Few Europeans use the 500-euro note, and most Americans rarely encounter the $100 bill. Yet hundreds of millions of these notes are in circulation around the world, where they are often used by drug cartels, corrupt politicians, terrorists and tax cheats to evade law enforcement. That’s why officials in Europe and elsewhere are proposing to end the printing of high-denomination bills.
Getting rid of big bills will make it harder for criminals to do business and make it easier for law enforcement to detect illicit activity.
So they say. Almost a repeat, word for word, of Larry Summers’ pitch. They even threw in the “bin Laden” thing, though I’ve never heard anybody call it that. Then again, Larry and I hang in different circles.
Will getting rid of big bills help law enforcement? Sure. So will warrantless searches of homes at will. Are we making a list? It will be very long. Very long indeed. But since when did the New York Times extol the virtues of ease of law enforcement when it came at the expense of those people it loves so much?
Critics who oppose such changes say the big bills make it easier for people to keep their savings in cash, especially in countries with negative interest rates. Some people also prefer not to conduct transactions electronically because they fear security breaches. But these are relatively minor burdens compared with the potential benefits of reducing criminal activity and tax evasion.
There are also “critics” who have a bunch of other reasons, like the impact this will have on the poor, minorities, immigrants of the less than lawful stripe. I hate to tell you this, Times, but just because they’re black and have a c-note doesn’t make them criminals.
And yet, these are “relatively minor burdens,” particularly when Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., probably has a pretty high limit on his MasterCard. Not a big deal to you limousine liberals? Of course not. You’ve never felt scared to death that if you don’t keep your savings under the radar, the government will find an excuse to take it from you. Irrational? Perhaps, but so what? Must everyone share Larry Summers’ adoration of financial institutions?
The problems with this scheme were already discussed when Harvard’s favorite son, Larry, pushed his way into the conversation. The reason it’s up for discussion again is that the paper of record, dedicated to standing up for the rights of the downtrodden, just did a flippy-floppy of epic proportions when it wrote the concerns of millions of people out of the story. Maybe the poor aren’t subscribing enough, and the Times figures they won’t read it?
The balance between the benefits to law enforcement that might be gained by the elimination of big bills and the burden to everyone who uses them, needs them, and somehow isn’t in charge of a drug cartel, is a worthy subject of discussion. But not when the Times tries to tip the scales by presenting such a skewed and disingenuous strawman in opposition to this move.
In doing so, they have abandoned the very people they claim to speak for. The Times just blew them off, marginalized them, disrespected their existence and agency.
Going forward, does this mean that the Times now cares nothing for the plight of the poor, the undocumented, the uneducated, the victims of systemic societal discrimination? Because if that’s what it means, so be it. Not even the New York Times is constrained to remain on the side of the downtrodden.
But if that’s the case, then you can’t flip-flop again, cry sad tears for all the people who suffer at the hand of the wealthy and powerful, whose voices aren’t heard, whose concerns are ignored. If you don’t give a flying shit about them here, then you can’t give a damn about them on other issues when Larry Summers isn’t involved. Then you’re just a hypocrite.
Are you a hypocrite, New York Times? Or do you really just hate those damn illegals and the poor, and have finally gotten in touch with your inner hatred?