While Bitcoiners in the Bundestag are working on digital central bank money, the government is removing the hurdles to establishing monetary censorship through payment cards. The first politicians want to impose them not only on refugees, but also on recipients of citizens’ money.

The government has agreed on a path forward for what is probably the most popular project in the Bundestag: the payment card.

The dispute was about this: Some federal states had feared that a payment card for refugees could violate the wording of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. However, the Greens were reluctant to change this, which quickly escalated to the point that FDP vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki even threatened to break up the coalition if the path was not immediately cleared to legally restrict the monetary freedom of a certain group. The Greens then gave in and the law was changed.

This clears the way for the payment card. This is a central element of the measures against an alleged flood of refugees that the government spontaneously agreed on last year after there was a worrying shift to the right in the state elections in Bavaria and Hesse.

State benefits should therefore no longer be paid out to refugees in cash, but only on special debit cards. These are programmable to block cash withdrawals, international transfers and more. What exactly is up to the states.

Bavaria is once again presenting itself as a pioneer of paternalism and bans. State father Markus Söder has already announced that the Bavarian payment card will be particularly tough: Not only should pocket money paid out in cash be reduced to an absolute minimum, many types of payments – for example in casinos – should also be blocked and payments should be transferred to the district or District be limited.

There is a hail of criticism from experts

Instead of countering the rightward slide where it has the upper hand – on TikTok, YouTube, Facebook – the government decided to accommodate it. By withdrawing monetary freedom of movement for those seeking protection, the government is proactively imposing one of the nasties through which the right wants to encourage “remigration”.

While the payment card enjoys rare popularity among the government and opposition, it is criticized by experts. For example, Mastercard Germany boss Peter Robejsek denies that a payment card will have an effect on migration. It is “a trivial detail” for someone fleeing violence or harsh poverty.

Migration researchers also see it that way. For example, a survey by the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research in Senegal, West Africa, showed that only a small proportion of refugees knew details of the European asylum procedure; Benefits in the immigration country rarely played a role. There is no scientific evidence that the payment card has an effect on migration.

After all, a payment card can help pay out services more unbureaucratically and with less effort. Diakonie also believes that this could make sense – but only if it is designed to be non-discriminatory, which, emphasizes Social Affairs Director Maria Loheide, is exactly not planned. Instead, the payment card intentionally makes it difficult for refugees to participate in social and economic life.

The HDE, the German trade association, also agrees with this: the payment card “causes higher acceptance costs in retail and strengthens the market importance of the non-European card system, which is already leading in some areas,” says HDE expert Ulrich Binnebößel.

Citizen benefit recipients should also be harassed

Regardless of this criticism, the payment card can already be considered one of the traffic light government’s greatest political successes. At least the usual biting criticism from the opposition and the media is missing; the country seems to think a little monetary repression is okay, if not good.

It is therefore no wonder that even before it is introduced across the board for refugees, there are calls to make other areas happy with the payment card. Following the economist Bernd Rüffelhausen, Thorsten Alsleben from the New Social Market Economy Initiative (INSM) is now openly calling for citizens’ benefit recipients to also be bullied with the payment card: “There are 1.7 million employable citizen’s benefit recipients who could work legally immediately. If citizens’ money only came as a benefit in kind via a payment card, there would be an incentive to work legally in order to earn (cash) money.”

The CDU member of the Bundestag Maximilian Mörseburg also calls for increasing the pressure on recipients of citizens’ benefit through payment cards. The level of service will remain the same, says Mörseburg, but transfers will no longer be possible. This could finally, finally prevent citizens’ benefit recipients from vacationing abroad. This, Mörseburg continued, is “justice for those who earn the money”.

Bitcoiners skillfully look the other way

So while politicians are wallowing in fantasies about monetary repression, the “Bitcoin in the Bundestag” initiative by the free MP Joana Cotar is publishing an article about the dangers of such repression – albeit through digital central bank money.

Such a “CBDC” will be planned in the EU, or not – that has not yet been completely decided – in this form – or in that form – that has not yet been decided either. There is also little evidence that the EU intends to outright ban other means of payment at the same time.

Despite everything, the author, Joe Martin, sees an enormous danger in a digital euro. Among other things, he fears that digital central bank money will sanction “certain groups of people,” implement “transfer restrictions,” and block some transactions and impose geographical restrictions. Ultimately, this could lead to people being enslaved, restricting their freedom of movement and “in extreme cases leading to human rights violations”.

It is of course threatening what would be technically possible with a digital euro. However, Joe Martin addresses a highly hypothetical case, while all the evils he fears are coming true with the payment card at this very moment – about which the initiative remains confidently silent.

Source: https://bitcoinblog.de/2024/03/07/die-bezahlkarte-monetaere-repressionen-auch-beim-buergergeld/

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