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Covid-19. A left-wing economist finds the idea viable

January 16th, 2021

András Fekete-Győr argued that the 700 billion Forints it would thus cost to vaccinate 7 million people would be worth the resulting herd immunity. At present, less than 40 per cent of Hungarians appear willing to get vaccinated, while half of the remaining two-thirds are resolutely opposed to vaccination.

On Hírklikk, Róbert Puzsér reminds Momentum that it originally entered the scene as a new party rejecting the demagoguery of traditional political forces. By now, he writes, they have managed to sink to a new low level of populism. While Momentum despises pro-government campaigners who distributed potatoes in poor areas to attract voters, now Mr Fekete Győr is proposing something very similar – except that it is devoid of any left-wing character, since the Momentum leader ‘treats Hungarians as if they were a bunch of greedy homeless people’, Puzsér fulminates.

On ATV, on the other hand, left-wing economist Zoltán Pogátsa finds Fekete-Győr’s proposal rational. On the one hand, he hopes, such ‘helicopter money’ may produce a breakthrough in the mood of the population by the time vaccines are available for all and thus accelerate the Hungarian recovery from its partial but extensive lockdown, making it possible for shops, restaurants, and hotels to open. On the other hand, Pogátsa explains, the money disbursed to millions of people would give a sudden impetus to the economy by providing immediate demand for the goods and services offered by reopening businesses.

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