New Poll: Voters Support Creating ‘Digital Dollars Accounts’ to Speed Transfer of Stimulus Payments Amid Pandemic

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With the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc on our national economy, a new survey finds that a majority of voters from both political parties support rationale for a government-backed digital banking platform to facilitate reliable, expedited currency transactions. The so-called Inclusive Value Ledger (IVL) Plan, or “Public Venmo,” would allow municipal, state, or national authorities to issue their own “digital dollars accounts,” giving them a faster and easier way of getting stimulus money to hard-hit American businesses and individuals in non-paper form.

The polling, conducted by Data for Progress, is contained in a new report from The Justice Collaborative Institute authored by Robert Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. The report outlines a number of different IVL models and explains how the benefits of such a plan would extend beyond the current pandemic, by dramatically expanding overall access to banking, bolstering data privacy, giving authorities additional tools to quickly adjust monetary policy or incentive spending or saving, and providing a simple way to compensate care providers who are currently underserved by our payment system. 

“We have waited for far too long to ensure that all of our people have access to banking and payment services, even while the development of new financial technologies now makes these easy things to provide,” said Hockett. “Now, as the national pandemic makes waiting for slow paper checks in the mail and transferring unsanitary paper money by hand intolerable, there are no more excuses for waiting. Cities, states, the US Treasury and, in time, even the Fed now can make digital dollars, digital savings accounts, and digital payment services available to literally everyone, and there is no time like the present to begin.”

The survey shows broad bipartisan support for the various arguments in favor of implementing an IVL or digital dollars account plan:

  • 59% of voters, including 54% of Republicans, expressed support when presented with the argument that the plan would make it easier to transfer money to people in times of economic crisis.
  • 62% of voters, including 52% of Republicans, expressed support when presented with the argument that IVL would free the 50 million households, businesses, and individuals who do not have a bank account or access to financial services from high fees for basic services.
  • 61% of voters, including 53% of Republicans, expressed support when presented with the argument that digital dollars accounts could be used to compensate family caregivers.

The entire report is available here.