RE: Bye-Bye to the >H Right Wing --> no cash allowed

From: Reason (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 11:45:44 MST

--> Mike Lorrey

> > In Florida, carrying large sums of cash, say over $10,000, is legally
> > defined as "suspicious". The police can and do seize such
> large amounts of
> > cash under the assumption that it is drug money. The cash can
> be retrieved
> > only if the person can prove where it came from and that it was obtained
> > legally. Any unexplained cash that is not later retrieved is
> simply kept by
> > the government.
> Well, yes, of course. Not that I like it, but this is an entirely
> rational argument to make, because if you kept that amount of cash
> outside of a bank account, then you must be trying to hide it from the
> government for some reason. At the very least you are trying to evade
> tax laws, at worst you are engaging in illicit trade.
> It is also rational to assume that if you got that amount of cash
> legitimately, you should be able to demonstrate with receipt records who
> you got it from and for what... at which point you'll be asked to pay
> taxes on it... of course, the fact that many businesses deal in far
> greater sums every day has no bearing... a legitimate business is
> assumed to keep the sort of records that would show how the money was
> earned ;)

Feh. Doesn't it seem a little ironic that in this allegedly capitalist
society, you're not allowed to move money around? It isn't just Florida, by
the way. Any and all cash transactions of $10,000 or more are routinely
flagged -- try it sometime if you have no worries about ending up in the
national drug enforcement database as a potential dealer.

My ex-in-laws are in the paper money business -- auctioning obsolete US
currency (funnily enough, there's an article up on about just
that). Baseball cards for rich people, a collectibles market for those with
hundreds of thousands of dollars to put down on that one-of-a-kind 1850's
color print. A rich and funny history, too, as early notes were often
defaced or enhanced to get across a political point (I have a cute little
1866 10c bill in which the portrait has been carefully and artistically
painted over with pointy ears, goatee, a red cowl, hat and horns -- souvenir
of my time as a trade assistant).

But I digress. Anyhow, since all paper currency printed since the umpteenth
set of banking reforms in the 1920s is still legal tender (officially, but
don't try it at home unless you want to end up on charges of passing false
currency) -- and looks more or less like current bills -- collectors have to
be very careful about how they transport these things for auctions and
shows. More than one collector has been arrested because of the transport
laws -- a particularly funny (in hindsight) story involves an auction item
from four years ago; someone had dug up a suitcase in their attic filled
with 1930s, 40s and 50s play money. Monopoly, dolls sets, other games,
standalone toys, you name it. Millions of dollars of various noncurrencies
in faded primary colors. So the whole shebang was to be sold as a single
lot, suitcase and all -- there are collectors who go for this sort of
found-in-the-attic chic. (Hell, there are collectors who collect hollowed
out stacks of bills for dye bombs, but each to their own...there was a stack
in which the bomb had gone off that went for several thousand dollars back
in 1998). Back to the story; so one of the auction company principals, who
is a big humorous, irreverant guy, heads into the airport (domestic trip, TX
to FL) with a battered suitcase full of play money. Needless to say, he
doesn't make it much past the x-ray machine before being picked up by
airport security. They cracked open the case, and refused to believe that
all the primary-colored toys were not real tender of some sort, somewhere.
So they arrested him. Took many hours to resolve all of the resulting
idiocy, but he was laughing about it by the end of the auction. Hard not to
with the killing they make on the commission.

Anyhow. "War on *" = stupid. Not even evil, just stupid, stupid, stupid. We
live in a sick, controlling society that encourages denial and a lack of
responsibility, can't look beyond tomorrow, curtails freedoms for idiot
reasons and looks more and more like the worst of Europe. Career politicians
are a major source of stupidity, popularity contents are no way to run a
society. Blah, blah, blah, heard it all before, possibly even from me, what
are we going to do about it?


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