Three Strikes – You’re Out… Of Freedoms
by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
Jan 10, 2017
In the nineteenth century, the Americans invented a new sport—baseball. At one time thought of by us Britons as a sort of “poor man’s cricket,” baseball eventually became an international sport and, at this point in time, in virtually any country in the world, the exclamation “Three strikes—you’re out” means to all and sundry that the individual in question is finished for the time being.
And the phrase is sometimes used in investment circles. One investor can be heard advising another, “Don’t buy that stock—they’re underfunded, have poor management and an unsustainable business plan. You’d have three strikes against you even before you started.”
If the investor receiving the advice is wise, he would, of course, avoid the stock as he would avoid a plague. Although there might be some chance of success, the odds are so thoroughly stacked against him that he’s almost certain to lose his money.
But what of an entire country where the investor has three strikes against him before he starts? What if some country were to pass a series of laws that were so draconian that, whilst it may be possible that the investor might survive, the odds are stacked so much against him that loss is almost a certainty?
An excellent example of such a country is the home of baseball—the USA. Once regarded worldwide as “the land of opportunity,” the US has declined precipitously in recent decades and, as developed countries go, has become one of the world’s dodgiest jurisdictions in which to retain wealth.
Strike One: Confiscation of Wealth
In 2010, the US government passed the massive (2,300 pages) Dodd-Frank Act. Ostensibly, Dodd-Frank was intended to end the excessive risk-taking that had led to the 2008 crash. Although Congress could simply have reinstated the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (a mere 37 pages, the 1999 repeal of which led to the crash), it passed Dodd-Frank. Many congressmen admitted that they had never even read it before passing it. Unfortunate. Buried in that bill was legislation that allowed the opposite of what the bill was claimed to have been meant to do. It allowed US banks to confiscate account holders’ deposits—in other words, it codified the bail-in process.
Although no confiscation has yet taken place, a trial balloon for confiscation was sent up in Cyprus in 2013 and the world accepted the concept. The path is now paved for similar confiscation in the US. In essence, this means that any funds that are entrusted to any bank in the US are unsafe.
Strike Two: Civil Forfeiture