Laws for Looters

Our own government?  Looting?  Say it ain’t so.

I have always despised government confiscation of property without due process, such as occurs when the police claim a vehicle, boat, etc. was used in a drug crime. No conviction is required and there are more ways to abuse this process than Georgia has Waffle Houses.

The central problem with this and similar laws, like eminent domain, is that government has its own interests in the matter. Cops are able to use money and other assets confiscated from alleged criminals for purchase of equipment and other operating expenses. Let’s see…need a really cool SUV for patrol? I think I know where we can get one.

Guardia di Finanza - The Italian version of the IRS

Now California, desperate for money, has taken to pilfering from safety deposit boxes. Well, it’s not exactly pilfering, you see. It’s more like not trying all that hard to find the real owner. Say I run across a wallet full of $100s in a parking lot, look around and seeing no one, assume it is now mine without bothering to look at the ID inside.

Statists often forget that government is neither benign nor neutral. It has its own agenda and will invariably act in its own interests, interests that are often opposed to those of its citizens. The lie they tell is that it is for the general welfare or some other vague claptrap. Baloney. It is for them, the nameless gnomes who settle into a life of “public service” for less than noble reasons.

And what bearing does this have on our immediate future? Well, it seems to me that there is a disturbing groundwork being laid here. Government fears gold the way Donald Trump fears anonymity. More and more people are waking up to the fact that paper money is in danger of becoming worthless. No doubt, many are putting gold and silver away in safe deposit boxes. Under what circumstances might government be tempted to claim some of that for its own?

Even FDR and his Administration did not go after safe deposit boxes when they confiscated gold in the 1930’s. The only case I can find of that was a tax evasion case. At least they had the decency to respect citizen’s rights. Now I am not so sure. Government has shown every indication that it is willing to use the flimsiest of excuses to feel up six-year-olds, confiscate property to give to friends, and claim Camaros for their departments on the pretense of a drug offense.

I do not enjoy saying this, but here it is. I believe that underneath all the puffery about the dollar being safe and inflation not posing a threat our governing masters are near-paralyzed by the fear that their shell game is about to be exposed. Look for more and more incursions into private affairs on the pretense of preventing terrorist attacks, stemming the flow of illegal drugs, and “stopping global warming.”

If you do collect gold and silver, make sure at least some of it is in a place even government cannot find. At the first sign of an effort by government to confiscate either or both, have a plan ready to get your precious metals out of safe deposit boxes and into other storage. Be safe, don’t panic, and make sure to take precautions against theft, but do be ready. They cannot be trusted.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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