By Ron Paul
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently signed an executive order forbidding Maryland public schools from beginning classes before Labor Day. Governor Hogan’s executive order benefits businesses in Maryland’s coastal areas that lose school-aged summer employees and business from Maryland families when schools start in August. However, as Governor Hogan’s critics have pointed out, some Maryland school districts, as well as Maryland schoolchildren, benefit from an earlier start to the school year.
Governor Hogan’s executive order is the latest example of how centralized government control of education leaves many students behind. A centrally planned education system can no more meet the unique needs of every child than a centrally planned economic system can meet the unique needs of every worker and consumer.
Centralizing education at the state or, worse, federal level inevitably leads to political conflicts over issues ranging from whether students should be allowed to pray on school grounds, to what should be the curriculum, to what food should be served in the cafeteria, to who should be allowed to use which bathroom.
The centralization and politicization of education is rooted in the idea that education is a right that must be provided by the government, instead of a good that individuals should obtain in the market. Separating school from state would empower parents to find an education system that meets the needs of their children instead of using the political process to force their idea of a good education on all children.
While many politicians praise local and parental control of education, the fact is both major parties embrace federal control of education. The two sides only differ on the details. Liberals who oppose the testing mandates of No Child Left Behind enthusiastically backed President Clinton’s national testing proposals. They also back the Obama administration’s expansion of federal interference in the classroom via Common Core.
Similarly, conservatives who (correctly) not just opposed Clinton’s initiatives but called for the abolition of the Department of Education enthusiastically supported No Child Left Behind. Even most conservatives who oppose Common Core, federal bathroom and cafeteria mandates, and other federal education policies, support reforming, instead of eliminating, the Department of Education.
Politicians will not voluntarily relinquish control over education to parents. Therefore, parents and other concerned citizens should take a page from the UK and work to “Ed-Exit” government-controlled education. Parents and other concerned citizens should pressure Congress to finally shut down the Department of Education and return the money to American families. They also must pressure state governments and local school boards to reject federal mandates, even if it means forgoing federal funding.
Parents should also explore education alternatives, such as private, charter, and religious schools, as well as homeschooling. Homeschooling is the ultimate form of Ed-Exit. Homeschooling parents have the freedom to shape every aspect of education — from the curriculum to the length of the school day to what their children have for lunch to who can and cannot use the bathroom — to fit their child's unique needs.
Parents interested in providing their children with a quality education emphasizing the ideas of liberty should try out my homeschooling curriculum. The curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education that includes courses in personal finance and public speaking. The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. However, unlike government schools, my curriculum never puts ideological indoctrination ahead of education.
Parents interested in Ed-Exiting from government-run schools can learn more about my curriculum at ronpaulcurriculum.com.
By Doug Casey
Recently I made a few comments about the world’s self-identified “elite”, and also about the migrants that are plaguing Europe.
Happily, I was able to do some one-stop shopping on both of these topics when I was in New York to attend a very elitist and Globalist conference. I’m not going to name it because its organizers/sponsors are business partners of mine. And since they spent multimillions putting it together, and I pretty much despised their invitees, I’m not about to identify it exactly. Just let me say that the conclave has aspirations to become another Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove, Atlantic Council, or Davos. Same kind of people, same ideas. Uniformly bad ideas. But ideas that the public has been brainwashed into thinking are good.
A lot of people are afraid these groups control the world, or at least governments. They don’t. They’re social gatherings for high level government employees and NGO types who like to network, and feel relevant. And lots of their minions, who enjoy the rich food, pretending they’re big shots too, while listening to pontifications by actual big shots. They hope they can cozy up to them, close enough to ride a richer gravy train.
The avowed purpose of this conclave was to “build the public-private partnership”—the exact definition of fascism. So there were also lots of big league corporate types who want to “make a difference”, and rich guys who want to be known for something besides having money.
The program opened with Warren Buffett’s talk about how he didn’t need $50 billion, didn’t believe anybody else did either, and why he was a “philanthropist” who would give it all away. The avuncular Buffett is an investment genius; I enjoyed and agreed with everything he said on investing. But, like his friend Bill Gates, he’s also an autistic idiot savant. That’s someone who is a genius at one thing, and a fool at most everything else.
Most people assume that if you know about investing, you must also know about economics, which is a related discipline. But that’s completely untrue. It’s analogous to thinking that someone who knows how to drive a car also knows how one works. Economics is the study of how men go about producing and consuming; investing is the practice of allocating capital for maximum returns. Buffett’s grasp of economics is shallow, conventional, and unrelated to his success as an investor.
Furthermore, if Buffett was really a philanthropist he wouldn’t dissipate his $50 billion on poor people in Third World countries (which is where I suspect most of what’s left after administrative expenses will go). That will assuage some liberal guilt, but will vanish without a trace like water poured into the Sahara.
And actually just make the root problem worse in many ways. If he really wants to help his fellow man, he would continue compounding capital at 20%, forever. Capital makes the world wealthy; consuming or frittering away capital makes the world poor. But enough on Buffett. He only exasperated me for about 40 minutes out of two full days.
Much worse was George Soros. He spent his time not just passively endorsing (like Buffett), but actively promoting disastrous policies. In essence, these were his major points. 1) Brexit should be overturned, regardless of the vote. 2) The EU should spend at least $200 billion a year (in addition to what individual countries spend) both to make migrants welcome, and to install a Marshall Plan for Africa. 3) All of Europe should import migrants at least proportionally to the 1mm entering Germany. He recognized that the migrants represent an “existential crisis” for Europe, but believes the solution is to accommodate them. 4) The EU should actively arm against Russia. 5) The EU in Brussels should be granted the right to tax.
As I listened to him I felt I’d been transported to Bizzarro World, or perhaps some magic land from Gulliver’s Travels, where everything is upside down, wrong is right, and black is white.
Just as much of Soros’ presentation was on migration, so was much of the rest of the conference. It’s very much on the minds of the “elite”.
His new Marshall Plan would consist of Europe and the US sending trillions to African governments to develop the Continent. Strange, really. Africa has received about a trillion of foreign aid over the last 50 years; that capital has either been wasted on uneconomic boondoggles, or shipped off to the bank accounts of the ruling class. Soros is far from naïve; he’s got to know this. I wonder what he actually hopes to accomplish, and why? After all, he’s 84 years old, and doesn’t need any more money. Well, it’s hard to be sure how some people’s minds are wired. And, as The Phantom once asked, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”
Incidentally—completely contrary to conventional wisdom—I consider the much lauded Marshall Plan to have been an unnecessary and destructive boondoggle. But this isn’t the moment to explain why that’s true.
As I said above, the Summit was centered on migration. I’ve recently commented on the subject, and will reiterate a few points below before returning to the views of the Globalists and self-identified Elite.
A WORD ON MIGRATION
Let me start by saying I’m all for immigration and completely open borders to enable opportunity seekers from anyplace to move anyplace else. With two big, critically important, caveats: 1) there can be no welfare or free government services, so everyone has to pay his own way, and no freeloaders are attracted 2) all property is privately owned, to minimize the possibility of squatter camps full of beggars.
In the absence of welfare benefits, immigrants are usually the best of people because you get mobile, aggressive, and opportunity-seeking people that want to leave stagnant and repressive cultures for vibrant and liberal ones. That was the case with the millions of immigrants who came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And they had zero in the way of state support.
But what is going on in Europe today is entirely different. The migrants coming to Europe aren’t being attracted by opportunity in the new land so much as the welfare benefits and the soft life. Western Europe is a massive welfare state that providing free food, housing, medical care, schooling, and living expenses to all comers. Benefits like these will naturally draw in poor people from poor countries. For the most part they’ll be unskilled, poorly educated, and many will have a bad attitude. The question arises why—since they’re almost all Muslims—they aren’t being welcomed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, or Brunei, which are wealthy Muslim countries.
What we’re talking about here is the migration of millions of people of different language, different race, different religion, different culture, and different mode of living. If you’re an alien and you’re 1 out of 10,000, or 1000, or even 100, you’re a curiosity, an interesting outsider. And you’d have to integrate in the new society. But an influx of millions of migrants can only destroy the old culture. And guarantee antagonism—especially when the locals are forced to pay for it. In many ways, what’s happening now isn’t just comparable to what happened 2,000 years ago with the migration of the Germanic barbarians into the Roman Empire. It’s potentially much more serious.
Although most of the migration will be out of Africa, it’s supposed to be official Chinese policy to migrate about 300 million Chinese into Africa in the years to come. They’re employed in building roads, mines, railroads and other infrastructure. The Africans like the goodies, but don’t like the Chinese. It has the makings of a race war a generation or so in the future. The problem won’t only be tens or hundreds of millions of Africans migrating to Europe, but tens or hundreds of millions of Chinese migrating to Africa.
The EU is a huge aggravating factor with the migrant situation. Brussels is full of globalists and doctrinaire socialists who not only promote bad policies, but make the whole continent pay for the mistakes of its most misguided members. The migrants, who are manifestly unwelcome in Hungary, Poland, and other Eastern European countries, will prove another big impetus for the breakup of the EU.
Millions of Africans will want to emigrate, especially to the homelands of their ex-colonial masters in Europe. The colonizers are now themselves being colonized. Fair enough, I suppose; a case of the sins of the father truly devolving upon the sons. If I was an African from south of the Sahara, I’d absolutely try to get to Italy or Greece or France or Spain or on my way to Northern Europe to cash in on the largesse of these stupid Europeans.
I’m a fan of what’s left of Western Civilization. I hate to see it washed away. But that’s what will happen if the floodgate is opened.
Unless the Europeans get in front of this situation, it’s not just some refugees from the Near East they’ll have to deal with. Especially with the economic chaos of The Greater Depression, it’s going to be many millions from Africa, and then perhaps millions more from Central Asia, and even India and Bangladesh. The world is becoming a very small place. What happens when scores of thousands of migrants set up a squatter camp someplace—with no food, shelter, or sanitary facilities? What will happen when there are scores or hundreds of squatter camps? Unlike the Goths and the Vandals, who became the new aristocracy, the chances of the Africans integrating is essentially zero. The situation is likely to be most stressful…
Some will say “But you have to be charitable, you can’t just let them starve because they’ve had some bad luck”. To that I’d say an individual, or a family, can have some bad luck. But the places these people come from have had “bad luck” for centuries. Their bad luck is the consequence of their political, economic, and social systems. Their cultures—let me note the elephant in the room—are backward, degraded, and unproductive. It makes no sense, it’s idiotic, to import—at huge expense—masses of people that have a culture of “bad luck”.
On just one day recently, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 10,000 Africans off the Libyan coast—almost all men from Guinea, Gambia, Nigeria, and neighboring countries—and transported them to Italy. It’s hard to see them ever going back home. But it’s certain they’ll encourage they’re friends and families to join them.
The situation can only get worse. Why? In 1950, the 250 million Africans were only 9% of the world’s population; it’s 27% now, but there will be 4 billion, for 40%, in 2100. Making that observation is highly politically incorrect, and presumably racist. I’ll have more to say on racism in the future. But the fact is that Africa has always been an economic basket case; if Vasco Da Gama had thrown out a wheel when he was rounding the Cape, he would also have had to throw out an instruction book on how to use it. But nobody could have read it.
Be that as it may. But Europeans made things worse when they conquered the continent and divided it up into political entities that made zero sense from a cultural, linguistic, religious or tribal viewpoint. That guaranteed chaos for the indefinite future. That’s why it’s always a mad scramble to get control of the government in these countries, in order to loot the treasury, entrench ones cronies, and punish ones enemies. Until there’s a bloody revolution, and the shoe goes on another foot.
Here’s the takeaway. The population of Africa is going up by several billion people in the years to come. The net wealth of the continent is going nowhere. The locals will want to move wholesale to Europe, where the living is easy. And where the politically correct Cultural Marxists are anxious to destroy their own civilization.
Meanwhile, there are hundreds of think tanks in the U.S. alone, most located within the Washington Beltway who believe that these people should be encouraged to migrate, or imported en masse. They’re populated by partisan academics, ex-politicos, retired generals and others circulating through the revolving doors of the military/industrial/political/academic complex.
They’re really just propaganda outlets, funded by foundations, and donors who want to give an intellectual patina to their views and, to use a popular phrase, “make a difference”.
Think tanks, and their cousins, the lobbyists and the NGOs, are mostly what I like to call Running Dogs, who act as a support system for the Top Dogs in the Deep State. Their product is “policy recommendations,” which influence how much tax you have to pay and how many new regulations you have to obey. Think tanks are populated almost exclusively by people who are, simultaneously, both “useful idiots” and “useless mouths.” They’re no friends of the common man.
The migration policies they’re promoting are creating minor chaos now. With world-class chaos in the wings.
Let me repeat, and re-emphasize, what I said earlier. The free-market solution to the migrant situation is quite simple. If all the property of a country is privately owned, anyone can come and stay as long as he can pay for his accommodations. When even the streets and parks are privately owned, trespassers, beggars, squatters, migrants, vagrants and the like have a problem. A country with 100% private property, and zero welfare, would only attract people who like those conditions. And they’d undoubtedly be welcome as individuals. But “migration” would be impossible.
This is how the migration problem could be solved. You don’t need the government. You don’t need the army. You don’t need visas or quotas. You don’t need laws. You don’t need treaties to solve the migration problem. All you need is privately owned property and the lack of welfare benefits.
Instead, think tanks will come up with some cockamamie political solution. But the good news is that it will speed up the disintegration of the EU.
My prediction that the Continent will one day just be a giant petting zoo for the Chinese is intact—assuming the current wave of migrants approve. There will also be an exodus of capital and people from Europe to parts of Latin America, plus to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is, obviously, bad for Europe and good for the recipient countries, since these emigrants will be educated and affluent.
But, having said that, let me take you back to the conference where migration was a major topic of discussion by the elite.
BACK TO THE CONFERENCE
Those are my thoughts on the topic of migration. Here’s what other attendees thought.
I spent a couple of hours listening to a panel entitled “Corruption in Latin America”. A bunch of ex-Presidents commiserated on how awful corruption is, and how new laws ought to be passed to stamp it out once and for all. They were all skilled, even enthusiastic, bullshit artists, who knew how to blather meaninglessly, saying nothing. They all agreed that illegal drugs were a major cause for corruption, but nobody thought to mention that maybe the problem wasn’t the drugs, but the fact they were illegal.
None of these people understood the actual causes and the nature of corruption. Which is ironic, since most of them were quite wealthy—something that’s hard to do on a Third World politician’s salary.
One especially naive panelist, representing the US State Department, said “many see the private sector as part of the problem”. What, one might ask, actually causes the problem?
The short answer was supplied by Tacitus 1900 years ago. He said “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the State”. That’s because the laws invariably have economic consequences, benefitting one group at the expense of another. The most practical way to obviate them is by paying off an official.
Naturally, nobody even broached the subject that laws themselves cause corruption. And corruption is actually not only necessary, but is encouraged, whenever economic laws are passed. Plan your life around corruption remaining endemic, no matter how much self-righteous apparatchiks blather on about it at conferences.
I listened to David Petraeus offer solutions to the world’s problems. They were what you might expect from an ex-general and CIA director. To David it’s all about using force and money “intelligently”. It never seemed to cross his mind that adventures like those in Iraq and Afghanistan ($6 trillion and counting, to accomplish absolutely nothing) might actually bankrupt the US. Or that he was intimately involved in the ongoing disaster.
My takeaway is that, after David collects say $20 million in the “private sector”, we’ll see him resurface as a candidate for the US Presidency. He’s smooth, polished, and confident. I was somewhat surprised that some general wasn’t tapped this election for a VP slot, since the military is the US Government’s most trusted branch by far. Rest assured there will be a general running in 2020.
Donald Rumsfeld also held the stage for 40 minutes. He was affable, likable, and entertaining, as are many sociopaths. Not even the faintest acknowledgement passed his lips about how the current migrant disaster was rooted in his unprovoked attacks on backward countries on the other side of the world. But why should he care? He’s already collected his $20 million in the “private sector” after many years of “service”.
THE MIGRATION ROUNDTABLE
Another highlight was listening to a Roundtable on “The Public/ Private Partnership on Migration”. It might as well have been a meeting of the Soviet politburo, where everyone implicitly accepted the same totally flawed principles, speaking seriously and sincerely to each other about how they plan to change the world. These people were mainly interested in reinforcing each others views, like a conversation on NPR.
How to solve the refugee/migrant situation? No solutions were proposed by any of the 40 high government officials and think tank big shots. Everybody’s attention focused on two things: how awful the situation is, and how they can feed, clothe, and house the masses. I was amused at the sight of parasites talking to parasites about parasites.
References were made to “broader economic integration”, a nebulous phrase that can mean almost anything, and no references at all to freer markets. There were continual references to a “partnership” between the public and private sectors. It made me feel I was among aliens. How can there be a partnership between producers, and those who not only steal 50% of the production, but then want to direct where the remainder goes. These people all seemed to believe that if you earned money, you didn’t deserve to keep it. But if you needed money, you were entitled to it.
There was a discussion about how the crisis that started in 2007 has set back the progress of Africa. But zero discussion of what caused the crisis. Or what would happen when it stated up again (which is happening right now). The only discussion of how to create prosperity was about Special Economic Zones—areas insulated from the taxes and regulations affecting the rest of the country. Needless to say no one thought to ask why an entire country couldn’t become an SEZ.
A question occurred to me about the several hundred thousand refugees/migrants that still might be imported to the US—although it's much less likely with Trump as the President: Exactly who will pay for them, and how much will the pleasure of their company cost? These people have nothing but the rags on their backs. Will they be ferried to the US on commercial airliners? When they land, how will they be clothed? They’ll need to be fed for an indefinite period. And housed. And entertained. Mosques must be found, or founded, so they can worship. Very few have any marketable skills, and very few even speak English. Most of them could just stay on welfare for the rest of their lives.
It seems completely insane. But it’s clearly the “Globalist agenda”, endorsed by all these people. Of course there’s some perverse justice at work if the US winds up having to import a few million Muslim refuges. The Muslim world was, at least, stable before Bush and Obama went on a wild “regime change” adventure. Now chaos reigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.
One justification put forward for migration to Europe was that its population was dropping, and it would need people, if only to take care of the oldsters. For what it’s worth, we’ll have robots doing that within a decade.
You’re perhaps wondering how any sensible person could sit there and listen to such blather and nonsense for two days without reacting. Of course I wanted to debunk about 95% of what I heard. But the Summit was structured so that Guests didn’t have a forum from which to challenge the Nomenklatura and their Apparatchiks. So I sat there, observing an alien species in a sort of formalized mating ritual. No opportunity presented itself to shock these copulating dogs with a bucket of cold water. Certainly not from a seat in the Peanut Gallery.
Are conferences like this one, and its lookalikes, a waste of time? Completely. And keep that in mind before you make a contribution to a charity or an NGO.
Could it have been worthwhile? Yes. If it had addressed the questions I posed above. But, even then, the answers would have been worthless, given the attendees.
I think migration is going to be one of the biggest problems in the next generation. It’s a sure thing that not just millions, but tens of millions of “feet people” and “boat people” are going to try to overrun Europe. If they’re accepted and resettled it will destroy what’s left of Western Civilization. If they’re repelled, it could result in millions of deaths, and be quite a scandal. I don’t know how this will sort out. But it’s going to be a big deal. And ugly.
What should you do? Own plenty of gold and silver, and make sure that you have one or more residences that are out of harm’s way.
The above article was originally published at International Man
By Thomas DiLorenzo
The following is an excerpt from LewRockwell.com
Governor Pence “got what he deserved,” says Gary North, for paying $1700 for his wife and himself to attend the silly performance of “rappers” spouting nonsense and lies about Alexander Hamilton in front of a bunch of angry and ill-mannered New York leftists. One hopes that the Trump administration will not waste tax dollars in such a foolish manner.
For a complete takedown of the Founding Father of American cronyism, be sure to read Hamilton's Curse
By Chris Rossini
We've seen the make-shift "fake news" list created by a leftist feminist professor. Well, another fake news list has been revealed and this one holds a lot more water.
This list contains the culprits who told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and lied us into multiple bogus wars. These are the news sources that told us "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." They told us that Hillary Clinton had a 98% of winning the election. They tell us in a never-ending loop that "The economy is in great shape!"
This is the real Fake News List (and it's sourced):
By Chris Rossini
Trump's much talked about advisor Steve Bannon was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter. Let's just say giving him the moniker "Big Government Bannon" would be an understatement. If Hillary Clinton were to say what Bannon said, her opponents would (rightly) have a conniption!
The problem in America is that we're all (besides the crony few) being crushed by a gargantuan federal state. At this stage in the game, to suggest that government expand in any way whatsoever means the "land of the free" has become the "land of the masochists."
We already know that Trump wants to "rebuilt" a military that needs absolutely no "rebuilding". That's a terrible move considering no nation is even remotely contemplating invading the United States. Trump should be bringing the troops home and putting the military empire out to pasture.
But he's not. So we're going to have to absorb that blow.
Now we have Trump's Advisor Steve Bannon saying to The Hollywood Reporter:
I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.
First of all, has the Federal Reserve's counterfeit dollar become so worthless that we're throwing the word "trillion" around with reckless abandon?
Since government has nothing, and must steal every cent that it has, are Americans so weak as to just accept politicians siphoning off a trillion dollars of our hard-earned money?
Next, interest rates are artificially manipulated by the central banks. Artificial rates lead people to make economic decisions that they'd never make were they dealing with market rates.
Artificial rates sow the seeds of economic disaster in the future. Have we forgotten how The Fed's artificially low rates created the Nasdaq stock bubble? Did we forget the economic pain that followed that illusion?
Did we forget the even bigger housing bubble that The Fed created with its artificially low-interest rates? How about the even greater economic pain that it produced when the jig was up?
Here comes Steve Bannon to say that government (!) should "rebuild everything". He wants everything "jacked up" and wants government to throw our hard-earned money "up against the wall and see if it sticks."
Does this not sound like the day-trader of 1999, who took out a loan to "throw it" at Pets.com, or eToys?
Does it not sound like the home-flipper who took a loan to enter a lottery on Florida homes?
Are we now ready for the government to create the biggest bubble of them all? Are we ready to endure the astronomical economic pain that must follow?
"Big Government Bannon" has the ear of the incoming President.
Nationalism is on the rise around the world with Brexit, the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., and the possible election of Marine Le Pen in France. In response, globalists are now playing the blame game, and the Internet is in their crosshairs. Ron Paul discusses on today's edition of Myth-Busters.
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By Chris Rossini
The Obama administration added 527 pages worth of new rules and regulations TODAY! That's a new single day record.
The Washington Free Beacon brings the bad news:
The Obama administration set a new record Thursday by producing 527 pages worth of new rules and regulations in a single day, bringing the president’s Federal Register up to 81,640 total pages for 2016, the most ever. [...]
This is the anaconda that (day-by-day) squeezes the life out of the American economy. The federal government has enmeshed itself into the economic, social, and private lives of everyone. To call this "freedom" is to completely misunderstand what freedom means. It's authoritarianism and it grows relentlessly.
Take a look of this chart that shows the number of pages of rules and regulations that reside in the Federal Register:
Notice that the increase has occurred during both Republican and Democrat administrations. It's been a tag-team effort. There is no such thing as a "limited government" party. The above chart screams loud and clear that we have an "unlimited government" that continually expands without mercy.
Will a President Trump weaken the anaconda before total asphyxiation?
It doesn't look like it.
It's important for his supporters to hold his feet to the fire.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
By Ron Paul
I discuss the Trump Transition on Fox Business with Kennedy:
Six years after then-Speaker Boehner did away with earmarks -- where Members direct budget dollars to specific projects -- they are suddenly back in the news. Several Members are trying to bring them back, but Speaker Ryan is resisting. Earmarks are demonized but they are far from the real problem.
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By Simon Black
Less than a week after India’s surprise move to scrap its highest denomination cash notes, another front in the War on Cash has intensified down under in Australia.
Yesterday, banking giant UBS proposed that eliminating Australia’s $100 and $50 bills would be “good for the economy and good for the banks.”
(How convenient that a bank would propose something that’s good for banks!)
This isn’t the first time that the financial establishment has pushed for a cashless society in Australia (or anywhere else).
In September 2015, Australian bank Westpac published its “Cash Free Report”, suggesting that the country would become cashless by 2022.
In July 2016, Australian payments firm Tyro published an enormously self-serving blog post touting the benefits of a cashless society and saying, “it’s only a matter of time.”
Most notably, two days ago, Citibank (yes, THAT Citibank) announced that it was going cashless at some of its Australian branches.
The media and political establishments have chimed in as well.
In February of this year, the Sydney Morning Herald released a series of articles, some of which were written by officials from Australia’s Department of the Treasury, suggesting that eliminating cash will “save billions”, and that “moving to a cashless society is the next step for the Australian dollar”.
This is how it works.
The government, media, banks, and even academia have formed a single, unified chorus to push this idea out to consumers that “cashless” is good for everyone.
And it’s happening across the planet, from Australia to India to Europe to North America.
They’re partially right.
Going cashless probably will save a lot of money; paper currency is costly to transport in large quantities due to the need for security.
It’s also accurate to suggest that going cashless will be “good for the banks.”
As UBS pointed out yesterday, “de-monetizing” Australia’s $50 and $100 bills would force anyone holding those notes to deposit them back in the banking system.
Bank deposits would rise as a result, and consequently, so would bank profits.
Governments would benefit from a cashless society because all savings would be in the banking system, and they have full regulatory control over the banks.
This means that your politicians would have more control over your savings and fewer obstacles to impose capital controls or engage in Civil Asset Forfeiture.
Even policy wonk academics would have a rare opportunity to take their lousy theories and PhD dissertations for a test drive.
Everyone benefits from a cashless society… except for you.
For individuals, cash still has plenty of important advantages.
Cash is one of the few remaining options for financial privacy that doesn’t create a permanent record of every purchase or transaction you make.
It’s also an easy way to reduce your exposure to risks in the broader financial system.
Think about it– the banking system is full of institutions that never miss an opportunity to demonstrate they cannot be trusted with our money.
Hardly a month goes by without some major banking scandal; they’re caught colluding on exchange rates, manipulating interest rates, fraudulently establishing fake accounts without customer consent (and then charging us fees on top of that).
In addition, bank safety is far from certain.
In many banking systems across the world (especially in Europe right now), banks have precariously low levels of capital and are already suffering the effects of negative interest rates.
Even in the United States, banks routinely employ very clever accounting tricks to conceal their true financial condition.
There’s also the fact that, the moment you make a deposit at a bank, it’s no longer your money. It becomes the bank’s money.
And they can do with it as they please, whether it’s freezing you out of your account or making idiotic investments with minimal reserve requirements.
You have no say in the matter.
As a bank depositor, you’re nothing more than an unsecured creditor of a financial institution which may or may not allow you to withdraw your own savings.
If you don’t believe me, take a trip down to your bank and ask to withdraw $25,000. See how quickly they treat you like a criminal terrorist.
Bottom line, conventional banking is not risk-free. And holding cash is one way to reduce that risk.
Cash essentially eliminates the middleman between you and your savings… at least, the portion of your savings that can be easily exchanged for goods and services in the economy.
Cash is a pitiful store of value over the long-term. Precious metals and other real assets are much better alternatives.
But we still can’t walk into Starbucks and pay for a cup of coffee with a quarter-ounce silver coin.
So until that day comes, cash remains an asset that you’ll want to hold.
Just make sure you don’t go overboard. The War on Cash is very real. So if you have more than a couple of months worth of living expenses, you’re taking on unnecessary risk.
Also, keep the denominations low.
As the case with India shows (see the photo), governments have no compunction about violating the public trust with immediate effect and without warning.
So if you’re in the US, don’t keep a mountain of $100 bills in your safe. Keep 10s, 20s, and 50s.
If you’re in Europe, definitely avoid the 500 and 200 euro notes, opt for 20s and 50s.
This article was originally published at Sovereign Man.