We've spoken before in these pages about asset forfeiture - the seizure by police and prosecutors of assets allegedly derived directly or indirectly from crime. It's of growing concern as it becomes a normal, routine fund-raising procedure by law enforcement authorities.
The problem has now grown so great as to dwarf crime itself. Zero Hedge reports:
Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually.
In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989.
Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year.
Now, according to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.
The police have been violating the laws to confiscate assets all over the country. A scathing report on California warns of pervasive abuse by police to rob the people without proving that any crime occurred. Even Eric Holder came out in January suggesting reform because of the widespread abuse of the civil asset forfeiture laws by police.
Bloomberg News has reported now that Stop-and-Seize authority is turning the Police Into Self-Funding Gangs. They are simply confiscating money all under the abuse of this civil asset forfeiture where they do not have to prove you did anything.
There's more at the link. The linked article at Bloomberg is particularly worrying.
The situation has reached crisis point when one seriously has to question whether to drive through certain law enforcement or prosecutorial jurisdictions, for fear that one's perfectly legal and legitimate cash and valuables might be at risk from the authorities. However, despite all the concern expressed in the media, it seems authorities are carrying on with the same old, same old. Money talks . . . and they've found what is, for them, a very lucrative source of money. Their political masters let them get away with it for the simple reason that if they fund their operations (and, dare one suggest, a little political largesse?) from this source, it's less necessary to raise taxes - thus ensuring that the politicians get re-elected with greater ease.
What was that about 'No Taxation Without Representation' again?