Cash, currency and coins, is a store of value. In the US, "legal tender for all debts, public and private." Carry too much of it though and you are marked for suspicion (per the Wall Street Journal]:
Steven Bierfeldt, treasurer for the Campaign for Liberty, a political organization launched from Ron Paul’s presidential run, was detained at the St. Louis airport because he was carrying $4,700 in a lock box. . . . TSA screeners quizzed him about the cash, . . . then summoned local police and threatened him with arrest because he responded to their questions with a question of his own: What were his rights and could TSA legally require him to answer?
How about former Senator Bob Dole who habitually carried a wad of $100 bills? When federal regulators spotted his large cash withdrawals his bank filed "suspicious activity reports" questioning whether he might have violated federal laws against money laundering.
Multi-millionaire New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's large cash withdrawals led a shadowy anti-corruption unit to his use of a prostitute - and to his resignation. As if a multi-millionaire is a likely candidate for money-laundering or bribery - but he did anger a lot of bankers. Hmm-m.
As money launderers see automated cash-tracking programs follow ever smaller sums, they open more accounts and make even smaller cash transactions. Which brings the breath of suspicion closer to all of us.
Where does it stop?
Not legal tender
Oh, and you know those lines about "legal tender for all debts, public and private" on our currency? Scratch that.
The Denver-area E-470 toll road is going entirely cashless - requiring drivers to use transponders - or pay higher fees when a bill arrives in the mail. That follows the Dallas-area President George Bush Turnpike's earlier abandonment of a cash lane.
Another thought: divorce lawyers and others are accessing electronic toll road records. It isn't just the Internet where you have no privacy.
California has anonymous FasTrak accounts. Top it up with cash - oops! you're toast, buddy! - and away you go.
The Storage Bits take
As we enjoy this 4th of July, where Tom Jefferson once lauded those ". . . for opposing with manly firmness. . . ." invasions on the right of the people, let us remember that many Americans would not sign a petition with the text of the Bill of Rights. Too radical.
Your laptop can be seized for no reason when entering the US and its contents freely searched for - well, anything. Just as carrying a large amount of cash is now suspicious, a 64 GB thumb drive could soon make you a suspect.
Social totalitarians want to control our bodies and our lives, invading doctor's offices, churches, ATMs and toll booths. Cheap massive storage makes it possible. Only patriotic Americans - liberal and conservative - insisting on their rights stand in the way.
It would be nice if social totalitarians on the Supreme Court would take to heart the original intent of the 9th Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by
corporations the people.
In the meantime, for Steven Bierfeldt, who resisted the TSA's illegal questioning, and the ACLU and others who defended him, 3 cheers.
Courteous comments welcome, of course. Update: A reader wrote in to ask why I had included a struck-out word in the 9th Amendment. Was it an accident or ??? My response:
"Corporations - legally, immortal "persons" capable of amassing great wealth and power - were not part of the American landscape in 1776 or in 1789. We as a people have ceded vast powers to corporations with very little debate on their role in American life. That is, in my view, a threat to liberty almost as grave as that presented by an unaccountable government." End update.