Former US Treasury secretary says we should kill the $100 bill

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Former Treasury Secretary Says We Should Kill $100 Bill
A former U.S. treasury secretary has taken a public stand against high denomination bills.

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Larry Summers argues in a piece for the Washington Post that large notes like the 500-euro or $100 bill should no longer be issued.

His commentary was inspired by a recently published paper from the Harvard Kennedy School titled, "Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes."

In the paper, researchers discuss the flow of money from illegal activities and write that "By eliminating high denomination, high value notes we would make life harder for those pursuing tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption."

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Former US Treasury secretary says we should kill the $100 bill
Lawrence H. 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary, gestures as he speaks during the Swiss International Finance Forum in Bern, Switzerland, on Monday, June 29, 2015. Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan said the central bank intervened to stabilize the franc, which surged after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on bailout terms. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DRESDEN, GERMANY - MAY 28: Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers (L) and Canadian Minister of Finance Joe Oliver attend a symposium during a meeting of finance ministers of the G7 group of nations on May 28, 2015 in Dresden, Germany. The G7 finance ministers are meeting ahead of the upcoming G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in June. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, pauses during a session on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21-24. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, speaks during a session on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21-24. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, reacts during a Bloomberg Television interview on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21-24. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Robin Hood Investors Conference in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. Summers discussed the outlook for U.S. growth, China's economy and global markets. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary, listens at a panel discussion during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. The global response to the Ebola crisis is 'way behind the curve,' World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said today, as leaders of the three affected African nations appealed for financing and faster assistance. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks at a panel discussion during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. The global response to the Ebola crisis is 'way behind the curve,' World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said today, as leaders of the three affected African nations appealed for financing and faster assistance. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers delivers remarks during the 2014 annual conference of the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) April 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. The two-day event focused on global business environment and prospects for growth. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Lawrence 'Larry' Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the five day event runs from Jan. 22-25. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers participates in an economic forum on 'Policy Responses to Crises' at the International Monetary Fund headquarters November 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. The forum was part of the fourteenth Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, listens during an interview in Mexico City, Mexico, on Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013. Summers predicted that the U.S. will avoid another round of the political gridlock that last month brought the world's largest economy to the edge of a record default. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former US Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Henry Summers (left) and former Governor of the Bank of Israel Professor Jacob Frenkel talk together during a conference held by the Bank of Israel at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, June 18, 2013. (Photo by Dan Porges/Getty Images)
Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, speaks during the 2011 Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai, China, on Friday, May 20, 2011. The annual gathering sponsored by China's top financial regulatory bodies takes place until May 21. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Summers largely agrees, recalling similar concerns he expressed about the 500-euro note, which is worth more than $550, when the currency was being planned out.

In fact, he points to the note's nickname as the "Bin Laden"—a point mentioned in the paper—as proof of its link to illegal activities.

The famed economist ultimately states that placing "a moratorium on printing new high denomination notes would make the world a better place."

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