Australia Attempts to Fight Tobacco Black Markets by Banning Large Cash Transactions

This will hurt innocent people. It may harm legal businesses. And it won't actually work.

Image Credits: markusspiske/Pixabay.

Australia’s government plans to fight the country’s tobacco black market by banning cash payments of more than $10,000 in Australian dollars—the equivalent of about $7,500 in the United States.

What this actually does is create a new black market for money exchanges while screwing over any law-abiding citizens who want to engage in large cash transactions for any number of perfectly normal reasons.

This is all about revenue, of course. Australia has the highest cigarettes taxes in the world. As in New York City—which has the highest cigarette prices in the United States, mostly due to taxes—the results are a massive black market and organized crime. More importantly, as far as the Australian government is concerned, it’s not getting its money. Officials hope the ban on big cash payments will bring in an additional $3 billion a year.

This estimate assumes the smugglers and other black marketeers won’t simply change the way they do their cash transactions, or turn to cybercurrencies, or, you know, just not comply with this law either.

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