Using the Banking System to Circumvent the Constitution

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The media has (naturally) focused on pornography. But take a close look at that list. Ammunition and firearm sales? Government grants? (You would think the relevant government agencies would be on top of that, but apparently not.) Pharmaceutical sales? Money transfer networks? (You mean like PayPal, Western Union, and, perhaps, FedWire and the SWIFT system?) Tobacco sales? And (my personal favorite) Racist materials. In other words, a bank can reject your application for a checking account for just about anything they want. Personally, I have several prescriptions that keep me relatively sane, happy, and alive. I would hate to think that my healthcare provider would not be able to sell me pharmaceuticals because their bank would not let them. Continue Reading →

Operation Choke Point

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So much for the second amendment: firearms and ammunition sales. So much for your social life: dating services (no, I won’t include escort services). And pharmaceutical sales? Are they talking about the drugs I regularly get from Kaiser via USPS? Needless to say, racist materials, telemarketing, and even pornography are broadly protected by the first amendment. Continue Reading →

My 2017 Economic Forecast

On January 9 I had the privilege of speaking with the Hayward Rotary Club on the economic outlook for 2017. I have a video of my presentation, but it will take me some time to get it online. For now you can click here for a pdf version of my Powerpoint slides. As always, feel free to leave comments, opinions, or just chime in with your forecast. Continue Reading →

Do Consumers Really Need Protection From Excessive Overdraft Protection Fees?

“[Overdraft protection] usually serves as a short-term source of small-dollar credit in order to meet a pressing need for funds and to prevent important payments such as utilities, rent, or other bills from being denied for insufficient funds. Moreover, those who use overdraft protection do so because it is better than available alternatives.” Continue Reading →

Operation Choke Point and Marijuana Legalization

Every U.S. bank, whether a national bank or a state bank, is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). And to their everlasting shame, FDIC was one of the agencies that helped implement Operation Choke Point. The point of this program was to deny banking services to businesses alleged to be high risk. The fact that many of those businesses were also politically opposed by the Obama administration is, um, irrelevant, Continue Reading →