Dems Throw Jefferson, Old Hickory Under the Bus

State and local Democrat organizations across the country have traditionally held annual “Jefferson-Jackson” fundraising dinners, named after two historical heroes associated with the early years of the party. Jefferson and Jackson, however, both owned slaves, and engaged in other troubling activities involving race. And so Democrats, in an intellectually immature fit of moral pique, are now jettisoning their own history by dropping the Jefferson-Jackson name from their annual dinners. In just the last few months, local Democrat organizations have now taken this step in several states.

Democratic parties around the country have long titled their annual dinners “Jefferson-Jackson,” but there has been a recent move away from that name. According to an article in The Atlantic and other news reports, at least four states — New Hampshire, Connecticut, Missouri and Georgia — have changed the name of their dinners. Party leaders in South Carolina, Iowa and Tennessee are also considering changes.

In addition to the four states listed above, Florida and Maine have also dropped the Jefferson-Jackson label from their annual meetings. The pending change in Tennessee is particularly significant since Tennessee is Andrew Jackson’s home state.

Every political movement needs heroes, but if Democrats are now unwilling to honor anyone tainted by racial discrimination, then most of the history of their party will offer up few worthy names. That’s because virtually every prominent Democrat in America until about 1960 supported either slavery or racial segregation. Consider just a partial list of the historical lowlights.

  • 1865 sees the founding of the KKK, an organization described by eminent historian Eric Foner as “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party.”
  • 1868. Republicans in Congress pass the 14th Amendment, granting full citizenship to blacks. No Democrats vote in favor.
  • 1915. Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, an out-and-out white supremacist, praises the film Birth of a Nation and holds a private screening in the White House. The film is a glorification of the KKK.
  • 1922. An anti-lynching law proposed by Republican Rep. Leonidas Dyer of St. Louis, and endorsed by Republican President Warren Harding, passes the House but can’t overcome a Democrat filibuster in the Senate. In 1938, left-liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt sides with Southern Democrats in opposing a similar bill. A 1947 anti-lynching bill is again blocked by Democrats in Congress, including future president Lyndon Baines Johnson.
  • 1924. At the Democrat national convention in New York, a resolution condemning the KKK is proposed, but voted down by the delegates. One young delegate is so appalled by the vote that he quits the party and becomes a Republican. Sixteen years later that man, Wendell Willkie, becomes the Republican nominee for President of the United States.
  • 1937. FDR appoints Hugo Black, a former KKK member, to the Supreme Court of the United States. Black’s legal resume includes serving as defense attorney for a Klansman accused of murdering a Catholic priest. After obtaining an acquittal, Black becomes a hero to the Klan.
  • 1963. Bull Connor, a city Commissioner in Birmingham, orders the use of fire hoses and attack dogs against civil rights protestors. Connor was not just a Democrat; he was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
  • 1981-1989. Senate Democrats elect and support as their leader Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia. As a young man, Byrd was not just a member of the KKK, but attained the rank of Exalted Cyclops and founded and recruited his own local KKK chapter.

But hey, that stuff occurred a long time ago, so maybe Democrats can find some suitable heroes among their more recent presidents and near-presidents, like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore.

In this respect, Democrats just need to look past the rumors that Carter’s father was a Klansman, and the fact that during his presidency his mother, Lillian Carter, was caught ‘watching’ a Klan rally in Georgia. Dems surely can also overlook the fact that Al Gore’s father voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that Bill Clinton’s mentor, Senator William Fulbright, was a segregationist who voted against the Civil Rights Act.

Well, maybe there’s a reason why Florida Democrats chose not to rename their annual dinner for anyone. The function is now known as Leadership Blue Weekend.

Democrats–they promise to lead us all to a blue weekend.

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Great Friedman Quotes

The late Milton Friedman was one of the greatest economists of the 20th century and an inspiration to the authors of this site. In honor of Friedman’s 103rd birthday last week, John Hawkins put together a list of Friedman’s “20 best quotes.” Hawkins’ list includes many of our personal favorites, which come in handy when debating leftists.

20) “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

18) “It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.”

17) “So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

6) “The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.”

4) “There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

3) “Indeed, a major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it… gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

11) “I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible.”

Unfortunately, the great majority of economists, present company excluded, would dissent from that last quote. And why is that? Our best guess is naïveté about government.

All of the quotes are controversial, which is what makes them thought provoking and not pedestrian, but even many libertarians seem to reject number 18, in particular.

Hawkins’ list is good, but he missed at least one of our favorites, to which we’ll assign number 21.

21) “In this world, the greatest source of inequality has been special privileges granted by government.”

Finally, number 17 is from a television show in which Milt takes Phil Donahue (who started his career in Dayton) to school. The excerpt from the show is always worth rewatching if only for the puzzled expression on Donahue’s face.

China’s official GDP charade is in—and, surprise! It’s 7%

A story from Reuters about China’s Madaoff- style economic track record:

Defying all expectations, China’s GDP grew 7% in the second quarter—at least according to the official charade.

[—]

It is an official charade because China’s GDP has long been recognized as a distorted measure of the country’s economic growth. The value “created” in the country’s economy is inflated by the fact that a good chunk of the stuff bought and built in China isn’t worth the official sticker price.

This is thanks to the government’s “implicit guarantee” of any investments that are political priorities. This gives investors, both corporate and individual, the confidence that the government will bail out any inconvenient losses. It encourages banks and individual savers alike to lend to wasteful projects, as long as an official imprimatur is looped in somewhere. It lets lenders accept these unprofitable projects at face value as collateral for more loans.

And thus, debt begets more debt—China’s nearly quadrupled from 2007 to mid-2014, to $28 trillion, McKinsey calculates. Outstanding loans using property as collateral now add up to 22 trillion yuan—about 40% of the total—according to Fitch, the ratings agency. That’s about five times what they were in 2008.

In a way, China’s quarterly GDP announcement is the meta-example of the implicit guarantee creating a moral hazard.

The Chinese government is the only major economy to set GDP growth targets each year. Throughout the year, government officials and the state press reiterate, or talk down, that GDP growth target depending on the political agenda. In decades past, these signals let local officials know how recklessly they should invest, or how brazenly they should lie about the results.

This illustrates that there is no sensible way to measure the value of output or growth in a quasi-command economy.  An old joke in China is that the government can hit whatever GDP number it wants by 1. Building a bridge and 2.knocking down the bridge, and 3.Building the bridge ……………..

The government is coming for your handmade soap

Here is the story from Legal Insurrection:

As if there weren’t more important things to be concerned about…

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would further regulate cosmetics including handmade soap. The Personal Care Products Safety Act was introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Cal) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last month. The bill is currently rattling around in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The stated purpose of the bill is to, “protect consumers and streamline industry compliance by strengthening the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate the ingredients in personal care products. While the personal care products industry is projected to exceed $60 billion in U.S. revenue this year, federal regulations on these products have not been updated in 75 years.”

So basically, “I can’t believe we let this industry make all this money without taking more and more of it in 75 years!”

[—]

Essentially, the Personal Care Products Safety Act is another venture in big government glut that would expand the FDA’s jurisdiction thereby creating more bureaucracy, wasting taxpayer money, and hindering small business growth. More specifically though, the bill would impose fees, and add ridiculous reporting and labeling requirements.

Sen. Feinstein boasts support from just about every big cosmetic industry player including:

  • Personal Care Products Council (a trade association representing more than 600 companies in the industry)
  • Johnson & Johnson (brands include Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Lubriderm, Johnson’s baby products)
  • Procter & Gamble (brands include Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Clairol, Herbal Essences, Secret, Dolce & Gabbana,
  • Gucci, Ivory, Cover Girl, Olay, Sebastian Professional, Vidal Sassoon)
  • Revlon (brands include Revlon, Almay, Mitchum)
  • Estee Lauder (brands include Estée Lauder, Clinique, Origins, Tommy Hilfiger, MAC, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Donna Karan, Aveda, Michael Kors)
  • Unilever (brands include Dove, Tresemme, Lever, St. Ives, Noxzema, Nexxus, Pond’s, Suave, Sunsilk, Vaseline, Degree)
  • L’Oreal (brands include L’Oréal Paris, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Kiehl’s, Essie, Garnier, Maybelline-New York, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, The Body Shop, Redken)

So it’s pretty much classic regulatory capture. Big firms support it because they can afford it, and it’s too expensive and drives the little firms out of business, preventing any of these little firms from disrupting the industry. Few people catch on to this, and most will think these laws are looking out for the little guy.

Six Lies about U.S. Schools (Bumped)

At thefederalist.com, Joy Pullmann puts together a good list of “Six Lies Most People Believe about U.S. Schools.” We have to agree in particular with lie number 1 on the list:  “America’s rich, suburban schools are high quality.”

The Global Report Card has recently layered specific, nationwide figures upon broader comparisons that have long demonstrated our mediocrity. Its authors give Beverly Hills as one example. It represents most affluent suburban districts, which Americans typically think contain great schools. But they don’t. “If Beverly Hills were relocated to Canada, it would be at the 46th percentile in math achievement, a below-average district. If the city were in Singapore, the average student in Beverly Hills would only be at the 34th percentile…” The schools everyone thinks are so great are only so because we compare them to our truly awful urban districts, rather than to actual peers.

Unfortunately, our own personal experience concurs with this assertion. We are constantly coming across students who attended allegedly good high schools but who nonetheless demonstrate a poor grasp of proper high school material. In one recent case, a student, while sitting in our office, related to us that his parents moved to the suburbs precisely so that he would not need to attend the awful Chicago city schools. But only moments later, this same student, while going over some economics problems, revealed a distinct lack of proficiency with middle school (not high school–middle school) level math.

Further evidence that suburban schools are deficient is the fact that, as reported previously on this site, the proportion of high-school seniors who test proficient in U.S. history is only 12%. For the figure to be this low there must be an awful lot of above-average students at above-average schools who are not learning what they’re supposed to.

Apparently, parents are either not willing or not able to judge their children’s schools on the basis of academic substance. It seems that parents judge the school “good” so long as the child seems reasonably happy, and the child doesn’t get pregnant, or victimized by crime, or fall in with the stoner crowd. Talk about defining success down.

We could say a lot more, but it’s usually better to let Milton Friedman do the talking. Here is Friedman’s classic video, “What’s Wrong with our Schools?”

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Redistribute GPAs? (Updated)

In chapter three of The Road to Freedom, Arthur Brooks points out that many of his students at Syracuse University believed that the government should redistribute wealth from rich to poor. Brooks proposed to the students the following idea. He would “take a quarter of the points earned by the top half of the class and pass them on to the students in the lower half of the class.” Despite their support for wealth redistribution, the students “were in unanimous agreement that this was a stupid idea.” Of course, but what’s the difference between grade-point redistribution and wealth distribution? If redistributing GPAs is wrong, doesn’t it follow that redistributing wealth is also wrong?

Turns out that Brooks is not alone in making this analogy, and many students have taken the opportunity to post amusing Youtube videos in which their fellow students struggle to explain why they support redistribution of wealth but not GPAs.

 

The GPA analogy must have hit a nerve, because “progressive” students got out their video cameras to make responses. Check out this reply by the young tax experts at something called TYT (The Young Turks) University.

 

To the best we can discern, the young people in this video make two main points.

First, the top 1% of rich people are not paying their fair share of taxes, as evinced by the fact that Mitt Romney paid only 13% of his income, while middle-class people typically have to pay a higher rate.

We agree that rich people should pay more in taxes than should middle-class or poor people. But the U.S. tax code is already very progressive. The top 1% of earners account for more than one-third of the income-tax revenue, and the top 10% account for more than one-half.

Furthermore, the 13% figure is grossly misleading. As the Young Turks themselves acknowledge, Romney’s tax rate was relatively low because the vast majority of his income was derived from investments, which are taxed at 15%, lower than the rate on “ordinary” income. What the Young Turks probably don’t realize is that there was a time, years ago, in this country when investment income was in fact taxed at a rate similar to that on ordinary income. That policy didn’t work out very well because the tax deterred investment and didn’t do much to generate revenue. As a result, something like a bipartisan consensus formed to tax investment income–dividends and capital gains–at a lower rate.

Nevertheless, it is not true that investors like Romney are taxed at only 15%, and that is because taxing investment income amounts to double taxation. The money that investors use to purchase securities comes from after-tax income. The money that Romney invested was already taxed–as ordinary income–at the time that he first earned it. If he had immediately blown the money he earned on hookers and booze, he would have owed no further tax. That’s because current consumption is taxed only once. But since Romney invested the money instead of spending it, he’s taxed again. Future consumption is taxed more than once, which creates a distortion and an inefficiency. It follows that the efficient tax rate on investment income is (approximately) ZERO, which happens to be the actual rate in Japan. The Young Turks think 15% is too low, but in fact the rate should be near zero!

Future consumption, however, is not just double taxed, it is triple taxed. That’s because, before the corporations get around to paying Romney his dividends, they must first pay the corporate income tax. At 35%, the U.S. has one of the highest corporate income tax rates of any country in the world. The tax accountants, however, usually find enough deductions so that corporations pay on average about 25%. Still, that means that Romney’s dividends were already taxed at 25% before being payed out to him, and then taxed another 15% when he received them. The combined effect of these taxes is 36.25%, and again, this falls on top of the taxes Romney already paid during the year in which he first saved the money.

Maybe the Young Turks should learn something about our tax system before they upload their thoughts about it to youtube.

The second major point the Turks try to make is that competition in the marketplace, unlike competition for school grades, is fundamentally unfair. Indeed, the female Turk argues that “the 1%” are “mostly bankers” who got rich by “cheating” or otherwise doing unspecified things “that society frowns upon,” and so they do not “deserve” the money that they have. The male Turk then uses bribery as a metaphor to describe how the rich got rich. In short, the whole system, according to the Turks, is rigged.

But can this be true? Did Henry Ford get rich by bribery, or by revolutionizing the auto industry? Did Bill Gates get rich by bribery, or by revolutionizing the computer industry? Was Steve Jobs a crooked banker? Look, nobody said life was fair, and we can always dig up examples of people trying to gain unfair advantage by engaging in various shenanigans. The fact remains, however, that our largely (for now) market-oriented system does, for the most part, reward hard work and ingenuity.

We do find it disturbing that young people in particular should argue that the system is rigged and opportunity a mirage. Young people, with the chance before them to shape their entire adult lives, should be optimistically planning and pursuing their dreams, not whining about how the deck is hopelessly stacked against them. For this failure, some of the blame must be assigned to the schools.

Furthermore, even if we accept the Young Turk argument that people are cheating, how does this justify redistribution? For instance, to pursue their own metaphor, suppose that some people were obtaining high grades by resorting to bribery. In that case, would the obvious solution be to redistribute grades by giving extra marks to those who have not earned them, and in the process perhaps also taking marks away from those who did earn them? Or would the proper response be to, you know, put a stop to the bribery?

And which is the economic system that eliminates getting ahead through ‘bribery’ of one sort or another? Would it be a socialistic system, where government officials have the power to determine who gets what, where, when and how? Or would it be a system of free-enterprise, where everyone is forced to earn their living by competing in the marketplace? If the Young Turks really want a “level playing field,” they should advocate for free markets.

The really interesting thing, however, is that the Turks felt compelled to argue that the rich did not earn their wealth legitimately. Inadvertently, they have effectively conceded the point that wealth earned legitimately should not be redistributed. Since different people have widely varying willingness and abilities to legitimately create wealth, it follows that wide disparities of wealth can exist without justifying distribution, just as wide disparities exist in GPAs. That was indeed the exact point that the GPA analogy was intended to make. As the kids say, “Game over.”

We cannot conclude this post, however, without noting Female Turk’s really jaw-dropping argument that the way the rich “give people opportunities” is by “paying taxes.” Oh, is that where opportunity comes from? Gosh, all these years we thought that rich people gave opportunities by starting and expanding businesses and thereby creating jobs.

Female Turk–another proud product of modern America’s schools.

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Video: Created Equal (Updated)

Here is the video corresponding to chapter 5 of Free to Choose, covering the topic of fairness and equality. Don’t miss in particular the concluding roundtable discussion in which the great Thomas Sowell lays the smackdown on Socialist Frances Fox Piven.

Money quote, from Milt: “In this world, the greatest source of inequality has been special privileges granted by government.”

For more on fairness and the profit motive, see the short clip below from Milton Friedman’s 1979 guest appearance on Donahue. Milt takes Dayton native Phil Donahue to school.

 

 

Should the rich give back? (Bumped)

In recent years, we have heard much rhetoric aimed at demonizing “the 1%” of richest Americans, who are supposedly guilty of somehow victimizing “the 99%.” We even saw a bumper sticker recently that proclaimed “I am the 99%” as if that were something to be proud of. Even more appalling, we have heard from students that some of this rhetoric has even found its way into classrooms at UD. And two years ago we all had to endure an election campaign during which we were told repeatedly that the rich were not “paying their fair share.”

Is that right? Do the richest 1% owe something to the other 99%? Should the rich have to “give back?”

Logically, the rich should only have to give back if they have taken something. But is that how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got rich? By taking? No, clearly not. They got rich by innovating and producing products that people wanted and that greatly improved people’s lives. The fact is that virtually all progress in our economy and in our society comes from a tiny minority of talented, hard-working, and successful entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers. The rest of the population reaps the benefit of the improvements brought about by this tiny minority. On this point, Harry Binswanger, writing recently in Forbes, quotes the famous novelist Ayn Rand:

When you work in a modern factory, you are paid, not only for your labor, but for all the productive genius which has made that factory possible: for the work of the industrialist who built it, for the work of the investor who saved the money to risk on the untried and the new, for the work of the engineer who designed the machines of which you are pushing the levers, for the work of the inventor who created the product which you spend your time on making . . .

Or as someone once aptly put it, no poor person can give you a job.

Similarly, in their classic treatise Free to Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman note that

economic and social progress do not depend on the attributes or behavior of the masses. In every country, a tiny minority sets the pace, determines the course of events. In the countries that have developed most rapidly and successfully, a minority of enterprising and risk-taking individuals have forged ahead, created opportunities for imitators to follow, have enabled the majority to increase their productivity.

The argument is also laid out clearly in the brief video below, produced by the Atlas Network. The video highlights the essential point that profits are moral, so long as they arise through voluntary exchange. Profits become morally dubious when they involve involuntary exchange, which usually involves government creating for someone a special privilege.

All the aforementioned suggests that the 99% owe a lot to the 1%. Harry Binswanger, in fact, runs with this idea and, in the spirit of Jonathan Swift, makes a modest proposal–that the 99% should give back to the 1%!

Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Imagine the effect on our culture, particularly on the young, if the kind of fame and adulation bathing Lady Gaga attached to the more notable achievements of say, Warren Buffett. Or if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind. (Since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created.)

We’re not sure that the rich should literally enjoy a zero marginal tax rate, but we do agree that a society that celebrates business success is healthier, and morally superior, to a society that denigrates it. A society that denigrates and demonizes the successful, will not end well. This point was made vividly by the great science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Are young people today learning to celebrate success, or to resent it? Do they respect rich people for their success, or do they feel instead that the rich owe them something? Well, check out the fine product or our educational system in the clip below. If enough people adopt this guy’s perspective, we are in trouble.

When we showed this video to students, they argued that “pay my tuition” guy was not representative of their generation. Fair enough. But how can he exist at all? Back in the Day, we had our share of deluded Marxists, but the victim mentality and infantile sense of entitlement are entirely new to us.

Note, however, that even this doofus got something right. When the interviewer asks him to explain how the rich allegedly exploit the poor, the guy replies that “it has to do with the government.” Even this doofus seems to acknowledge, at least implicitly, that profit earned from voluntary exchange is moral, while it is the coercive powers of government that lead to immoral profit. On this point, pay-my-tuition guy actually agrees with the Atlas Network and Ayn Rand!

Finally, a not very sanguine view of America’s youth is expressed by Adam Carolla in the following epic rant. Language Warning: Not appropriate for children.

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The Lesson of the Pencil (Updated)

In the first chapter of Free to Choose, as well as in the accompanying video, Milton Friedman briefly discusses Leonard Read’s famous essay, I, Pencil. Friedman elaborates at greater length in the video below.

As Friedman says, no one in the world knows how to make a pencil, at least not entirely from scratch. To make a pencil from scratch would require knowing how to mine the ore to produce the steel to make the saw that cuts the tree that provides the wood, and so on and so on. No only does no single person possess this knowledge, but we daresay there is probably no collection of even 1,000 people who could together provide the required knowledge.

Once we think about it, we realize that even the humble pencil is a very complex thing. But is that the whole lesson of the pencil? Is the lesson merely that a seemingly simple thing can involve great complexity? What is it about the production of the pencil that is so remarkable?

It is that the price system can coordinate the diverse and voluntary activities of all of the many people involved in the production process without orders being given or a plan being imposed by a single, overarching authority. Indeed, no system of command and control, such as employed by the military for example, could successfully coordinate all the activities required to make a pencil. On D-Day in 1944, Allied forces managed–barely–to execute the most complex military plan in history, but Allied high command could never have managed to produce from scratch a simple pencil without the help of markets and prices.

Under a mattress, in the freezer: Why so many are hiding cash

A story about some cold hard cash:

Where to stash your cash? Some Americans are sleeping on it—literally.

While banks are still the go-to solution for most consumers, 29 percent say they’re keeping at least some savings in cash bills and coins, according to a new survey of 1,820 adults from American Express. Of those holding cash savings, 53 percent are hiding it in a secret location.

Millennials are even more apt than other generations to go the mattress or freezer route, with 67 percent of those saving cash saying that they hide it outside a bank account.

“We’ve long asked people about how they’ve planned to keep their savings, and for the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick in people saving cash,” said Kimberly Litt, public affairs manager at American Express. This is the first year the company has specifically asked Americans about tucking away cash.

The survey also found that about 1 in 4 consumers anticipates a financial emergency this year, and hiding cash at home could be one way people are preparing. “I’ve also heard of people using it as a budget technique, keeping cash in envelopes set aside,” said Litt.

AmEx didn’t ask where, exactly, that cash is stashed, but a 2012 Marist College survey of 1,080 adults found that the most popular place—with 27 percent of the vote—is the freezer. A little less than 20 percent of Americans hide cash in a sock drawer, while 11 percent put it under the mattress and 10 percent secure it in a cookie jar. Another 9 percent keep their cash somewhere else in the house.

Hmm.  In the days before ATM’s, holding cash made more sense since banks were not open 24-7.  However, if people feel a need to store some we don’t recommend keeping too much money in the house as insurance will only pay $200 maximum in case of a claim…theft, fire etc.