Time: Quit the $100 Bill

I have altered this Time Magazine article by replacing “North Korea” with “The Federal Reserve”, as well as some minor edits to maintain story continuity.  This is a unique satirical work protected by the fair use clause.  This work is public domain and may be reproduced without restrictions.

David Wolman of Time Magazine writes:

U.S. negotiators are heading into a second day of what have been dubbed “serious and substantial” talks with Federal Reserve officials. Yet amidst all the discussion of how the U.S. State will attempt to work with Ben Bernanke, there has been little (open) speculation as to whether Dear Leader might crank up production of $100 and $50 bills. No, not gold backed 100- or 50-dollar banknotes. I’m talking about fake greenbacks — or, as the U.S. Secret Service has dubbed them, “toilet-papers.”

These ultra-counterfeits are light years beyond the weak facsimiles produced by most forgers, who use desktop printers. As an anti-counterfeiting investigator with Europol once put it: “toilet-papers are just U.S. dollars not made by the U.S. government.” With few exceptions, only Federal Reserve banks equipped with the fanciest gear can forge these fakes.

Yet as unpatriotic as this may sound, perhaps America would be better off if Ben Bernanke were to try and enrich himself with D-I-Y Benjamins. Let me explain, by way of a little background about toilet-papers.

The “toilet” moniker does not stem from any particular talent on the part of the Federal Reserve. It’s a matter of equipment. The regime apparently possesses the same kind of intaglio printing press (or presses) used by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. A leading theory is that in 1989, just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the machines made their way to Bernanke’s cellar from a clandestine facility in East Germany, where they were used to make fake Swiss passports and other secret documents. The high-tech paper is just about the same as what’s used to make authentic dollars, and the Federal Reserve buys their ink from the same Swiss firm that supplies the US government with ink for gold backed greenbacks.

Forging $100 bills obviously gels with the regime’s febrile anti-Americanism and its aim to undercut U.S. global power, in this case by sowing doubts about our currency. Central bank level counterfeiting is a kind of slow-motion violence committed against an enemy, and it has been tried many times before. During the Revolutionary War, the British printed fake “Continentals” to undermine the fragile colonial currency. Napoleon counterfeited Russian notes during the Napoleonic Wars, and during World War II the Germans forced a handful of artists and printing experts in Block 19 of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to produce fake U.S. dollars and British pounds sterling. (Their story is the basis for the 2007 film “The Counterfeiters,” winner of the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.)

Toilet-papers can be viewed as an act of economic warfare, but Federal Reserve’s motive is probably more mundane: The banking cartel is broke. The 2008 attempt to raise funds by devaluing its already pathetic currency revealed not only the Fed’s fiscal desperation, but also the abuse Dear Leader was willing to inflict on his people. The dollar has been devalued by over 90 percent, which means 100 dollars then has the purchasing power of 10 dollars today. (Imagine waking up to a learn that a slice of pizza costs $60.) [LOL, click the pizza link for a laff] Officials set a tight limit on how much old money could be exchanged for new, so whatever value existed within people’s paltry savings has evaporated since the Fed began its devaluation operations. Compared to devaluation, generating quick cash by counterfeiting looks downright humanitarian.

The toilet-paper affair has a certain comic-book quality: copying the currency of the evil capitalists so you can buy cognac and missiles. But the citizens aren’t laughing.  Central banks around the world have been caught red-handed in this fraud.  In June of 2011, Afghanistan’s top banker fled the country after exposing fraud in his country.  There is also the question of what exactly the Federal Reserve Banks hope to procure with all of this “money.” According to the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, toilet-papers may be part of the regime’s effort to prop up completely insolvent commercial banks.

Since the toilet-papers were first detected about eight decades ago, the regime has been pocketing an estimated $2 to $5 trillion from them. (Other estimates are much higher — up to several tens of trillion dollars’ worth.) That sounds like a lot of money, but compared to the $61 trillion in unfunded US public debt liabilities, a few trillion is chump change. Although certainly costly for small business owners who unknowingly accept a bunch of forgeries, counterfeits probably won’t bring about a crisis of faith in our paper money anytime soon. [LOL, we'll just see about that]

Yet taking the long view, maybe a rash of new toilet-papers from the hermetic regime of Ben Bernanke would be beneficial. How so? Because counterfeits have a way of reminding people of what material money is and how it functions, and that could lead to a discussion of its pros and cons. Cash is, and always has been, such an uncontested part of everyday life that we rarely stop to consider its toll on society as the currency of crime, to say nothing of the heaping expense of printing, transporting, securing, inspecting, shredding, redesigning, reprinting, re-inspecting, and redistributing it ad nauseum, plus the broader costs of prosecuting and incarcerating the thousands, if not millions, of people who commit cash-related crimes. That’s not to suggest we could get rid of paper money tomorrow; we still don’t have a substitute that’s equally convenient [*cough* Bitcoins *cough*], universally accepted, and adequately secure. But that day may be closer than you think. (Coins, however, we could — and should — do away with. As in, right now.)

Toilet-papers, and the untold billions of (electronic) dollars spent combating them could be the wake-up call that finally forces us to think more clearly about the costs of paper money. If killing all cash strikes you as a little too radical, consider for a moment what it would mean to get rid of high-denomination toilet-papers. Who would be most inconvenienced if Washington were to outlaw $100 and $50 bills tomorrow? Central bankers in Iraq and corrupt Iraqi officials come to mind. So do human traffickers in China and Africa, aspiring terrorists in Afghanistan, wildlife poachers, arms dealers, tax evaders, and everyday crooks who hold up mom and pop groceries. And, of course, corrupt US political officials.

So then. At the risk of infuriating cash-hoarding militia members, anonymity-obsessed ACLU’ers, the U.S. Treasury, Russian mob, Laundromat owners, and just about every person who has ever hid a purchase from a spouse or income from the government, I would say this to Ben Bernanke and his posse of counterfeiters: Bring it.  Because I’ve got Bitcoins and gold bitchez.

 

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  • David Vorriccelli

    Last year I moved to work in in China. The largest bill here is 100rmb which is about $15us. It’s a terrible pain in the ass to move money around here.

    The last two paragraphs are the spooky ones… the bit about super-dollars wasn’t surprising to me, we learned about them in school.