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Reblogged:The Latest Assault on Freedom to Contract

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"Progressive" politicians in New Jersey are citing "discrimination" as their excuse to violate the rights of businesses such as Amazon that wish to set up cashless stores. The state, along with several municipalities, is considering forcing essentially all brick-and-mortar stores to accept cash:

cash.jpg
It is immoral to force anyone to keep piles of cash lying around, and impractical, if consumer interests really are a concern. (Image via Picabay.)
As technology gives consumers more ways to pay, including with their smartphones, some businesses have gone cashless to improve efficiency and reduce the risk of robbery, among other reasons.

But consumer advocates say cashless businesses effectively discriminate against poor customers who don't have access to credit or bank accounts, and seniors who aren't comfortable paying with plastic or digital devices. [bold added]
As with other improper, rights-violating measures (e.g., the minimum wage and "ban the box" laws) foisted on the public in the name of addressing "discrimination," this will also fail to achieve its alleged goal. Off the top of my head: Have these "consumer advocates" not heard of "food deserts" -- poor areas in cities that lack grocery stores? Cashless stores alone would not solve the problem, but it's conceivable that the ability to operate without mounds of cash on hand might make it safer enough for at least a few businesses to enter or start in such potential markets. And as for "the unbanked" not being able to pay, I am sure some enterprising soul could come up with a pre-paid way for many of them to use such stores, if that hasn't been implemented already. But that's not even the half of how ludicrous such proposals are. For that, we can start to see this from a report in the British Guardian:
I sat down to eat a curry I had bought (with old-fashioned cash) from another Hatch unit. Then, an Öl barman brought over a conciliatory glass of beer, on the house. I told him the bar's cash-free policy is elitist; who wants to be forced to put a pint on a credit card? He talked about time saved and how not having cash on the premises was safer for the staff. We politely agreed to disagree.

Relating this later, to Öl's co-owner David McCall, I find him irrepressibly upbeat, as if everything is going to plan: "We have probably given away 10 beers to people who didn't have cards -- and a few when Visa went down. But we would rather give you a free beer than give the bank five grand, and we want our staff to feel secure. On our second week, we were broken into [overnight] with sledgehammers. All they could take was one iPad."

McCall's Manchester coffee shop Takk takes cash. But opening Öl and a second Takk at the student-oriented Hatch was a chance to dispense with the £3,000- to £5,000-a-year in bank charges that the original Takk, like every business, incurs for depositing cash. "We pay above Living Wage [Foundation rates], but we want to pay our 25 staff more," says McCall. The savings made by going card-only will help with that. plastic or digital devices. [bold added]
First, nobody is forcing anyone buy anything. Second, guess who loses when their employer's costs increase? Or is it "elitist" to make entry-level employees accustomed to higher pay levels? Another report from the same paper underscores how absurd this idea is:
The smartest businesspeople I know don't need a state law telling them it makes the most business sense to accept all forms of payment.
(!)

If it's smart, why pass a law? And if we "need" a law (We don't, but still...), perhaps there's something we're missing. These points both come up even before we ask the following question: "By what right does the government force someone to accept any given form of payment?" One would imagine at least one of the sympathetic lefty reporters I'd read might appreciate the point: All dislike having to make payments in a certain way preferred by a businessman. And yet, I don't see any evidence that they do -- although I am sure none of these bloodhounds would appreciate being forced to receive their pay as cash. How hard is it to imagine that the businessman, a fellow human being, might likewise not appreciate being told what form of payment to accept? It is just as wrong for the government to tell a merchant he can't decide how he is to be paid as it would be for the government to tell all of us how to pay (or be paid), and for exactly the same reasons.

-- CAV

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