Ban the Dollar!

Congressman points out silliness of Sen. Manchin's complaints about bitcoins


What a boring tie.
House of Representatives

Left libertarianish Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has resorted to satire in defense of Bitcoin. In response to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sending a letter to Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen and other officials calling on them to ban bitcoins because it can be used for illegal transactions, Polis sent a letter seeking to ban dollars. He notes:

By way of background, a physical dollar bill is a printed version of a dollar note issued by the Federal Reserve and backed by the ephemeral "full faith and credit" of the United States. Dollar bills have gained notoriety in relation to illegal transactions; suitcases full of dollars used for illegal transactions were recently featured in popular movies such as American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club, as well as the gangster classic, Scarface, among others. Dollar bills are present in nearly all major drug busts in the United States and many abroad. According to the U.S. Department of Justice study, "Crime in the United States," more than $1 billion in cash was stolen in 2012, of which less than 3% was recovered. The United States' Dollar was present by the truck load in Saddam Hussein's compound, by the carload when Noriega was arrested for drug trafficking, and by the suitcase full in the Watergate case. 

Unlike digital currencies, which are carbon neutral allowing us to breathe cleaner air, each dollar bill is manufactured from virgin materials like cotton and linen, which go through extensive treatment and processing. Last year, the Federal Reserve had to destroy $3 billion worth of $100 bills after a "printing error." Certainly this cannot be the greenest currency.

Printed pieces of paper can fit in a person's pocket and can be given to another person without any government oversight. Dollar bills are not only a store of value but also a method for transferring that value. This also means that dollar bills allow for anonymous and irreversible transactions.

This sarcastic response is familiar ground for any bitcoin supporter, but it's interesting coming from the pen of a congressman.

As for Yellen, she's already said the Federal Reserve has no authority to regulate bitcoins.

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  1. It’s a bit heartening to see it coming from a Dem. I was a bit concerned more of them would line up with Manchin, and then it turns into Luddites vs. non-Luddites, with plenty of the Republicans (like McCain) going along as well.

    1. “It’s a bit heartening to see it coming from a Dem.”

      I was thinking the same thing. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

    2. Not really. There are plenty of Dems who want to ban cash, and force all transactions onto government-issued debit cards for better tracking and oversight.

    3. Did you know that “Manchin” is in fact the man’s real name, and not his nickname? I was surprised as anyone.

      1. Manchin is Barbara Boxer’s nickname however.

    4. I’m not sure that Polis wasn’t kidding. He might just mean that physical money should be banned, and everyone must live off a journal entry at the bank regarding how much money you have.

    1. They might not realize he’s joking.

  2. Careful, now. There are a good number of people out there who would probably love to ban any kind of currency that allows for anonymous and undocumented transactions.

    1. Yep. It starts with banning cash transactions for things like airplane tickets, then pretty soon you can’t pay cash for anything.

      1. I think it starts with banning carry too much cash on your person.

        1. That’s already the de facto scenario.

          1. Ah, but they’re sneaky. They arrest the cash instead of you.

        2. Only somebody up to no god would ever have more than $500 on their person at any time.

          On this note, I got pulled over in Temecula a few weeks ago and I had about $40k in caah in my briefcase. I made sure to tell the cop that I had the cash lest he search my car on some bogus pretext and find it himself.

          1. What could you possibly need $500 for? It was for drugs, wasn’t it!

            1. It was payment from a customer of mine that he asked me to take back to my office and process.

              1. dear god I hope you were armed.

                1. In California? Shit, that would have resulted in my roadside execution for a furtive movement followed by the purchase of a new Toyota Tundra by the fine CHP officer that protected and served the shit out of me.

                  1. this made me laugh…i apologize.

                2. I once had a friend who was buying some property for $25,000 cash. It was an amazing deal but the situation was a little shady, as the sellers were obviously dumping the property as fast as possible. So we went to three banks (he kept many accounts for exactly this purpose) and withdrew a third of the $25,000 from each, thereby not triggering the $10,000 alert. Then he had me stand outside the door of the suite where the deal went down, armed, and had me listen for anything…uh…suspicious, or to see if the other guys came out but he didn’t. Everything went down fine, and he got over 100 acres in the middle of town for a song.

                  It was kind of exciting too.

                  1. Hoffa is buried there, isn’t he?

                    1. Hoffa’s in a locker in a Detroit high school.

                  2. It was kind of exciting too.

                    I can only hope it was more exciting than your retelling of it. If not, I have no idea how you managed to stay awake the whole time.

                  3. Oh, man, the good old days.

                    Nowadays, the 3 separate “structured” withdrawals will get your money seized by the feds.

                  4. So we went to three banks (he kept many accounts for exactly this purpose) and withdrew a third of the $25,000 from each, thereby not triggering the $10,000 alert.

                    Dude, you know you just admitted to a felony, right?

                    You are yet another person I have to cross of my ‘people I can commit major crimes with’ list.

          2. At least you didn’t stop at a motel in the middle of nowhere with that $40K.

          3. By chance, is your real real name Ron Cadillac?

        3. It started when they stopped printing 1,000 dollar bills and higher. Now they only go up to 100, and the 100 is worth about 30 bucks compared to when they made that decision.

      2. I wonder what would happen if I walked into an airport and tried to purchase a one-way ticket with cash directly from the counter agent? Not as a last-minute thing, but an advance purchase.

        1. How TSA agents have you seen at one time? Add “a shit load” to that figure, and that is what would happen.

        2. My grandpa has done that in the last 2 years. They just check your I.D. and ask a few questions.

          1. Like, what kind of questions? And why ID?

          2. This says you don’t need ID.

    2. Yep, I can easily imagine nannies wanting to limit the number of times you’re allowed to purchase fast food, ammunition, cigarettes, alcohol, or subscriptions to Reason Magazine. Also, there’s the stripper problem.

      1. Not a problem – purchase tokens from the bar. Just like a crappy video arcade.

        1. And where are you going to insert those?

          1. Canada has that worked out. They take the coin, then deposit it in a cup on the stage.

            1. Canada has strippers? That’s terrible. Who has the time to wait for them to peel of 6 layers of seal skin and caribou?

              1. Canada has some damn fine looking women. And despite what they say, they want real American men, not neutered Canucks whose only sexual releases are hockey, LaBatt’s and complaining about “USAians.”

                1. I’ve been to Paris, it’s smelly and cold,
                  I’ve been to Athens where the buildings are old.
                  I’ve walked cross Tasmania in the antarctic dawn,
                  But it just don’t compare to old Saskatchewan.

      2. I think it is mostly about black market (and other untaxed) transactions now. Though if cash were eliminated, I’m sure ideas like what you suggest would start to flow.

      3. Surgically implant a card reader?

      4. Casinos were way more fun when you walked around with a couple of jumbo plastic cups full of actual silver dollars. Now you get a receipt.

  3. That smug face of satisfaction you get when you make someone eat their words…priceless.

  4. Ya know, you *say* satire – but how long before he sees an opportunity to get his name in the papers and champions this for realses?

    He is, after all, *left* libertarian, which is just a codeword for ‘socialist-light’ and ‘do what you’re told for the greater good’.

    1. It’s possible he’s just clinging to some lefty ideas, but it won’t be long before he goes full-retard-libertarian. Happened to me.

      1. Not really…While he has sided more principled than his D brethren on typical left issues he is still a far leftist.

    2. I sometimes feel like libertarians will end up in concentration camps, but only after libertarians gain power and start purging the impure.

      1. (points at Hugh) *Donald Sutherland screeeeech*!

      2. That’s nonsense, Hugh. Libertarians will just kill you. No camps.

      3. I’m sure the libertarians will kill all the anarchists first, Hugh. SO GET IN LINE. Also, get branded by laserscan.

        1. Some of us were kept alive… to work… loading bodies. The disposal units ran night and day. We were that close to going out forever. But there was one man who taught us to fight, to storm the wire of the camps, to smash those minarchist motherfuckers into junk. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink. His name is Warty. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son.

          1. Come with me if you want to freebase and pay weregild, Hugh.

  5. libertarianish Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)

    “You keepa using that word with him. I donna think it means whata you think it means.”

  6. Calling a near-socialist that’s for drug legalization “libertarianish” might be a stretch, Scott.

    1. Everyone in Congress is a near-socialist.

      When one of them calls for the end of SS/Medicare they can be removed from the list.

      1. And when one calls for trying to slow the rate of growth of the programs, your team runs commercials of him pushing old people off a cliff.

  7. Liberaltarian Fusionism LIVES!!! I blame teh cocktailz

  8. Add me to the list of people who think some might seriously advocate this.

    A few weeks ago Salon posted an article about progressive reforms to help the poor and one of them was giving everyone their own bank account directly connected to the Federal Reserve. Imagine the possibilities for government with that.

    1. I, uh, I think I’m going to weigh my bullion this evening.

  9. Oh, dear. Is Mary back?

    1. Mary or Merkin. Probably not Rollpa though.

    2. Seems like it.

    3. I miss hercule.

      1. UnderZog was my favorite

        1. I was Hercule’s 2012 Presidential campaign manager.

          we lost.

          i think.

          1. Herc was never one to admit defeat.

            1. EMPIRE!

  10. This guy and Rep Steve Stockman should join forces and form the Congressional Troll Caucus.

    1. I thought Alan Grayson had already trademarked it.

  11. “Left libertarianish”

    Haha, good one.

  12. I wonder what would happen if I walked into an airport and tried to purchase a one-way ticket with cash directly from the counter agent?

    I susp=ect you’d be ushered into a small, windowless room.

    1. Nah, no luggage – just this one small carryon.

    2. I suspect the same. That’s when things get fun. Civil liberties lawsuit fun.

      1. I think one could, if one was so inclined to put up with BS, make a decent living off of getting harrased for perfectly leagal activities then suing. Just go around a record cops. 250000 every 3 months…not bad.

        1. Hell, $250k every year would be a nice raise for me!

          1. Don’t you work for the fed gov…AREN”T I PAYING YOU ENOUUGH!!!!

            1. Believe me, my Fedgov employee colleagues make way, way, way more than I do. I could use a little side work whereby I poke the beast and get paid.

              1. You could be a Double self licking ice cream cone.

                pay, tax, pay, sue, tax, …

    3. What if I upped the ante and went in with no ID? AFAIK, I only need ID to board the plane, not buy the ticket.

      1. At one point, you could go through security without ID, with an extra-special screening. I don’t remember if they changed that or not, though.

        I have to assume there is some way, as people could certainly lose their ID on a trip and need to get home.

  13. “I have nothing to declare. No, seriously. What does that do?”

  14. Obama’s going on about a new cunning plan to raise Minimum wage and pay for everyone’s school forever

    1. I swear every time he speaks, it’s like he’s running for 4th grade class president. “Free candy and soda for everyone!” The astounding part is that people can listen to it and not intuitively realize how stupid it is.

  15. Rumpelstiltskin will kidnap your daughter and make her weave straw into bitcoins.

  16. This is satire on the level of Bastiat’s candle maker’s petition. Well done!

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