Cash is a proxy for the freedom to maintain some privacy in an era of Big Brother repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.
Our first question should be: just how big a share of our financial universe is cash? The answer is: vanishingly small. Look at this chart of total credit in the U.S. economy–$63 trillion–and total cash: $1.45 trillion. Cash is the thin red line at the bottom of the chart–it barely registers.
If cash is such a small share of money and assets, why are governments so keen to ban cash? Continue reading
Under the auspices of “protecting clients from criminal activity,” JPMorgan Chase has decided to impose withdrawal limits on certain ATM transactions. As WSJ reports, following the bank’s ATM modification to enable $100-bills to be dispensed with no limit, some customers started pulling out tens of thousands of dollars at a time. This apparent bank run has prompted Jamie Dimon to cap ATM withdrawals at $1,000 per card daily for non-customers. Continue reading
What should also be interesting to see is how this scandal is going to be used in the war against cash, being that governments are now wanting to ban it to prevent bank runs in a financial crisis.
THE BACKGROUND OF THE LEAK
The source of the Panama Papers leak —the largest in history— is apparently a single individual who contacted the widely respected German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung over a year ago. After receiving assurances that his or her anonymity would be safeguarded, the source proceeded to provide the paper with what eventually amounted to over 11.5 million files. They include company emails, banking transaction records, and files of clients that span the years 1977 to 2015. The source asked for no financial compensation or other form of reimbursement in return, saying only that he or she wanted to “make these crimes public”. Continue reading
Remember when Bitcoin and its digital currency cohorts were slammed by authorities and written off by the elite as worthless? Well now, as the war on cash escalates, officials from The IMF to China are seeing the opportunity to control the world’s money through virtual (cash-less) currencies. Just as we warned most recently here, state wealth control is the goal and, as Bloomberg reports, The PBOC is targeting an early rollout of China’s own digital currency to “boost control of money” and none other than The IMF’s Christine Lagarde added that “virtual currencies are extremely beneficial.”
By way of background, as we explained previously, What exactly does a “war on cash” mean?It means governments are limiting the use of cash and a variety of official-mouthpiece economists are calling for the outright abolition of cash. Authorities are both restricting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from banks, and limiting what can be purchased with cash.
These limits are broadly called “capital controls.”
It came from a voice that has, by law, the ear of the German government. Peter Bofinger is a member of the German Council of Economic Experts – the “Five Sages on the Economy” – which in its official function advises the government and parliament on economic policy issues. These folks are taken seriously.
So Bofinger told the German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview (full interview behind paywall) that cash should be done away with. Continue reading
One of our SMC members just received a package from HSBC giving him and his wife a deadline to comply with FATCA—US’ global tax law.
But suddenly they had just four weeks to prove that they were not US taxpayers, all because at one point they had purchased a service that gave them a US phone number.
And now they, as Canadian citizens and residents, have to submit a fully completed W8BEN IRS form, along with a government issued photo ID and a detailed letter of explanation to make it very clear that they were not in fact Americans.
It used to be that foreigners were vying to become US citizens, but today they’re begging not to be confused as one. Continue reading
Americans avoiding US taxes and stashing cash abroad are in trouble from July 1, when a new law forces institutions hiding money to report on their clients. The law will make business with Americans harder, but the US hopes it will raise billions.
The US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, comes into force on July 1 and requires foreign banks to hand over data on clients to the US International Revenue Service (IRS). If a bank does not report such information, it could be subject to a 30 percent withholding tax.
FATCA legislation, signed into law in 2010, requires overseas financial institutions to identify their American customers to the IRS. The law applies to any account with more than $50,000. Continue reading
It has come to this: Swiss banks, under pressure from countries such as the United States, France and Germany, have been giving up their secrets, in some cases handing foreign tax authorities the names of their account holders. To avoid being blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swiss government has agreed to share more information with foreign authorities hunting tax cheats.
The foreign assault has opened up a huge rift inside the fiercely independent Alpine nation.
Some bankers, as well as many academics and centrist and left-leaning politicians, think the country should bow to the inevitable and abandon strict secrecy. The pragmatists include big banks like UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, which argue that to survive they have no choice but to surrender more information about their customers and close the accounts of those who won’t come clean. Continue reading
“Your options are to ignore the IRS and stick your head in the sand; take your name off of all the accounts and live in a completely cash economy; divorce; or renounce U.S. citizenship,” Laederich says. “We’ve seen all of these things happen.”
Genette Eysselinck, a friend of Laederich’s, renounced early this year. Her husband, a European Union civil servant, saw no good reason to share his account information with the IRS, she says. And after considering all her options, Eysselinck decided that renouncing was the best path.
“It created a lot of tensions around here,” she says. “Divorce seemed a little extreme, so I asked myself, ‘What am I gaining as an American?’ And the cons outweighed the pros.”
Eysselinck was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and says she grew up on military bases all over the world. Her father, she says, was an Air Force pilot. Eysselinck has lived abroad for decades and no longer has any close connections in the United States.
She spent her final months as an American collecting paperwork and filing tax returns from the past five years, even though she says she owed nothing. Her last act as a citizen was to swear before an American flag that she renounced all ties with the United States. She called the process “gut wrenching.”
“I grew up in a military family where patriotic feeling was very strong” Eysselinck says. “I’m amazed at how terrible I felt renouncing. But it was the only way to get them off my back. It’s very distressing and time consuming to keep up with all the paperwork. But if it’s this bad when I’m 64, how bad will it be when I’m 74?”
Full article: Taxes Prompt More Americans to Renounce Citizenship (CNBC)