Monday, February 22, 2016

The New York Times: Get Rid of $100 Bills

The Editorial Board of the New York Times tells its readers this morning:
Few Europeans use the 500-euro note, and most Americans rarely encounter the $100 bill. Yet hundreds of millions of these notes are in circulation around the world, where they are often used by drug cartels, corrupt politicians, terrorists and tax cheats to evade law enforcement. That’s why officials in Europe and elsewhere are proposing to end the printing of high-denomination bills.

Getting rid of big bills will make it harder for criminals to do business and make it easier for law enforcement to detect illicit activity....

Critics who oppose such changes say the big bills make it easier for people to keep their savings in cash, especially in countries with negative interest rates. Some people also prefer not to conduct transactions electronically because they fear security breaches. But these are relatively minor burdens compared with the potential benefits of reducing criminal activity and tax evasion...

There are now so many ways to pay for things, and eliminating big bills should create few problems.
Of course, NYT fails to discuss the true evil here: The growing ability of government to track transactions of every citizen and how eliminating the $100 bill advances that ability.

Physical currency is about privacy and freedom. Alternatives to currency, be it checking accounts, debit cards or bitcoin, leave a trail. Aside from the question of why the US government should have a "war" on drugs in the first place, currency does much more than provide a means of exchange for drug dealers, it provides a check on oppressive government.

I consider the war on cash one of the most dangerous advances toward oppressive government. A government-inspired advance toward a cashless society should be near top of every freedom lovers list of things that should be aggressively opposed.



  1. I challenge the notion that "most Americans rarely encounter the $100 bill." The Fed has debased the currency to the point where $100 bills are now common. I carry them all the time. Most chinese restaurants in southern California are "cash only." Yes, I'm sure they under-report their income -- good on them!

    You're absolutely right. This is all about tax collection, tracking, and power.

    The audacity of the NYT and other jack-boot-licking assholes is amazing.

    1. I too reject the premise of rarely encountering them. The people who say that are either lying or never shop among the common people. Now ZIRP and 'cash back' has eaten into using cash but hundreds are still a common site.

  2. More magic wand-waiving to make ALL those nasty problems go away. Just like outlawing bad things. They went away, right? And what of the poor policemen, unable to confiscate those large bills into their own pockets? Poor chaps.

  3. I agree we should oppose the war on cash and preserve / expand our currency options. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

    *Americans actually encounter $100 bills more frequently thanks to the inflationary policies of the Fed. ATM machines at many 7-11 convince stores here in Texas dispense $100 bills.

    *We are likely to see demands for higher denomination bills as inflation continues.

    *Back in the early 1860s the Union reduced the minting of pennies because copper was needed for bullets. There was still a large demand for pennies in daily transactions, so the private individuals stepped up and began minting copper tokens to replace the missing pennies. For proof, search for “civil war penny” images and you will see actual pennies as well as Civil War Tokens that were privately produced. I mention this because the banning of large bills will likely result in the private market producing tokens or paper receipts to fill the void. The self-checkout isles at my grocery stores accept $100 bills. The industry that provides these machines would have an incentive to create a large denomination paper receipt that cash machines would accept.

    *With high price inflation and banning of $100 bills, I could also see retail shops begin pricing their goods in Fiat Dollars and Silver Dollars, causing the Silver Eagle coins to become popular since they are currently priced near $20. Inflation will increase the Fiat Dollar price of Silver Eagles. This would have an added benefit as people would see Fiat Dollar prices soaring while the Silver Ounce prices would remain relatively stable, thus exposing the effects of the Fed’s insane money “printing” operations.

    These are just what immediately come to mind as I think of how the battle will rage in the war on cash. Given the vast creativity of the human mind and sheer numbers of people who use cash every day, I would hate to be on the side that opposes cash.

  4. The New York Times and Larry Summers: A match made in Hell.

    I think we should keep Benjamin Franklin and throw those two pigs overboard.

  5. Unfortunately, the biggest proponents of cashless are merchants. How many subscribers to the EPJ Daily Alert pay cash? The "Square" smartphone card processing app was the final nail in the coffin because it makes low dollar card transactions for small merchants at places like art shows and flea markets possible and affordable.

  6. I see $100 billls more than I see pennies, nickles, and dimes.

  7. Ok I'm only 19 and I'm young and stupid but, I never see a $100 very often. I may be in college but I'm going into a field that yields roughly $75,000 per year. I do agree that we need to keep cash as a currency because, it gives the people personal freedom on their transactions and bank accounts. Although the world isn't going that way forever. most of my transactions are made through a debit card, so yes my freedom is lost in the fact that the government knows when I buy a pack of cigarettes. still the world is developing in new technological ways that cash cant keep up with. I don't see a problem with the government getting rid of $100.

  8. So soon we'll have to do all our financial transactions under the cold eye of the government and we'll have a great big wall to keep us from leaving Mordor. This is getting better all the time. I would say the next 3-5 years is the time to get out or it might no longer be possible.