By: Michael Krieger
May 7, 2014
Over the years our reply to the question of “will the government confiscate retirement accounts” remains the same. If they think they can get away with it then the answer is YES. The bully in second grade who stole our lunch money has a cushioned job in Washington D.C. – Gold Goliath
In the midst of the financial crisis, our “leaders” had a choice. They could’ve done what most Americans wanted, which was allow failing firms to fail and permit the chips to fall where they may. In contrast, our “leaders” settled on trillion dollar bailouts with zero strings attached for the criminals who destroyed the nation’s economy. At that point, the American people would’ve been at least somewhat satisfied if the rule of law was applied to the banksters, and those who deserved to go to jail were locked up. As we all know by now, the Justice Department decided to create a special “Too Big To Jail” untouchable class, and nobody was held accountable for anything. Once again, our “leadership” could’ve look at the situation honestly and responded appropriately. Rather, they doubled down on corruption and criminality and now nobody trusts anything. We don’t trust the Presidency, the Congress, the intelligence agencies, the banks, the financial system, the courts, the Federal Reserve, or any institutions at all. We certainly don’t trust Democrats and Republicans. In fact, millennials in particular have given up all trust in everything. They don’t even trust Jay-z anymore, which I suppose is what happens when you prance around with Warren Buffett and flash illuminati signs 24/7. This is how society breaks down.
Moving along, with confidence in “the system” already in the gutter by summer 2013, Edward Snowden released a bombshell of information on illegal government spying. It confirmed what so many of us had been saying for years, but had been dismissed pejoratively by the mainstream as “conspiracy theorists.” Once again, our “leaders” had a choice. Take the difficult steps and offer real reform, or merely pretend nothing really happened and defend the practices at all costs. Once again, they chose the latter. Just as no bankers were jailed for the financial crisis, no intelligence operatives were jailed for illegal spying. In fact, nothing at all has happened to James Clapper for perjuring himself in front of Congress.
Even more worrisome, we are now seeing a counter-attack consisting of expanded efforts to further remove privacy from the lives of Americans. Once again, rather than reforming the system, the status quo is doubling down. I have recently highlighted several such efforts with regard to the internet, which can be read below:
It now appears the status quo is moving to destroy any last semblance of privacy with regard to your personal brokerage accounts. Yep, in the name of “stopping fraud” and the practices of unscrupulous brokers, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) wants to launch a program called Cards, or the Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System. This electronic system sounds a lot like the so-called metadata the NSA is collecting on everyone’s internet usage. This “robocop” would collect a weekly “record of activity at all of the more than 4,100 brokerage firms nationwide.”
For your own good of course. Oh, and yeah, to stop terrorists or something…
From the Wall Street Journal:
In December, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which oversees how investments are sold, proposed what it calls Cards, an electronic system that would regularly collect data on balances and transactions in brokerage accounts.
If adopted, Cards would revolutionize how regulators do their jobs and could make it harder for unscrupulous brokers to bilk customers.
Give me a break. The last thing the establishment cares about is stopping fraud. Fraud is the number one driver of American GDP at the moment. It is institutionalized, protected and endorsed. This is about nothing more than destroying your financial privacy.
Under Cards (which stands for Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System), Finra would collect—probably weekly—a record of activity at all of the more than 4,100 brokerage firms nationwide.
Finra would scour the data continuously, looking for any hints that a firm or a broker might be taking advantage of a client: excessive trading or commissions, switching from one mutual fund to another, overcharging for bond trades, overconcentrating in risky or illiquid securities, and so on.
The nanny brokerage state. Was this Michael Bloomberg’s idea or what? Better make sure there isn’t too much salt or sugary drinks in your portfolio.
Social Security numbers and other personal details won’t be included in Cards, so Finra won’t be able to identify which investor an account belongs to or to match any investor’s holdings across firms. Nor will the data give anyone access to cash or securities.
It’s just metadata, nothing to see here serfs!
That, Mr. Ketchum argues, would enable the regulator to stop at least some misdeeds before too much damage is done. And the sense that a regulatory RoboCop is watching their every move could deter some brokers from doing anything wrong in the first place.
“The good that will come from the dramatically increased ability to reduce fraud will way overwhelm that extraordinarily remote risk,” Mr. Joachim adds.
Mr. Ketchum says he hopes that Cards will go to the Securities and Exchange Commission for final approval by next year, after further refinements and input from brokerage firms and the public.
The battle is on and the system is doubling down. What are you going to do about it?
Gold Goliath is not your typical gold dealer.