William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

When They Come For Your Cash, It Will Be For Your Own Good

Gamblers use cash!

Gamblers use cash!

Criminals use cash, you know. Gamblers, too! Bank robbers steal it. Whaddya think? That drug dealers take credit cards? Why do criminals use cash? Because they’ve got something to hide. If you’ve got nothing to hide, then why do you need cash?

That’s they way they’ll paint it. Rather, that’s the way they’re already painting it. Just think. Our beneficent government already, right now, and often, arrests cash. Not people: cash. We’ve heard of folks who run small stores who make regular small deposits have their funds stolen by the government because their deposits are “suspicious.” No proof of crime is needed. Just suspicion.

Even the official voice of godless materialism was forced to write “Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required“. IRS made “made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005.” Nobody expects a slow down.

Say, maybe giving incentives to corrupt prosecutors on amounts seized wasn’t such a good idea, no?

Guy named Guppy (yes) in The Spectator wrote:

The Monday after the massacre in Paris, I walk into a bank near the Place de la République to deposit a little over 1,000 euros into a friend’s account. After a number of tut-tuts the transaction passes. ‘Why all the fuss?’ I ask, only to be informed of new laws being phased in that will prohibit cash transactions over 1,000 euros, with equivalents in Italy, Belgium and numerous other countries also being enacted. ‘Soon, there won’t be such a thing as cash!’ When I question the logic behind such regulation, excitement turns to bewilderment. Didn’t I see what happened on Friday?! ‘C’est pour votre securité.’ Ah yes. Of course. Such measures are there for all our safety.

They’ll be taking your money for your own good.

Hey, what a convenience it will be when cash is eliminated! No need for ATMs. Thefts, they assure us, will be a thing of the past. Of course, in a strong-arm robbery you might loose a hundred bucks, but once a hacker gets into your account you’re wiped out. So what. At least people won’t be able to cheat on their taxes. The government will be able to track every transaction. This will be said to be a good thing, to bring about efficiencies.

One day you’ll see an email from the Department of Health stating, “We notice that you’ve been buying a lot of salt lately. Salt isn’t good for you.” Don’t worry about the IRS, FBI, NSA, and the rest having access to everything you do. They rarely abuse their powers. Right?

When the push comes, many companies, their executives already in and out of government, will be there to back the transition. Ads from Visa, American Express, Apple, showing brightly colored happy people making brightly colored happy purchases with their brightly colored devices. And, of course, a small cut of every single purchase and transaction will go to these government-approved “facilitators.” Can you imagine what it’ll be like? Besides prices necessarily rising, we’ll see phenomena like “This Wishing Well sponsored by Visa.”

Apple and the rest will form a non-profit devoted to exposing criminal activities. From this entity will come many “studies” showing the dangers of cash. They’ll warn that cash can be counterfeited. They’ll forget to mention that bits stored on a database are even easier to counterfeit.

Look: cash belongs to government, anyway. So it has a right to take it back. Money, of course, isn’t cash, though the two things are often confused and conflated. When money was backed by some tangible, real asset, like for instance gold, there was no chance for the government to control all money. Government could create coins or bills “mapping back” to actual assets, of course, but people could always trade the asset themselves and forgo using the government “mappings”.

When cash is eliminated, asset trading will still occur to some extent. Stocks, bonds, and other mappings to real assets will change hands. But only at high levels and mostly between the rich. The guy who runs the party store up the road will be dependent on the system the government dictates. So will his customers.

You might imagine a barter system will develop to circumvent gmoney (the word for government electronic cash, which won’t really be money), and to some small extent it will. But the goods people swap will have to largely be bought with gmoney, so any bartering will be small beans.

Every writer of any sense has, for centuries, warned us of the demand for absolute centralization all democracies experience. The elimination of cash is just one of many steps towards that centralization.

28 Comments

  1. Any thoughts on bitcoin?

  2. We already see “This Wishing Well sponsored by Visa”.

    You underestimate the power of bartering for merchandise. The power of gold backing money is overestimated. People are creative. Plus, at the rate things are going, the government will be destroyed for letting in all the illegals long before the money becomes a huge problem. (“once a hacker gets into your account you’re wiped out”—with credit cards, you just get a new card. Same with debit cards. I’ve never had my bank account stolen, but credit card numbers and debit cards numbers seem to be stolen on a seemingly regular basis. I get new cards and that’s it.)

    I had a cousin who did want to put his money in stocks or the bank because what happens if the government collapses? Seriously, if the government collapses, money is the last thing you need to worry about. I feel much the same away about the government going to electronic money. It’s rather late in the game to worry now. Twenty years ago might have been a better time.

  3. One additional note: A local woman had her wallet stolen right before Christmas from a Walmart store (it was her fault—she forget the wallet in a basket and some dishonest jerk took the wallet). The woman was most concerned that the theif knew her address now and had her identity. However, she also lost $2000 in cash that she was Christmas shopping with. Like credit or not, had she been using credit cards, a call to the card issuer and the credit is immediately cut off. Cash is not replaceable and you lose it all.

  4. Remember the old TV show “Max Headroom”? All money was electronic and traceable, credit fraud was one of the worst crimes, and if the government didn’t like you they could take all your money. Sure, it was a dystopian future but one that could happen. As it is, it’s outrageous that our government can seize large deposits and hold them indefinitely — as many small cash-based businesses have found out.

  5. Ever read James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State?

    This is another way to make the citizenry legible to those with the power.

    Individual humans tend to set up complex, informal arrangements with one another all the time. Example – I give my friend some gas money for a trip we are taking. Is that income? Is he my chauffeur? Government, with e-only money, will say yes!

    These arrangements are difficult for an outsider to penetrate, regulate, and tax, so they must be eliminated. Complexity in private affairs is the norm, and it must be eliminated in the private space. The thing is that the public space then becomes more byzantine and complex, as more folks that know what’s best decide on more and more ways for you to properly be spending your money and your time.

  6. ” We’ve heard of folks who run small stores who make regular small deposits have their funds stolen by the government because their deposits are “suspicious.” No proof of crime is needed. Just suspicion. ”

    You have a strange definition of small. We are talking about deposits in the $8-9K range.

    “No proof of crime is needed. Just suspicion.”

    Not exactly true. Deliberately setting up deposits to avoid the $10K reporting requirement is itself a crime even if the money comes from strictly legal sources. The problem here is not with IRS / DOJ processes, but with the law itself. The law is explicitly written such that you don’t even need to be aware that trying to avoid the reporting of $10+ deposits is illegal.
    And this is exactly what happened in the specific case discussed in the link you provided. Granted, the structuring was done on the very bad advice of a bank teller who probably wanted to avoid doing the extra paperwork to report the deposit.

  7. MattS is referring to The “Bank Secrecy Act”, in which your private relationship with your bank is made no longer secret. George Orwell, call your office?

    They file a “suspicious activity report”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspicious_activity_report

    “generally is any financial transaction that does not make sense to the financial institution”.

    Even Alex Hamilton would shudder at how insane our laws have become.

  8. Civil asset forfeiture is a big problem, and these IRS examples are nothing compared to what’s local police departments are doing all over the country with this. I’d like to see congress address this as a civil rights matter and put a stop to it for once and for all. It’s up to you cons to tell your representatives to act. Most of the Dems are already with you on this.

    JMJ

  9. You have a strange definition of small. We are talking about deposits in the $8-9K range.

    Make multiple cash transactions within a certain (and largely unspecified) period, even if less the $1K at a time, you are running the risk of this happening to you. The claim will be ” deliberately setting up deposits to avoid the $10K reporting requirement”. It doesn’t matter that you merely wanted to keep the money more safely. Sometimes being safe is dangerous in itself.

  10. Apparently, the Dept of Justice has just put some brakes on Civil Asset Forfeiture to make it much harder for police to seize cash without a warrant:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-attorney-general-bans-asset-seizure-by-local-police-2015-1

    Article is entitled: “The Feds Just Restricted The Law That Lets Police Seize Stuff From Innocent People” by Christina Sterbenz, Erin Fuchs and Reuters & is dated Jan 16th, 2016.

  11. RE: “We’ve heard of folks who run small stores who make regular small deposits have their funds stolen by the government because their deposits are “suspicious.” No proof of crime is needed. Just suspicion.”

    I’d wager there’s more to the story than reported — a number of the examples posted showed store owners admitting deposits just under the $10K limit, consistently, with them claiming they ‘didn’t know’ that $10K was a reporting threshhold. That ignorance is kinda hard to believe.

    The article omits any mention if the police consulted tax records to align cash deposits with reported income — tax records are readily accessible, you know…

    IF one has a truly legitimate business, AND, is honest on their taxes
    THEN there is no reason why a few deposits at or over $10K makes any difference at all.
    None.

    Put another way,
    if you deal with large amounts of cash routinely,
    and are honest,
    the occasional $10K deposit will be an indicator to law enforcement that you’re legit.

  12. Semiotic Animal

    January 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    For those interested in gold-backed vs fiat dollars consider the following: https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/gold-backed-currency-fiat-dollars-in-a-house-of-mirrors/

  13. Ken,

    Please define “legitimate”?

    You mean “approved of by the local, state, and federal tyrants, having paid all the appropriate excise fees, and abiding by all onerous regulations, and having the appropriate license granted by competitors who control the state apparatus for such?”

  14. Also, in regards to Holder’s change in “policy” – “policy” is the watchword for tyrants. If this behavior can be curbed by a change in policy, then this is a government of men, not of laws.

  15. The article indicates these individuals often took the word of their mother, bank teller, etc. In some cases, the stated intent was to “avoid paperwork”. That should have been a red flag. Paperwork avoidance lands people in jail sometimes. It does seem problematic that banks cannot tell people, but I suppose one could argue that would be warning criminals. The article does note that this practice has been modified.

    I agree with Nate that “legitimate” is a rather unclear term. The article states that having made repeated cash deposits for a business, even with receipts and bank statements, does not stop the enforcers from taking the money. In the case of the Mexican restaurant, the owner had done this for years and the bank management change to an adherent of the letter of the law is what triggered the change. People do have to do more research on cash and bank deposits before making them, but anything in cash that totals $10,000 can apparently trigger this. Keep your money in your mattress. It’s safer.

  16. Two other related scenarios:

    1. As in Cyprus, the banks are holding bad loans. Hey, lookey here. All this ‘cash’ we are holding from our friendly customers. Let’s just refuse to let them withdraw the money electronically and take some to cover our losses.

    2. Ever worse, consumer spending is down. Tax collections are down. Hey, Ms Fed Chairman. can you reduce interest rates to -2%. We need to get these folks to stop saving money and start spending it. Nothing better than Centralized Economy Planning.

  17. The government will be able to track every transaction.
    Oh good. Now maybe they can find the guys who got into the IRS system, stole my information, and thus required the IRS to give me a year of free credit tracking.

  18. No, I will never give up using cash, and I don’t care if “the government” (whoever they are) decide for themselves that I must have ‘something to hide’ as a consequence. I’m old fashioned, I don’t believe in being in debt, in spending money I don’t have, and yet all of the alternatives (especially credit cards) encourage reckless spending and lack the most basic of privacy safeguards. By the time the ‘cashless society’ truly arrives (around 2025? 2030?), I’ll probably be dead anyway, so no problem there.

  19. Heh.
    “Cash” – as in coins and notes – may disappear, but the concept won’t.
    Why?
    Because the writers of laws, being the dishonest lot they are, know that they themselves need some form of guarenteed and untracable funding with which to line their own pockets and feather their own nests. So you may have a plastic card or digital certificate instead a bag full of pieces of paper, but you certainly will be able to have “cash” or “bearer” money in one form or another – at least until the glorious revolution arrives and the whole political class is placed against the wall for their deserved “crimes against the proletariat”.

  20. Rah,

    Bitcoin is good if you have to launder money. Other than that it is good for not much.

    Briggs,

    With all the negativity coming from the right no wonder people want to die.

  21. Sylvain,

    You made Briggs point for him. Good show.

  22. It must be mighty cold in Hell today, because I agree with Jersey McJones about civil asset forfeiture. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, has long been trying to stop the abuse.

  23. Most of the Dems are already with you on this.

    I take back part of what I said about McJersey. I followed the IJ’s links to discover the co-sponsors of the reform bill.

    In the House: Republican [53], Democratic [37]. In North Carolina, where I live, all three co-sponsors, including my representative, are Republican. In Florida, where McJersey lives: Republican [5], Democratic [2].

    In the Senate: Democratic [2], Republican [2], Independent [1].

  24. If plastic cards are to replace cash, every corporate account will need one, as will every teenager who babysits, mows lawns, or buys groceries. Hookers and drug dealers will have them, not in their real names of course, and “burner cards” will be as plentiful as “burner phones” are today.

    That is if the transaction fee, including tax, is less than five percent. If it’s more than that, people will switch to silver, gold, or foreign currency.

  25. If the money is deposited in a bank account, the government has complete access to that information. You are not avoiding any taxes if you pay deposits over 10K or under 10K. If a coffee shop or any business that is not engaged in some sort of money laundering scheme, is worried about the 10K limit, well that is mystifying. On the other hand, there are huge problems with laws that state you must report deposits over 10K or not deposit smaller amounts if you could have deposited amounts of 10K or more. What does ‘could of’ mean? It seems to be a blanket regulation that is meant to patch up the deficiencies of the original law in a way that is at the arbitrary discretion of bureaucrats. Such laws give law makers almost unlimited powers all in their favour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2016 William M. Briggs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑