The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove. Before today I had never heard of “The Visa Cashless Challenge”, but after reading about it I have to say that I am quite alarmed. Visa is trying to “encourage” businesses to go cashless, and one of the ways that they will be doing this is by “awarding up to $500,000 to 50 eligible US-based small business food service owners who commit to joining the 100% cashless quest”. The food industry is still one of the last bastions where cash is used very heavily, and so it makes sense that Visa would want to target that segment. Of course the more people that use cards to pay for meals, the more money that Visa will make.
When I go to restaurants, I almost always use cash, and I know a lot of other people that very much prefer to use cash in those situations as well. But if Visa has their way, soon all of us will be forced to use some form of digital payment instead. The following is an excerpt from the press release that Visa issued about this new “challenge”…
Today Visa (NYSE:V) announced it is launching a major effort to encourage businesses to go cashless. Aiming to create a culture where cash is no longer king, the program will give merchants increased ability to accept all forms of global digital payments. Visa will be encouraging and helping merchants go cashless by using innovation to their advantage in order to stay competitively connected to their customers.
To encourage businesses to go cashless, Visa is announcing The Visa Cashless Challenge, with a call to action for small business restaurants, cafés or food truck owners to describe what cashless means for them, their employees and customers. Visa will be awarding up to $500,000 to 50 eligible US-based small business food service owners who commit to joining the 100% cashless quest.
“At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever – whether it’s a phone, card, wearable or other device,” said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions, Visa Inc. “With 70% of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 20201, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless.”
Visa would love to eliminate the use of cash entirely because it would mean much bigger profits for them.
And of course cashless systems hold a lot of appeal for governments as well because such systems would allow them to monitor and track the behavior of their citizens much more closely.
As our society transitions in that direction, we will be told that it is all about fighting money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism, but there are other ways to combat those issues.
In the end, many people like to use cash because of the privacy that it offers, and there are very powerful forces that would like to eliminate that privacy.
For now, however, advocates of a cashless society are pushing the economic benefits of such a system. Here is more from Visa’s press release…
Visa has recognized the net benefits for merchants when they reduce dependency on cash transaction. Visa recently conducted a study that found that if businesses in 100 cities transitioned from cash to digital, their cities stand to experience net benefits of $312 billion per year. According to this study, in New York City alone, businesses could generate an additional $6.8 billion in revenue and save more than 186 million hours in labor, by making greater use of digital payments. This amounts to more than $5 billion annual costs savings for businesses in New York. The complete results with the benefits of going cashless for businesses will be included in the “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments” report that will be released by Visa later this year.
And of course the push toward a cashless system is not just happening in the United States.
Over in Sweden, many banks will no longer take or give out cash, and about 95 percent of all retail transactions in the entire country are now cashless.
Of course the EU as a whole is rapidly moving in the direction of phasing out cash. Not too long ago, the European Commission released an “Action Plan” which instructed member states to explore the possibility of “potential upper limits to cash payments”.
Some of the member states have already adopted such “upper limits” on cash transactions, and by slowly lowering those limits over time those countries could eventually phase out cash completely.
And down in Australia, a “Black Economy Taskforce” has been established to go after tax evaders…
The Black Economy Taskforce has been established to develop an innovative, forward-looking whole-of-government policy response to combat the black economy in Australia, recognising that these issues cannot be tackled by traditional tax enforcement measures alone.
The black economy refers to people who operate entirely outside the tax and regulatory system or who are known to the authorities but do not correctly report their tax obligations.
Of course this represents a major crackdown on cash, because most people that operate in the “underground economy” tend to use cash very heavily. According to Martin Armstrong, there has even been a proposal in Australia to put “nano-chips” into large notes for tracking purposes…
Michael Andrew, the head of this 1984 style Taskforce to spy on citizens, has proposed that the government should keep track of your $100 and $50 notes by implanting hi-tech nano-chips. He could simply scan your house to see where you are hiding money that the government can confiscate.
Many of us are alarmed by the rise of a cashless society because we know where it could eventually lead.
If government authorities can watch, track and monitor everything that we do and everywhere we go, that opens the door for great tyranny.
And going cashless would also potentially allow government authorities to act as “gatekeepers” for the system. In other words, the government could require all of us to meet certain conditions before we were allowed to participate in the cashless system, and if we refused to meet those conditions we would be unable to buy, sell, open a bank account, get a job or do much of anything else in society.
The potential dangers to our liberties and freedoms are great, and hopefully we can get more people to understand what going to a fully cashless society could ultimately mean for all of us.
Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
On Wednesday, the temporary suspension of the debt ceiling ended, and so now the federal government is not going to be able to go into any more debt until the debt ceiling is raised. For the moment, the Trump administration can implement “emergency measures” to stay under the debt limit, but it won’t be too long before we get to a major crisis point because the federal government is quickly running out of cash. Already, the U.S. Treasury has less cash on hand than Apple or Google, and that cash balance is going to keep on dropping until the debt ceiling is finally lifted.
You may remember that the debt ceiling became a major issue a couple of times during the Obama years. Last time around, Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress agreed to a horrendous deal which suspended the debt ceiling until several months after the 2016 election…
Since President Barack Obama signed the “Bipartisan Budget Act” on Nov. 2, 2015 there had been no legal limit on the amount of money the federal government could borrow until now. That law included a section entitled “Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit.” It said that the law imposing a limit on the federal debt “shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on March 15, 2017.”
During the 16 and a half months between the signing of that deal and today, the U.S. national debt rose by a whopping $1,414,397,000,000.
But now the U.S. national debt will not be allowed to rise by another penny until the debt ceiling is raised or suspended once again.
The Trump administration is pushing hard to get the debt ceiling raised, and this is a complete reversal from how Donald Trump felt about the debt ceiling back in 2013. The following comes from the L.A. Times…
Trump sided with hard-liners in 2013, publicly opposing an increase. “I cannot believe the Republicans are extending the debt ceiling — I am a Republican & I am embarrassed!” he tweeted then.
Trump was actually right about the debt ceiling in 2013, and he is wrong now.
We simply cannot afford to keep adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. What we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal, because we are literally destroying their future just so that we can enjoy an inflated standard of living that we do not deserve today.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has already begun to implement “extraordinary measures” to keep us under the debt ceiling. The first step that was taken was the suspension of the sale of SLGS securities…
“Today,” Mnuchin wrote, “Treasury is announcing that it will suspend the sale of State and Local Government Series (SLGS) securities. SLGS are special-purpose Treasury securities issued to states and municipalities to assist them in conforming to certain tax rules. These securities count against the debt limit. The suspension of SLGS sales will commence on March 15, 2017, and continue until the debt limit is either raised or suspended. As in the past, it is likely Treasury will utilize additional extraordinary measures.”
The federal government will be able to keep going for a little while by implementing such “extraordinary measures”, but the Treasury cash balance is going to continue to dwindle and at some point a major squeeze is going to happen.
As things get tighter and tighter, the Trump administration will become increasingly desperate to get the debt ceiling raised. As I wrote about yesterday, the key for Trump is going to be finding 218 votes in the House of Representatives that will be willing to go along with him.
You would think that since Republicans control the House that this should be easy, but the truth is that there are a lot of conservative Republicans that are not inclined to agree to a debt ceiling increase without substantial accompanying budget cuts.
The proposed budget that Trump released this week is getting a lot of criticism from the left for cuts to social programs, but the truth is that it actually doesn’t reduce the deficit at all…
President Trump’s “skinny” budget blueprint for 2018 features a proposed $54 billion increase in defense spending and an equal number of spending cuts from the smallest part of the federal budget.
That means his changes won’t add to next year’s projected $487 billion deficit. But they won’t reduce it, either.
And remember, that “$487 billion” figure is just for show. During the Obama years the U.S. national debt increased by an average of well over a trillion dollars a year, and that is almost certainly going to continue for years to come as long as the debt ceiling is raised.
Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal responsibility.
So now is their big test.
If they raise the debt ceiling and continue adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt, they will lose all credibility with conservative voters on fiscal issues.
But if they try to force the federal government to start living within its means that is going to severely harm the economy in the short-term.
Donald Trump is going to have to try to figure out a way to navigate this crisis. He has already promised that he will not touch Social Security and Medicare, and those are the two biggest drivers of our budget deficits. In fact, it is being projected that entitlement spending and interest on the debt will eat up every single penny that the federal government takes in within 20 years.
So if Trump won’t touch the big entitlement programs, where will he possibly find enough cuts to satisfy the fiscal conservatives in Congress?
Without them, Trump does not have enough votes to raise the debt ceiling.
In addition, many of the conservatives in Congress absolutely hate the new Republican health care plan, and they hope to use this debt ceiling crisis as leverage to change the bill.
If Trump can’t work out something with conservatives, perhaps he could turn to the Democrats. But most Democrats are extremely resistant to work with him on anything after all that has been said and done, and so for Trump to get a deal with them he would have to make extreme concessions.
This represents the biggest political test for the Trump presidency so far, and if we get down the road a couple of months and nothing gets done, this debt ceiling crisis could spark the kind of financial crisis that I describe in my novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End“.
Barack Obama pushed things right to the brink a couple of times, but he was savvy enough politically to never let things go over the edge.
Now it is Trump’s turn, and somehow he has got to find a way to get the debt ceiling raised without making extremely deep compromises that would gut the rest of his agenda.
And he had better get to work on this quickly, because time is running out and the clock is ticking…
Their agenda may be on the rocks in the United States at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that the globalists are giving up. In fact, a major push toward a cashless society is being made in the European Union right now. Last May we learned that the 500 euro note is being completely eliminated, and just a few weeks ago the European Commission released a new “Action Plan” which instructs member states to explore “potential upper limits to cash payments”. In the name of “fighting terrorism”, this “Action Plan” discusses the benefits of “prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold” and it says that those prohibitions should include “virtual currencies (such as BitCoin) and prepaid instruments (such as pre-paid credit cards) when they are used anonymously.”
This new document does not mention what an appropriate threshold would be for member states, but we do know that Spain already bans certain cash transactions above 2,500 euros, and Italy and France already ban cash transactions above 1,000 euros.
This is a perfect way to transition to a cashless society without creating too much of an uproar. By setting a maximum legal level for cash transactions and slowly lowering it, in effect you can slowly but surely phase cash out without people understanding what is happening.
And there are many places in Europe where it is very difficult to even use cash at this point. In Sweden, many banks no longer take or give out cash, and approximately 95 percent of all retail transactions are entirely cashless. So even though Sweden has not officially banned cash, using cash is no longer practical in most situations. In fact, many tourists are shocked to find out that they cannot even pay bus fare with cash.
So most of Europe is already moving in this direction, and now this new Action Plan is intended to accelerate the transition toward a cashless society. The public is being told that these measures are being taken to fight money laundering and terrorism, but of course that is only a small part of the truth. The following comes from the Anti-Media…
The European Action Plan doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount for restrictions, but as expected, their reasoning for the move is to thwart money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Border checks between countries have already been bolstered to help implement these new standards on hard assets. Although these end goals are plausible, there are other clear motivations for governments to target paper money that aren’t as noble.
In a truly cashless society, governments would be able to track where everybody is and what everybody is doing all the time. And in order to have access to the cashless system, people would have to comply with whatever requirements governments wanted to impose on their helpless populations. The potential for tyranny that this would create would be off the charts, but very few people seem greatly alarmed by the move toward a cashless system all over the globe.
Even in the United States there are calls for a cashless system. For example, the former chief economist for the IMF wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal not too long ago in which he recommended the elimination of the $100 bill…
“There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism. There are substitutes for cash—cryptocurrencies, uncut diamonds, gold coins, prepaid cards—but for many kinds of criminal transactions, cash is still king. It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance.”
Over in Asia restrictions are being put on cash as well. Legendary investor Jim Rogers commented on what is currently happening in India during one recent podcast…
The time will come when you won’t be able to buy a cup of coffee without being traced, warns investment guru Jim Rogers. To control people, governments will increasingly seek to hunt down cash spending, he adds.
“Governments are always looking out for themselves first, and it’s the same old thing that has been going on for hundreds of years. The Indians recently did the same thing. They withdrew 86 percent of the currency in circulation, and they have now made it illegal to spend more than, I think it’s about $4,000 in any cash transaction. In France you cannot use more than, I think it’s a €1,000,” said Rogers in an interview with MacroVoices Podcast.
The reason why this is taking place all over the planet is because this is a global agenda.
The globalists ultimately plan to completely eliminate cash, and this will give them an unprecedented level of control over humanity.
One thing that many fear may someday be implemented is some form of microchip identification system. In order to access the cashless grid, you would need your “ID chip” so that the system could positively identify you, but of course there are millions of people around the world that do not intend to get chipped under any circumstances.
In the old days, you would be labeled a “conspiracy theorist” just for suggesting that they may try to chip all of us one day, but in 2017 things have completely changed.
Just look at what is happening in Nevada. A bill has been introduced in the state senate that would outlaw the “forced microchipping of people”…
State Sen. Becky Harris said a bill to prohibit forced microchipping of people is not as far-fetched as it might seem, because it happens in some places around the world.
Senate Bill 109 would make it a Class C felony to require someone to be implanted with a radio frequency identifier, such as microchips placed in pets.
The idea for the bill came from a constituent, the Las Vegas Republican said.
If that sounds very strange to you, then you may not know that companies all around the globe are already starting to explore this type of technology. For instance, a company in Belgium called NewFusion has actually begun to microchip their employees…
In a move that could be lifted straight from science fiction, workers at a Belgian marketing firm are being offered the chance to have microchips implanted in their bodies.
The chips contain personal information and provide access to the company’s IT systems and headquarters, replacing existing ID cards.
The controversial devices raise questions about personal security and safety, including whether they may allow the movements of people with implants to be tracked.
Technology like this often starts off being “voluntary”, but then after enough people willingly accept it the transition to “mandatory” is not too difficult.
We live at one of the most critical moments in all of human history, and the globalists are certainly not going to lay down and die just because Donald Trump won the election.
The U.S. represents less than five percent of the population of the planet, and in most of the world the agenda of the globalists is on track and is rapidly advancing.
The globalists want a unified one world economy, a unified one world religion and a unified one world government. The election of Donald Trump was a blow to the globalists, but it has also made them more dangerous, more ruthless and more determined than ever before.
And in case you think that using the term “globalists” is a bit strange, the truth is that even the New York Times is using it to describe the global elite and their global agenda.
We are in a life or death battle for the future of our society, and the globalists are never going to give up until they get what they want. So now is not a time for complacency, because the very future of our country is at stake.
Did you know that almost 70 percent of the U.S. population is essentially living paycheck to paycheck? As you will see below, a brand new survey has found that 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Of course one of the primary reasons for this is that most of us are absolutely drowning in debt. In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States now exceeds 12 trillion dollars. So many Americans are so busy just trying to pay off their existing debts that they can’t even think about saving anything for the future. If economic conditions remain relatively stable, the fact that so many of us are living on the edge probably won’t kill us. But the moment the economy plunges into another 2008-style crisis (or worse), we could be facing a situation where two-thirds of the country is in imminent danger of running out of cash.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you live under the constant threat of your life being totally turned upside down if that paycheck ever goes away. During the last crisis, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly, and because so many of them were living paycheck to paycheck all of a sudden large numbers of people couldn’t pay their mortgages. As a result, multitudes of American families went through the extremely painful process of foreclosure.
Unfortunately, it appears that we have not learned anything from the last go around. According to the brand new survey that I mentioned above, 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings…
Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.
Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don’t have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.
Perhaps the most alarming fact from this survey is that 62 percent of all Americans had less than $1,000 in savings last year. So that means that this number has gotten 7 percent worse over the last 12 months.
How did that happen? I thought the mainstream media was telling us that the economy was getting better…
Look, if you don’t have an emergency fund you are in danger of losing everything. This is a point that I have been making over and over again for years, and in an article about this new survey USA Today made this point very strongly as well…
This data is particularly worrisome since the recommendation is for Americans to have six months in expenses saved in case of an emergency, such as a large medical expense, car repair bill, or losing your job. Without this emergency fund to fall back on, millions of Americans could be risking financial disaster.
As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, people are constantly asking me what they should do to get prepared for what is coming.
The number one thing that I always suggest is to build up an emergency fund.
In a chaotic situation it is always hard to anticipate accurately what is going to happen, but without a doubt we are all going to need to continue to pay our bills and to buy things for our families during the next crisis.
Yes, someday the U.S. dollar will become rather worthless, but until that happens you are going to need to continue to put a roof over the heads of your family and to put food on the table.
And you are going to need money to do those things.
Some time ago, the Federal Reserve also found that a large percentage of Americans are living on the edge of financial disaster. They discovered that 47 percent of all Americans could not even come up with $400 to pay for an unexpected emergency room visit without borrowing the money or selling something that they own.
If you can’t even come up with $400 you are really hurting, but that is the status of about half the country these days.
We are continually being told that the economy is strong, but that is simply not the truth.
In fact, it turns out that the period from 2005 to 2015 was the worst period for per capita real GDP growth in modern American history. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
- Growth was unusually strong in the 1960s and early 1970s. In every year from 1966 through 1973, per-capita income was up between 30 percent and 40 percent from a decade earlier. Thus, it’s not surprising that many Americans recall this as a great period for the nation’s economy.
- In every year from 1984 to 2007 — a period that economists call the Great Moderation, because of the way both growth and interest rates stabilized — per-person income was up between 20 percent and 30 percent from a decade earlier. That’s ample reason for Americans to view this as a good period for the economy.
- Cumulative per-person growth from 2005 to 2015 was lower than in any prior decade in the sample. That certainly helps explain why many Americans are unhappy with the nation’s recent economic performance.
And as I repeat over and over, Barack Obama is on track to be the one and only president in all of American history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and he has had eight years to try to accomplish that feat.
Why doesn’t Donald Trump ever bring up that amazing fact? I would think that he could get a lot of mileage out of that number.
At this point, nobody can deny that the middle class is shrinking. 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households in 1971, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.
Back in 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income, but today that figure has plummeted to just 43 percent.
Those that are still doing well often dismiss those that are struggling by barking out such phrases as “get a job”, but the truth is that getting a good job is not so easy these days.
The most recent statistics show that there are 7.9 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed. When you add that number to the 94.1 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
And just because you do have a job does not mean that everything is okay. As I have discussed previously, 51 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $30,000 a year according to the Social Security Administration.
Everywhere you look things seem to be getting worse and not better. Not too long ago I documented the explosion of tent cities all over the country as poverty continues to rise, and I discussed how one study found that some young women in our impoverished inner cities are so desperate that they are actually trading sex for food.
Sadly, it isn’t just a few hard cases that we are talking about. Even in areas of the country that are supposed to be “doing well” we are seeing record-setting poverty numbers. For example, it was recently reported that the number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new all-time high, and the number of New York families permanently living in homeless shelters is up 60 percent over the past five years.
If things are this bad during an “economic recovery”, what are they going to look like once the economy really starts imploding?
And considering the fact that almost 70 percent of the population has virtually no savings, could our nation handle an extended economic downturn that may be even worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009?
As a nation we truly are living on the edge, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into oblivion.