Forbes dissects the war on cash

Steve Forbes devotes a Forbes magazine column to the attack on large-denomination paper money.

GAINING ATTENTION these days is the idea of abolishing high denominations of the dollar and the euro. This concept graphically displays the astonishing stupidity–and intellectual bankruptcy–of today’s liberal economic policymakers and the economics profession.

Larry Summers, a former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president, is pushing the U.S. to ban $50 and $100 bills. There’s a lot of chatter, too, about prohibiting the €500 note.

The ostensible reason is to help in the fight against terrorists, bribers, drug dealers and tax evaders by making it more inconvenient for these bad guys to move around and store their ill-gotten cash. …

… Monetary expert Seth Lipsky pithily points out in the New York Post, “When criminals use guns, the Democrats want to take guns from law-abiding citizens. When terrorists use hundreds, the liberals want to deny the rest of us the Benjamins.”

If the Obama Administration really wants to deny resources to terrorists, why is it giving tens of billions of dollars back to the globe’s terrorism central, Iran?

The real reason for this war on cash–start with the big bills and then work your way down–is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: Electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we’re doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn’t like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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