Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert could go to jail for giving someone hush money. The funny thing is, it was his money and he earned it. It's against the law to make cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 to avoid having the banks report it. They track every cash transaction over $10,000. The government looks at large cash transactions as a sign of illegal commerce. It very well could be. But more to the point, these transactions are invisible from taxation.
Legally you can only give each of your kids $10,000 a year tax free. What is to stop you from giving them, cash? Hmmm.
I purchase gold and silver now and then to add to my retirement funds, (leaving it in the bank to collect interest is an excellent waste of time). I usually pay by cashier’s check, I feel uncomfortable carrying cash. You want to buy one million dollars of gold, go right ahead write a check, no one will question it, you are breaking no laws. I’ve seen two different people show up at one coin shop I frequent, with ledger checkbooks, writing company checks for gold around Christmas time. I could swear the one guy wrote “cleaning supplies” on the check memo.
People are shifting to cash. If you have a debt collector after you, or an ex-wife looking for alimony, you don’t want direct deposit. Your paycheck will vaporize when it hits your account. The same for student loans. If you have a part time job under the table, you’re not going to put the dollars in the bank, it will screw up any government benefits you are currently collecting. Bust your butt to earn an extra $10,000 and find out it goes into your healthcare that was free, until it showed up in your tax return.
Hurricane Katrina showed the Federal government how invisibly large the cash economy was in that city, after the disaster. All of the Federal support checks being mailed down there, all of a sudden had no valid addresses. The words fraud and abuse never surfaced, and if they had, many high up government officials would have qualified for jail time. They whistled by the graveyard on that one.
The mechanic down the street has two prices, one for credit cards and the other for cash. When the phone says press one for English, you know there are two economies, one is hidden.
So what is going on, we have an economy that is collecting less taxes and having more expenses to cover. In order to participate in this "Free lunch program," you have to be broke (excluding your Mercedes and million dollar home--they don't count against you). The new trend is to hide your assets in a safety deposit box or under the mattress. The banks don't pay any meaningful interest. $100,000 in the bank at 1% will pay $1,000 a year. Hide the dollars and get a bonus of $3,600 in
The neat thing about keeping your money out of the banking system, is that no one from Nigeria can get on the phone with you and drain your retirement account. They can’t touch your mattress or the box buried in the back yard. Home Depot has shovels on sale at $15. Tip--don't bury currency or hide it in the walls, rats love the stuff for nesting.
Another good thing, if your care taker wants to make $1,000 the hard way, you have the cash on hand (that’s when having a bad memory is a good thing). You don’t have to go shopping with the wife to have fun—you can have fun, while the wife is shopping.
Interest rates are real low and no one is borrowing, but God help you if you want to withdraw your saving in cash. Retirees have gobs of money in banks, they have monthly statements to prove it. Bernie Madoff’s problem started when people wanted their dollars back. So far, most retirees are content to play the game of “Leave it in the bank.” The problem is, low interest rates have changed the way you play the game. You get more from government, if you can prove you have nothing. What would happen if more people (who have savings) wanted their savings in cash? The government wouldn't be able to borrow those dollars, to give it to those, that have none. But while they have the dollars, get in line and make Bernie proud.