Saturday, June 1, 2013
Governments getting greedier . . .
For years we've had a problem in the USA with state governments seizing 'dormant' accounts (defined as 'dormant' in their own terms) and 'administering' the funds in them for the presumed owners. Very often that means simply spending the money on the state's own needs, knowing that in many cases no claim will ever be lodged. Trouble is, more and more people are finding their deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes, etc. raided and confiscated, and have a terrible time getting back what's theirs. If it's property such as jewelry, etc., that's often sold - sometimes for ridiculously low prices - and the owners never recover what's theirs. What's more, they have no recourse except to claim back the cash value received, because the state(s) have passed laws making such confiscation 'legal'.
It now appears that the Australian government is doing the same thing. Reader Snoggeramus warns us of a Brisbane woman who lost more than $150,000 in that way. It seems that other nations are doing likewise - for example, the British Virgin Islands (long an offshore banking haven) is moving in that direction. Add to that talk of a 'deposit tax' on European bank accounts, and things are suddenly looking a lot less safe for many depositors around the world.
I've written before about the need to keep a certain amount of cash on hand. One response to the risks outlined above is to increase the amount of cash one keeps on hand, rather than in a bank. I don't have a lot (certainly nothing approaching real wealth), but I'm damned if I'll leave it in a bank whose soundness and integrity I can no longer trust, thanks to interference from rapacious and greedy governments! We certainly aren't earning enough interest on our savings (much less than the rate of inflation, whether the artificially-low 'official' figure or the real one) to justify leaving them in the bank; and if others find their assets in the bank suddenly taxed or confiscated, we'll be immune to their troubles.