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A Penny Saved… Is No Longer Legal Tender

October 20, 2011

File this one under, Wait, WHAT?… Reasom Magazine via local Louisiana News.

Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.

House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

The theory here is that criminals can’t make a quick transaction for hot goods, and must have a paper trail that leads back to them if they sell something.  If you ask me, it’s somewhat creepy that we have the government demanding that we involve intermediaries in the transaction of any business, and the fact that there’s a demand for a trail makes me wonder how else that information could be used.  Maybe I’m just feeling suspicious today, but a law that focuses on catching specific criminals rarely gets used just to catch specific criminals.

One interesting scenario:  All gun sales in the state will have a complete audit trail even beyond the standard transfer records that gun dealers are required to keep.  Of course, this won’t matter to real criminals, who will just continue to use cash.  Heck, when you’re dealing in illegal stuff, you can likely find someone willing to break a law on recording the transaction, right?  So law-abiding citizens get their rights to use legal tender infringed, while criminals continue to do business the old-fashioned way.

One of the lasting effects of Prohibition was that it caused normal people to willingly break the law and deal under the table for alcohol.  This one strikes me as similar, and it gets creepy invasive at the same time.

One other thought… I’m becoming more a believer every day that electronic banking is making us lose track of what we’re actually spending.  There’s not that much of a barrier to swiping the ol’ plastic for something.  I find that a twenty in my wallet lasts well over four times longer than four fives.  I’m cheap, so I won’t let Big Hair Andy go unless I really need something.  It encourages me to keep spending down.  Laws like this make it easier for us to spend and stay in debt, and that’s what put us on the economic brink in the first place.

So count me in the cash business.  I guess I’ll just have to wait to see who tries to take that away from me next.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2011 11:04 am

    Some legislators need to be cashiered, I think.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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