Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Problems with a Cashless Society: Tax Theft 14

Continuing from Tax Theft 13, series begins here.

If cash is eliminated, it would cause obvious problems for people who labor to produce value, in the sense that hypothetical black market transactions could be eliminated, placing an omniscient telescreen above more potential exchanges of goods and services than were previously monitored. Like forcing the purchase of health insurance, this sadistic immobilization of tax-cows would make everything a little more formal, a little more inhumane, and a little more expensive, emboldening tax farmers and other Bank agents in the pursuit of their harvests. The perpetual record of all transactions engaged in by citizens would grow larger and more complete, compounding Bank (State) and State (Bank) thefts of shares in employment, commodities, gifts, and inheritances.

The elimination of small-scale transactions will, like the intrusion of the State into marriage and family, provide a venue for State oversight of even the most mundane of familial laundering activities. For example, Citizen Father links his wristie with the delivery boy's wristie and purchases three large pizzas with an added tip. The next day he goes out for breakfast by himself, makes a sandwich at home for lunch using two slices of bread, 7 oz. deli turkey, one Roma tomato, half a pickle, 1 oz. mustard, et cetera. The AMA can verify that it is impossible for Citizen Father to have consumed three large pizzas all by himself, ergo he made a taxable gift of 2.5 pizzas, fair market value $25 plus sales tax plus tip, to Citizen Son and the friends of Citizen Son. Per the I.R.S.:
Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money's worth) is not received in return.
Spouses exempted, children over 18 not, associates of children not, friends from work not, et cetera. Citizen Father currently won't owe anything until he exceeds the yearly and/or lifetime exemption, but the current level of insanity relies upon his ability to not have every single transaction tracked, e.g., every single grocery and meal purchase logged by I.R.S. computers which can easily compare Citizen Father's age and weight with his total calories purchased, determine how many gifts he's making each week and to whom, and tax accordingly over any resource's lifetime and beyond. If you don't believe anyone notices or can notice these things, take $2,001.00 in cash out of your savings account on the third Friday of each month for a year, tell the teller "it's private" when she asks, and wait for the visit from Treasury. Current cash withdrawal reporting requirements, as monitored by the Treasury Department, are nothing compared to the 100% withdrawal and deposit monitoring exacted by the I.R.S. and the Federal Reserve. These are set in place as part of a gradual attempt to prohibit any private (non-taxed) transactions between human assets, in much the same way that customs, duties, VATs, income taxes, sales (initially "luxury") taxes, and property taxes were gradually imposed on only the super-wealthy, and marketed as such, then revealed their true, universal, purpose.

The above problems are, to most drudges, the obvious problems with a cashless society, which, affecting only the drudges, are no bar to those who will decide upon the timing of a cashless society. Rather, those are part of the long list of reasons that a cashless society proves attractive to tax farmers. The vulgar forces out there who don't believe in things to which they cannot fix a finite number and crush in their hands are driven to monitor everything in pursuit of further extraction, ergo their original love of managing the exchange of letters of credit.

There will, though, be some actual problems with a cashless society: "actual" in the sense that they serve as a problem that will need to be solved by the Bank's mediators. Consider, e.g., the United States: a thin veneer of technicality still prevents unapproved employers from hiring foreign scabs. Wealthier employers can buy legislation and produce arcane paperwork permitting the open, formal hiring of foreign scabs at substantially lower costs, all publicly recorded and producible in the event of a Bank-sanctioned challenge (such as citizens attempting to sue corporate officers for damages related to treason). In the event of a Robespierre, hapless corporate officers could wail that they were forced to do things by stockholders, and that it was all legal, so go after the legislators; the legislators would blame the lobbyists, who would of course be even more invisible and/or secure in London by the time such a scenario occurred than would be the legislators and officers. This may seem an unlikely precaution, but even in highly modern Bank territories, there remains the risk of regional disturbances that could require financial relocation, ergo records and plausible defenses are kept at every operational stage. The existence of such legal justifications--say, H1B regulations--not only provides the "just following orders" type of defense to puppets captured during local disturbances, but more importantly, a foundation for intended mission creep. Which is to say, the presence of ridiculous regulations breaks ground for the imposition of future changes which, in their own ridiculousness, make prior versions seem legitimate by comparison. First you tax the income of the captains of industry, then the plastic surgeons, then the project managers, and at a certain point of success, you're deducting three kinds of things from the little paycheck of Juan in the mailroom, and no one even thinks it's upsetting anymore. One accustoms a wild horse to being approached, talked to, then touched slightly, then groomed, then sat upon, then ridden, then saddled, then stabled, in incremental stages. Past the stabling point, and past the point where we know to herd others to join us, we now ourselves come up with new ways that we can work for our masters--ones the original breakers never would've imagined on their own.

This equine tangent must return us to the Bank's own problems with a cashless society. One of these is paying scabs in cash: an easily trackable problem which, despite all its records and acumen, the I.R.S. has seen necessary to overlook in order to keep American businesses competitive in certain ways. Quite bluntly, in the U.S., local agribusiness operating under the protection of serious agribusiness must hire foreign scabs in order to be competitive, and must pay them in some level of secrecy. This is not done by the corporate officers of serious agribusiness, anymore than I.R.S. agents are personally handing crates of cash and AR-15s to ISIS. Rather, numerous levels of expectation exist within the marketplace, to the point that any local agribusiness wishing to sell at scale to the subsidiaries of serious agribusiness must meet a price point that is only achievable through excellent service focus and efficient prospective planning and the latest agricultural techniques, which really means paying Mexicans $2/hr in cash and letting them sleep in the sheds at night. Over many years, various financial agencies could and occasionally did easily identify such systems, just as they could and did identify which components of "foreign aid" were being "skimmed" (on purpose) by corrupt foreign officials who were transferring funds to various service providers who ultimately got explosives to ISIS, based upon how much money was given and on what it was supposedly spent. And, as many low-level financial regulators have learned at their own peril, there are certain accounts upon which one must not follow up, if one is so foolish and clumsy as to accidentally stumble across them.

Many aspects of various Bank-heavy economies, not only agribusiness, operate under such rules, including a broad array of service, construction, maintenance, and medical industries and sub-industries, and here cash is necessary. Permitting subsidiaries to hire and feed and outfit Islamic armies is simple, because the amounts involved are, of necessity, so significant that only people already high in certain banking hierarchies may administer such affairs, and their work is easily obscurable by the other vast quantities of resources with which they are dealing. Occasionally, they are noticed by foolish or noble or unlucky attendants, and occasionally those attendants are so brave and heedless of their future careers in finance or accountancy that they attempt to become whistleblowers, and occasionally those whistleblowers are so lucky and brave that they manage to survive long enough to reach a faux-sympathetic media figure, and occasionally, if the media doesn't ensure that the story is followed up on ahead of time by contacting the whistleblower's bosses to ensure the whistleblower's disposal, a junior reporter may publish a snippet of a soon-buried story about a whistleblower having exposed something complicated...and, if that all happens, few will care anyway, and fewer will understand, ergo here we are.

When hiring, feeding, garrisoning, and--more importantly--outfitting sizable armies, the theft has to occur in the open, since the numbers are so large that even ordinary people will notice something is happening. When hiring somewhat-sizable armies, the numbers are large enough that powerful bankers need to be involved, and the numbers have to be disguised among colossal funds extracted for other, more ideatically fungible, projects. Cash, though, is still important. To hire scabs, and to dispossess X hundred million people in other ways, sub-sub-sub-contractors need to use cash under the table. The problems the Bank would face with a cashless society, though nothing compared to the problems it would face with a taxless society, are still quite significant. If all U.S. construction, agriculture, medical attendance, public and private landscaping, et cetera, had to instantly stop paying cash to scabs, the effect would be profound. Fully-trackable transfers are the Bank's goal, so cashlessness is, in that sense, inevitable, yet the grounds for a sustainable cashless leeching project will need to be established. Invaders/scabs would still need to receive benefits for their labor.

Currently, scabs do receive such, with a large rate of increase per year. Scabs may cross borders, and receive food vouchers, shelter vouchers, medical care, child care, and child-feeding, all openly and recorded on State and Congressional ledgers. These laborers, though, won't continue working for just that--not in the quantities in which they must work to keep business operating in the typical fashion. Cash can be spent on fun stuff that tax policies do not currently justify, like prostitutes and movie attendance and better housing and better impulse food, car, car upgrades, and so forth, as well as the obvious repatriation of money to other countries. A Guatemalan scab picking fruit in California, for example, can eat free and live on the farm, go to the ER when he's sick, send his kids to school with free breakfast and lunch, et cetera--but without the $20/day, how can he do fun things? Accordingly, what Banks will need to come up with is a way to provide tax money to scabs in a transferable form, where they can spend it with some degree of choice. Before the cashless society, we should see the proliferation of more advanced EBT cards, which can be swiped not merely for food, but all other things. The citizen ID/credit card will work for citizens formally subject to the jurisdiction of a given State, e.g., most producer-citizens. But enough gray area needs to be worked in that invisible workers can still receive tax-blind transfers from relevant employers. Consider how EBT cards were initially for only food, then massaged into schema where, so long as the store in question sells a handful of food items, the EBT cards can be used to pay for everything else in that store, including seasonal costumes, hair dye, and whisky. Future payment cards should be made to mimic "company store" cards, wherein they can be used to make vehicle payments, rent payments, internet or TV subscriptions, and to transfer funds between cards. Much the same as with tracking ISIS-based laundering versus tracking Bob's-Hardware-based laundering, the revenue agencies of the future will need to prove occasionally amazingly competent and precise at tracking how many screwdriver multi-packs Bob purchased for his inventory, yet to prove constantly amazingly in-competent and confused at tracking how many billions of dollars of foreign aid His Highness Saud X invested in marketable securities and Ferraris and new high-rises versus how many cannot be accounted for, e.g., purchased trucks and explosives for creating pretexts in or about the vicinity of Syria.

These problems, as we can see, are easily fixed by the right combination of painstaking record-keeping and painstaking blind spots. As they stand, though, they are still problems for a cashless society. There needs to be a plan for increased un-seeable resource transfer between small-scale assets in order to make this work.

3 comments:

  1. ...and, if that all happens, few will care anyway, and fewer will understand, ergo here we are.

    few will care

    even fewer can/will understand

    to be aware of this means only disappointments accrue, always

    "disappointment" is chosen politically, the true feelings run deeper & wider, always increasing in volume as one ages

    unfortunately not merely seasonal, not like the annual melting snow causing mountain streams to rage with the foam of whitewater for a few weeks, later stilling to a trickle or even drought.

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    Replies
    1. To most, it's as simple as this:

      "Hey, no more coins jingling in me pockets, no more bills making me wallet fat & me seated posture wonky."

      "All my data in one place makes it easier to use Quicken to balance the family spreadsheets."

      "How lucky are we to be living in such a glorious technological revolution! We'll tell our grandkids about this era, they won't believe people once used coins & paper money, or checks even!"

      "As the car replaced the horse, so does cashless society replace money-carrying society. Soon I'll publish my essay in Jacobin describing how this takes us away from our Money Focus (capitalism) toward Equality (Marxism), which all of us really want, deep down inside."

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    2. Ultimately, there will need to be some way for not just Quicken Brahmin households to idealize the card, but university scholars to claim that Marxism is either (1) fulfilled at last by universal EBT, or (2) still has a few steps to go. The debates between those two camps will be, no doubt, fierce.

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