Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: May 2012


US economic policy – point fingers and hope the other guy gets blamed

Via Charlie Cook, some things you most likely know:

First, there’s Europe and the eurozone. It’s possible that the situation could be worse in Greece, but not that much worse. There’s a pretty good chance that country will be exiting the eurozone soon, but either way, Greece is putting enormous stress on its economy. Then there’s Spain, which has an economy larger than Greece, also in trouble. With Europe teetering on the edge of recession, there are limits to how much even Germany can do to keep the eurozone—now the world’s largest single economy—from going into a serious tailspin. Europe contributes 21 percent of global economic growth, so there is rather obvious significance for the U.S.

And something you might be somewhat aware of:

Then, there is China, whose economy is slowing. Acknowledging the problem, the Chinese government just announced that it was placing greater emphasis on economic growth. Its central bank is expected to lower rates soon. It’s unlikely that China will go into a recession, but don’t expect purchases of U.S. goods there to match those of the last few years.

Key point in last sentence.  We may buy a lot of stuff there, but we also sell a lot of stuff to China.  And, our other major trading partner is what?  The Eurozone.  So what Cook is pointing out is the real possibility of a major slowdown and the problem that would present for a fragile US economy at, if you’re a Democrat, exactly the wrong time.

So Cook lays this out for your consideration.  And while you may not agree with everything, read it through:

But it’s the fragile nature of America’s own economy—and questions about whether our political process is capable of coping with immediate and simultaneous challenges—that make things so much worse. The Federal Reserve Board has acted heroically to pump up the economy. As the International Strategy and Investment Group reports, the Fed’s efforts put the trade-weighted dollar at close to a record low, making it almost as competitive as it ever has been. But a weak world economy still limits the U.S. advantage to sell.

The term “fiscal cliff” has been rapidly entering the economic lexicon. People using the phrase may not know exactly what is scheduled to happen at the end of this year. Probably more than anything else, though, they may know that the George W. Bush-era income-tax cuts will be eliminated both for earners above and below the $250,000 level if not renewed by Dec. 31. They also may know that some significant spending cuts will automatically be made, unless Congress takes action, that will cut defense and nondefense funding pretty much evenly. Of course, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the real drivers in the increase of federal spending, are exempted from those cuts.

A few may even know that  the capital gains tax rates will go up unless Congress acts. According to ISI Group, the top rate on dividends would almost triple, going from 15 percent to 43.4 percent. Andy Laperriere, who heads up the ISI shop, said understatedly in a report to his clients, “We find investors to be interested in the many facets of the fiscal cliff, but we don’t believe investors have repositioned their portfolios yet. We suspect that will change late this summer and into the fall as investors begin to focus on the outlook for next year.”

Call me simple, but I think that means that people will start dumping their stocks.

Bingo.  He calls it a “fiscal cliff”.  I’d characterize it as a fiscal trainwreck.  Dale might bring up the red kangaroo and point to the fact that none of this is a surprise – we’ve been able to see it coming for miles.  And, as is the nature of politics and government, at least in this country, to date nothing of any significance has been done to address it.  Nothing.

The result, at least to now:

The danger, of course, is another stalemate over taxes and spending, but bigger this time. Policy moves that collectively could take an estimated 3.5 percentage-point bite out of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product are scheduled to kick in at the start of next year, hitting a very fragile economy. And let’s not forget the threat of another debt-ceiling showdown. We have the ingredients for enough economic uncertainty that it would be bizarre if many large companies and financial institutions didn’t freeze hiring, expansion, investing, borrowing, and lending. Individual investors would also probably head for the exits.

Sequestration, taxmageddon, the debt ceiling, a global economic slowdown, etc.  All looming large.  And about all that is happening is finger pointing.  If you wonder why business isn’t expanding, hiring and reviving the economy, look at this mess and wonder no more.  It’s because of policy – government policy.  Or the lack thereof.

Cook, naturally, tries to pass it off to the Republican House.  But let’s get real here.  All of this – all of it – could have been addressed in the first two years of Obama’s presidency when he had a fully Democratic Congress and told us he was focused like a laser on the economy.  But in reality he ducked it for ObamaCare.  He was more concerned about his legacy than the country’s economic problems.  And now, after the Democrats were spanked by the electorate in 2010 for their economic inattention, he’s stuck with having to compromise, something he’s refused to do to this point.

So yeah, the Charlie Cooks of the world will be spinning this as Republican obstruction – that’s a sort of knee jerk position for the left – but in fact, this is malfeasance by the Democrats and the President.  Their opportunity came and went and they did basically nothing.  The usual cure was tried – throwing trillions of debt ridden dollars at the problem – and it didn’t work.  Now they have this fiscal trainwreck coming and their solution is?

Blame the other guys.

But as we’ve been pointing out here, reality is reality.  And it is about to visit the finger-pointers in a big way.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Fantasy vs. Reality

Greece’s long vacation from reality is very nearly over. Not that you’d believe it from listening to the country’s politicians. In the aftermath of Greece’s last elections, voters rejected further austerity, and instead sought refuge in fantasy. That fantasy is perhaps best exemplified by Alexis Tsipras, who emerged from the election with the power to block approval of any further austerity by blocking the formation of a government.

Indeed, I now have some doubt as to whether Mr. Tsipras is actually sane:

Leftist Alexis Tsipras, 37, emerged with the power to block them. Greece, he said, could ditch its spending cuts and renounce its debts to EU partners, yet enlist their help in keeping the euro currency some 80 percent of Greeks cherish.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

And everybody with a lick of sense knows it’s not gonna happen. Not in Greece. Nor, apparently, anywhere else on the Euro Zone’s periphery, as money is fleeing it with alacrity.

Foreign bank deposits have fallen 64% in Greece, 55% in Ireland and 37% in Portugal; in Italy, the fall is 34% and Spain 13%. Foreign government bond holdings have dropped 56% in Greece, 18% in Ireland and 25% in Portugal; in Italy the fall is 12% and Spain 18%. So if Italy and Spain were to move to the average for the other three, a further 200 billion euros would flow out.

The Greeks are not being punished by rich Germans. They aren’t the victims of speculators or criminals. They are merely being forced to pay the price that reality is about to impose for decades of enthusiastic socialism, and the attendant corruption, debt, and malfeasance it has encouraged. Their problem isn’t "austerity"; it’s the unsustainable political and economic fantasies that have sustained the county’s political culture.

Greece is a failed state.  Spain is about to become a failed state. No doubt a list of "enemies" will be promulgated to try and paper over whose fault all this actually is. The sacrifice of scapegoats in times of crisis is, after all, a venerated European tradition.

But, that won’t help, or stop what is coming. Reality is relentless. And the really scary thing about that is that there are lessons in all this for us, which I am not entirely sure our own political class will heed—or is even capable of recognizing.

~
Dale Franks
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Obama election campaign: The politics of politics

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the kerfuffle involving the Mayor of Newark, NJ, Corey Booker, but it provides an interesting political point.  Conn Carroll brings you up to date:

The fun started on Sunday when David Gregory asked Booker to defend the Obama campaign ads attacking Romney over his tenure at Bain Capital. Booker responded:

As far as that stuff, I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just this–we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know. I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, it ain’t–they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.

This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.

For that, Booker caught terrific heat from the usual suspects on the left and, has since, begun to walk back this apparent political heresy.

So … what does it all mean? 

Booker’s Meet the Press bungle will probably be forgotten by election day, but it is a symptom of a much larger problem for Obama. He has no positive record to run on. His advisers know he can only win by tearing down Romney. But this strategy is the opposite of the brand he established in 2008. The “Hope and Change” are gone. This is not the last time we are going to see Obama surrogates fail to stay on Chicago’s reelection message. Unlike Obama, many of them will have to face voters again.

Carroll hits the nail on the head. Where politicians of all stripes on the left could and did enthusiastically and unconditionally endorse Obama last campaign, now that he has a record, and a poor one at that, such an endorsement could be a huge political liability for them.  Pushing the talking points could mean electoral trouble.   Keeping a distance from Obama could mean the difference between winning and losing an election.

So … that’s what it all means.  Corey Booker is no fool.  And what he said is surprisingly honest as well as a reflection of how most people feel.  All of this is a “distraction from the real issues”.  But then, that’s the strategy of a president with an abysmal record.

Booker is a political animal and most likely has aspirations for higher office.  He’s begun the inevitable walk back.  But his moment of honesty and clarity signal some potential trouble for the distraction strategy known as the Obama campaign.  When your own party operatives are dissatisfied with how you are conducting your campaign, it isn’t particularly difficult to conclude that most voters feel that way as well.

Somewhere, sometime, Obama is going to have to actually face the political music about his record.  The sooner, of course, the better.  When the focus turns to that, the numbers he enjoys now, along with the slight lead in the polls, will most likely disappear.  And as they do, more and more Democrats are likely to be busy with “previous commitments” on days he visits their states.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Civil asset forfeiture: a legal scam

As I’ve mentioned before, this is one that burns me up about as much as anything that government/law enforcement does.  Again, I want to make it clear – this nonsense exists because of the drug war.

First an explanation:

Civil asset forfeiture is based on the premise that a piece of property — a car, a pile of cash, a house — can be guilty of a crime. Laws vary from state to state, but generally, law enforcement officials can seize property if they can show any connection between the property and illegal activity. It is then up to the owner of the property to prove in court that he owns it or earned it legitimately. It doesn’t require a property owner to actually be convicted of a crime. In fact, most people who lose property to civil asset forfeiture are never charged.

The laws were created to go after the ill-gotten gains of big-time dealers, but critics say they’ve since become a way for police departments to generate revenue — often by targeting lower-level offenders.

In fact, in the case I’m about to relate, law enforcement has put together as much a “sure thing” as can be imagined.  Read this and be disgusted:

When the Brown County, Wis., Drug Task Force arrested her son Joel last February, Beverly Greer started piecing together his bail.

She used part of her disability payment and her tax return. Joel Greer’s wife also chipped in, as did his brother and two sisters. On Feb. 29, a judge set Greer’s bail at $7,500, and his mother called the Brown County jail to see where and how she could get him out. "The police specifically told us to bring cash," Greer says. "Not a cashier’s check or a credit card. They said cash."

So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son.

Instead jail officials called in the same Drug Task Force that arrested Greer. A drug-sniffing dog inspected the Greers’ cash, and about a half-hour later, Beverly Greer said, a police officer told her the dog had alerted to the presence of narcotics on the bills — and that the police department would be confiscating the bail money.

"I told them the money had just come from the bank," Beverly Greer says. "We had just taken it out. If the money had drugs on it, then they should go seize all the money at the bank, too. I just don’t understand how they could do that."

The Greers had been subjected to civil asset forfeiture, a policy that lets police confiscate money and property even if they can only loosely connect them to drug activity. The cash, or revenue from the property seized, often goes back to the coffers of the police department that confiscated it. It’s a policy critics say is often abused, but experts told The HuffPost that the way the law is applied to bail money in Brown County is exceptionally unfair.

Indeed it was.  Why?  Because the county demanded cash, and, as Snopes tells us, about 80% of the cash in the US has traces of drugs on them (specifically cocaine):

In one 1985 study done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, random samples of $50 and $100 bills revealed that a third to a half of all currency tested bore traces of cocaine.  Moreover, the machines themselves were often found to test positive, meaning that subsequent batches of cash fed through them would also pick up cocaine residue.  Expert evidence given before a federal appeals court in 1995 showed that three out of four bills randomly examined in the Los Angeles area bore traces of the drug.  In a 1997 study conducted at Argonne National laboratory, nearly four out of five bills in Chicago suburbs were found to bear discernible traces of cocaine.  In another study, more than 135 bills from seven U.S. cities were tested and all but four were contaminated with traces of cocaine.  These bills had been collected from restaurants, stores and banks in cities from Milwaukee to Dallas.

A single bill used to snort cocaine or otherwise mingled with the drug can contaminate an entire cash drawer.  When counting and sorting machines (which fan the bills, and thus the cocaine) are factored in, it’s no wonder that so much of the currency now in circulation wouldn’t pass any purity tests.

Of course, you can bet Brown County law enforcement is completely aware of this little factoid, thus the cash requirement for bail and, for them, the profitable inevitable outcome.

That’s why I call it what it truly is – a scam to cheat people out of their money perpetrated by the very people whose job it is to protect you from scam artists.  You have law enforcement knowingly setting up a situation in which they’re sure they’ll be able to take bail money under this civil asset forfeiture travesty because it will test positive for drugs.

In this case, it didn’t turn out so well for the thieves at the sheriff’s office:

It took four months for Beverly Greer to get her family’s money back, and then only after attorney Andy Williams agreed to take their case. "The family produced the ATM receipts proving that had recently withdrawn the money," Williams says. "Beverly Greer had documentation for her disability check and her tax return. Even then, the police tried to keep their money."

In this case there’s a fairly simple way to stop this sort of blatant thievery.  More options for payment (cashier’s check) other than cash.

However, it is civil asset forfeiture that needs to go the way of the Dodo bird:

In 2010, the Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian law firm, rated the forfeiture laws in all 50 states, assigning higher grades to states with fairer policies. The firm gave Wisconsin a "C." When there’s less than $2,000 at stake, law enforcement agencies in the state get to keep 70 percent of what they take. If more than $2,000 is taken, departments can keep half.

But in all states, police agencies can contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), making the case federal, and under federal law, local police departments can keep up to 80 percent of forfeiture proceeds, with the rest going to the Department of Justice. The institute reports that between 2000 and 2008, police agencies in Wisconsin took in $50 million from this "equitable sharing" program with the federal government.

When provided such an incentive, what is the usual reaction?  As demonstrated by this particular case where they took bail money, it has nothing to do with the pursuit of “big-time dealers” does it?  Instead, they’re just after low hanging fruit, which in this case also happened to be low-income people who had to scrape and borrow just to raise the bail.

That’s “law enforcement”?

That’s scamming the public for profit.  And it is an inexcusable breach of trust between law enforcement and the public. 

If anyone should be in jail, it is those who’ve perpetrated this travesty and those who use it to cheat the public.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 20 May 12

This week, Bruce, Michael and Dale talk about Greece, and the folly of governments.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Randy Barnett on Drug Prohibition

For a libertarian blog, this is a subject that we rarely opine about. Probably because its a rather dead horse that just doesn’t need any more beating. Even so, we do all too often have occasion to discuss the ill effects of the War on (Some) Drugs, such as the asset seizure case Bruce highlighted.

In that vein, Randy Barnett offers up his latest law review on the subject “The Harmful Side Effects of Drug Prohibition” and this abstract:

Some drugs make people feel good. That is why some people use them. Some of these drugs are alleged to have side effects so destructive that many advise against their use. The same may be said about statutes that attempt to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of drugs. Advocating drug prohibition makes some people feel good because they think they are “doing something” about what they believe to be a serious social problem. Others who support these laws are not so altruistically motivated. Employees of law enforcement bureaus and academics who receive government grants to study drug use, for example, may gain financially from drug prohibition. But as with using drugs, using drug laws can have moral and practical side effects so destructive that they argue against ever using legal institutions in this manner.

This article will not attempt to identify and “weigh” the costs of drug use against the costs of drug laws. Instead, it will focus exclusively on identifying the harmful side effects of drug law enforcement and showing why these effects are unavoidable. So one-sided a treatment is justified for two reasons. First, a cost-benefit or cost-cost analysis may simply be impossible. Second, discussions by persons who support illegalizing drugs usually emphasize only the harmful effects of drug use while largely ignoring the serious costs of such policies. By exclusively relating the other side of the story, this article is intended to inject some balance into the normal debate.

The harmful side-effects of drug laws have long been noted by a number of commentators, although among the general public the facts are not as well known as they should be. More importantly, even people who agree about the facts fail to grasp that it is the nature of the means — coercion — chosen to pursue the suppression of voluntary consumptive activity that makes these effects unavoidable. This vital and overlooked connection is the main subject of this article.

It’s a pretty interesting read. You can download the entire article by visiting Randy’s post linked above.


The real and dangerous 1%

Malthusian extremism is alive and well:

Extremist green campaigning group WWF – endorsed by no less a body than the European Space Agency – has stated that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world’s wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race’s energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now. Most astonishingly of all, the green hardliners demand that the enormous numbers of wind farms, tidal barriers and solar power plants required under their plans should somehow be built while at the same time severely rationing supplies of concrete, steel, copper and glass.

That was written by The Register’s Lewis Page, who continues:

It’s not just resources that are limited, in the WWF’s view: human potential itself is up against a hard limit beyond which the race cannot ever advance. Even progress thus far, as seen in the wealthy nations, has been achieved only by an unfair and wasteful over-use of precious resources: we rich Westerners are already beyond the practical limits that humans should ever aspire to achieve in terms of health, wealth – and even of education. That’s not economics – that’s religion. And not very nice religion either.

He’s dead on, of course.  Humans, per groups like the WWF, are undesirable parasites.  In effect, the WWF would prefer the scourge of humanity to be wiped clean from the plant.  And yes, Page is correct – we are talking about a form of religion and “not a very nice” one either.

But, you say, that’s an extremist group, who would ever take seriously the nonsense they’re pushing?  Ben Pile fills us in:

At Rio+20 next month, the world’s elites will meet in Brazil with the aim of holding back human progress. Forty years ago, two ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world caught the imagination of the richest and most influential people. The first was that the demands of a growing population were taking more from the planet than could be replaced by natural processes. The second, related idea was that there exist natural ‘limits to growth’. These two reinventions of Malthusianism became the basis of a new form of global politics, which has sought to contain human industrial and economic development ever since.

On whole, it isn’t a “new form of global politics”, it is instead the oldest form of politics with a goal just as old – rule of the elites. 

Moving on, the Rio+20 is sponsored by what organization?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today asked young people from all over the world to “make some noise” to help accelerate progress on the negotiations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20) which will take place in Brazil next month. “The truth is I am disappointed with the negotiations. They are not moving fast enough. That is why I need you,” Mr. Ban told students attending the 13th Annual Global Classrooms International High School Model UN Conference, taking place at in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York, on Thursday evening. “When I say make some noise, I mean raise your voices. Demand real action. Shame those governments into doing more.”

If you’ve ever wondered at the propaganda effort accompanied by the junk science used to propagate the “Global Warming” scam and tried to puzzle out the intent of all of that, well there it is.  Imagine a program to hold back human progress and limit growth.  Imagine the effect of such horrific ideas on real people.  Think of a “great leap backward” and all that that loaded phrase may conjure in your mind.

The “world’s elite” comprise the real 1% and they’re extraordinarily dangerous.  They would change life as we know it based on their religion – because their attempt at using “objective science” to support the institution of the grand design has been shredded.  And don’t be fooled by the veneer of officialdom.  The UN’s agenda is every bit as radical as the WWFs.

That’s what you have to realize.   There is nothing benign in their intent.  The only thing different about the UN and the WWF is how they’ll try to present their plan.  The WWF will be blunt.  The UN will flower it up.  But in the end, they both want the same thing.  And that would mean millions and millions of the 99%’s lives.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


To My Friends In Maryland

Q: Why doesn’t Delaware fall into the ocean?
A: Because Maryland sucks.
Q: Why doesn’t California fall into the ocean?
A: Because Maryland really sucks.

Dear Marylanders:

I see that your financial picture is looking rather dicey again. Sorry to hear that. Who could have guessed that high taxes, profligate spending and a general hostility to business would lead to such things? No worries, though. I’m sure political leaders will continue to work hard at righting the ship and get Maryland sailing along smoothly again (how is that plan to repeal the laws of economics coming anyway?).

On a related note, I understand that the Maryland legislature, in collaboration with Gov. O’Malley, has passed a new tax on all six-figure income earners in Maryland. Well, bully for you! That’ll teach those nasty capitalists to stop being so productive. And Gaia knows that they really need to pay their fair share (I mean, how is it that the top 20% of earners only pays about 68% of the income taxes? How’s that “fair”?). So, here’s hoping that works out for you (fingers crossed!).

Of course, I seem to recall that the last time you all did something like this (with that “Millionaires Tax” thingy), we here in Virginia experienced a bit of an influx of former Marylanders. Not too many that we couldn’t handle it, mind you, and probably fewer than some thought. But it does raise an issue, especially since the latest tax scheme stands to affect a much larger portion of Maryland’s population. While we’re always happy to welcome you all into the Commonwealth, we’d really appreciate it if you’d leave things here the way you found them.

You see, all too often when Virginia takes in refugees of high tax and high regulation states, they tend to bring a lot of those policies with them. They seem to really like our neighborhoods, schools and business environment, but for some reason they get all worked up about the fact that our government doesn’t spend as much money as they’re used to (in fact, we’ve actually had a budget surplus the past couple of years, and look to do so again this year!). They also tend to push for more state intrusion into our lives. Thing is, we really don’t like that. (In fact, it’s a fairly common complaint in the South.)

You see, before they came, we were doing just fine. Sure, some of us moved to places like New York and California so that we could enjoy that wonderful embrace of the Nanny State, but for the most part it’s been the other way around: people moving from high-tax/high-regulation states to places like Northern Virginia. We completely understand why you would want to leave a place whose policies increase your costs of living, impair your livelihoods, and generally intrude on your lives in unwanted ways. That’s why we try not to do that sort of thing here (albeit, with some annoying exceptions). Problem is, when you all move in, you start enacting all the same policies that made the place you left so bad. We’d all really appreciate it if you wouldn’t do that.

So, like I said, I really hope that whole tax-the-hell-outta-the-rich thing works for you. If it doesn’t, and your looking for change of scenery, you’ll always be welcomed with open arms on this side of the Potomac. Come on over, make yourselves comfortable and set a spell. Just don’t go touching anything.

Yours Truly,

Michael J. Wade


Legalized theft: civil forfeiture

From my earliest days of blogging I’ve been talking about this (i.e. civil forfeiture) and still, nothing has been done to stop it.  It is legalized theft, plain and simple.  And it still makes me as angry as can be:

"If somebody told me this happened to them, I absolutely would not believe this could happen in America."

That was the reaction of a New Jersey man who found out just how risky it can be to carry cash through Tennessee.

In this latest case, a Monterey police officer took $22,000 off the driver — even though he had committed no crime.

"You live in the United States, you think you have rights — and apparently you don’t," said George Reby.

I want you to read carefully the arrogance implicit in the “law” that these sorts of forfeitures represent.  A more convoluted and outrageous example of the tyranny of the law I can’t imagine (although I’m sure there are many):

Reby was driving down Interstate 40, heading west through Putnam County, when he was stopped for speeding.

A Monterey police officer wanted to know if he was carrying any large amounts of cash.

"I said, ‘Around $20,000,’" he recalled. "Then, at the point, he said, ‘Do you mind if I search your vehicle?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t mind.’ I certainly didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong. It was my money."

That’s when Officer Larry Bates confiscated the cash based on his suspicion that it was drug money.

"Why didn’t you arrest him?" we asked Bates.

"Because he hadn’t committed a criminal law," the officer answered.

Uh, then why did you take his freakin’ money?

Bates said the amount of money and the way it was packed gave him reason to be suspicious.

"The safest place to put your money if it’s legitimate is in a bank account," he explained. "He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it’s safer."

"But it’s not illegal to carry cash," we noted.

"No, it’s not illegal to carry cash," Bates said. "Again, it’s what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn’t prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted.

WHAT?! 

He shouldn’t have to prove anything.  Not his freakin’ job!  That’s the law’s job.  And as is obvious, they’ve got zip in that regard.  But that aside, they also have his money.

Read the rest if you have the stomach for it.  It actually gets worse.

This has been going on for years and years.  It is a legal travesty driven by the “war on drugs”, it is taking without due process and it should have been stopped years ago.

Yet here we are.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO