Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reward your friends and punish your enemies with money.

Two alarming things here. First alarming thing, the US federal government is using banks and credit card companies to attack businesses that sell and/or make guns in the USA.

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks' customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as "high risk" along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has launched Operation Choke Point, a credit card fraud probe focusing on banks and payment processors. The threat of enforcement has prompted some banks to cut ties with online gun retailers, even if those companies have valid licenses and good credit histories.

"This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent 'reputational risk' to do business with," said Peter Weinstock, a lawyer at Hunton & Williams LLP. "So financial institutions are reacting to this extraordinary enforcement arsenal by being ultra-conservative in who they do business with: Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped."

The second alarming thing of course is that the federal government isn't supposed to have the legal power to dictate to banks what customers they shall have. But they do it anyway, even though it is obviously outside their legal power.

Regulations on the financial industry have increased over the past few years, said Thomas P. Vartanian, chairman of Dechert LLP, a global law firm specializing in regulatory and financial matters.

He noted the chilling effect of overregulation by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency behemoth that includes the departments of Commerce, Justice, Labor, Education, Homeland Security and Justice along with the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Secret Service, the FBI, the Social Security Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

Let's list the alphabet soup here shall we? DOE, DOJ, DOL, DOEd, DHS, IRS, SEC, SS, FBI, SSA and FTC. Doubtless the EPA is in there somewhere as well. Now I'm certainly not a lawyer, but I'm sure that given the volumes of regulations implied by that list it would be possible for a bureaucrat find a rule or precedent that would make virtually any transaction or activity impossible to do legally. Pretty much anything you could think of would be either outright illegal or so burdened by tax and reporting requirements as to be uneconomical or simply impossible.

Therefore, by merely declaring an interest the government can shut down virtually any commercial concern they like. Obviously they'd like to shut down the gun business and the coal business, both f which have the audacity to be making a profit these days. Meanwhile billion dollar government loans to eco-friendly DemocRat party donor corporations disappear in bankruptcy after bankruptcy. But its all good and nobody needs to investigate because hey, its for the children right?

You want to build a successful police-state tyranny, you do it by rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies.

The Phantom

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