If the IRS has its way, cash will be a thing of the past. In its place, every transaction will be digital, every purchase will leave a footprint. And it will tell your story – where you go and what you buy while you are there.
A cashless society means your bank – and the US government – controls every penny you own and every purchase you make. They can freeze your account at will, leaving you destitute with just a few taps on a keyboard.
As Ron Paul said, “The cashless society is the IRS’ dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”
Now you may ask, why? Simple answer, because cash is anonymous and almost impossible to track — so Uncle Sam cannot control it.
Every glass of wine, extra cushion or headset must be purchased on credit. Every transaction is tracked, every purchase made subject to interest being tacked on to the principle.
According to Fed data, digital payments have risen from just $60 billion in 2010 to an enormous $619 billion this year.
Some estimates show that 80% of consumer purchases in the US are now electronic. Meanwhile, payments on a mobile device are rising at an 80% growth rate, predicted to account for $503 billion by 2020.
Other governments around the globe are even closer to a cashless society. In Sweden, cash transactions now account for just 2% of the economy.
But as we’ll see in the case of Sweden, the cashless society is also used for something far scarier. By combining a cashless society and negative interest rates, they effectively flush out any hidden or saved wealth.
You can’t save money, because negative interest rates mean you’re paying the bank. You can’t withdraw it, because it’s useless in a cashless society. There’s nowhere to hide.
Worse, withdrawing and holding large sums of cash is now considered suspicious. Already in America, carrying large sums of cash is enough for the Feds to consider you a criminal.
So much for home of the brave, land of the free.
A more accurate description of a post-cash society was neatly summed up in The Atlantic, “A cashless society promises a world of limitation, control, and surveillance.”
The US government hates cash so much, it is prepared to rob it from its own citizens.
Under the disguise of a “War on Drugs” or a “War on Terror “ they have clamped down on individuals storing, transferring, or carrying large amounts of cash through a procedure called civil forfeiture.
Just getting caught with a large wad of bills is enough for the Feds to consider you a drug lord or terrorist.
Indeed, since 9/11 and despite some reforms, the Feds have confiscated $2.5 billion in cash from 61,998 seizures, roadside and elsewhere.
Not a single one was charged with a crime.
Meanwhile, this civil forfeiture money has been used by police departments to buy beer kegs, coffee makers, and – in one bizarre case – a clown.
In addition to the brutal civil forfeiture procedures, the government demands complex reporting requirements for any cash transactions over $10,000.
These measures are part of a grand design. The complete shift to a cashless society and total control over all finances.
Plus, digital transactions are good for business.
One study showed that vending machines equipped with a digital payment mechanism reaped 89% more revenue than those without.
The CEO of SweetGreen – a Washington DC store that has adopted a “no-cash” policy – said that his employees now process 5%-15% more transactions per hour.
A cashless business cuts costs by reducing payroll (by utilizing automated checkouts).
It eliminates the cost of armored car cash-collection, reduces accounting mistakes, and eliminates shrinkage. No cash on site means a lower risk of theft or strong arm robbery.
With such compelling benefits, businesses have drifted towards cashless transactions.
And Washington encourages this wave. There is no federal law that prohibits businesses from refusing to accept cash (and state laws are either weak or non-existent).
“If you have to pay in cash, something is wrong.”
According to Credit Suisse, this is the rule of thumb in Scandinavia. Paying in cash has now become suspicious.
Sound familiar? It’s strikingly similar to the US government’s “War on Cash” attitude. If you’re carrying cash, it must be linked to drugs or terror.
Since when did carrying legal tender make you a suspect?
Sweden has gone further than any country so far, passing legislation that allows businesses to ban cash payments. Swedish buses, for example, no longer accept cash.
Homeless street vendors take card or mobile payments and even churches prefer a digital donation. 900 banks don’t even hold cash on site any more, and many Swedes are forced to make a 20km trip to find an ATM.
Worse, Sweden has adopted a negative base interest rate. Their citizens are paying the banks to look after their savings.
Picture this: you can’t save your money at the bank, because it now costs you to do so. But you can’t withdraw it, because cash is now redundant. Worse, you are now considered suspicious!
Your only option is to spend it electronically, which is exactly what central banks (including the Federal Reserve) want. They are trying to flush out your wealth.
Not on our watch.
What can you and your family do?
Holding a small “cash stash” in a safe place – enough to pay your personal expenses for a few months – is still a prudent strategy, just in case.
However, as the noose tightens, carrying (or paying with) large sums of cash will become more and more suspicious. Rather than holding your money in paper bills, which as Voltaire said “…eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero,” one option is to diversify with a store of gold overseas.
Held outside America in a private vault, gold is immune to US government seizures, and – if done correctly – can be held anonymously.
Moreover, as the US clamps down on cash, gold may enjoy a rise in value due to demand for an alternative hard wealth asset.
Alexander: You can start investing in Cryptocurrencies with one click. Ethereum (ETH) could easily become the next Bitcoin. If you buy today, it’s possible to see a huge return in the near future.
Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20 years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The Sovereign Society Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd.