(NaturalNews) The Greek financial crisis continues to escalate, as the government recently put in place a controversial revenue-generating policy aimed at improving its economic position at the expense of its citizens.
The government will introduce a “surcharge” — really, just a tax on cash — for all cash point withdrawals, such as at banks or at ATMs, in what is proving to be a last-ditch, desperate attempt to prevent citizens from taking their money out of beleaguered financial institutions altogether.
Greek leaders are hoping that the controversial decision will raise as much as €180 million (about $203 million), which the government in Athens then hopes will assist in avoiding a default on Greek debts owed to international creditors.
As Britain’s Daily Mail reports, many Greek citizens have already bailed on the banks:
As the Greek economy teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, millions of panicking citizens have completely cleared their accounts – pulling more than €28 billion [about $32 billion] out of banks and pushing the total cash revenue held in the country’s financial institutions to a 10-year low.
They, apparently, see what is coming.
Mandatory bank seizures, surcharges and reporting regulations
The egregious decision to implement a mandatory cash point charge (tax) will need approval by the European Central Bank, but Greek officials hope to impose a €1 tax for every €1,000 [$1,126] transaction. That isn’t likely to have a major impact on day-to-day withdrawals, but officials are hoping that it will discourage citizens from taking all of their money out of the banks.
“The surcharge is just one of a grab-bag of measures we are considering if things get tough,” a senior finance ministry official told the paper, adding that the charge won’t be applied to money deposited (of course not).
The same official said that Greece was toying with the notion of putting a ceiling on bank transfers over €1 million in what could be the impetus for capital controls if the country does go bankrupt in the months ahead.
“The news comes as the EU upgraded its growth outlook for the eurozone on the back of cheaper oil and a weak currency – but a sudden worsening of Greece cast a pall over the brightening situation,” the Daily Mail reported.
The decision by Greek ministers aligns with other recent moves to essentially criminalize or punish the use of cash:
— In recent years, the Louisiana legislature prohibited the use of cash to purchase second-hand goods, claiming that the law was aimed at preventing thieves from stealing items and then quickly selling them.
But the law affects legitimate businesses, too, such as pawn shops, antique stores and other businesses that deal in some, or exclusively in, second-hand items.
Writing’s on the wall
— In April, a report surfaced that said banking giant JPMorgan Chase sent letters to customers informing them of a rule change that prohibited them from storing cash in safety deposit boxes.
“As of March, Chase began restricting the use of cash in selected markets, including Greater Cleveland. The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and auto loans. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes,” stated LewRockwell.com.
— The Justice Department is requiring bank tellers to report your bank withdrawal if they “suspect” that you are using it to conduct illicit activity. No proof, mind you, just on the suspicion by someone you’re supposed to be able to trust when handling your money.
If banks don’t file a minimum number of “suspicious activity reports” in a year’s time, they can be fined.
It should be noted that American depositors are likely to fall under the same kinds of cash-targeting programs and regulations in the near future. Indeed, things are already trending that way. The best way to plan is to think about life without having your cash tucked away for zero interest, where it is tracked and where you will have to pay to use it, in a bank.
The writing is on the wall.
Written by J. D. Heyes
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