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BOHICA: Consumer “protection”

Okay, we all knew the Wall Street regulatory bill wasn’t really going to regulate Wall Street. And we could be sure that the new “consumer protection” bureaucracy the bill proposes wasn’t going to protect consumers, right?

But there was still a shoe that hadn’t dropped. We hadn’t yet heard about the inevitable something in the bill, the teeny, tiny little let’s-not-mention-this provision that would turn out to be the real purpose of the upcoming new law.

The shoe has struck. Via, here it is:

The bill, if it becomes law, would create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower it to “gather information and activities of persons operating in consumer financial markets,” including the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and the amount of money kept in each customer’s account.

The new bureaucracy is then allowed to “use the data on branches and [individual and personal] deposit accounts … for any purpose” and may keep all records on file for at least three years and these can be made publicly available upon request.

Helllllooooo again, Big Brother. Josef Stalin and Erich Honecker would be so proud.


  1. MJR
    MJR May 27, 2010 8:21 am

    Once again we are reminded of these three simple things.

    First, cash is king so limit the use of services that can be tracked and pay cash up front if you can. If you have to use credit then try to have the bills sent to a location that is not tied to you and don’t carry a balance. In short don’t give anybody reason to look at you or your stuff. In short, if they want to look at you make it harder for them.

    Second, trust is earned and not just given away freely so act accordingly.

    Finally third, when it is time to vote do it. If you can’t for then vote against. You may think the system is busted but remember this, the world is run by those who show up. That is the only way the folks who write this drivel will be brought down.

    Looking at what I just wrote I figure that I am preaching to the converted but what the heck. (;~>)


  2. Jake MacGregor
    Jake MacGregor May 27, 2010 8:25 am

    if you can’t touch it you don’t own it

    if others know you have it, you may not keep it

    so, Claire, answer your thesis … when exactly can we ##### the bastards?

  3. Matt
    Matt May 27, 2010 12:24 pm

    Lack of financial Activity will also be tracked. If an electronic deposit goes in and is then drawn out in cash, you will be considered up to no good. The same reasoning to track cash transactions for the “war on drugs” will be used against smaller transaction amounts. If you don’t appear to have money or use the electonic markets, the government will come looking for you, because you will be the anomaly. If you don’t look/souund/live like the “average” you must be a subversive.
    If you appear to be living without access to the electronic banking systems, you will be targeted for income tax invasion, etc.

    The Government has stopped representing the American people, and is only interested in supporting itself, and the coprorate interests that control it.

  4. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth May 27, 2010 12:26 pm

    Sadly, Jake, I think that ventilating the bastards may be precisely what they want…and it certainly plays into their game.

    And at least for me personally, on a metaphysical level, there is this: I know I did not spend all that time and effort learning how to fight, only to become what I behold in the end. Not acceptable. (I have a one-year old daughter to answer to, and will. 🙂

    Fortunately, the more I learn, the more I am developing the opinion that the best answer may be simpler than all that anyway. The withdrawal of consent is what will get us out of this mess. Jeff Cooper labored to emphasize that we do not shoot to kill but rather to stop a fight that someone else started. In just precisely the same way, fighting over The One Ring isn’t really what freedom lovers want; what we want is to stop its use against others…and the best–the only–way to do that is to huck it into the fires of Mount Doom, unmaking it by returning it to where it was made. In the case of this particular One Ring, we can do that simply by de-legitimizing its power. (Yeah, I know, “simple” does not mean “easy”, but that does not mean it is not “simple”.) We can walk away. We can simply not do it. (Hell, they’re not listening to us anyway, so what’s the difference?)

    It’s not really any different than when someone says, “what if they held a war and nobody came?” That statement is often backed up by starry-eyed obliviousness, to be sure, but if “they” did hold a war and nobody showed up–if “they” indeed did have to hold a bake sale to get a fancy new bomber (er, drone, these days)…well, then “they” just wouldn’t be all that important anymore, now would they?

    And that is what I’m after.

    Now…withdrawal of consent doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun in the bargain. I’m all for polishing up our inner George Haydukes, adapted to the modern age. I just hope that I can manage, at least once in my life, a zinger like this:

    xkcd: Exploits of a Mom

    (Apologies to any database people out there who lost coffee looking at that. I still giggle every time I look at it. 🙂

  5. Claire
    Claire May 27, 2010 1:37 pm

    Jake, I think Kevin just made a better reply than I could have. 🙂

  6. Pat
    Pat May 27, 2010 1:54 pm

    “… when exactly can we ##### the bastards?”

    I agree with Kevin. #####ing the bastards is not only ineffective, it is downright dangerous to the cause of liberty.

    If “war is the health of the state”, then making war on the state is a sure excuse for fedgov to place even tighter internal controls on all “citizens” and at the same time use that “war” as an excuse to add still more taxes.

    “Citizens” are currently starting to be labeled terrorists now — i.e. anyone who speaks against the current policies is considered an ‘enemy of the state’. If the bastards started being picked off, the government would quickly pinpoint *any and all* specific individuals, organizations, political groups (libertarians, conservatives, Tea Party members), gun rights advocates, etc., and they’d be rounded up quicker than SWAT teams could break down a door. The specter of Auschwitz would rise again.

    Better to withdraw support and protect yourself, while the bastards shoot themselves in the foot and suffer terminal gangrene from the putrid bandages of tyranny.

  7. Debra
    Debra May 27, 2010 4:56 pm

    I’m not new to encroaching Big-Brotherdom, so I’m not entirely surprised. However, I was shocked at the line:

    “These [consumer records] can be made publicly available upon request.”

    Normally there’s a reasonable-sounding (albeit specious) reason for all of the laws. For the children. For safety. For Society. Whatever. But I cannot possibly even begin to conceive how on earth making one’s banking transactions publicly available to ANYONE is being justified.

    I can understand (if not agree with) the “reasoning” behind tracking everything … Matt points out quite accurately that it could be justified as a way to target money-launderers, tax evaders, drug dealers, etc. I can see how the public at large would generally agree that this is a Good Thing (I don’t, obviously, but I can see why others might).

    But making it public?? What possible reason could my next door neighbor have for wanting to know how often I grocery shop, what my mortgage payment is (and who holds the mortgage), etc??

    So when did the gov start wanting to share all the information its been hoarding for decades? Normally they mandate data-gathering for themselves, but make it illegal for anyone else to get it (a la HIPAA).

  8. Jake MacGregor
    Jake MacGregor May 27, 2010 6:07 pm

    thanks all for letting me vent instead of venting :>)

  9. Trader
    Trader May 27, 2010 10:44 pm

    Withdrawal of sanction seems to be occurring in small pockets all over the country. If my experience is representative, it is a much more common thing than generally imagined.

    Barter is making a comeback and I and several others have begun paying for certain goods and services in pre-64 coins, gladly accepted. Tokens, backed by other goods, are also undergoing circulation. (Interestingly, a common token is a standard $1 bill. It’s cheap to obtain, serialized, hard to counterfeit and draws little attention. It’s an amusing irony to see it worth more that a dollar when it’s backed by privately-held tangibles rather than “The Full Faith and Credit of the United States.”)

    Back in the early days of the Cypherpunks, private, untraceable cash was seen as inevitable. The protocols and software (including systems such as Freenet) are off-the-shelf and mostly open source. They have improved considerably since then.

    When people are tired enough of a corrupt, fraudulent monetary system that steals their productivity and value at every turn, they have (for perhaps the first time in history) the ability to create their own currency.

    Now, we have to answer to Solzhenitsyn: Do we love freedom enough?

  10. Joe
    Joe May 28, 2010 5:59 am

    The solution (or at least a partial defense) seems to be similar to my “self employed” experience.

    In 2004 I lost my job with an independent power producer. It being the height of the “deregulation” of the utilities, NOBODY was hiring engineers for power plant work. I did the entire 30 week stint getting unemployment and then looked forward to further work “under the table” since a real job in my field wasn’t in the cards.

    My brother’s thought on under the table was “Keep working something above table. Do ANYTHING that will result in a W2. Work at a local farm, do locker room duty for the school system, take a job as a night watchman – just so long as you have SOMETHING that is provable to the IRS. As long as you have this, even though it might be part time and not earn anything near what you used to make, the IRS won’t mess with you.”

    And for the next four years I did as he said, even though the vast majority of my income was derived from “under the table” activities. In fact, with the tax removed from the larger portion of my income, I could bring home MORE money working part time W2 and under the table for the rest.

    But it was a hard life. Very hand to mouth. 60-70 hour weeks when it was there and then the next week would be a dearth of “account billable.” Typical of the life of the self employed, of course.

    Ultimately it was lack of employee health benefits that forced me back into the system.

    So you see, that last ObamaCare Bill with it’s compulsory insurance aspect had more than just the health of Americans as it’s target.

    And “Financial Consumer Reform” will have as it’s primary target a bit more than just protecting you and I from supposedly unscrupulous banking and investment schemes.

    Participate in “electronic finance” only as required and enough to keep you out of the limelight.

    It’s all just another fence to keep the sheeple in.


  11. Joel
    Joel May 28, 2010 8:18 am

    I see it as a sign (Maybe I’m being optimistic here) that we’re finally hurting them a little. If they’re taking steps to rein in “under-the-table” work, there’s finally enough of it going on to affect their bottom line. Huzzah!

    With apologies to a certain princess – The tighter they squeeze it, the more of it will slip through their fingers.

  12. Dan Perkins
    Dan Perkins May 28, 2010 10:25 pm

    Well, reading that, I learned that my skin can still crawl.

  13. Pat
    Pat May 29, 2010 6:22 am

    Joe, what do you think would have happened if you had gone off the system entirely?

    I don’t know your circumstances, your bills, your lifestyle (nor do I want to know), and I don’t have the answer to this question, but am just wondering: if you hadn’t taken your brother’s advice but had worked 100% outside the system — under the table, black market, whatever you want to call it — what do you think the IRS would have done? I ask because the IRS gets suspicious if we don’t earn enough to make a living, _or_ if we change lifestyles — yet, in spite of an apparent drop in your income, they didn’t question you. Do you think you just fell through the cracks? Or isn’t it possible they could forget about you if you disappeared entirely?

    To anyone: How long, I wonder, does it take for the IRS to miss somebody who doesn’t appear on their books at all?

  14. Ellendra
    Ellendra May 29, 2010 8:33 pm

    Pat: Must take more than a year. They’ve never raised a fuss when I lost my job and didn’t make enough to file every now and then.

  15. Pat
    Pat May 30, 2010 4:12 am

    Yes, I can understand the first year——from the last April’s tax return to the next when no return went in. Then we’re supposed to keep (at least) three years’ tax records in case they want to audit us retroactively. Would they catch the lapse during that time, or would a ”minor” citizen be overlooked while they went after the big payoffs?

    And now will come the 1099 deluge! How much will that affect IRS’s ability to keep track of a person who isn’t there?

    Just something to think about.

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