World governments’ ongoing war on cash, and by extension the war on freedoms of all citizens, is being fought on many fronts, including propaganda. From an essay by Dr. Kenneth S. Rogoff in The Wall Street Journal:
There is little debate among law enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism. There are substitutes for cash – cryptocurrencies, uncut diamonds, gold coins, prepaid cards – but for many kinds of criminal transactions, cash is still king. It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance. It is no accident that whenever there is a big-time drug bust, the authorities typically find wads of cash.
Gee, I thought portability and near-universal acceptance would be considered good things, but not to those of Dr. Rogoff’s ilk, who worship central bankers and their power to decree low or negative interest rates, punishing savers. The hole in that nefarious plan is that if interest rates are too low or negative at the bank, people simply stuff currency under their mattresses. He goes on:
Cash is also deeply implicated in tax evasion, which costs the federal government some $500 billion a year in revenue. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a lot of the action is concentrated in small cash-intensive businesses, where it is difficult to verify sales and the self-reporting of income. By contrast, businesses that take payments mostly by check, bank card or electronic transfer know that it is much easier for tax authorities to catch them dissembling.
Later in the article, an excerpt from his new book “The Curse of Cash,” Dr. Rogoff tries to appeal to statists:
Perhaps the most challenging and fundamental objection to getting rid of cash has to do with privacy – with our ability to spend anonymously. But where does one draw the line between this individual right and the government’s need to tax and regulate and to enforce the law. Most of us wouldn’t want to clamp down on someone’s right to make the occasional $200 purchase in complete privacy. But what about a $50,000 car or a $1 million apartment?
Governments have let cash supplies get way out of hand, to the benefit of criminals and tax evaders everywhere. It is time, at last, to get rid of all those $100 bills.
This orange cat’s conclusion: Dr. Rogoff, who teaches public policy at Harvard, must be a budding communist apparatchik or perhaps a closet Nazi. My scholarly opinion is that he may go f**k himself.