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Glenn Beck Discovers Nefarious Government Plot To Return Unclaimed Property To Rightful Owners

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It's a day ending in -y, so you better bet Glenn Beck is out there whipping people into a frenzy over completely made-up shit. Seriously, what is it like to be that paranoid all the time? It must be weird to live with the constant certainty that every mundane occurrence is actually the government generally or Barack Obama personally coming for you and your stuff. Today's scaremongering came with this SHOCKING HEADLINE: "This happened: Government confiscates money from a member of Glenn’s staff."


Yes, that totally makes it sound as if rando dude that works with Glenn Beck, Joe Kerry, had some jackbooted thugs come take his money away so they could give it right to Sasha and Malia, but you don't need us to tell you that's some straight up nonsense.

So here's what happened to Joe Kerry, according to Joe Kerry.

[A]bout six months ago his wife noticed that they had stopped receiving bank statements for one of their accounts. He proceeded to go back and look at old statements he had received and, sure enough, there was language that explained the state of Pennsylvania could liquidate the account if there is no activity in a certain period of time.

“She started going through the statements, and on one statement, which was full of language, one sentence in one paragraph of that statement said, ‘If you have no activity on this account, we will close out this account, based on Pennsylvania law blah, blah, blah,’” Joe explained. “What I don’t understand is dividends were being paid into this account. We were paying taxes on this money the whole time, yet because there was no activity for a six month period, the state of Pennsylvania took that money, without any notice to us.” [...] Joe said. “Well, under this new law, any account that you don’t log into in a six month period, that money is transferred to the state.”

That is shocking! But it does not sound like Joe Kerry was targeted by the IRS or had his money earmarked for Old Handsome Joe to buy a convertible or anything. It is unfair if there's a new law that is taking people's money away like that but HAHA OF COURSE THERE IS NOT.

So here's what happened to Joe Kerry. Joe had a bank account that he entirely forgot about. Not for six months, but for at least five years. And no, the bank didn't have the correct email or contact info, or, if they did, Joe Kerry and fambly were not responding to the bank in any fashion. For years and years. And yes, when a bank account is inactive for that long, Pennsylvania's unclaimed property law kicks in, and the bank has to return the money to the state.

HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE???

About 10 seconds of sleuthing will turn up that this is not a new thing nor a particularly difficult to find thing. Here's Pennsylvania's unclaimed property info. Here's the unclaimed property info for Minnesota. Here's Tennessee. Here is a big ol' unclaimed property trade group explaining that these laws have been around forfuckingever.

Every U.S. state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands - and Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada have unclaimed property programs that actively and continuously find owners of lost and forgotten assets.

Unclaimed property laws have been around since at the 1930s, but have become much broader and more enforced in the last 25 years. Unclaimed property is one of the original consumer protection programs.

2.5 million claims totaling $2.25 billion returned to rightful owners in FY2011 as a result of state unclaimed property program efforts. Amount of average claim, $892. $41.7 billion waiting to be returned by state unclaimed property programs.

Claims can be made into perpetuity in most cases - even by heirs.

Hrm. That does not actually sound terrible. That sounds pro-consumer, actually, because it means if you lose or abandon your shit in a bank somewhere, the bank can't just say "oh hey cool thanks for the money." The bank has to give it to the state, and the state has to give it to you when you -- or your descendants -- come looking. And it is really easy to come looking! Like you just punch your name into the Pennsylvania Treasury's search engine and blammo, there is your property. See? The system works. Well, it works unless you are an idiot who doesn't understand how things work.

“This is such a dangerous thing. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression. My grandparents had two rules: I don’t keep all our money in the bank because I don’t trust the bank. Second rule: I don’t go to the hospital because hospitals are where you go to die. I never understood that, until recently,” Glenn concluded. “My grandparents didn’t trust the banks. They didn’t trust the doctors. We are headed right back to that period.”

Do you think Glenn Beck cried some patented Glenn Beck Glycerin Tears when he said that? Do you think Glenn Beck is really this stupid? He probably is! See, Glenn, the exact thing you're whining about -- unclaimed property laws -- is actually what keeps you SAFE FROM YOUR BANK. You think your bank, untethered by law, wouldn't scoop up your shit within seconds if you just looked the other way to get a scone or something? Unclaimed property laws are what gets your shit back to you, you paranoid nitwit.

Seriously, Glenn. Next time, before you make yourself utterly certain that the government is coming for your staff's hard-earned cash, spend a nanosecond googling before you turn on the Drudge sirens, OK?

[Glenn Beck/NAUPA/Pennsylvania Treasury]

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