How The Federal Reserve Will Ban Cash

The government hates cash for the same reason it hates anonymity.  It makes it difficult to control people.  Folks are able to engage in commerce freely, something that terrifies every good exponent of greater official control over the people’s lives. So we are regularly treated to noises about banning cash.  Will one of these episodes of official criticism of cash eventuate in its abolition?  Perhaps.

That cash can be used to evade taxes or facilitate illegal activities is true.  But as the source of of this article points out, lots of things can be used to facilitate the commission of crimes including cars, phones, airplanes, and shoes.  So far, there is no serious attempt to ban those proven facilitators of illicit activities.  To that list of things that are often used in committing crimes I would add politicians.  But that’s probably impolite.  Or at lease inconvenient.

Let’s take a look at what venerable institutions such as central banks might have in mind for us.

It has been argued that most of our financial woes can be laid at the feet of the Federal Reserve Bank and the commercial banks with which it interacts closely.

Bill Bonner, something of a living-legend in the financial newsletter publishing business, has penned a piece that’s worth our attention.

First, he sites a piece by Kenneth Rograff of Harvard who attacks the existence of cash.

Writing last month in the Wall Street Journal under the headline, ‘The Sinister Side of Cash,’ he noted that ‘paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitate crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism.’

As Bonner points out, so do a lot of other things.  So why the focus on cash?

Skipping ahead in his rather lengthy piece to the end, we find Bonner speculating on what might happen in the event of a real market crash, the sort that takes down both the stock and bond markets to the point where losses perhaps approaching $100 trillion pile up in a matter of days.  What could we expect from monetary authorities in addition to their mindless efforts to buy up assets in a futile attempt to stem the losses that we’ve seen so often in the past?

According to Bonner,

So what’s next?

When the next crisis hits, central bankers will rush back into their tool rooms and bring out something new. It will no doubt include ‘helicopter money.’

This is the term economist Milton Friedman used to describe direct giveaways of newly minted money without any corresponding increase in the government’s budget deficit.

Huge new infrastructure projects will be announced. Tax credits, tax cuts, minimum guarantee incomes — we don’t know what the feds will come up with.

But watch out…

With the carrot will come the sticks. The feds will impose measures to crack down on tax cheats, tighten the noose on black-market operators, and shut off funds to causes they don’t like.

They’ll use their money helicopters to ‘drone’ you. That is, they’ll make sure you do with your money as they please.

Mr Rogoff’s nutty suggestion to restrict cash could become law.

How it all ends

There’s something fundamentally tranquilising about having a central bank that gives out the word that it’s got your back.

The Bank of Japan is buying bonds AND stocks (by way of exchange-traded funds)…pushing up prices for both.

Under its €1.7 trillion ($1.9 trillion) QE program, the European Central Bank bought so many government bonds it ran out of new bonds to buy. So, this summer, it added corporate bonds to its shopping list.

According to Reuters, it will soon run out of corporate bonds, too. Then it will have to follow the Bank of Japan’s lead…and wade into the stock market…if it wants to keep its QE program going.

And in the US, the Yellen Fed continues to jive and diddle…teasing investors with the threat of ‘normalising’ interest rates, but having neither the desire nor the fortitude to act.

We’ve been wondering how it ends. Bear markets are facts of life. But if the central bank has set its face to stopping them, then what?

Central banks — in the current system — can create unlimited amounts of fake money. They can use this money to buy real financial assets.

Theoretically, they could buy the entire world’s stocks and bonds. And theoretically, they can leave the feds with almost complete ownership of the planet’s capital.

The rich get richer (selling their assets to the feds at inflated prices). The poor get poorer (as the misallocation of capital increases…price signals are distorted…and real wealth is wasted).

What goes wrong?

Everything. As in politics, the gap between theory and practice is as wide as the Sargasso Sea.

The next crisis

Even with the largest bidder in the world on their side, investors can still panic.

That would mean a big drop in asset prices, high-profile bankruptcies, and a new crisis.

Things move fast. The feds may step in with more QE buying, but they may be a dollar short and a day late.

A 20% drop in stock prices is equal to a loss of about $5 trillion in the US alone.

The bond market is roughly twice the size of the stock market, so add a 20% drop there and you’re talking real money — a total loss of $15 trillion…which could easily happen in a few days.

Now, imagine a drop similar to the 2008–09 plunge…

In round numbers, equities lost 50%. Today, there’s about $60 trillion worth of stocks worldwide, so that would be a $30 trillion loss.

If the bond market fell in sync, you’d be looking at another $60 trillion or so…or a total loss of market capital of $90 trillion.

What would the feds do?

Yes, they would buy stocks and bonds. But they would buy at market prices. Owners would still take big losses.

And the feds wouldn’t stop there.

We are now almost eight years into the central bank’s various ‘stimulus’ programs; they have coincided with the weakest recovery on record.

After taking account of inflation, incomes for most Americans are lower today than they were in 2007.

Clearly, reducing the cost of credit doesn’t work — even with yields on roughly $13 trillion worth of bonds in negative territory.

Fire up the whirlybirds

So what’s next?

When the next crisis hits, central bankers will rush back into their tool rooms and bring out something new. It will no doubt include ‘helicopter money.’

This is the term economist Milton Friedman used to describe direct giveaways of newly minted money without any corresponding increase in the government’s budget deficit.

Huge new infrastructure projects will be announced. Tax credits, tax cuts, minimum guarantee incomes — we don’t know what the feds will come up with.

But watch out…

With the carrot will come the sticks. The feds will impose measures to crack down on tax cheats, tighten the noose on black-market operators, and shut off funds to causes they don’t like.

They’ll use their money helicopters to ‘drone’ you. That is, they’ll make sure you do with your money as they please.

Mr Rogoff’s nutty suggestion to restrict cash could become law.

 

Original Article:http://www.truthandaction.org/federal-reserve-will-ban-cash/

Read More:Obama’s New Laws To Try To Ban Use Of Cash

Read More:Banks Say NO To Cash, Charge Customers For Large Deposits

Read More:Swedish Stores Tell Customers ‘Cash Not Welcome Here’

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