Like most Australians, you probably keep your savings at a bank. Even if interest rates have plunged to record lows, it’s easier letting the banks take care of your money. Easier than stuffing it under a mattress, anyway.
If nothing else, there’s no urgency to take savings out of your account. You can still get ‘okay’ returns on term deposits and savings. Much worse than a decade ago, when rates were much higher, but tolerable nonetheless.
And why would you keep your money anywhere else? The banking system hasn’t collapsed. It continues to function as normal. There’s no threat of waking up tomorrow to find your ATM withdrawal has been declined.
You should be thankful you don’t live in Greece.
The Greeks have reached a new level of crazy. Way beyond anything we’ve seen for a while. Keep in mind what you’re about to read isn’t someone’s idea of a bad joke.
From 1 January, 2016, Greek taxpayers will have to declare all cash holding that contain €15,000 or more. For jewellery and precious stones and metals, that figure rises to €30,000. What used to only apply to property, cars and shares, now applies to all deposits. Greeks that dabble in offshore banking will have to declare all their holdings too.
‘Nanny state’ doesn’t come close to describing what’s happening here. These are desperate acts from a desperate government. But it shouldn’t come as any surprise. When you’re financially bankrupt, you become morally bankrupt too.
Make no mistake. This is the first stage of a much wider asset seizure. Don’t want to declare what you have? That’s fine; they’ll just take it all. Those who fail to declare their holdings stand to become de-facto criminals.
It’s a worrying development in the nation that birthed modern democracy. And it’s no exaggeration to call it a baby step towards full autocracy.
Of course, here in Australia there’s not much reason to hold much cash under the bed. But you can’t blame anyone that does in Greece. Banks have already shown they’re capable of shutting down at moment’s notice. Anything to prevent runs on banks that would sap them dry of capital.
From next year, Greeks will have to declare all their assets with taxation authorities. And they’ll have to do so through an electronic system.
There are plenty of questions about the practicality of all this.
How do you follow up on all the cash or metal assets the Greek public hold? Try chasing down just one person. If they don’t hide it under their mattress, or a safe, they’ll just put their ounce of gold in their pocket as the authorities search.
And just how do you convince authorities that you’re telling the truth about your declarations? What if they deem your honest assessment as attempted fraud?
You can see how senseless, let alone unworkable, this whole idea is. There’ll be enough people who get stung through little fault of their own.
There’ll be plenty of people who won’t declare their assets. After all, the Greeks are renowned for their tax avoidance. It’s hard seeing it being any different with cash assets.
So what do you think will happen? How many secret raids will the government conduct? Imagine authorities breaking down the doors of ‘suspects’, with no warrant in hand. Searching up and down, checking every nook and cranny. It’s not a dystopian future; it’s Greece on January 1, 2016.
Greece: the first step towards cashless society?
The Greek government is playing a dangerous game. It highlights the extent that moral bankruptcy can take hold once government’s become insolvent.
In Australia we haven’t yet sunk to such lows yet. But we might not have to. As much as anything, this is all about total control of populations.
When you read of cashless societies, these are the kind of steps that are necessary to getting there. The government wants complete control of your finances. They, and the banks they serve, don’t want you operating outside their system. They want every transaction you make to be under their watch. They want you to have no control of your own money.
Why would they want this? So they can manipulate money supply as they see fit.
If there was no cash, there’d be nothing preventing a lid on negative interest rates. It’d be easy for central banks. If you have no choice about where to store your money, you have no say in anything. You have to bite your lip and accept whatever the banks decide. Sooner or later, you’ll pay them to store money with them.
Want to hold your cash instead? ‘Too bad, we’ve banned cash!’ That’s not a future we should be striving for. But it’s a future that, in all likelihood, is coming. Not just in Greece, but in Australia and elsewhere.
Unfortunately for the Greeks, they’re already well on their way to this.
Junior Analyst, The Daily Reckoning
PS: Central bankers’ monetary manipulations are nothing new. It’s why half the developed world seems to have interest rates at near zero. But it won’t be long before Australia joins the club.
The Daily Reckoning’s Phillip J. Anderson reckons interest rates will remain at record lows for years. In his brand new report, ‘Why Interest Rates Could Stay Low for the 21st Century’, Phil warns that you won’t be able to rely on your savings to fund your retirement.
Inflation, stemming from low rates, will eat into your savings. Worse still, you won’t be able to count on savings funding your retirement. The regular return on term deposits has halved in the last four years alone.
But you have options…if you choose to act now.
Phil wants to show you the best way to invest in this low interest rate environment. He’s prepared a four-step strategy that could boost your portfolio and wealth. You’ll learn exactly where to park your cash over the coming decades. And you’ll see how this could lead to incredible profits. To download the report, click here.