Haha Money Printer Go Brrr is an image that surfaced in early 2020, depicting a younger gentleman shouting at an older Federal Reserve executive in the process of printing dollars.
The meme was created as a response to the Federal Reserve (the US’s central bank) announcing its intent to increase stock market liquidity. As a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it sought to inject $1.5 trillion into the economy in the form of short-term loans.
The meme demonstrates some concerns about the government simply “printing money” to combat economic crises. Since its appearance, it has taken off among those critical of inflation in fiat money systems. Such criticisms generally take issue with government intervention in the economy, notably in their ability to create money “out of thin air.”
Quantitative easing (QE) is what we call this process. It isn’t as simple as printing money outright (it involves steps like purchasing securities from banks), but it ultimately increases the money supply. Detractors point to consequences like hyperinflation when government printing gets out of hand, as it has multiple times in the past. In a less severe scenario, opponents also point to the fact that an increase in the money supply leads to the debasement of their own holdings.
You might note the younger gentleman’s bow tie bears the colors of the anarcho-capitalist flag. This school of thought rejects the notion of government altogether, with its proponents preferring forms of money that are intrinsically valuable (or, at least, backed by intrinsic value). Gold, for instance, is very different from fiat. Due to a combination of factors (such as natural scarcity), precious metals have functioned effectively as currencies long before the emergence of fiat.
There have been many variations of the meme, typically following the format of one individual angry at another for circumventing rules.