The Unites States should phase-out all denominations of the U.S. dollar larger than a $10 bill to thwart money launderers and tax evaders, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff told attendees at a Council on Foreign Relations event this week in Washington, D.C.
“Cash is not used in ordinary retail transactions. It’s used by tax evaders and in a lot of crime of all types, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, racketeering, you name it,” said Rogoff, a member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and author of The Curse of Cash.
“Cash is being used less and less in ordinary transactions,” Rogoff pointed out, noting that the average middle-class American holds about $150 in cash, compared to more than $100,000 in total assets.
“Cash is nothing,” he said.
Rogoff envisions a gradual phase-out of bills larger than $10 over a 15-to-20 year period “to deal with the unintended consequences” of moving to a cashless economy, and scoffed at those who fear the government would then be able to monitor every transaction.