Make them pay for their own hanging!

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has introduced an oppressive monetary regulatory bill, S. 2972. The stated goal of this bill is to track the funds kept in financial institutions worldwide without specific evidence of any particular wrongdoing. The impact would be to restrict financial freedom and privacy. Although its advertised target is the gangster and hoodlum, as usual the law would hardly do anything to incriminate drug kingpins. It would, however, make it easier for the United States to enforce and collect taxes by forcing other entities to violate their customers financial privacy. This is at the root of the matter. Many people have wondered aloud how could the government enforce the increasingly onerous tax system as we roll closer to that 82% tax predicted by Harvard’s economists in the 1992 budget. The bill forces U.S. financial institutions to profile consumers for unusual activity and identify this activity to federal law enforcement agencies. These provisions are similar to the "Know Your Customer" rules we told you about in 1998, which would have required domestic financial institutions to reveal individual account information to law enforcement agencies. Partly due to citizen pressure this was withdrawn in the spring of 1999. The legislation would waive liability in money-laundering cases for any financial institution that agreed to disclose information and to work with federal law enforcement and regulatory authorities. Under this bill the Secretary of the Treasury needs only "reasonable grounds" without judicial approval to institute a wide range of measures. The "reasonable grounds" could justify federal investigations of private companies. For example, since some “criminals” like expensive jewelry, boats, or other luxury goods, federal agencies could require all such businesses to open their customer files to determine whether any illegal activity was occurring. American business institutions would have to violate their customers’ financial privacy or assume liability for potentially illegal business.This would force businesses to spy on their customers. Furthermore, under this legislation banks could employ computer software to make customer "profiles," and then could share this information with affiliates or sell it to third parties in order to recover the cost of data collection. Talk about hanging you with your own rope!

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