Should People Have a Right to Use Cash?

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The leader of Austria, a conservative, wants to enshrine the right to use cash in the Constitution, Reuters reports.

Austria is one of the most pro-cash society in Europe. Some merchants still do not use credit card machines despite new technology making it accessible to most businesses. In times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austrians hoard cash at home.

In the United States, some stores took the initiative to go cashless, citing it as a vector for COVID-19 transmission. Real reasons include the overhead of accepting cash, such as deposit fees, and possibilities of theft. Customers are also more inclined to tip if they are presented with pres-selected amounts on a screen.

The right to pay for goods and services anonymously is a major reason for conservative support of cash, as credit cards intend to track gun purchases. In the United States, some on the Left make the case that cashless initiatives discriminate against the poor and the elderly, who do not have the same access to online banking services.

Austrian establishment conservatives are being accused by the more populist party, the FPO, of stealing their ideas. Moderate conservatives are currently in a coalition with greens and socialists, and are suffering in the polls against the FPO.


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