Letter Re: Safe Deposit Boxes

My mother was visiting me when she saw the post man deliver a certified mail gold coin delivery. She immediately said, “You should get a safe deposit box.” I tried to explain several things to her: 1) The Patriot Act from almost 14 or 15 years ago gives the federal government the legal right to open any safe deposit box and seize the contents, 2) FDR explained the rationale behind his 1933 bank holiday in the first fireside chat where the government seized precious metals, so “yes” it has happened here before, and 3) (here’s where my argument gets iffy.) Our impending financial collapse is a mathematical certainty. Once you raise interest rates on trillions of dollars of debt, the government will collapse on itself and the banks will bail themselves in, effectively helping themselves to your money. However, I can’t find the specific legislation that has been passed about that, if there’s any.

All she keeps saying is “It can’t happen here”, but she says it in a way like she can’t even entertain the idea.

HJL’s Comment: What your mother is expressing is called the “normalcy bias”. It’s basically a mental state people enter when facing disaster and the assumption is made that since the disaster has not happened before it won’t happen now, despite what the factual indicators are. You might call it “willful optimism”. One of the most egregious cases of this was in Nazi Germany, when the Jews (and others) were persecuted heavily. Because the gas chamber scenario was so horrifying, many believed that it could not happen to them; yet, it did. They held on to this belief all the way to the gas chamber itself.

In the case of banking issues, it has happened before here. People just tend to ignore that fact. If your mother will entertain reading this level of detail, here’s a good article entitled “Dodd-Frank Kills: How the U.S. Joined the International Bail-in Regime”. It might help her realize that it not only can happen here, it has been set up to happen here.