Apr 4, 2012

Brother, Can You Spare an Electronic Monetary Unit?

Jack KinsellaBy Jack Kinsella
The Omega Letter

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For the third year in a row, President Barack Obama submitted his proposed fiscal budget to the Congress for approval. And for the third year in a row, Congress has rejected it. Indeed, the US government hasn't had an operating budget since Obama took office.

The White House blamed the Republicans, despite the fact that the Congress rejected Obama's proposed budget unanimously. The vote was 414-0. Not a single Democrat voted in favor of it.

Indeed, the much-larger budget proposal offered by the Congressional Black Caucus, which was almost $4 trillion more than Obama wanted, got more votes, dying after a vote of 314-107.

The House eventually got around to approving the GOP budget proposal, which recasts Medicare and imposes sweeping spending cuts to domestic programs. But although it passed the lower House 222-191, it is dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

(The Salt Lake Tribune)—The fiscal plan the House passed Thursday by a near party-line 228-191 vote would reshape and squeeze savings out of Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health insurance programs for the elderly and poor. It would force deep cuts in a wide range of spending, including rail projects, research and Pell Grants for low-income college students.

It would block President Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes on couples earning above $250,000 a year. Instead, it would collapse the current six income tax rates into just two, with a top rate of 25 percent—well below the current 35 percent ceiling—while erasing tax deductions and other breaks that the GOP plan failed to specify.

Overall, the GOP budget would cut spending $5.3 trillion more deeply over the next decade than Obama would—out of more than $40 trillion that would be spent. It would cut taxes by $2 trillion more than the president’s plan. That leaves Republicans seeking a hefty $3.3 trillion in deeper deficit reduction than Obama.

Drawing the most political heat was Ryan's plan for Medicare, the $500 billion-a-year health insurance program for older Americans that all sides agree is growing so fast its future financing is shaky. Both parties know that seniors vote in high numbers and care passionately about the program.

Republicans leave the plan alone for retirees and those near retirement, letting the government continue paying much of their doctors' and hospital bills. But younger voters would be folded into a new, voucher-like system that would give seniors a menu of options.

The Democrats oppose the plan, primarily because the Republicans endorse it. The Ryan plan would not affect current retirees, or those close to retirement.

North of the border, the Canadians, watching their American cousins floundering, passed an austere budget that will, among other things, raise the retirement age to 67, cut some 19,000 government jobs, trim $1.1 billion from its defense budget and cut another $688 million from public safety.

Government employees will see their retirement age raised from 60 to 65, (which is still two years earlier than private sector employees).

Government employees will also see the elimination of severance benefits for government employees who quit voluntarily and raised their share of retirement contributions to 50%, with the government paying the rest.

This would be a good place to strike a comparison:

The US hasn't had a budget in three years, during which time, Obama has doubled the national debt. Canada's national debt stands at $581 billion.

Canada's population is approximately thirty-three million people. That breaks down to roughly $16,800.00 per citizen.

America's population is almost ten times that at just over 313 million. The US National debt $15.6 trillion. That breaks down to roughly $49,880.00 per citizen (not taxpayer). Per taxpayer, the US debt equals $137,724.00.

Canadian penny

Despite the sweeping cuts, Canadians are not raising much of an outcry. Broke means broke. In the most sweeping move of all, the government of Canada has abolished the penny.

It costs the government one and one half cents to make a penny. Now, all prices will be rounded up to the nearest nickel. For Canada, abolishing the penny is the first step in moving completely away from cash in all its forms, like in Sweden.

Sweden has become the first major Western country to go cashless. There are now whole towns in Sweden where cash is not accepted. Bank robberies in Sweden dropped to nothing. What's the point in robbing largely-empty banks to obtain banknotes that hardly anybody will accept?

A new book by "Wired" columnist David Wolman called, "The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers—and the Coming Cashless Society" argues that a cashless society is the way of the future.

To research his topic, Wolman committed to an entire year without using paper bills.

"I imagine you're not paying your rent or your mortgage with piles of singles anymore, let alone your car payments or buying a sweater," he said in an interview with Salon. "Most of us are using cash for super small purchases like cigarettes or a Twix bar or coins into a Unicef box at Halloween. So that's where cash is at present."

He added that while plenty of people still depend on cash in their daily lives, such as service workers who receive tips, new advances will find ways around that...eventually. "These technologies are coming whether you like it or not."

Wolman argues that, while Sweden is ahead of the game, the rest of the world is closer to going cashless than most of us realize. Here's a stat that ought to make you sit up straight in your chair.

Only nine percent of euro-zone economic transactions are handled in cash. In America, only seven percent of all transactions are conducted using cash money.

(International Business Times)—But change is coming. The trends suggest that we don't need to enact a monetary policy to get rid of cash; it's happening naturally, and the statistics tell the story. Last year, according to a study by the Federal Reserve, one fifth of American consumers engaged in mobile banking. That percentage is not huge, but the rate of growth is steep. "The survey's findings suggest that the use of mobile banking is poised to expand further over the next year, with usage possibly increasing to one out of three mobile phone users by 2013," reported the American Bankers Association.

New money-transferring software products add fuel to the fire. Examples include the new Person-to-Person QuickPay app from Chase, which lets people transfer money to friends instantly and electronically; or the Google Wallet, which allows customers to pay for products in-store with a tap of the smartphone.

There are real benefits to be had by going cashless, argue proponents of a cashless society. As the Canadians already discovered, it costs more to make pennies and nickels than their face value is worth.

Cash money is expensive to handle. It takes armored cars and armed guards to transport it. Cash is not very secure. An armored truck struck a rock outcropping yesterday near the northern Ontario city of Kirkland Lake.

The rock ripped a gash in the truck, which allowed some FIVE MILLION DOLLARS worth of Canadian $1 coins to spill out, ankle-deep onto the highway. Between the cost of transportation and the cost of the cleanup, not to mention the potential for theft, handling that money costs LOTS of money.

Even if the cash makes it all the way from the mint to the banks, it needs people on both ends to count, package and handle it all.

And cash isn't just expensive to handle, it is anonymous—and anonymity is to the government like wolfbane is to a vampire. Eliminate cash and one eliminates the underground economy.

That step alone could balance the budget, according to estimates that say some $3 trillion per year eludes the taxman via unreported and untaxed cash transactions.

The elimination of cash would also eliminate the motivation for most crime—without cash, how would criminals fence stolen goods? It would end the war on drugs overnight. If there is no cash, how would a drug addict pay for his stash? No drug dealer is going to whip out a credit card reader.

One 2003 study says that eliminating cash would be worth the equivalent to 1 percent America's annual GDP. Sweden eliminated cash altogether. Canada started with the penny, but it is only a matter of time before it also eliminates cash.

A cashless society would go a long way towards solving America's money troubles. Wouldn't it?

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16-17)

The prophecy of the Mark of the Beast is one of the most universally recognized predictions contained in the New Testament. It doesn't matter whether one is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Taoist, mention the Mark of the Beast or the number '666' and nobody is going to say to you, "Never heard of it!".

We're already much closer to going cashless than one might think. How many times have you purchased a big ticket item, like a fridge, or a car, and paid for it in hard cash? Today, if you tried to buy a $300 plane ticket for cash, if you got on the plane at all, you'd probably be sitting beside an undercover DHS agent.

Two decades ago, scoffers would say, 'if somebody ever eliminates cash and demands a commercial mark containing '666'—then I will believe.' The Universal Pricing Code (UPC) has been on all products for two decades or more. 'Universal' means just what it says. No products can be sold in the US or EU commercially without it.

In fact, in the EU, it is nicknamed the "EU Mark".

Take any product you have in your cupboard out and look at the UPC barcode. It is a series of parallel lines readable by a computer. Notice that it begins with a little longer series of parallel lines, then there is an identical long one in the middle and another at the end. Each of those longer lines are read by computers as a '6'. (How many long lines are in YOUR barcode?)

In the early years of computers, it was determined that the perfect 'divider' (like punctuation in conventional writing) would be in multiples of threes. For years, it wasn't standardized. Some manufacturers would use threes, some would use sixes and some used nines to separate the information represented by the bar code sequences.

To standardize it, the EU insisted that all manufacturers hoping to sell their products in the EU split the difference and use the three sixes on what they called the 'EU Mark.' Today, three sixes is the global standard.

Added to this is the new National Security database center built in Utah under a funding bill that was signed by President Obama in 2009. This massive spy center is designed to house a network of computers, satellites and phone lines that stretches around the world.

Once completed (in late 2013) the Utah Data Center will be the last link in the electronic concentration camp called America.

(The Rutherford Institute)—At five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, the UDC will be a clearinghouse and a depository for every imaginable kind of information—whether innocent or not, private or public—including communications, transactions and the like.

Anything and everything you’ve ever said or done, from the trivial to the damning—phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc.—will be tracked, collected, catalogued and analyzed by the UDC’s supercomputers and teams of government agents.

Now we return to the Mark of the Beast prophecy for a moment. Think about what the fulfillment of such a prophecy entails! In order for John's vision to come to pass, three things must exist that did not exist in John's day—or at any time in the last two thousand years—until now.

The first, and most obvious, would be a scheme that would positively identify those who are part of his system from those who are not.

Secondly, to accomplish this positive identification system, his agents would require access to a list—or database—against which to check credentials.

Until the present age of computers, an enforcement agent would have had to carry around a list so vast it would be essentially useless, since checking it against a single name could take days, weeks, or even years. Today, it takes seconds.

Thirdly, in order for that list to be useful in excluding outsiders from engaging in ordinary, day to day financial transactions, there would have to be a way of restricting the use of currency to those who are in good standing.

The Utah Data Center isn't the Mark of the Beast.

For there to be a “Mark of the Beast” two things must exist—and in the correct order. First, there must be a Beast to exploit it. Secondarily, there must be a mark.

But for the moment, there is no "mark". And there is no "beast." There is only a technological and economic trend that moves in that direction.

It is the Beast that imposes his mark, and his mark is more than simply an economic choice—the Beast demands worship as part of the deal. And so at the moment, since there is no Beast, there is no Mark.

There are all kinds of sensationalist claims being made by prophecy students and even some teachers that should know better, as they clamor for attention, but they needn't bother.

There are claims that FEMA is building detention camps; there are even rumors that the US government is setting up kill centers inside them. I don't believe it.

If I don't believe it, why bring it up? Because it highlights the very thing that marginalizes Bible prophecy as a witnessing tool—sensationalism.

The simple truth is sensational enough. As it relates to Bible prophecy, during the Tribulation Period, there will undoubtedly be detention camps set up to house those who refuse to accept the Mark. But since this isn't the Tribulation, there is no Mark to refuse.

So claiming the penalty phase is under construction before the crime exists tends to marginalize all the other stuff that IS true.

The prophecies of the Bible for the last days have not all been fulfilled—in fact, very few have been fulfilled in their entirety. But at the same time, ALL the prophecies of the Bible for the last days are trending towards eventual fulfillment.

There is no Mark of the Beast, but there is a trend to eliminate cash and create an electronic system that will fulfill the prophecy that no man could buy or sell outside the system.

And that's the point.

Everything predicted by Scripture for the last days—from the restoration of Israel to the development of the antichrist's political and economic system and everything in between—ALL these things are trending in the same direction.

It isn't that one can point to an overt fulfillment—but all the trends point in that direction, which is sensational enough, all by itself.

The Omega Letter’s mission is to equip the Church with factual information, unspun and devoid of any agenda apart from obeying the Great Commission.

Each of us is an evangelist in our own right, and nobody is more effective than you are, since each of you is gifted by God to the degree He requires for His plan for your life.

The Omega Letter exists to help you in the exercise of your gifting, which is, in turn, OUR calling. To put the sensational into context when necessary.

The sensational part isn't that the plan is coming together. The sensational part is that there really was a Plan in the first place. The Bible really IS true. The Lord really IS coming back.

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28)

And time really IS running out. Maranatha!

Related Links
Even Congress Wants To Know What The NSA Is Doing With This $2 Billion Utah Spy Center • Business Insider
The cashless society and Total Monetary Surveillance • The Market Oracle
Big Brother's Data Center • BPB (Todd Strandberg)
Don't stop at the penny—axe nickels and quarters, too • Calgary Herald
Everybody’s a Target in the American Surveillance State • The Rutherford Institute (John W. Whitehead)