(OPINION) PNW – Have you ever thought about the ramifications of a cashless society? I’m talking about the real, first-person effects, not some ephemeral conspiracy theory. This is bad news for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are the ways it would affect day-to-day life.
Here’s my definition of a cashless society, so we’re all singing from the same songbook: Cash would no longer be legal tender, therefore you could not make purchases with it, pay bills with it, or spend it in any way. You would not be able to deposit cash into your bank account so you wouldn’t be able to accept cash for an exchange of goods or services.
Therefore, cash would be nothing more than a worthless piece of paper. We’re heading this way. Jose recently wrote that Venezuela is rapidly becoming cashless, and here in the United States, a concerning early sign is that there is a “change shortage” which is causing many stores to give you your change on a store loyalty card or invite you to donate that change to some cause. Think of all the times that cash is an appropriate gift.
I’ve always given money, like stuffing a child’s birthday card with a $20 bill or giving a new graduate some cash to put toward college expenses. When I got married, we received quite a bit of money from various loved ones. My dad always gave my daughters some spending money of their own each time we visited and they were surprised and delighted every single time.
However, in a cashless society, there are two problems with this. First of all, the recipient would not be able to use the cash. He or she would not be able to spend or deposit it. Secondly, if a monetary gift is given, it would have to be done with a check or electronic transfer. This means that the government (and the Tax Man) would know precisely how much money any person is given.
That might not be a big deal for the 7-year-old who got $20 from grandpa, but what about the graduate who raked in a couple thousand in gifts from family members to celebrate his or her accomplishments? At what point will the government have their hands out for “their fair share?” A lot of folks are really struggling right now with the COVID shutdowns.
Jobs have been lost, hours have been cut, and financial problems abound. One of the ways that these people are making ends meet is with side gigs. Folks are cutting grass, cleaning houses, driving for Uber, delivering food, babysitting – they’re coming up with all sorts of ways to make some extra money. A huge percentage of these people are being paid in cash.
But if suddenly you can no longer spend your cash, you’d need to be paid electronically. How many people who don’t already have a business have a merchant account for taking credit or debit cards? There are options like PayPal and Venmo, which take a percentage fee, but they’re going to have to figure out something. And then, as above, every single bit of this side gig money is traceable and trackable. This could quickly turn your 20 bucks from lawn mowing into $15 after taxes. READ MORE