buslaw

EDITORIAL, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
The ban on cash is coming. Soon.
By Simon Black - February 18, 2016

This is becoming very concerning.

The momentum to “ban cash”, and in particular high denomination notes like the 500 euro and $100 bills, is seriously picking up steam.

On Monday the European Central Bank President emphatically disclosed that he is strongly considering phasing out the 500 euro note.

Yesterday, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers published an op-ed in the Washington Post about getting rid of the $100 bill.

Prominent economists and banks have joined the refrain and called for an end to cash in recent months.

The reasoning is almost always the same: cash is something that only criminals, terrorists, and tax cheats use.

In his op-ed, Summers refers to a new Harvard research paper entitled: “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”.

That title pretty much sums up the conventional thinking. And the paper goes on to propose abolishing, among others, 500 euro and $100 bills.

The authors claim that “without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the ‘bad guys’ of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their ‘business models’.”

Personally I find this comical.

I can just imagine a bunch of bureaucrats and policy wonks sitting in a room pretending to know anything about criminal activity.

It’s total nonsense. As long as there has been human civilization there has been crime. Crime pre-dates cash. And it will exist long after they attempt to ban it.

Perhaps even more hilarious is that many of these bankrupt governments have become so desperate for economic growth that they now count illegal drug activity and prostitution in their GDP calculations, both of which are typically transacted in cash.

So, ironically, by banning cash these governments will end up reducing their own GDP figures.

What’s really behind this? Why is there such a big movement to ban something that is used for felonious purposes by just a fraction of a percent of the population?

Cash, it turns out, is the Achilles’ Heel of the financial system.

Central banks around the world have kept interest rates at near-zero levels for nearly eight years now.

And despite having created massive bubbles and enabled extraordinary amounts of debt, their policies aren’t working.

Especially in Europe, the hope of stoking economic growth (and even the sickening goal of inflation) has failed.

So naturally, since what they’ve been trying hasn’t worked, their response is to continue trying the same thing… and more of it.

Interest rates across the European continent are now negative.

Japanese interest rates are now negative.

And even in the United States, the Federal Reserve has acknowledged that negative interest rates are being considered.

They have no other choice; raising rates will bankrupt the governments they support and derail any fledgling economic growth.

Look at how low interest rates are in the US– and yet 4th quarter GDP practically ground to a halt. They simply cannot afford to raise rates.

As global economic weakness continues to play out, central banks will have no other option but to take interest rates even further into negative territory.

That said, negative interest rates will be the destruction of the financial system.

Because sooner or later, if banks have to pay negative wholesale interest rates to each other and to the central bank, then eventually they’ll have to pass those negative rates on to their customers.

Many banks have already started doing this, especially on larger depositors.

We’ve seen this in Europe where some banks charge their customers negative interest to save money, and in some extraordinary circumstances, pay other customers to borrow money.

It’s total madness.

There’s a certain point, however, when interest rates become so negative that no rational person would hold money in the banking system.

Eventually people will realize that they’re better off withdrawing their money and holding physical cash.

Sure, cash doesn’t pay any interest. But it doesn’t cost any either.

If you have a $200,000 in your savings account at negative 1%, you’d have to pay the bank $2,000 each year.

Clearly it would make more sense to buy a safe and hold most of that money in cash.

Problem is, the banks don’t have the money.

For starters, there’s literally not enough cash in the entire financial system to pay out more than a fraction of all bank deposits.

More importantly, banks (especially in the US and Europe) are extremely illiquid.

They invest the vast majority of your deposit in illiquid loans or securities of dubious long-term value, whatever the latest stupid investment fad happens to be.

And many banks have been engaging in a substantial balance sheet shift, rotating bonds from what’s called “Available for Sale” to “Hold to Maturity”.

This is an accounting trick used to hide losses in their bond portfolios. But it also means they have less liquidity available to support bank customer withdrawal requests.

The natural side effect of negative interest rates is pushing people to hold money outside of the banking system.

Yet it’s clear that a surge of withdrawal requests would bring down that system.

Banks don’t want that to happen. Governments don’t want that to happen.

But since central banks have no other choice than to continue imposing negative interest rates, the only logical option is to ban cash and force consumers to hold their money within the banking system.

Make no mistake, this is absolutely a form of capital controls. And it’s coming soon to a banking system near you.

Clearly a trend with this much momentum requires some deliberate and measured action if you don’t want your savings trapped.

We’ll discuss this in our upcoming webinar.

I hate to belabor the point, but it should be obvious that these things are happening, quickly, and I can promise that you’ll get a ton of great information and solutions with the small investment of your time.

Sign up here to attend for free.

Posted in EDITORIAL, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • nailheadtom

    Yeah, OK, like everybody packs around a wad of C-notes. Sure, it’s dramatically wrong for Uncle Sam or whoever the head monkey is now to be fooling with our money but look on the bright side. A second medium of exchange could very well develop that will operate outside of the official channels. Not an enpixelated money, either. Which would make it incompatible with the current banking scene. Looks like lots of opportunity for somebody.

    There’s businesses that refuse to accept cash. It’s likely that some future operations may only accept cash, better yet coins, even better, precious metals. They’ll be able to pay their bills.

    • Barney Biggs

      At my local mall many of the independent stores only take cash. Flowers, dry cleaning, gift shop, deli, dog food store, barber, restaurant all cash only.

    • justdoit

      Pressure your state reps to pass laws allowing gold and silver as forms of legal tender. Utah and Texas have done this. Also STOP using those damn credit cards and debit cards. Use US currency notes only. (Yes, that paper is currency debt, not real money.)

      • No, the legal tender is not debt, and it is real money. The Fed does not own the Federal Reserve Note, the United States Government owns it. The Fed must post and hold collateral (Fed assets) of equal value to the notes it receives from the Treasury and issues into circulation. If congress were to dissolve the Fed tomorrow, the U.S.G. would take possession of the notes and the collateral held by the Fed. Federal Reserve notes represent a first lien on all the assets of the Federal Reserve Banks, and on the collateral specifically held against them.
        Legal Tender Status
        https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/currency/pages/legal-tender.aspx
        How Currency Gets Into Circulation.
        https://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/fedpoint/fed01.html

  • Doc

    Back in old Sweden, leading the charge, they are remaking the bills, making it easy to declare old bills obsolete. So if you are sitting on a stack of bills, you better put them into the bank account at negative interest.

    Or buy gold.

    In China, where the largest bill is 100 yuan, I was once approached by some people that had a billion yuan in the garage. That’s 50 tons by weight. Their biggest trouble was mold. I ran the other way.

    But it didn’t stop them. It will only stop normal people, which of course is the sole purpose.

  • Bruce C.

    The case for owning physical PMs gets stronger every day.

    I still question whether the banks will actually try to ban cash – or even large denomination bills – but if they do it will not go over well. Even though most people don’t use cash that much, almost everybody does to some important extent and I think the “authorities” would be very surprised at how strongly people will react. Ever since I started thinking about this theme I’ve been collecting more and more examples of how almost everybody in the US depends upon and uses cash. Here’s a short list, in no particular order:

    Tips
    Independent “cash only” stores and restaurants
    “Pay Day Loan”/check-cashing systems
    The wiring of money (cash) to foreign relatives
    “Under the table”/”off the books” employment
    Hush money, bribes, etc.
    Illegal drug acquisition
    “Black market” activities
    “Grey market” activities
    People who don’t have or use a bank account
    Flea market transactions
    Pawn shop transactions
    Gambling (even in the large, legal casinos)
    Sales of personal items to strangers
    Public transportation
    Purchasing of small items (often items under $10 can’t be charged)
    Prostitution
    Vending machines
    Allowances for children
    Public and private parking fees
    Food and beverages at sporting events
    Use of US cash currency overseas (supposedly about 65% of US currency is overseas)
    Paying for baby sitting

    My point is that almost everybody uses some amount of cash in some important personal ways and so banning it will not go unnoticed. Maybe the banning of $100 bills only won’t rile the masses but it will concern the financially literate, and could spark the very run on banks that they fear. But banning all cash I doubt will ever work, and would prove to be not worth the effort, which should also make the ownership of PMs that much safer for the same reasons.

    • Good points.

    • Benjamin Titshaw

      A very good list of possible unintended consequences.Thanks.

    • colinc

      Banning cash is the intermediate objective.The ultimate aim is to microchip everybody.Then we will be completely enslaved

      • Bruce C.

        I hope not.

        • Martin O’Hara

          The, “I hope not” reaction is usually a good indicator of something that is very likely to happen. Rather as “I have not done anything illegal” is usually an indication that something fishy (and probably illegal, too) was, in fact, done. The ‘No Smoking’ crusade has served as a very good thin end of the wedge for massive intrusion into, and regulation of, all personal conduct because smoking is indeed stupid – but that’s not the point. Now think of all the other measures that can be taken to erode individual sovereignty and freedom of action while being presented as ‘in the public interest’. These measures are probably scheduled for early introduction. The only traditional amenity observed by authorities today is not to frighten the horses. Gently does it…

          • Bruce C.

            It all depends upon whether or not people accept the greater understanding of themselves and reality in time. The “experiment” in “ego-consciousness” has grown long in the tooth. If the ego (basically one’s concept of who and what one is) doesn’t expand then it’s over, and things like subcutaneous micro-chips will just mark the beginning of the species dying off by emotional attrition.

  • rahrog

    How many productive people going on strike does it take to bring down The Evil Empire?

  • Danny B

    Dear Bell, since everyone else is writing about the obvious, I want to write about something less obvious. It is well known that narco money and organized crime are stuffing up the world very badly. In many areas, GOV is the facilitator of organized crime. Here is a link to a post that I wrote a while back. http://www.energeticforum.com/275954-post750.html
    A large sector of organized crime depends on cash. That includes the C.I.A. http://www.salon.com/2016/02/14/this_is_how_the_cia_botched_iraq_post_911_bob_gates_careerist_sycophancy_and_the_real_history_of_the_deep_state/

    Lord Acton was right and the CIA is a perfect example. Organized GOV and organized crime are 2 wings on the same bird. 2 power organizations that overlap. It would be interesting as an exercise to see what effect a cashless society would have on organized crime.

  • esqualido

    Summers’ comments are complete BS. What the banks want is the right to take a little nip out of every single transaction, like an ATM fee, which amounts to a tax, except it goes right into their pocket, and creeps upward regularly, and with plenty of additional headaches like discovering one day you cannot log onto your account,or it has been hacked. The terrorism red flag, used also to deprive the right of privacy, as in the Apple case, is always used. “Terror! Terror! Terror! the constant cry of the crazed (and not slightly evil) parrot.

  • They can’t ban cash, the legal tender of the U.S., it serves as the basis of the entire Fed and Bankster asset backed, debt based, credit system. But, they can make getting and using your money (your property) damn hard.

    There is no money in any deposit account of any type anywhere in all of westernized banking, they are all credited accounts, book keeping entries denoting the amount of legal tender owed by the banks to their depositors, they are all bank debt. There is no law anywhere that designates or acknowledges the credit generated by the Fed and the banksters as being a legal tender, money, currency, or a medium of exchange. The only legal validity that credit has, is given to the debts incurred with its use.

    Just as with bank “Bail-Ins”, negative interests rates does not take anything from you, it just makes the banks’ debt to you, less. They’ve already stolen everything, there’s nothing left for them to steal.
    http://carl-random-thoughts.blogspot.com/

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