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Carrying Large Amounts of Cash is Legal

But that doesn’t mean the cops won’t take it anyway, and make you prove it’s legit before they’ll give it back. Civil Asset Forfeiture is one of the biggest infringements to civil liberties that government engages in under the guise of the War on Drugs. It’s another issue I’m surprised doesn’t get more attention from politicians who want to appear to be good civil libertarians, though I know these days that kind of thing is out of fashion.

And it’s not like I believe the government can never seize money, but the presumption of innocence should mean the government can’t seize ill gotten gains until one’s guilt has been proven, and the property implicated, beyond a reasonable doubt. Under Civil Asset Forfeiture, since the property is being charged, there’s no presumption of innocence.

12 Responses to “Carrying Large Amounts of Cash is Legal”

  1. Pyrotek85 says:

    Here let me just get my purchase receipts for the cash I was carrying…oh wait. Are you supposed audit yourself and account for all the money you came into possession with?

    So much for innocent until proven guilty.

  2. Most good civil libertarian politicians are actually liberals, so anything that funds governmental agencies is a good thing.

  3. mobo says:

    I wish people could get together and come up with some alternative medium of exchange that could be widely accepted and completely outside of government control. Something that could be exchanged 1:1 with cash dollars, and completely anonymized. Preferably digitized like bitcoins but with a 1:1 reserve ratio to dollars in order to avoid wild swings in exchange. Outside the reach of confiscators until actually exchanged for dollars. No names or addresses attached to anything.

    Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

    • Alpheus says:

      I’d much rather have it independent of the dollar, thank you very much. If we tie the value to the dollar, its value is going to swing wildly when the dollar’s value swings.

      That, and unfortunately, anything that can be exchanged, can be confiscated. Hence the need of the 4th Amendment! (A lot of good that amendment has done us, though…)

      Even so, I’d like to get away from Government-Controlled Money. If Gov’t hadn’t put so many laws around it, I’d go for gold, silver, and maybe copper. As it is, I’d be willing to consider other options, such as a certificate that represents a cross-section of several commodities (iron, coal, gold, silver, etc), so that fluctuations in any one commodity doesn’t affect the value of the overall certificate.

      But even if I consider my preferences to be more practical than yours, the chances of having such a monetary system is about as real as our dreams are!

      • mobo says:

        But people think in terms of dollars, and things priced in dollars culd be substituted 1 for 1. Dollar prices will be more or less stable until the unemployment situation improves anyway. And nobody can confiscate them in an anonymized digital format, either. You would just have to have people accept it as a substitute for dollars, just as paper money was once accepted as a substitute for gold.

  4. Chuck says:

    Edumakate me, please – is there any legal reason a private entity (bank, corporation, home owners’ association, individual, etc.) could not issue “currency” in the form of value-based credits of some sort?

    Thinking about it, isn’t that what Visa, Mastercard, and American Express do? They offer the use of “currency” which is backed by something “value-based” – your commitment to paying it back (all in dollars, or yen, or francs, etc., of course), or a certificate . A prepaid credit card, in which you deposit dollars with the card issuer so that you can carry a device – the card – that identifies you as having something “value-based” – the dollars on deposit – on which the value of the card is based. Could not a different substance, say, platinum, gold, gallons of gasoline, your skills, be used as that “value-based” thing?

    It seems that stock-issuing corporations do the same thing, selling certificates which denote ownership of a certain fraction of a corporation, the corporation itself being the “value-based” item.

    Everything – dollars, gold, silver, stock certificates, whitewall tires – will change in value as its value is perceived to be higher or lower by those using it as a medium of exchange, depending on its perceived worth by the parties involved at the time of exchange. In a lake a gallon of water has near zero value, on your basement floor it has negative value, in the Sahara desert its positive value could be quite high. The point is, whatever one uses as the “value-based” substance or quality will inevitably vary in value over time depending on circumstances, so I don’t think there’s a way to avoid some value fluctuations, but responsible stewardship should be capable of preventing value debasement as we’re seeing with the dollar.

    But could not such a private “value-based” trading system be successfully implemented? What is it that I’m missing?

    • mobo says:

      What you’re missing is that no court will recognize debts and/or obligations denominated in anything other than dollars. to use alternative currencies, but you have no recourse in the event of fraud, or if somebody defaluts on a loan, etc…

      • ParatrooperJJ says:

        Really? Funny how courts enforce contracts in other curriencies all the time. Euros, pounds, loonies…

    • Sebastian says:

      Edumakate me, please – is there any legal reason a private entity (bank, corporation, home owners’ association, individual, etc.) could not issue “currency” in the form of value-based credits of some sort?

      Cashiers checks?

  5. Broken Andy says:

    If you want to know why no politician takes up this cause, ask yourself what national organization represents the large-wad-of-cash-in-pockets constituency.

  6. A Critic says:

    It is legal to carry large sums of cash. It is not necessarily legal to be large sums of cash, as being a large sum of cash is evidence that you, the large sum of cash, are a drug dealer. Whattalaw!

  7. Nick says:

    This is the exact reason I avoid TN if at all possible. This is SOP for them.

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