Swiss America Press Release Archives


CASH AND CARRY: It Is Now Against the Law to "Almost" Break the Law

by Craig R. Smith & Lowell Ponte

dont bank on it 6.5.15 - How much cash can you now withdraw from your bank and carry in America without risk of being arrested, or of having your assets seized, merely for possessing money in this liquid form?

The ominous answer is that carrying even one dollar in cash might give the government a pretext for such actions.

Once upon a time, this question usually mattered only at the border. People were required to declare if they were carrying more than $10,000 in cash or negotiable instruments when entering or leaving the United States. Failure to make a truthful declaration to U.S. Customs can result in the forfeiture of the money a person is carrying.

Today, because of anti-racketeering RICO statutes and the 2001 Patriot Act, your bank is required to notify the Federal Government if you deposit or withdraw $10,000 or more in cash. In effect, your bank is required to spy on your financial life in this way for the government.

Former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was surprised when his bank asked him to explain why he had made several $50,000 withdrawals. It used to be that what you did with your money was not the bank's business.

Hastert, ironically, helped pass the Patriot Act and should have been aware of this trap he helped make into a law that can now ensnare millions of us.

After being questioned by his bank - the kind of event we describe in detail in the Introduction of our 2014 book Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking -- Hastert reportedly then began making smaller withdrawals, at least 106 of which were for cash amounts of less than $10,000.

Hastert apparently did not know that the government has also created an almost Orwellian crime called "structuring" that allows the arrest or asset seizure of those who deliberately deposit or withdraw less than $10,000 with the "intent" of evading this reporting limit.

So it is now against the law to "almost" break the law. What's next? The IRS penalizing you for "structuring" your spending to evade taxes by giving enough to charity to fall into a lower tax bracket?

Under these laws, according to The Atlantic's financial reporter Conor Friedersdorf, even a person who engages in structuring out of "a simple aversion to being monitored," despite having no intention of using the money for an illegal purpose, is committing a crime. He worries that making it a crime to try avoiding government surveillance "risks criminalizing harmless behavior."

Hastert was reportedly withdrawing huge amounts as hush money to pay off a blackmailer. Nobody believes that Mr. Hastert is a terrorist or racketeer, and no one doubts that he legitimately earns and owns the money he was withdrawing. He nevertheless fell into a legal snare and further entangled himself by telling FBI agents that he distrusted the bank and had kept the money himself; lying to the FBI is itself a serious crime.

The agency that enforces these rules, according to the New York Times, is FinCEN, the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. FinCEN, among other things, has built a capability to monitor internationally your declared taxable earnings and compare them with your lifestyle spending as a way to catch tax cheats.

Peter Djinis, a lawyer expert in money laundering laws who used to be a FinCEN executive, told the Times that it is "not unusual" to prosecute for structuring those who have committed no other provable crime.

"In many cases, the most attractive route to take when you can't prove the underlying crime is to go with the activity that's in front of you," Djinis told the Times. This implies that for you to use your money without government knowing where the money goes is a crime. In other words, old-fashioned financial privacy with your own money is becoming a crime, as we explore in our latest research paper, The Secret War, and in our forthcoming book this summer, "I Have Seen The Future…And It Looks Like Baltimore."

The real crime that government seems to care about is not racketeering or terrorism, but tax evasion. And the growing use of asset forfeiture in such cases has become even easier than taxation as a source of big revenue for growing and hungry governments. If found guilty of structuring, Hastert might face fines of millions of dollars, and so might an extortionist who failed to pay taxes on the estimated $1.7 Million Hastert paid.

Banks are now required to report not only your cash transactions of $10,000 or more - but also any financial activity of yours in cash, however small, that the bankers deem "suspicious" or "unusual."

President Barack Obama's Justice Department has also given your banker a long list of "risky" enterprises under what it calls "Operative Choke Point." Banks are expected at the first sign of "suspicious" business activity to shut down that business's checking and savings accounts.

Operation Choke Point has no need to prove criminal wrongdoing by any business. It merely leans on banks to close their accounts, which would make it difficult for many to remain creditworthy and stay in business. It is a way to shut down politically incorrect businesses via political and regulatory pressure on banks. As you might have guessed, the list of ideologically-targeted businesses includes sellers of firearms and ammunition, an Obama bête noire.

If forced out of local banks, such enterprises might have to operate in cash to stay in business. But if they operate in cash, they become easy prey for local, state and federal asset forfeiture. Under such laws, the government can seize a business's assets by charging the assets themselves as accessories to criminal activity.

If you were charged with a crime, you would have legal rights and a presumption of innocence. Under many asset forfeiture laws, the thing charged may be a pile of money that itself has no legal rights.

For those whose business working capital has been seized under such laws, the burden of proof is effectively shifted to them to prove that their money is lawfully theirs and has never been used in criminal activities.

This can be a challenge, as we noted in our 2012 book The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back:

"Merely doing transactions with $100 bills, the standard currency of illicit drug dealers, can attract government attention," we wrote. "The law has authorized the asset forfeiture of objects carrying detectable traces of cocaine, however small, which reportedly is the case with as much as 90 percent of U.S. currency notes in circulation. This law has been used to confiscate currency on these grounds."

In other words, 9 of every 10 bills in your wallet have detectable traces of an illegal drug, and this gives government the authority to confiscate those bills - and probably to forfeit any other cash they have rubbed up against. -- and possibly to confiscate your wallet itself. But for all intents and purposes the government has already stolen your wallet.

The original $10,000 reporting limit on your bank has not changed since 1970, writes New York Times financial reporter Josh Barro, even though inflation since then has reduced the purchasing power of today's $10,000 to the purchasing power of a mere $1,640 in 1970 dollars.

By NOT adjusting this law for inflation, the government keeps making the real dollar trigger for reporting your transactions smaller and smaller….today, in effect, $1,640 or less in real constant dollars.

Today a $100 bill has a lot less buying power than a $20 bill did in 1970. Clearly the American people have been robbed through the deliberate debasement of our money - but our government is too busy forfeit-seizing the assets of little people to handcuff the politicians who are looting American earners and savers.

The government's aim in indicting former Speaker Hastert may be to discourage people from withdrawing and using their money as cash -- in the same way the Internal Revenue Service accuses a few movie stars or business executives of tax evasion during the weeks prior to April 15th in order to frighten taxpayers.

The larger lesson we should learn is that banks that spy on us for the government -- and paper dollars whose value keeps declining -- are no longer the safest ways to secure what you have worked so hard to earn.

Don't Bank On It! shows 20 major risks your bank account faces, as well as a variety of better, more secure ways to protect your assets.

To schedule an interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.

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Background Sources:

Josh Barro, "When It's a Crime to Withdraw Money From Your Bank," New York Times, June 5, 2015.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/upshot/when-its-a-crime-to-withdraw-money-from-your-bank.html

Conor Friedersdorf, "Why Is It a Crime to Evade Government Scrutiny?" The Atlantic, June 2, 2015.

URL: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/when-evading-government-spying-is-a-crime/394640/

Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking. Phoenix: Idea Factory Press, 2014.

Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back. Phoenix: Idea Factory Press, 2012. Page 219.


"We Are Sitting Ducks" - Experts Warn of America's Vulnerable Satellites and Computer Networks - And How This Threatens Your Bank Accounts

america engulfed4.26.15 - Americans were shaken by an April 26 CBS "60 Minutes" report that the satellites we depend on for national defense and everyday GPS navigation are being targeted by other countries, especially Communist China. [1]

This was no surprise, however, to the millions who have read the five books co-authored by Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte.

"The People's Republic of China has been developing both giant laser cannons and high-speed rockets designed to destroy satellites in orbit," Smith and Ponte warn in their 2014 book Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking. [2]

"The world's largest military force, the Chinese People's Liberation Army, also gets ample funding to develop ... laser cannons to disable the spy and positioning satellites that guide America's cruise missiles and other weapons," they write in their 2012 book The Great Debasement. [3]

Wednesday their latest research is being published in America Engulfed, a White Paper that explores some surprising ways the merger of terrorists and high technology could bring our civilization and economy crashing down. [4]

"You can wait three years for '60 Minutes' to report these dangers, or you can read America Engulfed for free right now and learn how to protect yourself and your family," says Lowell Ponte, a former think tank futurist and former Roving Science & Technology Editor for Reader's Digest Magazine.

Craig R. Smith is a monetary expert and executive who is frequently interviewed by Fox's Neil Cavuto and other prominent business journalists.

Their latest book, Don't Bank On It!, explores how we have become dependent on computer networks and satellites that are vulnerable to failure and attack. "We are sitting ducks," says Smith.

The accidental malfunctioning of one satellite in 1998 cut off the CBS network - "60 Minutes" take note - as well as the ability of drivers to buy gasoline or use ATMs in much of America by preventing the satellite-linked verification of their credit cards and IDs.

"China and others have developed ways to attack not only our satellites at the speed of light, but also our bank computer networks," says Ponte. "What would you do if your ATMs and credit cards stopped working?"

"What would you do if your bank account, which today is merely electronic blips in giant bank computers, were suddenly stolen or erased by one of China's 125,000 full-time cyber warriors who spend each day hacking into our government, banking and corporate computers?" asks Ponte.

"This is just one of the 20 major risks your bank account faces, as we document in Don't Bank On It!," says Smith.

"In our new free White Paper America Engulfed, we show just how immediate and urgent such risks to our economy and society have become, as well as some things you can do to help protect yourself."

* * *

To schedule an eye-opening, ear-opening interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte about the risks to our satellites, banks and much more, or for a media reviewer copy of America Engulfed and/or Don't Bank On it!, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.

Sources:

[1] David Martin, "The Battle Above" (Transcript of "60 Minutes" story), CBS News, April 26, 2015. URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rare-look-at-space-command-satellite-defense-60-minutes/

[2] Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking. Phoenix: Idea Factory Press, 2014. Pages 41-43.

[3] Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back. Phoenix: Idea Factory Press, 2012. Page 205.

[4] Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, America Engulfed (White Paper). Phoenix: Idea Factory Press, April 2015.


THE MONEY CHANGERS: Re-facing and Debasing Our Currency - What the Proposed $20 Bill Makeover Might Mean

by Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, Authors, Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking

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President Andrew Jackson's face would be removed from America's $20 Bill and replaced with a woman's if legislation introduced in mid-April becomes law.

This measure is by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the first woman in American history to serve as both a state governor and U.S. Senator. Her aim in re-facing our currency, Shaheen says, is "to point out the significant contributions women have made in U.S. history."

Women have made enormous contributions on many sides of issues. So which women are to be put on our money - heroines of the right, or of the left? And why is Andrew Jackson - the only President who ever reduced America's national debt to Zero - targeted to be replaced by a woman?

Senator Shaheen is a longtime comrade of 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose campaign thus far is targeted on female voters via an appeal to elect her as America's first woman President. Is the real purpose of Shaheen's legislation to help mobilize women and promote the Clinton campaign?

MONEY AS PROPAGANDA

Since ancient times, rulers have used money as propaganda, usually by putting their own face on a nation's coins. Old coins would be called in, and new debased coins containing less gold or silver in their metal would typically be struck to honor anniversaries and other events in a ruler's reign.

The image of a woman, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, today appears on many Commonwealth currencies, coins and stamps around the world. Few object because today the Queen reigns but does not rule or stand for election.

Since the emergence of democracy, by contrast, elected politicians have faced disapproval if they attempt to put their own image on their country's money to promote themselves. (Nominally-elected dictator Adolf Hitler not only put his face on Nazi Germany's postage stamps; he also charged Germany's postal service for using his image, thereby enriching himself.)

Since George Washington said "No" to attempts to put his own portrait on American currency, both tradition and law have come to require that a person be deceased for two years before being so honored.

In a democratic republic like ours, the nation's money should not be used as advertising, or like a taxpayer-funded campaign button, to promote any particular living politician, dynastic family, ideological cause or current political party.

For this reason, some questioned the 1964 minting of a John F. Kennedy half-dollar - not only because this came less than two years after his 1963 assassination, but also because his two brothers were considering their own runs for the presidency and might benefit politically from their family's last name on this new American coin.

CASHING IN

Few doubt that putting the image of prominent Democrats and Republicans on our money enhances the public image of their political parties and the ideas they represent. We cannot tell the dancer from the dance, or the politician from his or her policies, beliefs and ideology. Our currency has become de facto advertising for giants of the two major political parties.

Republican Abraham Lincoln appears on every $5 bill and penny. The U.S. Mint issued a Dwight David Eisenhower dollar from 1971 until 1978. Other GOP Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant is shown on the $50 bill and William McKinley on the $500 bill.

The Democratic Party evolved out of the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson, who today is seen on the $2 bill and nickel, and his protégé James Madison, found today on the $5,000 bill.

America's Framers unaffiliated with any of today's political parties include George Washington, now on the $1 bill and the Quarter; Alexander Hamilton, today on the $10 bill; and Benjamin Franklin, whose wise face graces our $100 bills, also known as "Benjamins."

Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's profile is seen on our dime. Woodrow Wilson starred on the biggest currency, the $100,000 note that never circulated but during the Great Depression was used to transfer funds among Federal Reserve Banks. Grover Cleveland now appears on the $1,000 bill, having been replaced as the face on the $20 bill in 1928 by Andrew Jackson.

President Jackson on America's currency has always been controversial. He was both a slave owner and the Chief Executive who forced more than 46,000 Native Americans off their valuable property in the East and onto the brutal "Trail of Tears" to then-desolate Oklahoma.

The Democratic Party was the party of the slave owners, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow and Bull Connor, but in recent years the embarrassment of its history of white divide-and-conquer racial politics has prompted many Progressive Democratic clubs to end their traditional annual Jefferson & Jackson dinners.

Jefferson, Washington and Madison were also slave owners, but each of these American giants had other redeeming qualities. Jefferson, for example, tried to end slavery and argued that Native Americans were the equal of Whites in every way.

COINING WOMEN

Senator Shaheen somehow neglected to mention that women have already graced our currency. Many American coins, including the famed Birch Cent, carried idealized images of women symbolizing Liberty.

Since 2007 the U.S. Mint has issued half-ounce gold coins honoring each of America's First Ladies, a series that perhaps with an eye to a first female President it now calls "First Spouses."

The Native American guide to Jefferson's Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific was Shoshone Sacagawea, who is honored on a $1 coin. So, too, was women's suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony until 1981. (Helen Keller appears on the reverse side of the 2003 Alabama Quarter.)

Alas, some of these women also fall short of the ideal of Progressive Political Correctness. Sacagawea was married to a French fur trapper, and his son whom she carries on the $1 coin would later ride with the Mormon Battalion.

Susan B. Anthony in 1872 wrote to her feminist ally Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "I shall work for the Republican party and call on all women to join me..." She was also highly critical of abortion.

The organization that inspired Senator Shaheen's legislation calls itself "Women on 20s" and has proposed replacing Andrew Jackson with women who are almost all reliable heroines to the left or to left-aligned groups.

Their carefully narrowed list of women to adorn the $20 bill now includes FDR wife and activist Eleanor Roosevelt [see their proposed $20 bill, above], underground railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller. They earlier also proposed radical feminist Betty Friedan, along with four Democratic - but zero Republican - officeholders. Another they proposed for the $20 bill was Margaret Sanger, an abortion advocate and pioneer of Planned Parenthood who acknowledged that she intended to reduce America's African-American population.

As noted earlier, Great Britain has long featured Queen Elizabeth II on its currency. The Bank of England plans in 2016 to replace the image of social reformer Elizabeth Fry with that of Sir Winston Churchill on its £5 note, and in 2017 to put the face of novelist Jane Austen on its £10 note. The Austen choice is particularly interesting because she will replace the face of evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin, a hero to many environmentalists and atheists.

JUNKING JACKSON

The idea behind such currency changes, according to Shaheen, is to use our currency as a teaching tool about the contributions of women.

Such teaching cuts both ways, of course. Removing the long-familiar face of President Andrew Jackson implies that he is no longer Politically Correct, and the advocates of this change make no secret that erasing Jackson is also important to them.

These are the same Progressives who have just turned the once-free Internet into a government-controlled monopoly and who advocate much tighter control over what people may say in our media. As George Orwell foresaw, collectivists are eager to control our language and to rewrite history to impose their views.

So why are Andrew Jackson and his followers now being targeted for erasure?

"The Jacksonians were libertarians, plain and simple," wrote economist and historian Murray Rothbard, as we quote in our latest book Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking [pages 74-76]. "[T]hey strongly favored free enterprise and free markets, but they just as strongly opposed special subsidies and monopoly privileges by government to business or any other group."

"In the monetary sphere," Rothbard continued, "this meant the separation of government from the banking system, and a shift from inflationary paper money and fractional reserve banking to pure specie [gold and silver] and banks confined to 100 percent reserves."

President Jackson waged a successful political fight to prevent America's economy from being controlled by a European-style central bank in the hands of special interests. Thanks to his efforts, we remained largely economically free until Progressive Democratic President Woodrow Wilson forced both the Federal Reserve central bank and the Progressive Income Tax onto our nation in 1913.

Jackson succeeded in drastically lowering taxes and, wrote Rothbard, "for the first and probably the last time in American history, paying off the federal debt."

Progressivism and our giant government would have been impossible if President Jackson's policies favoring independent small banks and honest, hard money, small government, low taxes and zero government debt were still in effect. No wonder today's Progressives want him erased and forgotten. No wonder they do not want young people looking at Jackson's image on the $20 bill and asking who he was in our early history. They might even discover how far to the extreme left today's Democratic Party has moved since Jefferson founded it.

As we observed in our earlier book The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us…And Seven Ways to Stop It!, "The Federal Reserve and the government welfare state cynically took their revenge by putting paper-money-hating Andrew Jackson's face on the $20 bill and Jefferson's face on Food Stamps to lend their legitimacy to both pieces of fiat paper that Jefferson and Jackson would repudiate were they here today."

GRAVEN IMAGES

The currency we rely upon has become debased and politicized, little more than the promises and platitudes of today's Progressive politicians. The U.S. Dollar has lost its once-solid value, and it is being turned into a propaganda vehicle for promoting their ideological values and political ambitions. Such are today's new money changers.

Do not be surprised to see Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, replaced with Politically Correct faces, whether of women or of Democrat James Buchanan, a lifelong bachelor now portrayed by some Progressive historians as America's first "gay" President [1857-1861].

The fast-approaching "cashless society" will give Progressives total control of our money and credit, and the future soon will be defaced of all images they deem incorrect.

For a media copy of Don't Bank On It! or to schedule an interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.

The antidote to today's growing cashless system is an honest money system, which America functioned on successfully for 125 years - known as The Gold Standard. Watch Craig Smith explain why a $20 paper bill is only the ghost of real money, a $20 gold piece, in this 2-minute video. $20 Bill vs $20 Dollar Gold

Sources:

Adam Chandler, "The Quest to Boot Old Hickory Off the $20," The Atlantic, April 17, 2015. URL: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/04/erasing-andrew-jackson/390825/
Abby Ohlheiser, "This Group Wants to Banish Andrew Jackson from the $20 Bill," Washington Post, March 3, 2015. URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/03/this-group-wants-to-banish-andrew-jackson-from-the-20-and-replace-him-with-a-woman/
Associated Press, "Sen. Shaheen Says It's Time to Put a Woman on the $20 Bill," GOPUSA.com, April 18, 2015. URL: http://www.gopusa.com/news/2015/04/18/sen-shaheen-says-its-time-to-put-a-woman-on-the-20-bill/
Jillian Keenan, "Kick Andrew Jackson Off the $20 Bill!" Slate.com, March 3, 2014. URL: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/03/andrew_jackson_should_be_kicked_off_the_20_bill_he_ordered_a_genocide.html
Jarrett Stepman, "Andrew Jackson's Likeness on the $20 Bill Must Be Preserved," Breitbart.com, April 19, 2015. URL: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/19/andrew-jacksons-likeness-on-the-20-bill-must-be-preserved/
"Putting a Woman on the $20 Bill" [Room for Debate], New York Times, March 18, 2015. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/03/18/putting-a-woman-on-the-20-bill
"President$ On Your Money," Nerdwallet.com, February 2013. URL: http://assets.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/files/2013/02/presidents.jpg
"Jane Austen to be Face of the Bank of England £10 Note," BBC, July 24, 2013. URL: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-23424289
Tyler Durden, "Martin Armstrong: 'Understanding Jackson's Bank War Is Critical To Our Future,'" ZeroHedge.com, April 19, 2015. URL: http://www.zerohedge.com/print/504995


GOVERNMENT'S NEXT TAX TARGET: YOUR BANK ACCOUNT

by Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte

tax day 4.15.15 - Tax day, April 15, reminds us of just how overtaxed we have become, and how a circular cage of taxes on earning, spending, investing and saving is being created to snare us.

If you earn money to live on, you face income taxes nationally as well as from 41 of the 50 states.

If you buy anything, you face sales taxes in all but five states - and some local sales taxes in even in those five.

In Washington, D.C., politicians now talk enthusiastically about imposing a national European-style sales tax, an easily-increased Value-Added Tax (VAT) to soak both companies and consumers.

If you invest what little money you have left after paying all your other taxes, get ready to pay capital gains taxes, which the current Administration aims to increase.

One thing Americans could do tax-free was to save their remaining money in the bank....but not for much longer, as we explain in our latest book, Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking.

We owe taxes on interest the bank pays us, of course, but nowadays banks pay almost zero - the result of a deliberate Federal Reserve policy that economists call "financial repression," being used to herd Americans into riskier investments such as stocks.

Our banks may soon be imitating Europe, where savers are beginning to be paid less than zero - "negative interest rates" - on their accounts. Depositors instead have to pay their bank for the honor of lending it their money, interest-free.

Taxing Bank Deposits

Near-zero bank interest has meant near-zero taxes on our savings - until now.

A new political scheme to tax bank accounts, according to the Australian Financial Review, might be locked in place in Australian banks as soon as January 1, 2016. [1-4] This could quickly be copied by other tax-hungry welfare states, including ours.

This bank deposit tax will likely begin at a low percentage, to create a legal precedent, but it is expected to grow rapidly, as the income tax did in the United States.

Like many modern taxes, this planned tax on bank accounts is being framed as a tax on the banks, not on individual customers. Its cost, however, will be passed on to depositors in the form of higher fees or lower interest paid on their accounts.

This tax on bank deposits is projected from its start to raise around $500 Million each year, purportedly for a "Financial Stabilization Fund" to help protect banks from collapse in future financial crises.

In the United States, such designated taxes are often diverted to fund other politician wishes. Hundreds of billions in gasoline taxes went to the Highway Trust Fund, then was shifted elsewhere by the same politicians who complain that "our highway infrastructure urgently needs more spending." Such politicians even looted $2.66 Trillion from the Social Security trust fund, leaving behind only I.O.U.s that must be paid for with ever-heavier taxes on future generations or the denial of benefits to today's older generations.

Truth be told, our spendaholic politicians loot whatever pools of public or private money they can grab to pay for their out-of-control spending addiction.

On November 16, 2014, President Barack Obama at the Brisbane, Australia meeting of the G-20 global economic powers agreed to a new financial doctrine called the "bail in." We explained and documented in detail what happened there in a free White Paper.

In a nutshell, President Obama agreed that you no longer own your bank accounts. The United States now regards your bank account as an asset that, in effect, belongs to your bank and can be seized by the government to pay bank debts and obligations.

Is it any wonder why so many people are turning to smarter, safer and more secure ways of protecting their money?

Escaping the Cage

As we document in Don't Bank On It!, the bank we used to trust to safeguard our money has become one of the riskiest places to put it.

A precedent was set for seizing bank accounts under the "bail in" doctrine in Cyprus, where people awoke one March 2013 morning to find their banks locked and ATM access to their accounts shut down. President Obama has embraced such bail ins.

Now we have a similar new legal precedent being set in Australia for taxing your bank accounts....for your protection, of course. America might quickly adopt this, too.

A circular cage is being built through which you will be taxed when you earn your money, spend your money, invest your money, and possibly (very soon) save your money.

You are already losing money every day that you have a bank account paying less in interest than you are losing to inflation, a deceptive form of taxation.

Get ready in the near future to pay the bank a fee, and the government a tax, just for the honor of having a high-risk bank account that pays you nothing.

We were taught that thrift is good, but real thrift now means freeing your savings from today's banks. Don't Bank On It! and our free White Paper will show you how to escape the tax cage being built by politicians to snare you and your hard-earned money.

To schedule an interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.

Sources:

[1]Tyler Durden, "Australia Wants To Tax Bank Deposits: Will The U.S. Follow?" Zerohedge.com, April 2, 2015. URL: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-02/australia-wants-tax-bank-deposits-will-us-follow

[2]Phillip Coorey, Lisa Murray and James Eyers, "Tax on Bank Deposits in Federal Budget," Australian Financial Review, March 28, 2015. URL: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/tax-on-bank-deposits-in-federal-budget-20150328-1m98oi

[3]Australian Associated Press, "Tony Abbott Accused of Breaking Pledge Over Report of Bank Deposit Levy," The Guardian (U.K.), March 28, 2015. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/28/tony-abbott-accused-of-breaking-pledge-over-report-of-bank-deposit-levy

[4]Stephen Bartholomeusz, "The Problem with Joe Hockey's Bank Deposit Tax," The Australian, March 30, 2015. URL: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/the-problem-with-joe-hockeys-bank-deposit-tax/story-fnp85nwc-1227284794476


WE MAY BE TRAPPED IN "ZIRP WORLD": A 2008 Gamble May Have Changed America Forever
ZIRP Has Given America "Financial Diabetes," Say Experts

ZIRP 2.18.15 - In 2008 America faced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. One major bank had failed and others were at risk of collapse.

To save our economy, the Federal Reserve gambled by going pedal to the metal with its accelerator, slamming bank interest rates all the way to Zero. This Zero Rate Interest Policy (ZIRP) made money virtually free for our biggest banks.

This wild new policy was supposed to save these banks and start them lending again.

However, as monetary expert Craig R. Smith and veteran think tank futurist Lowell Ponte write in their new White Paper The ZIRPing of America: The Federal Reserve's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) Is Hazardous to Our Economic Health, this caused crazy unintended consequences.

"Imagine those episodes of 'Star Trek' where the Starship Enterprise escapes danger by going into warp drive, only to find itself in a whole different galaxy where the old familiar laws of economics and star charts that point the way home no longer work," write Smith and Ponte.

ZIRP, which has continued for the past 7 years, made the biggest "Too Big To Fail" megabanks 30 percent bigger than before. It got them lending again, but because of new rules against making "risky" loans, most of this money has gone to the biggest corporations and to government....not to ordinary Americans with upside-down mortgages.

"ZIRP was supposed to stimulate economic growth, but instead it frightened businesses out of expanding or hiring because of fear that it would create a tidal wave of inflation. It became an anti-stimulus policy," says Craig R. Smith.

"Banks could get easy money without customers having bank deposits, so the interest rate banks paid depositors has fallen close to zero," says Lowell Ponte.

"Together the Federal Reserve and Federal Government are shafting bank savers with deliberate 'financial repression,' a policy of holding the interest rate savers are paid below the rate at which inflation is eating up the value of their account," says Ponte.

LESS THAN ZERO

"Even crazier," says Ponte, "is that in Europe - and coming here soon - banks are starting to charge 'negative interest rates.' This means that savers have to pay the bank for the honor of putting their money at risk in an account there."

In their fifth and latest book, Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking, Smith and Ponte warn of 20 major risks bank depositors now face.

These risks include new laws that, in effect, give banks and the government de facto ownership of your bank account. Another risk is that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has only enough reserve to protect $1 out of every $14 in bank accounts it claims to insure.

Smith and Ponte explore the danger of computer hackers stealing your bank account. In February 2015, a study by computer security firm Kaspersky Lab found that clever hacks have recently stolen as much as $1Billion or more from 100 different banks.

"Bank accounts used to be safe and pay reasonable interest as an incentive for saving," say Smith and Ponte. "But today bank accounts come with 20 big risks and very little reward. It no longer makes sense to keep much in a bank account, especially when safer and more rewarding alternatives exist."

The Federal Reserve acknowledges that its ZIRP emergency policy of 2008 is today doing more harm than good - and is wrecking the economy for those who depend on interest: bank savers, retirement funds, insurance companies and more.

Since ZIRP began, worldwide debt has grown by $57 Trillion to an astounding $200 Trillion. ZIRP fed this easy-money diabetic financial obesity, but any attempt to cure ZIRP's ills by raising interest rates will make such debt even more impossible to pay off.

What Smith and Ponte explore in The ZIRPing of America is how all this easy money has given our biggest companies and government "financial diabetes." They may be unable to return to an America of traditional 3%-6% rates for borrowing money.

THE ZIRP TRAP

If the Fed tries to end ZIRP by raising interest rates beginning in June, this could soon cost taxpayers an extra $1 Trillion or more each year in interest for the huge debt our bloated government built up over the past seven years when interest rates were zero.

"ZIRP World has become a Trap that will be hard to escape," says Smith.

The warp drive the Fed used during the 2008 financial crisis might have permanently changed our economy. This could be why growth and hiring remain anemic, and our once-robust economy remains weak.

The one supposedly-bright spot of our economy is the stock market, soaring to the edge of 18,000. This is an illusion, a mirage, warn Smith and Ponte.

ZIRP and $7.5 Trillion mostly printed out of thin air by the Fed and Treasury have turned Wall Street into a casino flush with easy money. Companies run on borrowed cash while creating deceptively high stock values by buying back their own shares.

One recent study calculates that ZIRP, the QE (Quantitative Easing) policy it produced, and bookkeeping gimmicks have overvalued today's stocks by at least 86 percent.

Stock values have also been pushed up by ZIRP and the Fed forcing reluctant savers out of their bank accounts and other traditional "safe" havens in a desperate effort to get more return and yield for their money.

"Former savers are being herded into the risky stock market," says Ponte. "In today's stock market, you are the sheep, the livestock being sheared or worse."

"If interest rates go up," warns Ponte, "don't be surprised to see the artificially inflated stock market go a long, long way down."

To schedule an interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.


BREACH OF TRUST: Why President Barack Obama Wants to Close "The Trust Fund Loophole"

trust 2.3.15 - BREACH OF TRUST is the new White Paper by Craig R. Smith, monetary expert and Chairman of Swiss America Trading Corporation, and Lowell Ponte, a former think tank futurist and co-author, with Smith, of five books about finance, economics and monetary policy.

Millions of Americans have read their books and learned from their media interviews. Mr. Smith is an expert frequently interviewed by Fox's Neil Cavuto and other major business journalists.

BREACH OF TRUST investigates President Obama's plans that the White House quietly announced on January 17 to "close the trust fund loophole." Mr. Smith and Ponte look at how President Obama slapped aside the rights of secured bondholders in the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies in order to give $26 Billion that should have been theirs to his union crony political contributors instead.

They examine at how Mr. Obama was planning to tax what were supposed to be tax-exempt "529" college savings accounts.

Is anything safe when those who are supposed to enforce the law are instead breaking it?

Can successful middle class families trust their trusts to safely transfer a lifetime of savings and property to their children?

Or is the greed of spendaholic and ideological class-warfare politicians now overwhelming the rule of law in the United States, so that families need to find safer havens to protect their children's inheritance?

Find out by reading BREACH OF TRUST today.

For media interviews, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com


BREAKING THE BANK: Authors Warn Dismantling JPMorgan Chase Won't Prevent Financial Meltdown

after the g-20 1.7.15 - Would America's economy be safer if today's "Too Big To Fail" banks like JPMorgan Chase were broken up into smaller companies?

Not according to Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte, authors of Don't Bank On It! The Unsafe World of 21st Century Banking and a new White Paper After the G-20: A Follow-Up: Did Your Dollars in the Bank Just Become Dollars at Risk? [4]

"To halt the collapse of 'Too Big To Fail' banks during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, taxpayers and the Federal Reserve bailed out the biggest U.S. and foreign banks by arranging an astonishing $16.115 Trillion in loans - more than the entire annual Gross Domestic Product of the United States," Smith and Ponte document. [1]

CNN/Money reports JPMorgan Chase - which today is America's biggest bank by assets - received $25 Billion from the U.S. Treasury's Capital Purchase Program, and $391 Billion in "Total Transactional Amounts" from various sources facilitated by the Federal Reserve, as bailouts. [2]

On January 5, 2015, analysts at rival bank Goldman Sachs released their study showing that if JPMorgan Chase were today broken up into smaller companies, these would be worth as much as $25 Billion more than its market value today as one big bank, reports The Wall Street Journal [3]

The main reason for this, according to Goldman analyst Richard Ramsden and his colleagues, is emerging government regulation designed to make the biggest banks less profitable...and supposedly less risky.

Until these new rules were announced, the biggest five banks - which among them hold roughly half of all American bank deposits - were so huge that the bankruptcy of any one of them might trigger a collapse of the U.S. economy.

This made them what the government called "Too Big To Fail," which reassured investors and lenders that in a crisis the government's taxpayers and Federal Reserve would have to bail these banks out, as happened in 2008-2009. This gave giant banks such as JPMorgan the ability to borrow money more cheaply than smaller competitors.

According to Smith and Ponte, "Governments have been scrambling to prevent future bank bailouts. On November 16, 2014, President Barack Obama at the G-20 meeting of world financial powers in Brisbane, Australia, embraced the new doctrine of 'bail-ins' for the United States."

"In a bank 'bail-in,' the government could seize the bank deposits of customers to pay bank shortfalls. In effect, in a bail-in your bank deposits are treated as the property of the bank, not the depositor," say the authors of Don't Bank On It!

This bail-in doctrine was first used in the seizure of banks in the Mediterranean island nation Cyprus in March 2013. Months earlier it had been embraced in a joint December 2012 memo of understanding between the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which "insures" more than $7 Trillion in American bank accounts.

"The trouble is," say Smith and Ponte, "the FDIC has only enough assets and vague commitments from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury to reimburse in a crisis at most 1 out of every $14 it now insures. The FDIC is thus propping up our fractional-reserve banking system with what we have called "fractional-reserve insurance."

"New government regulations are making life more troublesome and uncertain for banks. New regulations have even prompted some of the biggest banks to tell certain depositors to take their cash elsewhere because for these banks such deposits can create more problems than profits," according to The Wall Street Journal. [5]

Mr. Smith and Ponte explain, "The bail-in idea is intended to protect taxpayers and government money, but in reality it does not necessarily get taxpayers off the hook. The potential for bank losses is so immense it can easily exceed all of the bank's deposits."

Consider the nominal exposure our largest banks have to derivatives, conjured contracts that derive their value from other things.

JPMorgan's total exposure to derivatives has in recent months declined - from around $70 Trillion to around $65.3 Trillion...close to the annual Gross Domestic Product of our entire planet. This small decline does not change the stark reality of risk discussed in Don't Bank On It!:

"Just 9 major banks on which the world economy depends have derivative exposure of more than $290 Trillion in a global $693 Trillion derivatives market! Listen for a moment and you can hear this time bomb - called by Warren Buffett a "Financial Weapon of Mass Destruction" - ticking. If this explodes, neither the Fed nor the FDIC could put your bank or deposits back together again. The paper dollar would be ashes to ashes, dust to dust." [6]

The Dodd-Frank law prohibited the placing of such derivatives into banks insured by the FDIC. But during the lame duck session of Congress that followed the 2014 election, this provision of Dodd-Frank was quietly repealed.

As critics noted, the language repealing this was suspiciously similar in wording to earlier draft legislation by Citigroup. And this other megabank has just surpassed JPMorgan as the American bank with the largest total exposure to derivatives.

"Citi now has total derivative exposure of $70.3 Trillion, which has just been transferred into to a Citi-owned bank insured by FDIC. Taxpayers are very much on the hook for this, and may be at greater risk from a meltdown of derivatives than ever before," reports Zero Hedge. [7]

In their new White Paper Smith and Ponte explain further, "Under the G-20 bailout protocols embraced by President Obama, the priority of protection for certain derivatives to which a bank is exposed is higher than it is for customer deposits. In a major financial crisis, the FDIC might be directed to cover derivatives before other obligations such as customer bank accounts." [8]

As documented in Don't Bank On It!, today's politicians have come to see our largest banks and the accounts in them as their personal ATM machines

JPMorgan Chase has in recent months agreed to pay the government more than $15 Billion in fees, fines and penalties for purposed wrongdoing...mostly for helping rescue other banks as the government requested it do during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

"In JPMorgan, as in other major banks similarly squeezed for billions, almost no bank executives have been tried or sent to prison. Those bankers who go along and pay billions get along," say Smith and Ponte.

Today's politicians seem more eager to shake down our biggest banks than to break them up. Like the power to tax, today's political power to regulate involves the power to destroy.

The authors conclude; "We should be seeking ways to break up the monopoly power of Too Big To Jail government and return much of that power to the People. People need to understand that today there are far better and safer ways than bank accounts to secure their nest egg."

For a media copy of Don't Bank On It! or to schedule an interview with Craig R. Smith or Lowell Ponte, contact: Bronwin Barilla at 800-950-2428 or email bkbarilla@dontbankonitbook.com.


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