Tag Archives: The Future

A Cashless Society May Be Closer Than Most People Would Ever Dare To Imagine

A Cashless Society May Be Closer Than Most People Would Ever Dare To Imagine

Most people think of a cashless society as something that is way off in the distant future.  Unfortunately, that is simply not the case.  The truth is that a cashless society is much closer than most people would ever dare to imagine.  To a large degree, the transition to a cashless society is being done voluntarily.  Today, only 7 percentof all transactions in the United States are done with cash, and most of those transactions involve very small amounts of money.  Just think about it for a moment.  Where do you still use cash these days?  If you buy a burger or if you purchase something at a flea market you will still use cash, but for any mid-size or large transaction the vast majority of people out there will use another form of payment.  Our financial system is dramatically changing, and cash is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  We live in a digital world, and national governments and big banks are both encouraging the move away from paper currency and coins.  But what would a cashless society mean for our future?  Are there any dangers to such a system?

Those are very important questions, but most of the time both sides of the issue are not presented in a balanced way in the mainstream media.  Instead, most mainstream news articles tend to trash cash and talk about how wonderful digital currency is.

For example, a recent CBS News article declared that soon we may not need “that raggedy dollar bill” any longer and that the “greenback may soon be a goner”….

It’s what the wallet was invented for, to carry cash. After all, there was a time when we needed cash everywhere we went, from filling stations to pay phones. Even the tooth fairy dealt only in cash.

But money isn’t just physical anymore. It’s not only the pennies in your piggy bank, or that raggedy dollar bill.

Money is also digital – it’s zeros and ones stored in a computer, prompting some economists to predict the old-fashioned greenback may soon be a goner.

“There will be a time – I don’t know when, I can’t give you a date – when physical money is just going to cease to exist,” said economist Robert Reich.

So will we see a completely cashless society in the near future?

Of course not.  It would be wildly unpopular for the governments of the world to force such a system upon us all at once.

Instead, the big banks and the governments of the industrialized world are doing all they can to get us to voluntarily transition to such a system.  Once 98 or 99 percent of all transactions do not involve cash, eliminating the remaining 1 or 2 percent will only seem natural.

The big banks want a cashless society because it is much more profitable for them.

The big banks earn billions of dollars in fees from debit cards and they make absolutely enormous profits from credit cards.

But when people use cash the big banks do not earn anything.

So obviously the big banks and the big credit card companies are big cheerleaders for a cashless society.

Most governments around the world are eager to transition to a cashless society as well for the following reasons….

-Cash is expensive to print, inspect, move, store and guard.

-Counterfeiting is always going to be a problem as long as paper currency exists.

-Cash if favored by criminals because it does not leave a paper trail.  Eliminating cash would make it much more difficult for drug dealers, prostitutes and other criminals to do business.

-Most of all, a cashless society would give governments more control.  Governments would be able to track virtually all transactions and would also be able to monitor tax compliance much more closely.

When you understand the factors listed above, it becomes easier to understand why the use of cash is increasingly becoming demonized.  Governments around the world are increasingly viewing the use of cash in a negative light.  In fact, according to the U.S. government paying with cash in some circumstances is now considered to be “suspicious activity” that needs to be reported to the authorities.

This disdain of cash has also grown very strong in the financial community.  The following is from a recent Slate article….

David Birch, a director at Consult Hyperion, a firm specializing in electronic payments, says a shift to digital currency would cut out these hidden costs. In Birch’s ideal world, paying with cash would be viewed like drunk driving—something we do with decreasing frequency as more and more people understand the negative social consequences. “We’re trying to use industrial age money to support commerce in a post-industrial age. It just doesn’t work,” he says. “Sooner or later, the tectonic plates shift and then, very quickly, you’ll find yourself in this new environment where if you ask somebody to pay you in cash, you’ll just assume that they’re a prostitute or a Somali pirate.”

Do you see what is happening?

Simply using cash is enough to get you branded as a potential criminal these days.

Many people are going to be scared away from using cash simply because of the stigma that is becoming attached to it.

This is a trend that is not just happening in the United States.  In fact, many other countries are further down the road toward a cashless society than we are.

Up in Canada, they are looking for ways to even eliminate coins so that people can use alternate forms of payment for all of their transactions….

The Royal Canadian Mint is also looking to the future with the MintChip, a new product that could become a digital replacement for coins.

In Sweden, only about 3 percent of all transactions still involve cash.  The following comes from a recent Washington Post article….

In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.

“There are towns where it isn’t at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash,” complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden’s National Pensioners’ Organization.

In Italy, all very large cash transactions have been banned.  Previously, the limit for using cash in a transaction had been reduced to the equivalent of just a few thousand dollars.  But back in December, Prime Minister Mario Monti proposed a new limit of approximately $1,300 for cash transactions.

And that is how many governments will transition to a cashless society.  They will set a ceiling and then they will keep lowering it and lowering it.

But is a cashless society really secure?

Of course not.

Bank accounts can be hacked into.  Credit cards and debit cards can be stolen.  Identity theft all over the world is absolutely soaring.

So companies all over the planet are working feverishly to make all of these cashless systems much more secure.

In the future, it is inevitable that national governments and big financial institutions will want to have all of us transition over to using biometric identity systems in order to combat crime in the financial system.

Many of these biometric identity systems are becoming quite advanced.

For example, just check out what IBM has been developing.  The following is from a recent IBM press release….

You will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins. Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.

Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files – will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.

Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.

Are you ready for that?

It is coming.

In the future, if you do not surrender your biometric identity information, you may be locked out of the entire financial system.

Another method that can be used to make financial identification more secure is to use implantable RFID microchips.

Yes, there is a lot of resistance to this idea, but the fact is that the use of RFID chips in animals and in humans is rapidly spreading.

Some U.S. cities have already made it mandatory to implant microchips into all cats and all dogs so that they can be tracked.

All over the United States, employees are being required to carry badges that contain RFID chips, and in some instances employers are actually requiring employees to have RFID chips injected into their bodies.

Increasingly, RFID chips are being implanted in the upper arm of patients that have Alzheimer’s disease.  The idea is that this helps health care providers track Alzheimer’s patients that get lost.

In some countries, microchips are now actually being embedded into school uniforms to make sure that students don’t skip school.

Can you see where all of this is headed?

Some companies are even developing RFID technologies that do not require an injection.

One company called Somark has developed chipless RFID ink that is applied directly to the skin of an animal or a human.  These “RFID tattoos” are applied in about 10 seconds using micro-needles and a reusable applicator, and they can be read by an RFID reader from up to four feet away.

Would you get an “RFID tattoo” if the government or your bank asked you to?

Some people out there are actually quite excited about these new technologies.

For example, a columnist named Don Tennant wrote an article entitled “Chip Me – Please!” in which he expressed his unbridled enthusiasm for an implantable microchip which would contain all of his medical information….

“All I can say is I’d be the first person in line for an implant.”

But are there real dangers to going to a system that is entirely digital?

For example, what if a devastating EMP attack wiped out our electrical grid and most of our computers from coast to coast?

How would we continue to function?

Sadly, most people don’t think about things like that.

Our world is changing more rapidly than ever before, and we should be mindful of where these changes are taking us.

Just because our technology is advancing does not mean that our world is becoming a better place.

There are millions of Americans that want absolutely nothing to do with biometric identity systems or RFID implants.

But the mainstream media continues to declare that nothing can stop the changes that are coming.  A recent CBS News article made the following statement….

“Most agree a cashless society is not only inevitable, for most of us, it’s already here.”

Yes, a cashless society is coming.

Are you ready for it?

The 15 Trillion Dollar Party

The 15 Trillion Dollar Party

If you knew that you could live in luxury for the rest of your life but that by doing so it would absolutely destroy the future for your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren would you do it?  Well, that is exactly what we are doing as a nation.  Over the past several decades, we have stolen 15 trillion dollars from future generations so that we could enjoy a dramatically inflated level of prosperity.  Our 15 trillion dollar party has been a lot of fun, but what we have done to our children and our grandchildren has been beyond criminal.  We ran up the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the planet and we are sticking them with the bill.  Sadly, both political parties have been responsible for the big spending that has been going on.  Both Democrats and Republicans have run up huge budget deficits when in power.  But instead of learning the hard lessons of the past, both political parties continue to vote for even more debt.  They would rather continue to steal trillions of dollars from future generations than have the party end and have to face the consequences.

And the consequences will be dramatic when the party ends.  During fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government spent 3.7 trillion dollars but it only brought in 2.4 trillion dollars.  That means that the U.S. government spent about 1.3 trillion dollars that it did not have.  It is important to understand that even if the U.S. government spent that 1.3 trillion dollars on really stupid things, that money still got into the pockets of ordinary Americans who then spent it on things like food, gas, housing, etc.  In turn, most of those that received money from providing those goods and services would spend it on other things.

So extra government spending can definitely stimulate the economy.  The problem is that we have been doing it permanently.  Since 1975, we have added more than 15 trillion dollars to the national debt.  This has fueled a false prosperity that was way beyond what we could afford.

If the U.S. government tried to go to a balanced budget now, our standard of living would crash and there would be riots in the streets.  The American people have been enjoying false prosperity for so long that they have lost any notion of what “normal” actually is.

Think of it this way.  If your family makes $40,000 this year and you spend an extra $20,000 on your credit cards, your family would be enjoying a false sense of prosperity.

You could do that year after year as long as the credit card companies keep loaning you more money.

But debt always catches up with you in the end.

It is the same thing with the United States.

We have been running up our national credit card balance and the interest payments have become quite painful.

The U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2011.

That is 454 billion dollars that the people of the United States do not receive anything in return for.

So in order to keep up with interest on the national debt and to enjoy a standard of living that is beyond our means we now have to run deficits that are in excess of a trillion dollars every single year.

And a trillion dollars is a staggering amount of money.

If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

Since Barack Obama was elected, the U.S. government has added about 5 trillion more dollars to the national debt.

That kind of debt is a recipe for national financial suicide.

How are we supposed to explain to our children that we are passing a debt of $15,579,852,946,457.64 down to them?

At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.

The 15 trillion dollar party that we have been enjoying has been amazing, but all of that debt is soon going to bring us a tremendous amount of pain.

And there is really no way out under our current financial system.  As our population ages, government budget deficits are projected to spiral wildly out of control in future years.

Already, entitlement programs are starting to cause massive problems.  For example, mandatory federal spending surpassed total federal revenue for the first time ever in fiscal 2011.  That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.

If the federal government used GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) like all publicly-traded corporations are required to do, the situation would be much worse.

The truth is that the U.S. government never had a “balanced budget” during the end of the Clinton administration.  The federal government was borrowing gigantic amounts of money from the Social Security trust fund to finance regular government operations.  It was a big fraud.  Under GAAP, there would have been huge budget deficits during those years.

And even under the non-GAAP numbers used by the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. national debt still increased every single year during the Clinton administration.

So let’s get real.

Our national financial situation has always been much worse than we have been told.

It has been estimated that our current budget deficits would be in the neighborhood of 4 to 5 trillion dollars under GAAP.

And looking down the road a bit, we are facing a tsunami of unfunded liabilities that is absolutely nightmarish.

In other words, we have committed ourselves to tens of trillions of dollars of expenses that we don’t have any money for.

According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. is facing a “fiscal gap” of over 200 trillion dollars in the coming years.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article that he did for CNN….

The government’s total indebtedness — its fiscal gap — now stands at $211 trillion, by my arithmetic. The fiscal gap is the difference, measured in present value, between all projected future spending obligations — including our huge defense expenditures and massive entitlement programs, as well as making interest and principal payments on the official debt — and all projected future taxes.

And it just keeps getting worse.  Recently it was revealed that Obamacare will add 17 trillion dollars more to our long-term unfunded obligations.

Basically what we have done is we have committed future generations to a life of endless debt slavery to pay for our debts and for the financial promises that we have made.

How could we be so stupid?

Of course this entire fraudulent system is going to completely collapse before we get too much farther down the road anyway.  Right now the whole thing is essentially being held together by chicken wire and duct tape.

Most Americans do not realize this, but the Federal Reserve bought approximately 61 percent of all government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2011.

Normally, the Federal Reserve is not supposed to be doing this.

But right now there are not nearly enough buyers of U.S. government debt at the super low interest rates that the U.S. government wants to pay.  A recent Money News article explained that foreigners have been increasingly shying away from U.S. debt….

“In 2009, such foreign purchases of U.S. debt amounted to 6 percent of GDP and has since falled by over eighty percent to a paltry 0.9 percent.”

Instead of interest rates on U.S. Treasuries rising to attract additional investors, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been intervening to make up the difference.

This is essentially “monetizing the debt” and it is something that Ben Bernanke promised that he would never do.

But he is doing it.

If the Federal Reserve was not buying up all this debt, interest rates on U.S. debt would soar and so would U.S. government interest payments.

Yes, this is a giant Ponzi scheme and it cannot last for long.

Of course all of this could have been avoided if our politicians had not been running up such massive amounts of debt all these years.

Some have suggested that our problems could be solved by simply increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Well, the truth is that the top 5 percent of all income earners already pay nearly 50 percent of all federal taxes and soaking them even more will not even come close to solving the federal budget crisis.

For example, if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

And as Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.

So taxing the wealthy will certainly not solve all of our problems.

In fact, when you tax the wealthy and the “somewhat wealthy” it slows economic growth in a number of different ways.

Number one, they have less money to spend into the economy.

Number two, they have less money to invest in business activities.

Number three, it gives wealthy individuals and corporations more of an incentive to move out of the United States.  As I have written about previously, the global elite are already hiding about 18 trillion dollars in offshore banks.  The U.S. government keeps trying to tap into all of that offshore wealth, but the elite always seem to be a few steps ahead of the game.

Yes, we should try to close loopholes in the tax system, but the truth is that the root cause of our problem is that the federal government is simply spending way, way too much money.

Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

But our politicians always want to put off spending cuts for another day because they know that immediate spending cuts would really hurt the economy.

For example, just check out this recent quote from White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew….

“The time for austerity is not today,” Lew told NBC News “Meet the Press.” “If we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in the wrong way.”

Yes, the Obama administration definitely does not want to hurt the economy with an election coming up in a few months.

So when will it be time to seriously cut government spending?

The day never seems to arrive.

But even though the federal government has been pumping more than a trillion extra dollars into the economy every year, the economy has not shown much improvement.  The percentage of working age Americans that have jobs has barely budged for over two years.

Yes, the policies of the Obama administration have stabilized the U.S. economy for the moment, but if he was actually going to tell the truth he would say something like this….

“By mortgaging the future of our children and our grand-children I have stabilized our economic statistics for the short-term.   Unfortunately, I am going to have to continue to financially abuse future generations to keep us from falling into another Great Depression.  Meanwhile, I am making our long-term financial problems far, far worse.  But the most important thing is that I win re-election so that I can continue to be president.  Thank you for being so selfish and so willing to destroy the future of your children.  Vote for me in 2012 and let the party continue!”

Unfortunately, the party is going to come crashing to an end at some point.

Right now, the global financial system is based on the U.S. dollar and on U.S. government debt.

There will come a time when the rest of the world is going to get sick and tired of watching this Ponzi scheme play out and they are going to completely lose faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. government debt.  In fact, there are already signs that this is starting to happen.

When faith in our currency and our debt is completely gone, it will be nearly impossible to get back and the game will be over.

The false prosperity that we are experiencing right now is about as good as things are going to get.

Enjoy it while you still can, because when it is gone that will be the end of it.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans have failed us.  They played fast and loose with our future and they never planned for the long-term.

Now we are facing a collapse of unprecedented magnitude that most Americans will never even see coming.

A horrifying economic collapse is coming.

You better get ready for it.