By Clint Siegner*
The global war on cash rolls on. The cabal of bankers seeking more transaction fees, busybody political leaders, and central bankers who want to experiment with negative interest rates recently threw India into turmoil by eliminating the two largest denomination bank notes.
Now they are preparing a similar assault on Europeans’ ability to transact privately and without giving bankers a cut. European Union officials just published a “Proposal for an EU Initiative on Restriction on Payments in Cash.”
Predictably, the restrictions are being sold to citizens as a means of fighting terrorism – much like a host of other privacy and liberty-destroying power grabs in recent decades. This despite a telling admission contained in the proposal: “There remains the lack of readily available and solid evidence on legitimate versus illegitimate cash transactions.” Ban the use of cash first, ask questions later.
Officials may, however, come to regret the timing of their proposal. Many European citizens will have trouble reconciling why leaders are willing to clamp down severely on cash, but not on the flood of refugees pouring in from the Middle East. Can they really be serious about terrorism?
Anti-EU movements are surging across the continent, with important elections coming this year in both France and Germany. Anger and frustration is already threatening to tear the EU apart. Now EU officials are floating another measure that promises to be controversial.
In Germany, 79% of transactions are done in cash. Many there aren’t going to take restrictions lying down. Some see the war on cash for what it is – bureaucrats using the lever of fear to once again ratchet up controls and restrict privacy.
The EU bureaucrats may just see the day when citizens stop using paper euros to make payments, but not because of the restrictions they hope to impose. It could instead be the result of the EU and its common currency being dumped.
A European setback for the bankers and politicians behind the move to de-monetize cash would be good news for bullion investors everywhere, including the U.S. Attempts to regulate the trade of physical gold and silver will not be far behind any restrictions on cash. Precious metals are an obvious target because they are a premier form of private, off-the-grid, and portable wealth.
With these draconian proposals gaining momentum across the globe, you can bet we will continue to follow the war on cash carefully.