Liberty Takes two Steps Back
Article from For Liberty by Norman Leahy.
Two news stories from overseas show us that, despite the multiple and manifest failings of our own political class, things could be much, much worse.
First, in the U.K., the government has proposed banning the sale of all cars with gasoline, diesel, and hybrid engines by 2035. This is five years sooner than a previous proposal and would force people to buy either fully electric or hydrogen-powered cars.
Looked at another way, the ban would make 98 percent of the cars on Britain’s roads today illegal.
Second, in Australia, the government there is considering clamping down on the use of cash in financial transactions. As Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccille writes, the move only serves to bolster the surveillance state:
Have you ever considered the data trail you leave as you swipe a card or make electronic payments for transactions over the course of your day? Australian officials have considered it, and they apparently think that trail of digital breadcrumbs is just an awesome step on the road to a surveillance state. The country is a Senate vote away from banning the use of cash for transactions of AU$10,000 and above.
It’s all part of the international push by tax and regulatory officials to minimize the use of cash as part of the effort to monitor the public—and it’s coming soon to a lawbook
There’s plenty of academic firepower behind the push to ditch cash, including from Princeton Prof. Ken Rogoff. In his book “The Curse of Cash,” Rogoff argues paper money is behind some of the world’s worst problems:
Cash is becoming increasingly marginalized in the legal economy, but there is a record amount of it in circulation—$1.4 trillion in U.S. dollars alone, or $4,200 for every American, mostly in $100 bills—and most of it is used to finance tax evasion, corruption, terrorism, the drug trade, human trafficking, and the rest of a massive global underground economy. Paper money also cripples monetary policy by making it impossible for central banks to lower interest rates significantly below zero, and The Curse of Cash explains why countries must establish effective negative interest rate policies to manage the next financial crisis.
Because nothing says “we care” better than financial repression and state-sanctioned means of transportation.
Image Credit: By Cellofellow (Gadsden_flag.svg) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
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