Former and current Fed officials speculate on direct cash transfers to Americans

Julia Coronado (former economist for Fed’s Board of Governors): Congress would grant the Federal Reserve an additional tool for providing support—say, a percent of GDP [in a lump sum that would be divided equally and distributed] to households in a recession. Recession insurance bonds would be zero-coupon securities, a contingent asset of households that would basically lie in wait. The trigger could be reaching the zero lower bound on interest rates or, as economist Claudia Sahm has proposed, a 0.5 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. The Fed would then activate the securities and deposit the funds digitally in households’ apps.

Simon Potter (former NY Fed VP): It took Congress too long to get money to people, and it’s too clunky. We need a separate infrastructure. The Fed could buy the bonds quickly without going to the private market. On March 15 they could have said interest rates are now at zero, we’re activating X amount of the bonds, and we’ll be tracking the unemployment rate—if it increases above this level, we’ll buy more.

Loretta Mester (current Cleveland Fed President/CEO): legislation has proposed that each American have an account at the Fed in which digital dollars could be deposited, as liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks, which could be used for emergency payments

There is also discussion of the Fed creating a digital currency that it controls, and allowing direct relationship with end users.

Full interview with Potter and Coronado is found on