econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 26 May 2016

The War On Cash Is A War On Your Freedom To Opt Out

by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Cash is a proxy for the freedom to maintain some privacy in an era of Big Brother repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.

I've covered the war on cash i.e. the proposed elimination of cash, a number of times, for example, The War On Cash: Officially Sanctioned Theft (June 13, 2015)

Our first question should be: just how big a share of our financial universe is cash? The answer is: vanishingly small. Look at this chart of total credit in the U.S. economy--$63 trillion--and total cash: $1.45 trillion. Cash is the thin red line at the bottom of the chart--it barely registers.

Meanwhile, total household/non-profit-sector financial assets total $70.3 trillion (net $55.8 trillion minus liabilities of $14.5 trillion).

Total money (currency in circulation and demand deposits) is over $10 trillion.

If cash is such a small share of money and assets, why are governments so keen to ban cash?

The official answer is to limit money-laundering by drug traffickers and criminals. But laundering money through official banking channels is not that difficult, so cash is not necessary for laundering.

Another official reason is tax evasion. But tax evasion is now so easy, once again cash is not required: The World's Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States: Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.

THE BIGGEST TAX HAVEN OF THEM ALL? THE U.S., FATCA AND THE CRS

"By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world's rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota."

The irony of the situation has not been lost on at least one foreign observer - a Swiss lawyer quoted in the Bloomberg report:

"How ironic - no, how perverse - that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour. That 'giant sucking sound' you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA."

So if large-scale money-laundering and tax evasion no longer require cash, why are governments so anxious to ban cash? The simple answer is to eliminate small-time tax evasion by making every transaction visible to authorities.

This raises the obvious question: how much extra tax revenue would be raised by eliminating cash purchases at swap meets, garage sales, farmer's markets, etc.? Let's face it--the revenues gained would be modest, as many of the people using cash don't earn enough to pay much income tax anyway.

As for drug-related transactions--does anyone seriously think a buyer of street heroin is going to log the sale electronically via a debit card? Or that the dealer would digitally transact the purchase as

"heroin, sold by ABC Dealers, Inc."?

(Legalizing drugs and treating addictions as a medical issue would eliminate the illegal drug trade in one fell swoop. Look at Portugal's positive experience as a real-world guide.)

The real goal behind calls to eliminate cash is to limit our freedom to opt out: to drop out of the entire must-get-a-paycheck-and-pay-payroll-taxes lifestyle that supports the status quo.

As I have often noted, a very common response to the decay of the Roman Empire was to opt-out / drop out: in effect, stop working for the Man, stop paying taxes and stop borrowing money.

As taxes rose to crushing levels, productive people fled to monasteries or the relative protection of large estates (whose wealthy owners naturally evaded taxes), or simply went off the grid.

This is known as Voting With Your Feet (August 14, 2015).

There are many ways to opt out, and most involve reducing expenses, living low to the ground and developing multiple income streams. Cash is integral to this lifestyle, and not just for purposes of tax evasion: cash is a proxy for the freedom to maintain some privacy in an era of Big Brother repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.

For the record, I am a proponent of rendering under Caesar that which is Caesar's, i.e. paying all taxes owed to the various levels of government. Evading tax is personally beneficial, but it simply increases the burdens on those who are unable to skim/scam their way out of taxes.

Ultimately, the war on cash is all about increasing control by eliminating privacy and the freedom to abandon the debt-serf rat-race. I should have the right to conduct my business with cash and pay my taxes digitally. Cash is necessary to maintain some modicum of privacy in an age of all-pervasive financial repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.

I recently discussed the war on cash with Adam and Daniel of the Wake Up Podcast: The War on Cash with Charles Hugh Smith (YouTube)


Readers of my book A Radically Beneficial World will not be surprised to find that I see crypto-currencies as playing an increasingly important alternative role in a world of state-sponsored financial repression.

My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book's website.


>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical Opinion Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Opinion


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Destruction of the Existing Workforce
Finance and Growth: The Direction of Causality
News Blog
Redneck Inventions
How Repealing Portions Of The Affordable Care Act Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage And Premiums
Grassroots Terrorism In 2017: A Small But Stubborn Threat
Earthquake Risk: Spotlight On Canada
Federal Income Taxes By Income Bracket
Infographic Of The Day: Guide To Caring For Your First Dog
Early Headlines: Migrants Incr. 41 Pct This Century, Women's March Largest Ever?, GOP ACA Disarray, Trump Hit With Ethics Complaint, Trump Back To '29?, May And Nieto To Visit Trump And More
New Seasonal Outlook Updates from NOAA and JAMSTEC Disagree Dramatically
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 23 January 2017
France And Germany Differ Starkly On Strong Leaders
Most Flags Combine Red, White And Blue
Electroconvulsive Therapy: A History Of Controversy, But Also Of Help
Super Bowl Ad Prices Doubled In A Decade
Investing Blog
The Week Ahead: Political Uncertainty And Market Volatility
Investors: How Not To Lose Everything And Die Broke
Opinion Blog
Retailing In America: Bricks And Torture
Economics, Society, And The Environment: What's Wrong With This Picture?
Precious Metals Blog
Four Catalysts Drive Gold And Silver For 2017
Live Markets
20Jan2017 Market Close: U.S. Stocks Were Up But Off Their Highs Of The Session, Crude Prices Continue To Climb, Next Week May Be Volatile
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government































 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved