Richard Schwary - California Numismatic Investments
When I was in high school the required book for those who cared about reading was 1984 by George Orwell. In the 1960's the Cold War posed the real threat of nuclear holocaust and such books were as close as you could get to underground reality in my blue collar neighborhood.
Both Orwell’s envisioned world of government control and collecting coins out of circulation cost very little and provided a tangible link to the popular James Bond movies.
But it was in this environment that the fear of government intervention began to creep into the Vox Populi. As the rhetoric continued to grow in the small underground book stores of the time the Vietnam Conflict and a crooked president reaffirmed that all was not right in Washington. Perhaps our smiling Uncle did have hidden plans under those stripped pants? In the ensuing years this paranoia continued to grow and certainly fed everyone’s imagination as our government announced confusing and inconsistent rules for selling bullion products.
But even with these arbitrary rules in place selling should be a non-event because there are a large number of non-reportable low premium bullion products. In other words if you want complete privacy there are dozens of bullion choices which the buying dealer does not have to report because the government did not include them in their infamous list.
What is curios however is that the number of reporting forms filled out by CNI year over year remains about the same so the public either does not know or does not care to take advantage of this very large loophole. My bet is that they do not know and it is in the perverse rehashing of these rules by a few national dealers that the public is made the proverbial goat. So it will not take Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to see there is something amiss in this wider plan. It is the distorted dealer use of reporting requirements to sell so-called special bullion products for ridiculous prices or rare coins which have nothing to do with bullion which is at the heart of the matter.
So let’s take a closer look at this dealer red herring and see what happens to all that feared government paperwork. CNI has been a good boy and followed Uncle’s reporting rules for 28 years. And in each of those years we have diligently filled out government forms, first about cash transactions and then about what investors are selling when not slaving to pay taxes. Now don’t get me wrong as this topic does deserve some attention because many folks do not know that our Constitution reserves no express right to privacy so let’s not be too trusting of a Congress with political symbols like an Elephant or Donkey.
These reporting forms which were initially done by hand require hours of time and even with computer help simply create more red tape which eventually becomes a hidden tax for the honest consumer. So in 28 years of filing this paper blizzard how many times to do you think we have been contacted by our government friends with questions about these individual transactions?
This is the primary question many readers have on their mind because I hear it across the counter everyday. How many? Well these are the latest government request numbers…zero, zilch, zip, nada…that is how many times. Not once in 28 years have we had a serious inquiry over this government reporting paperwork.
The “why” of this seemingly no interest position after the fact is difficult to understand but we might have some fun with a surmise that is one of my favorites: Perhaps one day when wondering what our government does with this expensive paperwork we will read that a closeted Washington Post Blogger made an interesting discovery. He found a virtual room in the Pentagon where all this information was stored and forgotten because no one knew what to do with these reports and was too embarrassed to ask. And using the Freedom of Information Act he found that in the late 20th Century the government actually ran out of funds to pay for these goofy projects. And further that because there was no money for expenses the filing clerk’s Reporting Taskforce simply left the machines running, turned off the lights and returned their parking passes? Did George Orwell have it wrong with Big Brother and his case concerning government intervention has been turned on its head? Is our fate in the 21st Century not that government is watching everyone but that it can no longer afford to watch anyone?