died, though there is no evidence that they died as a direct result of the experiments.

“NIAID under Fauci exploited the most vulnerable in our society to develop new drugs,” said Holland. “These were poor children, without parents, many of whom were already very sick. Episodes like this, make one genuinely recall other medical atrocities in history, experiments conducted on vulnerable people without proper informed consent.”

Experiments in Africa

Experimentation on humans has been a key part of Fauci’s role in new drug and vaccine development, especially in Africa in the search for a solution to AIDS.

Since the mid-1990s Fauci has been the chief promoter of the quest for an HIV vaccine. Under Fauci’s advice, every American president since Clinton has pledged billions of taxpayer dollars to this project—foreign aid diverted away from food and infrastructure to vaccine manufacturers and their research projects, in the name of eradicating AIDS in Africa.

In early 2000, Fauci and Bill Gates formed a unique partnership to control this flow of money. By leveraging the research funding available through Fauci’s NIAID, Bill Gates’ celebrity philanthropy, the tragedy of AIDS, and the massive wealth of pharmaceutical companies, Fauci and Gates acquired tremendous influence over health policy around the world.

This Fauci-Gates partnership is detailed in a 2008 report in the Journal of European Molecular Biology, provocatively titled “The Gates Foundation: How Sixty Billion Dollars and One Famous Person Can Affect Spending and Research Focus of Public Agencies”.

As many human rights organizations have pointed out, Fauci and Gates have spent decades profiting from the use of Africans as test subjects for experimental drugs that often do great harm. And there still is no vaccine for HIV.

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Tyler Durden Wed, 09/14/2022 - 20:20

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International

High fossil fuel prices mean UK cannot delay transition to low emissions steel

Steelmaking with green hydrogen is now a less expensive prospect relative to alternatives.

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Norenko Andrey/Shutterstock

Steel is essential for making many of the technologies that will end fossil fuel combustion, including electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. Unfortunately, to produce a lot of steel, manufacturers need to burn a lot of fossil fuel.

Steel production accounted for 2% of the UK’s emissions in 2019 and ranks second for energy consumption among the country’s heavy industries. Roughly two-thirds of this energy comes from coal.

The blast furnaces of steelworks burn a special type called coking coal (which is converted to a hard and porous fuel known as coke) at temperatures of up to 2,000°C, producing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂) – around 1.8 tonnes for each tonne of steel. This method accounted for 82% of steel production in the UK in 2021, and 71% of all steel made worldwide that year.

While coal-based steelmaking can be decarbonised to an extent by capturing the CO₂, there has to be a suitable storage site nearby or sufficient demand for using that CO₂ in other industries. This is not the case for the blast furnaces in Port Talbot, Wales, which account for half of UK steel production.

Coking coal prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supplies. In 2021, the UK imported 39% of its coking coal from Russia, with almost all of the rest coming from the US and Australia.

Another option is to use natural gas, another fossil fuel. But since 2020, gas prices have also risen considerably. These recent fuel cost hikes demand a reassessment of how steel is made.

A metallurgical plant at night with chimneys belching smoke.
High coal prices make coal-based steelmaking less attractive for producers. ArtEvent ET/Shutterstock

Steelmaking with green hydrogen (hydrogen that has been split from water using electricity generated by renewables or nuclear power) removes fossil fuels from the process altogether. As a result, it could be insulated from increases in fossil fuel prices and carbon taxes, all of which have made steelmaking with fossil fuels more expensive in recent years.

The UK steel industry is currently given a free allocation of emissions allowances, which significantly lowers the effective carbon price paid by steel producers. Our recent research shows that, if this exemption were phased out gradually, steelmaking with green hydrogen produced using wind and solar electricity would in fact be cheaper than all other options.

Green steel

Hydrogen can convert iron ore to a pure form known as sponge iron through a process known as direct reduction. This involves heating hydrogen to between 800 and 1,000°C which reacts with the oxygen in iron ore to leave pure iron and water vapour, with no carbon emissions. The sponge iron is then processed in an electric arc furnace to produce steel.

Electric arc furnaces can also recycle scrap metal, and while the UK has no direct reduction furnaces, it already has five electric arc furnaces that recycle scrap to provide 18% of the nation’s steel. If renewable electricity powered these furnaces and was used to generate the hydrogen that fuels the production of sponge iron, then total emissions from the steel industry could be zero.

A suspended cylinder spewing molten metal.
Electric arc furnaces cut out fossil fuels, but are still expensive to run. D.Alimkin/Shutterstock

The EU and UK have both committed to ending imports of Russian coal in 2022, and large producers such as Tata Steel and ArcelorMittal have already stopped using Russian commodities in their supply chains.

While high gas and electricity prices are making some industries revert to burning coal, our findings show that green hydrogen offers a cheaper alternative to steelmakers. At recent fossil fuel prices, we estimate that direct reduction steelmaking with green hydrogen could be roughly 15% cheaper than the cheapest coal-based option (including carbon capture and storage) over a typical 25-year project lifetime.

Steelmaking with green hydrogen and electric arc furnaces uses lots of electricity. So, in a recent paper, we looked at reducing industrial electricity bills by removing green levies (which raise funds to spur the deployment of renewable technology and support vulnerable customers) and energy network maintenance costs and moving them to general taxation instead.

This would put the UK’s steel industry on an equal footing with France’s and Germany’s. We found that price parity could be achieved by increasing the average income tax bill by around 68p, rising to around £5.50 if UK steel production switched entirely to direct reduction with green hydrogen.

The UK government is considering exempting industries that consume a lot of energy from paying green levies. But soaring fossil fuel prices have hiked wholesale electricity costs so much that removing them and network maintenance fees will not significantly affect bills.

Instead, steelmakers and other heavy industries could access cheap renewable electricity directly in a green power pool.

The UK cannot afford to keep coal-based steelmaking in its decarbonisation strategy and must ensure the steel industry is ready to transition to using green hydrogen fuel instead.


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Clare Richardson-Barlow is a non-resident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Andrew Pimm and Pepa Ambrosio-Albala do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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‘Where would the world be without nurses?’ J&J refreshes campaign honoring health workers

More than two and a half years into the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson wants to remind people that nurses are much more than just caregivers.
In the latest…

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More than two and a half years into the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson wants to remind people that nurses are much more than just caregivers.

In the latest iteration of its campaign, J&J honors nurses as “innovators, lifesavers, and fierce patient advocates.” The program got a refresh from last year, including a new tagline, “Where Would the World Be Without Nurses,” and videos that debuted on social media on Thursday.

“Who would be there when no one else is?” a narrator asks in J&J’s 30-second ad video that depicts nurses scrubbing up, performing CPR and comforting patients.

J&J claims it has been a “proud champion of nurses since 1897,” and launched a campaign in 2001 to drive more people into the profession with the help of TV ad spots, grants, scholarships and more. There have been several iterations since, including last year’s “Nurses Rise to the Challenge Every Day” campaign.

Lynda Benton

“Last year, we were just really focused on trying to engage and support and remind nurses that we saw their value,” said Lynda Benton, senior director of global community impact strategic initiatives for J&J Nursing. “Now we want to open the lens and get a broader healthcare community to understand what nurses bring to healthcare.”

The ads are meant to address “alarming levels of burnout” in the nursing field, J&J said. A report published last year by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that 66% of surveyed acute and critical care nurses had considered leaving their jobs because of the pandemic. The American Nurses Association also urged the HHS secretary in a letter last year to declare the nurse staffing shortage a national crisis.

In 2022, healthcare employment has increased at a significantly higher monthly rate than last year’s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s more to be done, J&J emphasized.

“When you think about early 2020, the world was basically cheering on the nursing workforce and thanking them for all they were doing to care for patients,” Benton said. “As the pandemic wore on, and the vaccines started coming out … in some cases life went back to normal and [people] kind of forgot about the nurses who were still working inside the walls of the hospital and saving lives on a day-to-day basis.”

The latest campaign is complemented by videos spotlighting the next generation of nurses, and a ‘Today” show segment called “Heroes Among Us.”

“If we don’t address this, this is a healthcare crisis for everybody,” Benton said. “It’s just so important that people will really wake up and understand what’s happening today within the nursing profession.”

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International

What Is Helicopter Money? Definition, Examples & Applications

What Is Helicopter Money?What’s a surefire way to encourage spending, and thus, spur growth? How about dropping money from the sky? As far-stretched…

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Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke describes helicopter money as a “money-financed tax cut.”

Public DomainPictures from Pexels; Canva

What Is Helicopter Money?

What’s a surefire way to encourage spending, and thus, spur growth? How about dropping money from the sky?

As far-stretched as this idea seems, it actually has credence in schools of economic thought, particularly during times of recession or supply shocks. Helicopter money policies inject large sums into the monetary supply either through increased spending, direct cash stimulus, or a tax cut.

This policy has two goals in mind:

1. Expand the supply of money, which improves liquidity

2. Spur economic growth

Economists consider helicopter money to be an option oflast resort, after other measures, such as lowering interest rates or quantitative easing, have either failed to lift an economy out of recession or because interest rates are already as low as they can get. This conundrum is known as a liquidity trap, when the economy is at a standstill because people are hoarding their savings instead of spending.

Since the practice of helicopter money also tends to foster inflation, it typically works best during periods of deflation, when prices, along with overall monetary supply, contract without a corresponding decrease in economic output. One relevant example is the Great Depression. Bank runs resulted in a reduction in both the monetary supply as well as in the overall prices of goods and services.

It takes a whole lot to lift an economy from such dire straits, and in such cases, helicopter money can be a viable option.

Example of Helicopter Money: The COVID-19 Recession

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stock market crashed, and GDP nosedived, thrusting the economy into recession. While the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates and instituted a new round of quantitative easing measures, the U.S. government responded with helicopter money.

  • Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Trump administration authorized two rounds of direct-to-taxpayer stimulus payments, of $1200 and $600 per person, in 2020.
  • In addition, as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), payroll loans were offered to thousands of small businesses—and many were quickly forgiven. The Federal Reserve also provided increased liquidity to banks so that they could offer loans to businesses to help them stay afloat.

Who Coined the Term Helicopter Money?

In a 1969 paper entitled “The Optimum Quantity of Money,” economist Milton Friedman coined the term “helicopter drop” as a method to increase monetary policy during times of economic stress. He wrote:

“Let us suppose now that one day a helicopter flies over [the] community and drops an additional $1,000 in bills from the sky, which is, of course, hastily collected by members of the community. Let us suppose further that everyone is convinced that this is a unique event which will never be repeated.”

The point was that the easiest way to lift an economy out of troubled times would be to give its population a direct injection of money. This would both expand the monetary supply and as well as increase the disposable income of the populace, resulting in greater consumer spending and increased economic output.

Who Made the Concept of Helicopter Money Popular?

In the 1990s, Japan was facing a deflationary crisis. Its central bank had implemented crippling rate hikes to calm its housing bubble—to disastrous economic effects.

In a 2002 speech to the National Economists Club, then-Fed Governor Ben Bernanke proposed that Japan’s central bank could have re-started the country’s economy through fiscal programs:

“A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices. Even if households decided not to increase consumption but instead re-balanced their portfolios by using their extra cash to acquire real and financial assets, the resulting increase in asset values would lower the cost of capital and improve the balance sheet positions of potential borrowers. A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman's famous "helicopter drop" of money”

However, critics interpreted Bernanke’s words as his way of authorizing indiscriminate money printing, and the moniker “Helicopter Ben” took hold.

Bernanke would go on to chair the Federal Reserve from 2006–2014, and many of his theories were put into practice during the Financial Crisis of 2007–2008 and subsequent Great Recession. In fact, President Barack Obama credited Bernanke’s leadership during the crisis with averting a second Great Depression.

Helicopter Money vs. Quantitative Easing

While helicopter money and quantitative easing are both monetary policy tools, and both increase the monetary supply, they actually have different effects on a central bank’s balance sheet.

Through quantitative easing, a central bank buys trillions of dollars’ worth of long-term securities, such as Treasury securities, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities, or even stocks. This increases its reserves and expands its balance sheet. These purchases are also reversible, meaning the central bank can swap out its assets if it chooses.

Helicopter money, on the other hand, involves fiscal stimulus: distributing money to the public. It has no impact on a central bank’s balance sheet. The practice of helicopter money is irreversible, which means it is permanent—and cannot be undone.

In effect, helicopter money is less a long-term economic solution than it is a “one-time” or short-term operation.

Pros of Helicopter Money

In a 2016 blog post written for the think-tank Brookings Institution, Bernanke admitted that his helicopter money reference gave him some bad PR. In fact, he said that their media relations officer, Dave Skidmore, had warned Bernanke against using the term, saying “It’s just not the sort of thing a central banker says.”

But Bernanke insisted, and the moniker stuck.

To this day, Bernanke continues to believe in the practice of helicopter money as a tool the Fed could use in response to a slowdown in the economy. His successor at the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, agreed, stating that helicopter money “is something that one might legitimately consider.”

Other central bankers support the concept, particularly in Europe, which suffered from debt crises that mired its economy throughout the 2000s, igniting deflationary pressures like low demand and weak lending, and made recovery exceedingly difficult.

Cons of Helicopter Money

The biggest drawback of helicopter money is the inflation it tends to ignite. And since inflation is notoriously difficult to manage, once the inflationary fires have been stoked, what’s to prevent them from growing out of control—and fostering hyperinflation? That’s what happened in countries like Argentina and Venezuela, when their central banks printed money and gave it to their governments, who in turn gave it to the people. Inflation surged.

Helicopter money also leads to weakened currencies, because as more and more money is printed, its value decreases significantly. It could also deter currency traders from making long-term investments if the practice is prolonged.

Clearly, helicopter money is not a practice a central bank should undertake lightly.

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