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Jim Cook



Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

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October 29, 2013

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By John Rubino

Another of history’s many lessons is that governments under pressure become thieves. And today’s governments are under a lot of pressure. Before we look at the coming wave of asset confiscations, let’s stroll through some notable episodes of the past, just to make the point that government theft of private wealth is actually pretty common.

• Ancient Rome needed money to fund an army. They drew up a list of several hundred wealthy Romans, accused them of crimes, executed them and took their property.

• In the mid-1530s, English king Henry VIII was short of funds, so he seized the country’s monasteries and claimed their property and income for the Crown.

• Soon after the French Revolution in 1789, the new government confiscated lands and other property of the Catholic Church and used the proceeds to back a new form of paper currency called assignats.

• In 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt banned the private ownership of gold and ordered US citizens to turn in their gold. Once the confiscation was complete, the dollar was devalued to $35 per ounce of gold, effectively stealing 70 percent.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, various kinds of capital controls and asset confiscations have become common. A few examples:

• Greece pulled funds directly from bank and brokerage accounts of suspected tax evaders, without prior notice or judicial due process.

• Argentina banned the purchase of U.S. dollars for personal savings and required banks to make loans in pesos at rates considerably below the true inflation rate.

• Cyprus, a eurozone country, responded to a series of bank failures by confiscating 47.5% of domestic bank accounts over €100,000.

• Poland in September responded to a budgetary shortfall by confiscating the assets of the country’s private pension funds without offering any compensation.

• Spain was recently revealed to have looted its largest public pension fund, the Social Security Reserve Fund, by ordering it to use its cash to buy Spanish government bonds. 

Here’s what a 2013 IMF report says on the topic. “The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a capital levy, a one-off tax on private wealth, as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability.”

Will more countries introduce capital controls or asset confiscations in the next few years? Duh, of course. Debt levels are unmanageable, so they have to be lowered. And there are only three ways to do it: deflationary collapse that wipes out the debt through default, inflation that wipes out the debt by destroying the world’s major currencies, or stealing enough private sector wealth to reset the clock. Option one – depression – is political poison so will be avoided at all costs. Option two is being tried and is failing because the deflationary effect of trillions of dollars of bad debt more or less equals the inflationary impact of trillions of dollars of new currency.

That just leaves door number three, demonize the successful and take what they’ve accumulated. Recall that governments like to pick on members of society who 1) have lots of money and 2) have lots of enemies or can easily be framed for crimes. This time around it will be “the rich” who are living well at the expense of the rest of us. The trick will be to define “rich” down far enough to make possible the confiscation of middle-class IRAs and 401(K)’s, since that’s where the real money is.

Interesting that the build-up to asset confiscation is coinciding with a coordinated take-down of gold and silver, the two assets that will be hardest to steal when the time comes.