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The below article is an excerpt from Charles Goyette’s bi-weekly Freedom & Prosperity Letter podcast, Cash for Freedom, originally published on March 22, 2012. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, click here.
The one thing about cash is that it is anonymous. And that’s the one thing that intrusive governments don’t like about it.
Governments hate that cash gives you anonymity. And they are often very anxious to track it and to control your use of it. They often attempt to criminalize the use of cash or at least criminalize having too much of it around.
Right now, 7% of the U.S. economy is cash-based. Across the Eurozone, it’s a little bit higher, 9%, but in Sweden cash transactions are falling by the wayside. You can’t use cash for buses there. A growing number of businesses are going entirely cashless. In fact, only 3% of all purchases in Sweden are transacted in cash. And some people think that 3% is too much.
Now, there are things you give up when you go cashless, and privacy is only one of them. Because you also give up a piece of every transaction to the facilitating financial institution, a state-approved financial institution that is going to take a cut one way or another of every purchase that it processes. And that cut will be paid by you.
In the United States, the government has implemented increasingly punitive and burdensome measures for those who use cash. Banks, for example, are required to file reports on the use of cash in certain circumstances, including suspicious persons reports for some cash activities. In fact, if you seem to be trying to transact in cash below the reporting threshold, that alone can trigger a suspicious persons report on you. Like a lot of the states’ heavy-handed measures, this was all targeted at getting those drug dealers.
And you see how well that worked out.
Now, there are plenty of perfectly good reasons for someone to wish to do business in cash and anonymously. This is an age of home invasions and identity thefts. So the desire to do business in cash can simply be prudent. I mean, you wouldn’t want to leave a receipt laying around in some business where you bought some expensive piece of jewelry for your wife, for example, for her birthday.
But equally important is this: In a free country, your transactions shouldn’t be anybody else’s business. And that’s the bottom line.
At least it’s the bottom line in a free country.
For a free and prosperous country, I’m Charles Goyette.