Harvard Professor Demands Ban On $20, $50, $100 Bills

Tyler Durden's picture

Six months since Larry Summers first suggested "it's time to kill the $100 bill," and three months after The ECB actually killed the €500 Note, another Harvard scholar is reinvigorating the war on cash. Amid claims that paper money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion, and illegal immigration, Ken Rogoff (ironically of "It's Different This Time" infamy) says the US should get rid of the $100 bill (and $50s and $20s) proposing, in his words, "a 'less-cash' society, not a cashless one, at least for the foreseeable future."

According to the esteemed ivory tower academic, paper currency lies at the heart of some of today’s most intractable public-finance and monetary problems. As Rogoff explains in The Wall Street Journal, getting rid of most of it - that is, moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions - could be a big help.

Rogoff's begins by stating factoids as facts...

There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime: racketeering, extortion, money laundering, drug and human trafficking, the corruption of public officials, not to mention terrorism. There are substitutes for cash—cryptocurrencies, uncut diamonds, gold coins, prepaid cards—but for many kinds of criminal transactions, cash is still king. It delivers absolute anonymity, portability, liquidity and near-universal acceptance. It is no accident that whenever there is a big-time drug bust, the authorities typically find wads of cash.


Cash is also deeply implicated in tax evasion, which costs the federal government some $500 billion a year in revenue. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a lot of the action is concentrated in small cash-intensive businesses, where it is difficult to verify sales and the self-reporting of income. By contrast, businesses that take payments mostly by check, bank card or electronic transfer know that it is much easier for tax authorities to catch them dissembling. Though the data are much thinner for state and local governments, they too surely lose big-time from tax evasion, perhaps as much as $200 billion a year.


Cash also lies at the core of the illegal immigration problem in the U.S. If American employers couldn’t so easily pay illegal workers off the books in cash, the lure of jobs would abate, and the flow of illegal immigrants would shrink drastically. Needless to say, phasing out most cash would be a far more humane and sensible way of discouraging illegal immigration than constructing a giant wall.

So to clarify - Cash (and Donald Trump) are at the center of all of America's and the world's ills and therefore - as a PhD who knows best - we must destroy it (for your own good)...

Obviously, scaling back cash is not going to change human nature, and there are other ways to dodge taxes and run illegal businesses. But there can be no doubt that flooding the underground economy with paper currency encourages illicit behavior.


To be clear, I am proposing a “less-cash” society, not a cashless one, at least for the foreseeable future. The first stage of the transition would involve very gradually phasing out large denomination bills that constitute the bulk of the currency supply. Of the more than $4,200 in cash that is circulating outside financial institutions for every man, woman and child in the U.S., almost 80% of it is in $100 bills. In turn, $50 and $20 bills would also be phased out, though $10s, $5s and $1s would be kept indefinitely. Today these smaller bills constitute just 3% of the value of the currency supply.


The point of getting rid of big bills is to make it harder to carry and store large amounts. A million dollars in $100 bills weighs approximately 22 pounds and can fit comfortably into a large shopping bag. With $10 bills, it isn’t so easy. Think of lugging around 220 pounds in a giant chest. Hoarders and tax evaders would find small notes proportionately costlier to count, verify, handle and store. The use of cash could be further discouraged by putting restrictions on the maximum size of cash payments allowed in retail sales.

But we need to think of the poorest people (oh wait so what you mean is, we really only care about ensuring those with any 'real' money are unable to easily transport it away from the soon-to-be-pernicious banking system?):

If cash is so bad, why retain small bills of $10 and under? For one thing, cash still accounts for more than half of retail purchases under $10, though the share fades off sharply as payment size rises, with debit cards, credit cards, electronic transfers and checks all far more important than cash for (legal, tax-compliant) payments over $100.


Retaining small notes alleviates a host of problems that might arise if cash were eliminated entirely. For example, cash is still handy if a hurricane or natural disaster knocks out the power grid. Most disaster-preparation manuals call for people to keep some cash on hand, warning that ATMs might be paralyzed.


But times are changing. Nowadays, cell towers and large retail stores typically have backup generators, allowing them to process bank cards during a power outage. And there are always checks. In due time, smartphone technology is likely to overtake all other media, and one can always keep a spare charging cell for emergencies.

And finally - Rogoff explains why sacrificing your personal privacy for the greater good is what really matters, because otherwise are you really a patriot??

Perhaps the most challenging and fundamental objection to getting rid of cash has to do with privacy—with our ability to spend anonymously.


But where does one draw the line between this individual right and the government’s need to tax and regulate and to enforce the law? Most of us wouldn’t want to clamp down on someone’s right to make the occasional $200 purchase in complete privacy. But what about a $50,000 car or a $1 million apartment? We should be able to reduce the problems I’ve described here while also ensuring that ordinary people can still use small bills for convenience in everyday transactions.

So, summing up - it appears Rogoff has identified the true evil behind today's dismal economy - cash - and suggests a "just the tip" approach to solving this with a "less-cash" society... which we are sure will never go any further than that... If you like your $10 bill, you can keep it...

Go ahead and cut, then: after all who really needs the Benjamins, right? Think of the criminal cost savings... Well, as we noted previously, here's the thing:

Chart of value of currency in circulation, excluding denominations larger than the $100 note. Details are in the Data table above.

As the Treasury chart above shows, $100 bills account for for $1.08 trillion of the $1.38 trillion total in circulation. So should the Fed react to the ECB's "scrapping" of the €500 bill, which accounts for 30% of the value of currency in circulation, then the Fed would respond in kind, by eliminating 78% of all paper currency in circulation by value.

Not a bad way to launch a global ban on paper currency ahead of a global NIRP regime, and all, of course, in the name of fighting "tax evasion, financial crime, terrorism and corruption."

Of course, there is one 'asset' in which to store wealth that is easier to transport than shoeboxes of dollar-bills...

But then again, they can always confiscate that too... (but as we noted previously, even that might be different this time)...

Today, only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population owns gold. Heck, I’d bet most Americans have never even seen a gold coin, much less appreciate its value.


This wasn’t the case in 1933, when the U.S. was still on a variation of the gold standard. That’s why the government probably won’t repeat the 1933 rip-off. It’s simply not worth the effort.


If the government wants to confiscate wealth, it’s far more likely to go for the easy option… steadily debasing the currency by printing money. It’s a stealthy way to confiscate from savers.


That doesn’t mean gold owners are in the clear.


I think the government will try a new scam: taxing windfall profits on gold. This would make it much easier for the government to accomplish something similar to its 1933 heist.


There’s precedence for it, too. In 1980, Congress passed the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act, which taxed up to 70% of “windfall profits” of domestic oil producers.


What the heck is a windfall profit anyway?


As far as I can tell, it’s whatever politicians decide it is. It’s completely arbitrary. There are no objective measures to define it.


In short, a windfall profit is simply a profit politicians don’t like. The whole concept is a scam—a word trick to camouflage and sanitize legalized theft.

If the price of gold explodes, don't be surprised if Congress passes a Fair Share Gold Windfall Profit Tax Act levying a tax of 80%, 90%, or more on gold profits.

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Wow72's picture

This "professor" wants to trap and control people.  If you cant take your cash out of the bank, you cant protest the banks... THEY ARE GOING FOR TOTAL CONTROL.  NO FUCKING WAY!

knukles's picture

Give the Professor a Lucky Leper's Foot.

Er, you dropped this, sir

Here2Go's picture
Here2Go (not verified) knukles Aug 27, 2016 1:12 PM

Is Ken Rogoff jewish?




over there, in the right column on the LONG LIST... But this was obvious anyway, right?

NidStyles's picture

These days if the University is an Ivy league, especially Harvard, it's safe to say their name echoes.


I assumed he was a dirty lying rat bastard from the start myself.

Here2Go's picture
Here2Go (not verified) NidStyles Aug 27, 2016 1:18 PM

On the list:


FFS ~ they're PROUD of it to endeavor to publish such a list...


He 's 'loosely' wedged, alphabetically, somewhere inbetween Paul Krugman & Larry Summers...


at this point WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? (so, bring on the 'junks', & kick me off of ZH for the 26th time FFS, because I 'clearly' bring ZERO value to this forum)...

NidStyles's picture

Yeah, I saw him on there.


I have never been kicked from ZH in the entire time I have been here. Still on my original account, original handle and original avatar.

I have no idea why it is that some of you get kicked constantly. I know it's not for what you're posting, because I have posted far more inflammatory stuff than most of you.

Here2Go's picture
Here2Go (not verified) NidStyles Aug 27, 2016 1:34 PM

I think it's the 'timeframe'...


I started publishing comments about these obvious things starting back in 2010, (whereby, it was more of a 'conspiracy theory' vs, 'conspiracy fact' type of thing)...


Got kicked off for the first time in 2012 (just after the REPORT OFFENSIVE COMMENTS policy got initiated)...


Fast FOARward... N-O-T-H-I-N-G Has ever changed (in the world of lies, corruption, fraud, theft, etc)... Same perpetrators, same victims...


The only thing that has really changed is that there is a new crop of ZH users... Sadly, & seemingly, a bunch of DRUDGE REPORT refugees who think they're now 'upping' their game (solely because they're on the Trump ticket)...



Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Money is not wealth, is not value, but is token of value. Value of money is notional, not real. But ledger entry (bit storage of record) is not even token, is accounting of token. So, abstract of abstract of value is what? When corporate state (state corporatist or corporate statist) is control ledger, citizenry is entire at mercy of state (or corporation) being reasonable. That, my Amerikansky friend, is not liberty, no matter how is convenient.

… meh, but what is Boris to know!?

Here2Go's picture

For me, the 'weird' thing is follows...


1. I could really care less (because I'm just a simple asswipe who has ZERO clout to have any effect on any outcome whatsoever)...

2. All I care about is the TRUTH

3. So basically... WTFF?... Why is speaking the 'TRUTH' such a bad thing? (Oh Wait)!



Twee Surgeon's picture

At least there are no Biblical implications or 2000 year old prophesies / warnings about anything like this because if there were, it might imply the existance of an invisible man in the sky who knows exactly what is being attempted.

An entirely electronic currency and of course a digital mark of some kind on yer cell phone, C.C. or just put this little chip in yer paw, harmless, convenient and just a little prick.

None of that kind of rubbish around here amongst the more rational and realistic, scientifically minded  and edumacated people.

Manthong's picture

Hang the banker’s whore.

hxc's picture

Makes you wonder if the NWO is an inevitability thanks to revelations, or they just have enough of us brainwashed into believing in their total control while the actual apocalypse might truly be thousanda of years off.

Forget who it was on here that said "I'm not sure if I believe in the prophecies of Revelations, but the people that run the world sure do." Exactly. Even an agnostic or atheist can plainly see the obvious similarity of the last pages of the bible with current history.

ACES FULL's picture

Boris,I pull out a $20 sometimes and ask people,what makes this piece of "paper" and ink worth "20 dollars". After puzzled looks and many wrong answers I always reply "faith and trust'. I tell them the ONLY reason that they will accept "paper" for their goods or labor is that THEY BELIEVE that someone else will also accept the same "paper" for the same value for their goods or labor. Still,only some "get it" and I admit that same logic applies to most other things including gold. I will bet that there is a large percentage of USA population that would choose fiat over gold payment if you made the offer. They are not familiar with gold and would be skeptical.

All that being said,it is still a good idea to have as much cash as you can afford hidden away for the reason of thats what people will be comfortable accepting,at least early on. Hundred dollar bills are pretty and don't take up much room and make you feel all warm and fuzzy looking at a big stack,however,say the power goes out for at least a few days(or more,everything from hurricane,ice storm up to EMP or cyberwar)then you are going to need small bills and change. If you are trying to buy something like a little food,kerosene,batteries,etc and only have hundreds and the seller has no change or SAYS he has no change,what are you going do. You are going overpay. So spend those $20,$50 and $100 bills and keep your metal change and $1,$5 and $10 bills. Its logical and defeats the argument made in this article.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Ah, "Greater Fool" theory. Delusional belief that there is always one who is more stupider, who will pay more than you… until there is not.

Dr. Spin's picture

Boris is right on the money, (pun intended...) and Boris knows it.

I will be 70 degrees south of my current position when this shite goes down.  I sincerely suggest you all do the same.


Dwain Dibley's picture

Boris knows more than most.

Within the U.S. there is a debt free money already available that circumvents bank lending, it's called "legal tender".  Legal tender is not borrowed, loaned or spent into circulation and the onlyway it gets into circulation, is by your demonstrated productivity and demand for the medium.

Another interesting thing, neither the Fed or the banks possess the legal authority to create money, and they don't.  What they do create is asset backed, debt based, private bank credit, not a U.S. legal tender.

You see, ours is a Legal Tender Monetary System. This means that our money is not defined by Ludwig von Mises, John Maynard Keynes, Murray Rothbard, Milton Frieman, Joseph Salerno, Paul Krugman, Mike Maloney, Peter Schiff, Ron Paul or any other chatterbox talking head or regurgitating economist.  Nor is it defined by Austrian Economics, Keynesian Economics, Monetarist Economics, Capitalist Economics, Socialist Economics, Modern Monetary Theroy, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Banking system, conventional wisdom, rote hearsay, or what people may use.  It means our money is defined by law.  And nowhere in law does it designate or even acknowledge Fed and bank generated asset backed, debt based privat bank credit as being a legal tender, or money, or currency, or a medium of exchange, it is 100% bank debt.

The legal tender in use today is provided as a duty an obligation of the U.S.G., born from the outlawing and confiscation of gold as money back in 1933. People with and without bank accounts, turned in their gold property and received the legal tender as replacement property. The legal tender system today is an extension of that time. That time has obscured the legal tender's gold origins, existing as the people's property first, makes it no less our property in the present, and the banking system's legal obligation to provide either upon demand or over time, the fruits of our labor as represented by those deposit accounts, our legal tender property. It was our money first.


KickIce's picture

I don't think the bastards give a shit at this point, they're ready to make the conversion to the NWO.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

I am not for a less-Rogoff world but rather a Rogoff-less one.

Itinerant's picture

I don't get why they go for the half-hearted approach, preventing us from spending our money on bad things (crime). Why not go a step further and spend the money for us, making sure it is spent wisely?

rejected's picture

Hear, Hear. I've only been here about 5 years but.....

I miss some of those old posters that really had some good insight on what the hell is happening. Today, it's mostly refugees from A. Jones / Drudge / Huffington sites. Some are knowledgeable but most just stir the pot. Many will disappear after the coronation this November.

PTR's picture

Good.  And, I share your sentiment.  I wish I had more tangible and helpful stuff to share than I do (which compared to comments that reflect attitudes, is in the minority.)  In fact, the comments sections is one of the reasons I gravitated to ZH.

Ah, well.  So it goes until the end of this cycle's silly season, then it's back to the normal, ol' silly shit.

zeronetwork's picture

Ban on $100, $50 and $20 will give rise to $95, $45 and $18 bills.

juangrande's picture

One positive would be  AT LEAST the blackmarket would be on a gold/silver/platinum standard!

juangrande's picture

The drawback would be how much more difficult it will be for the Pentagon to " lose " pallets of cash....

max2205's picture

The guy behind the counter making $10 Per hour could care less whether you pay with a $100 bill  or charge it.....as long as he balances out at the end of the shift.


Welcome to who gives a shit America 

NidStyles's picture

He cares when he goes to the bank to get money for his drugs, so he can live his loser life in contentment.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Of course a Zionist academic is going to shill for his Moneychanger Tribe!

Did you expect anything less?

We know, as they do, that when the USD hegemony ends, that their money-printing and asset stealing days are over.  In the meantime, they are trying to load up on all the ill-gotten Real and Paper assets that they can.  Not just in the US, Canada or Europe, but all over the globe -- where they hope to escape to and hide out, in comfort & style.  With or w/o the help of Doug Casey or Simon Black.  Probably via their own Z-Net.

The move toward a CASHLESS society is happening in a step-wise (boiled frog) fashion.  They hope and plan in a remorseless, relentless and Borg-like fashion to end up at the self-fulfilling prophecy of the NT (that inspired them):  

"And no one will be able to buy or sell, without the Mark (of the Beast) on their hand or forehead."  The Plan is that... "The whole world will be ruled by One Shekel and One Sanhedrin".   For that is their true Lord, when they chant "...the Lord is One".

YOUR choice is to resist/fight, join, or become the ruled Sheeple.  Decide.  Real soon.

RafterManFMJ's picture

So whadya think? 200 million dead in America after this all runs its course? 300 million? Place your bets, people; these Fascists will not stop on their own...it's a compulsion with them...

NidStyles's picture

These are Jews, the Fascists are yet to come.


When you start seeing Right Wing Death Squads, those are the Fascists. The ones that will purge the world of this scum will be the Fascists.


A Fascist is someone that uses force to purge society of the corruption and criminality. These Tribe bastards haven't done a single day of hard work, much less using force in their life. They use their graft and deceit to trick people into complying. A Fascist is a man that is tired of dealing with these scumbags through the means that they manipulate, and thus picks up a rifle and starts shooting them instead.

KickIce's picture

No, the Khazars/fake Jews are the true fascists, the neocons just want a place at the table, otherwise known as power, and a paycheck.

NidStyles's picture

No they are not. They are the originators of communism.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The WASP and RC scum are Aiding & Abetting their political power grab now -- just like their ancestors did when they made the money-grab centuries ago, when (according to the modern cover story) "No good Christian would deal with filthy money.  Let the Jews do it."

You can be sure that they was their idea too, but they succeeded in planting that Jedi Mind Trick in the gullible/malleable minds of the Aristocratic and Clerical elite, as though it was their own idea.  They didn't know who the TRUE Heros, Villains and Patsies were.  They still don't.  Dumb f*cks!

NidStyles's picture

The response will be the same as it was then. Right Wing Death Squads to kill all traitors and invaders. The Cursades were started this way.

RattieNomNom's picture

Actually this is very clever way of hiding inflation and grow of prices!!

Slomotrainwreck's picture

Another good reason for saving Copper pennies and Nickel nickels. Shit, even the Nickel plated Copper dimes too.

WmMcK's picture

Of course the copper in a nickel is worth more than the nickel.  Kyle Bass has a shitload.

AllMightyDollar's picture

"Amid claims that paper money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion, and illegal immigration"


The Clinton Foundation does all this within the regular banking system, without cash!!

KickIce's picture

They create trillions on a computer screen and worry about us carrying around $100 bills, no hypocrisy here.

juangrande's picture


"Amid claims that paper money fuels corruption, terrorism, tax evasion, and illegal immigration"                                                              

 That's just another way of saying, " you're not in the club " 

dot.dot's picture

"...costs the federal government some $500 billion a year in revenue."  Should read, "saves citizens some $500 billion a year from the clutches of a wasteful central government."


Why do these fuckers always take the side of gov't over the people to whom that gov't is supposed to serve?  Preach'n to the choir, I know....

sgt_doom's picture

Kenny Rogoff?

The very same Kenny Rogoff who fucked up royally (or so he would later claim) on his Excel spreadsheets, and said that was why "we" required AUSTERITY in the USA?!?!?

And when a student at B.U. pointed out his monstrous errors, Rogoff further compounded his lies (er. . . mistake) to falsely claim that when the error was corrected, austerity was still the answer?!?!?!?

Yup, that loser from Harvard . . . .

RU4Au's picture

Hey Kenny,

Write a book about how bad all that cash is for society and how it would be so much better if the fiscally responsible .Gov were to document all transactions, and even help you out with some of them.  Include the part about how much easier it would be for the IRS to calculate your tax bill, fines, and other random contributions for you and automatically deduct it from your accounts. See how much more efficient it would be? Never have to worry about missing deadlines for filing!

Oh, yes, and don't forget the part about taking all the hassle out of resolving a failed bank, ...not that that has ever happened.  Kinda like some of that Civil Asset Forfieture action.  Really slick now, huh?

Please put in a bunch of "math facts". It will make you look really smart and nobody will ever check it.

Thanks Kenny.

tricorn teacup's picture

"Austerity" is one of those terms where you aren't sure what they mean without knowing the speaker.  Some use it to mean government living within available means.  Others use it to mean raising taxes to cover spending.  The former works, the latter is doomed to failure.

doctor10's picture

cash....causes hemmarhoids, itchy teeth and ED as well...might even give ya AIDS...and, God forbid,even an Ivy League Degree...

these foolish people have no idea how close they are to a Marie Antoinette reality moment..when their Ivory Tower collapses

El Vaquero's picture

Yes, but this is a sign of desperation.  The stupid fucks will find that this makes the cash in circulation OUTSIDE of the United States worthless.  The good'ole Triffin Paradox will fuck them in the ass.  They won't get total control either, the parasitic fucks.  

Kurpak's picture

Hey Ken.. here's a quarter, why don't you go downtown and buy yourself a big bag of dicks, and proceed to eat them.  The more you squawk about banning cash the the more I just pile into hard assets and hide them from your worthless ass, you dingleberry.

Aaron'salmondStaff's picture

The funniest part to this whole endeavor to me is that Christ predicted it 2,000 years ago. How phuccing stupid are you really... that it took you 2,000 years to get here. The Syna-gouge of Satan claims to be better than any other race or culture and yet, it took 2,000 phuccing years. At least the real Israelite's were only lost for 40 phuccing years. These Fraudlites/Zionite phuccers couldn't find their asses with both hands and a compass, unless someone else drew a map and they then stole the phuccing thing.

NidStyles's picture

LOL! Fuck off!


Gold "profits" can't be taxed. If you exchange cash for gold, or vice versa, it's not a profit when you come out ahead. It's merely an exchange of like goods, which is is by definition within the US a non-taxable exchange of goods.