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This image has been doing the rounds on facebook:

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Funny arithmetic error aside, what would be some of the effects of giving everyone in the United States \$4.33 million dollars each?

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this a serious question or a joke? $\endgroup$ – ChinG Jan 11 '16 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think that this question meets the standards of this forum, as it is purely hypothetical and unrealistic. Therefore we can only give you subjective opinions on what might happen or not, which isn't constructive nor instructive. $\endgroup$ – Hector Jan 11 '16 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ Where would it come from? If we printed over 1 quadrillion dollars to pay that out, we would get a lot of inflation. A disgusting amount of it. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Jan 11 '16 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure why there is such a negative reaction to this question and why it is being censured by the moderators. There is nothing wrong with a thought experiment. Some of our greatest minds form Einstein to Nash have postulated them. A good thought experiment has extremes to isolate the variables of which this is a good example of. The poster is not advocating this as a political ideology, but merely asking a conceptual question which has some deceptive depth and detail. $\endgroup$ – user2662680 Jan 13 '16 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ @user2662680 It's being censured by the community, not the moderators. Because it's a silly question. It would be like being asked to entertain 'What would happen if pigs could fly?'. It doesn't suggest where the money comes from, which is a pretty fundamental keypoint. $\endgroup$ – dwjohnston Jan 13 '16 at 3:50
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It is actually an interesting question. There would be momentary inflation but not in the long run as open market operations from the Federal Reserve would vacuum up most of the new money.

Aside from that, this would be a form of wealth redistribution. Adding 4.3 million to each person's bank account does not effect all equally, because those that already have big bank accounts would be hurt more. It would transfer wealth from the rich to the poor.

Lastly, it would have an effect outside of the US. Many foreigners hold dollars and dollar denominated securities and if they didn't get this distribution then they would be hurt as well (but Americans would be helped).

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Severe inflation for a while. Then, back to normal.

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