March 21, 2023
CBDC & Surveillance Banking
By: Brian Parsons
“I was reading in the paper today that Congress wants to replace the dollar bill with a coin. They’ve already done it. It’s called a nickel.” ―
With the recent spate of bank failures, public concern has gravitated to the solvency of our money itself. Many have raced to withdraw a portion of their savings in cash. Still, others have looked to move it into alternate investment vehicles like I-Bonds or Treasury Bonds, commodities like gold or silver, and even cryptocurrency.
With the coronavirus pandemic and government attempts to shutter and then manage a shuttered economy came massive injections of new cash and record inflation. This inflation resulted from an increase in prices based on an expansion in the supply of money without a corresponding expansion in the supply of goods. When the Federal Reserve moved to tamp down this inflation by increasing interest rates to retract the available credit supply, it created an inverted yield curve where short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates. To write new loans, the banks must borrow at a higher rate than they get in return on existing loans, and profitability tanks.
When bank outlays exceed income, the banks become insolvent. In the case of the recently shuttered Silicon Valley bank, executives’ sale of bank stock and a run on the bank by large deposit holders foreshadowed the bank’s demise. Since the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures only the first $250,000 of any account, deposit holders will lose billions collectively. As a result, the FDIC stepped in and assumed control of SVB deposits and made the insured portion available to depositors. Losses will be partially recouped from the sale of bank assets, but the feds have also committed to backstop further uninsured losses. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has hinted that this commitment likely doesn’t extend to smaller banks, and consolidation may result.
In response to a burgeoning banking crisis, many state governments are moving to criminalize competition in monetary policy. These moves have done little to assuage the concerns of cash holders who’ve predicted moves by the feds to replace the bastardized dollars they’ve printed with a more centralized and controlled digital currency, or Central Bank Digital Currency. Since the currency crisis is a factor of money creation and lending policy and not the form factor of the money, these bank crises and resulting campaigns for digital currency look like solutions in pursuit of problems to solve. Why are governments pursuing CBDC? Simply put, control.
What is a Central Bank Digital Currency? Much like cryptocurrency, CDBCs are digital assets that represent a store of value. They are digitally minted, and they utilize unique serials or hashes that inhibit counterfeiting and should be completely trackable via systems like blockchain technology. With blockchain technology, every time digital assets change hands, a transaction record is created and stored in a digital sequence like a chainlink. The advantages of this are self-evident if your objective is to increase security or reduce financial crimes. However, the true insidiousness of a Central Bank Digital Currency comes into play when you consider that most financial crimes will occur with alternate stores of value. Tracking every transaction of the commoners is the true nature of CBDC, and our overlords seem hellbent on just that.
Recent history has shown that when authoritarians are given an inch, they take a mile. American government officials have been green with envy of their authoritarian global counterparts like those of the Communist Party of China. They are fast-tracking schemes to socially engineer society into compliance. The CPC implements reward programs in China to monitor and shape their citizens’ behavior utilizing a social scoring system. Like Pavlov’s Dog, those who fall in line receive creature comforts, while those who miss the mark are denied necessities. Imagine handing this level of authority over to a government that worked in tandem with Big Tech to silence political opposition.
All of the leading indicators are present, suggesting that the government is pursuing CBDC. In January 2022, the Federal Reserve published its white paper on the necessity of transforming monetary policy to digital currencies in the digital age. Between its expansion of the IRS workforce and policies targeting leakage in taxation toward lower income earners, its crackdown on alternative currencies like cryptocurrency, and now its recently announced instant payment system, FedNow, the Biden Administration is swiftly implementing a surveillance banking system. This FedNow instant federal transfer system will put the government in the middle of financial transactions and require a verified Digital ID for participation. This level of government snooping was predicted when the government sought vaccine passports as a prerequisite to participate in commerce in the age of COVID.
As a free society, we are, in theory, opposed to encroachments on our sovereignty, such as CBDC and surveillance banking. As a Christian society, we’ve also historically opposed schemes that flirted with apocalyptic warnings, such as accepting marks on our persons for participation in society. For this reason, many strongly opposed the Digital ID and vaccine passport systems rolled out in response to COVID that we’re seeing pop up in payment systems like Amazon One. It’s not coincidental that these Digital ID schemes have now been repackaged under the guise of convenience in pursuit of surveillance banking.
When a government no longer trusts its citizens with their own labor, it is no longer a free society. In the near future, we may recall the days when kids earned a menial side income babysitting or mowing lawns without Uncle Sam inserting himself into the equation. Though the taxing side of the equation is a nuisance, the control side of surveillance banking engineering the end-user’s behavior is far more concerning. If ever there was a time to push back, we are swiftly approaching zero hour.
Brian Parsons is a paleoconservative opinion columnist in Idaho, a proud husband and father, and saved by Grace. You can follow him at WithdrawConsent.org or find his opinion columns at the American Thinker, in the Idaho State Journal, or in other regional publications.