Don’t become a casualty of the War on Cash

“The 21st century has seen the emergence of a war unlike any other. On one side of the battlefield are governments, banks, credit card companies, central banks and other financial institutions. On the other side . . . cash and anybody who uses it.  While proponents of a cashless society would have you believe that terrorists, drug lords and criminals are the only people who would ever use cash, there are more people than you would imagine on what seems to be the losing side of the war.”

A century bond? Just think what can happen in 100 years

“Who would you lend money to for 100 years? Your children? Your best friend? Perhaps. But the Irish government? Or the Belgian or French government? They all seem to think they are worth a loan for this kind of duration.  Ireland last month launched the first 100-year bond, raising €100m. If you hang around to 2116, you will earn 2.35pc on your cash. Last August, Belgium blazed that trail, with its own century-long debt issue. Mexico has also issued one. The Spanish and the Italians have both gone above 45 years, and will probably join the century club as soon as they think they can get away with it. Even the UK has already dipped its toe in the water.”

National Security Letters are now constitutional, judge rules

“A judge who in 2013 declared that National Security Letters (NSLs) were unconstitutional has now changed her mind in an unsealed ruling made public Thursday.  Federal investigators issue tens of thousands of NSLs each year to banks, ISPs, car dealers, insurance companies, doctors, and others. The letters, which demand personal information, don’t need a judge’s signature and come with a gag to the recipient that forbids the disclosure of the NSL to the public or the target. Information sought in one case included a target’s complete Web browsing history, the IP addresses of everyone a person has corresponded with, and records of all online purchases.”

John Hussman: Bearishness Is Strictly For Informed Optimists

“When the primary use of fiscal policy is to wipe up the catastrophe of weak productivity, lost income, unemployment, and malinvestment created in the repeated aftermath of collapsed financial bubbles, the endgame is going to be stagnant living standards and a debased currency.  Ultimately, QE may finally create inflation by provoking a loss of fiscal control.  Central banks have risked just that by encouraging yet another speculative bubble, heavy issuance of low-grade debt, and the diversion of savings toward unproductive investment. The inevitable fiscal consequences are likely to include bailouts, income-replacement and transfer payment programs as the third bubble since 2000 collapses.”

Dead, detained or missing: China’s businessmen and officials are disappearing

“The one-and-half-day disappearance of Shanghai tycoon Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun Group, who is sometimes referred to as China’s Warren Buffet, comes at a particularly disturbing time for the mainland’s richest business figures.  Earlier this month,  tycoon Xu Ming was reported dead of a heart attack while in jail, despite being reported as enjoying an ‘excellent health and mental condition‘ just two months before his imprisonment.  Xu Xiang, an aggressive private fund manager regarded as China’s George Soros, was arrested last month for alleged inside trading, while six of the top eight executives at CITIC Securities are being held for questioning over possible wrongdoing.”

Highway bill revives the Export-Import Bank after only five months

“A measure extending the bank through 2019 was included in a massive transportation bill that cleared the House and Senate Thursday and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama. The small federal agency makes and guarantees loans to help foreign customers buy U.S. exports. Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say it’s necessary for U.S. competitiveness, since most overseas competitors rely on similar government help.  But conservatives decry the bank as corporate welfare and government interference in the free market.  A rarely used procedure in the House forced a floor vote on the bank over the objections of top GOP leaders.”

Highway Bill Compromise Funded By Expropriating Big U.S. Banks

“The highway measure would be financed in part by a one-time use of Federal Reserve surplus funds and by a reduction in the 6 percent dividend that national banks receive from the Fed. The dividend would be reduced by an amount tied to yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, currently about 2.2 percent. If Treasury yields rose higher than 6 percent, the Fed wouldn’t pay the banks more. Banks with $10 billion or less in assets would be exempt from the cut.  The Fed’s surplus capital comes from the 12 reserve banks. The highway bill would allow for a one-time draw of $19 billion from the surplus, which totaled $29.3 billion as of Nov. 25.”

The End of Tax Havens?

“One of [the OECD’s] foremost successes has been the Isle of Jersey. By forcing tax equalisation on Jersey, Jersey has had to decide whether to increase taxation for offshore depositors, or decrease taxes for locals. It chose the latter and, as a result, has experienced a shortfall in the government kitty, resulting in layoffs for public service workers, cuts in funding for road repair, sewage services, education, etc. Jersey appears to be on the ropes as a result. In five or ten years’ time, will the only tax havens be in places like Delaware, where the government-sanctioned tax haven follows the ‘bad practices’ that the OECD has called ‘criminal’?”

France Doubles Down On Cash Ban: No Transactions Over 1,000 Euros

On September 1st France announced new regulations that ban cash transactions of  1,000 euros. This comes as a surprise since France originally set the threshold at 3,000 euros.  A second measure, which comes into force on 1 st  January 2016 For individuals who perform foreign exchange transactions of their currency against euros. From next year, they will have to provide an ID from 1000 euros. Also as part of the fight against money laundering, banking institutions will, as from 1 st  January 2016, report to Tracfin anyone carrying deposits or withdrawals of cash superiors to 10 000 per month.”

Norway’s Biggest Bank Demands Cash Ban


“Norway – suffering from its own economic collapse as oil revenues crash – has joined its Scandi peers Denmark and Sweden in a call to ‘ban cash.’  Privacy advocates in Norway have expressed worries for years that, without cash, there would be no way for an individual to purchase something without being tracked. In 2014, Finans Norge, a financial industry organization in Norway, said the country was on pace to be a cashless society by 2020, Ice News reported. While DNB said its proposal will take time to complete, executives suggested the country start phasing out cash by discontinuing the 1,000 kroner note so it could focus on updating its banking system.”