I have warned that when I am traveling these days, the question always posed is – “How much cash do you have?” Even traveling to Warsaw, there are big signs saying you may not have more than €10,000 in “value” on your person. In Italy, if it looks like you have a lot of jewelry, they weight it. The hunt for money by governments is getting desperate. They use terrorism and the drug trade as the excuse. Granted, there may be cash being smuggled into Mexico like the latest catch of $3 million in the trunk of a car at San Diego. But the problem becomes, we are all now suspects without doing anything. They get to confiscate that money and never have to prove it is the proceeds of any crime whatsoever.
What is the importance of such seizures to our liberty? Granted, the drug trade may have a bunch of cash. But unless you actually prove they were drug dealers, what they are calling this is “money smuggling” not “money laundering” or even “drug money” these days. That means they claim the right to just take whatever cash a person has without proving that it is the proceeds of a crime. That means, you have no right to travel with your own money.
When I was in the gold business back in the 1970s, an old farmer looking guy with a moth-eaten jacket and a cap, came walking into my office. He was watching the ticker tape display above the vault. Those were my younger days and then guy said: “Hey kid. How many Krugerrands would a half-million buy?” I entered it in the calculator just to answer his curious question. He then said: “I’ll take them!” I was shocked and looked at him. He then handed me a brown paper bag from a food store and said: “Here’s $250,000. Watch this. I will go get the other bag in the car.” No bill was newer than 1934 and trying to count that much mostly in $20 and $50 bills that smelled really mildew, was a nightmare and you felt like you needed a shower afterwards.
I told the story to a friend about this crazy old guy who paid half-million in cash with old bills that smelled terrible. I never knew his name. Back then we were free, not like today. There was no requirement to give up everything to do a transaction. No presumption he was a drug dealer or a terrorist. My friend then told me his name and the story. His family was one of the largest landholders on the East Coast. He had sold all the land for Six Flags Great Adventure. The story went that his family had lost a lot of money in the bank failures during the 1930s. So they built their own vault in the basement of their house and never trusted banks again.
Between “money smuggling” and “money laundering” regulations, you do not have the right to your own money anymore. The “money smuggling” is simply traveling with your money and that requires disclosure for $10,000 or more or in equivalent foreign currency. Then they use “money laundering” for hiding your cash as in a safe deposit box. Read the fine print for such a box. You are not allowed to have cash or gold in a safe deposit box for that is now “money laundering” meaning you are hiding it from the government and they presume guilt that you didn’t pay taxes or you are a drug dealer. In either case, they just confiscate your money. They need not prove it is the proceeds of a crime or that you didn’t pay a tax on it. Even if you cashed your pay check and kept it in cash accumulating your savings outside of a bank today because you don’t trust them, that is now hiding your money from government and as such it is “money laundering.” This is one reason they want to go to electronic money. That would eliminate hiding anything.
Had that farmer’s family been around today, that would justify storming their house with swat teams. That family was not engaged in any criminal activity. They just didn’t trust banks after the failures of more than 9000 banks during the late stages of the Great Depression. Back then, it was not “money laundering” to keep your wealth in cash and in your own vault in the basement. Today, they just presume you are up to something and that justifies taking everything you have and if you resist, they have no problem killing you.
This is obviously the same human response that has unfolded over the centuries. This is why hoards of coins are still found buried in the ground in all cultures from all centuries. This is what happens with the collapse in the confidence of government. What you think is yours, they view as their’s. Hillary Clinton said in Detroit that Trump is worth $4 billion. She told the audience – think what we could do with that! This is how career politicians look at the world. What can they take from us next? They print the money so it’s their’s anyway.