TICK TOCK: The Countdown To Government Confiscation Of Your Retirement Savings Has Begun

Writing at Zero Hedge, Nick Giambruno of Casey Research sounds the alarm on President Obama’s new “MyRA” program.

Simply put, the new myRA program put forward by Obama is at best a sucker’s deal… or worse, it’s a first step toward the nationalization of private retirement savings… Even before the new myRA program was announced, there had been whispers about the need for the US government to assume some risk for US retirement accounts. That’s code for forced conversion of private retirement assets into government bonds.

…With foreigners not buying as many Treasuries and the Fed tapering, the US government has been searching for new buyers of its unwanted debt. And this is where the new myRA program comes in.

In short, it’s ostensibly a new way for people to save for retirement. Of course, you can only invest in government-approved investments—like Treasuries—which probably won’t even come close to keeping up with the real rate of inflation. It’s like Jim Grant says: “return-free risk.”

In reality, a myRA doesn’t really provide any significant new benefits over existing options. To me it just looks like a way for the US government to pass the hot potato on to unsuspecting Americans in exchange for their retirement savings.

The net effect is the funneling of more capital to Treasury securities and thus helping the US government finance itself.

I believe myRA is a way to nudge the American people into gradually becoming more accustomed to government involvement in their private retirement savings.

It’s incorrect to assume nationalization couldn’t happen in the US or your home country. History shows us that it’s standard operating procedure for a government in dire financial straits… In just the past six years, it’s happened in some form in Argentina, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, and numerous other countries.

To me it’s self-evident that most Western governments (including the US) have current debt loads and future spending commitments that all but guarantee that eventually—and likely someday soon—they will try to unscrupulously grab as much wealth as they can.

To put this news in context, consider that in late 2008 Democrats openly discussed the possibility of confiscating private retirement accounts in order to “strengthen and protect Americans’ 401(k)s, pensions, and other… plans”.


The [Congressional] testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.

…The current retirement system, Ghilarducci said, “exacerbates income and wealth inequalities” because tax breaks for voluntary retirement accounts are “skewed to the wealthy because it is easier for them to save, and because they receive bigger tax breaks when they do.”

…GRAs would guarantee a fixed 3 percent annual rate of return, although later in her article Ghilarducci explained that participants would not “earn a 3% real return in perpetuity.” In place of tax breaks workers now receive for contributions and thus a lower tax rate, workers would receive $ 600 annually from the government, inflation-adjusted. For low-income workers whose annual contributions are less than $ 600, the government would deposit whatever amount it would take to equal the minimum $ 600 for all participants.

In a radio interview with Kirby Wilbur in Seattle on Oct. 27, 2008, Ghilarducci explained that her proposal doesn’t eliminate the tax breaks, rather, “I’m just rearranging the tax breaks that are available now for 401(k)s and spreading — spreading the wealth.”

Now that the Democrats have nearly decimated the economy (Stimulus II, anyone?), the trillions of dollars in private retirement accounts represent the juiciest of all possible targets.

So why so concerned about the Democrats taking over your 401(k) plan, Sparky? What could possibly go wrong?

Hat tip: Mark Levin

Doug Ross @ Journal

Damascus Countdown was 5th bestselling novel of 2013, reports Christian bookstore chain.

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The geopolitical thriller, Damascus Countdown was the fifth bestselling Christian novel of 2013 in one of the nation’s largest Christian bookstore chains, reports LifeWay.

This was the third and final novel in my trilogy about a nuclear showdown between Israel, Iran and Syria. It was released in hardcover in March 2013, and released in the Fall in softcover. It is also available as an audio book.

LifeWay Christian Resources is “one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, including Bibles, Bible studies, research, church music and supplies, and digital services. The company owns and operates more than 180 LifeWay Christian Stores across the nation.”

The paperback edition is currently #18 on the ECPA’s “Christian Fiction Bestseller List” for December.

Thanks so much to all of you who have read, and reviewed, and blogged, and Tweeted about Damascus Countdown this year. I deeply appreciate your support.

In January, I’ll begin to tell you more about my next novel, which is scheduled to be released in the Spring.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

U.S. now indicates Iran interim deal wasn’t quite finalized: “Technical details have yet to be worked out, State Department says, meaning six-month countdown to permanent deal hasn’t started and Iran isn’t bound by any new terms.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, center, embraces EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, during a ceremony at the United Nations after an agreement was reached on Iran's nuclear program, in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini/Times of Israel)

US Secretary of State John Kerry, center, embraces EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, during a ceremony at the United Nations after an agreement was reached on Iran’s nuclear program, in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini/Times of Israel)

(Washington, D.C.) — “Iran is currently enjoying a ‘window’ of time before the six-month deal signed in Geneva early Sunday goes into effect, during which it is not bound to take any credible steps toward disabling its ability to produce a nuclear weapon, the State Department acknowledged Tuesday,” reported the Times of Israel. “State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the six-month interim period, during which Iran would take steps to rein in its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has not yet begun. Furthermore, there are still a number of details to be worked out, she said, without specifying what points had yet to be finalized.”

“Her comments created confusion as to whether the much-touted interim deal, supposedly reached by P5+1 powers and Iran in Geneva in the early hours of Sunday morning, had actually been completed as claimed,” noted the Times. “Iran on Tuesday accused the US of publishing an inaccurate account of what had been agreed. And its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an address to the Iranian parliament Wednesday that Iran would continue construction on the Arak heavy water plant, in an apparent breach of the ostensibly agreed terms.”

“The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement,” Psaki told reporters Tuesday. “Obviously, once that’s — those technical discussions are worked through, I guess the clock would start. Obviously, there’ll also be a reconvening of the political track with the P5+1, which Under Secretary Sherman will continue to be our lead negotiator on.”

“Psaki said that she did not ‘have a specific timeline’ for how long the window would be in place before the six-month period began, nor did there seem to be any mechanism in place to prevent Iran from stepping up nuclear production before the scale-down went into effect,” reported the Times. “In terms of what the Iranians are or aren’t doing, obviously our hope would be, given we are respecting the spirit of the agreement in pressing for sanctions not to be put in place and beginning the process of figuring out how to deliver on our end of the bargain, that the same would be coming from their end in the spirit of the agreement.”

“Similarly, she did not know what the timetable would be on sanctions relief, saying that there would still ‘be technical discussions,’” noted the Times. “It’s also not a all-at-one-time or a spigot that’s turned all the way on. So it would be a slow process that obviously we control, and some of those details are still being worked out.”

The Times added that “another field in which the deal seems not to be solidified yet is the question of how sanctions relief would be framed in response to nuclear slow-down on the part of the Iranians. Psaki said that the deal would not require Iran to complete all steps before sanctions relief is granted, nor would it grant the entire relief package — valued at between $ 4 and $ 7 billion — before Iran initiates a nuclear slow-down.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

NETANYAHU WARNS IRAN LED BY “APOCALYPTIC CULT.” What does Shia eschatology teach? What do Bible prophecies teach about the future of Iran, Syria & Israel? “Damascus Countdown,” now out in paperback & audio formats, explores these very questions.

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>> NETANYAHU WARNS IRAN LED BY “APOCALYPTIC CULT…WILD IN ITS AMBITIONS”

Who is the Twelfth Imam? Do Iran’s leaders believe in the coming of a Shia Muslim “messiah” that will annihilate Israel and the United States and establish a global Islamic caliphate? What is the eschatology of the Iranian regime?

Meanwhile, what does Biblical eschatology teach? What do the ancient prophecies of Isaiah 17 & Jeremiah 49 say about the future of Damascus, and the future of Israel? What does the prophecies of Jeremiah 49 and Ezekiel 38-39 teach about the future of Iran?

Have these prophecies already come to pass, or are they yet to be fulfilled? If they are still ahead of us, how might they transpire?

With the future of Iran, Syria and Israel dominating headlines — and dominating the United Nations General Assembly’s Fall opening session — Tyndale House Publishers and I are excited to announce that Damascus Countdown released nationwide this week in paperback. The New York Times best-selling international political thriller is also available in hardcover, audio, and e-book formats.

Damascus Countdown is a novel that explores these very questions, and envisions one scenario of how some of these ancient texts could come to a cataclysmic conclusion.

What do you think? How do you see the prophecies, and do you think this novel offers a realistic scenario? 

I’d love to your feedback — the good, bad and the ugly. Please post your review via our “Epicenter Team Page” on Facebook or via Twitter, or on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. For those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to read the novel, I hope you’ll have a chance to this Fall, and then please post your review as well.

Every author needs input from his or her readers, and I enjoy hearing from readers, even when they strongly disagree with me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to respond personally to every letter, email, Tweet and Facebook post that comes in because of the volume. But I do try to read it all, as time permits. To me it’s an honor that you would not only read my books, but want to share your thoughts with me. I value such feedback, especially as I map out a new series and think about what is moving — and not moving — people intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Meanwhile, here are what some leaders have said about the novel in recent months:

Porter Goss, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency: “Whenever I see a new Joel Rosenberg book coming out, I know I need to clear time on my calendar. His penetrating knowledge of all things Mid-eastern — coupled with his intuitive knack for high stakes intrigue — demand attention. I’ve read them all, and been richly rewarded. I’m especially looking forward to Damascus Countdown.”

Danny Ayalon, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister: “I’ve loved reading Joel Rosenberg’s books in the past — Epicenter especially comes to mind — and I can’t wait to read this new one, Damascus Countdown. Joel is a stalwart and faithful friend of the State of Israel. He’s a good personal friend. And he’s a great writer. He understands the grave dangers posed by Iran and Syria, and he’s been a bold and courageous voice for true peace and security in the Middle East. If you haven’t read his work yet, I hope you will.”

Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, former commander of Delta Force and former U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: “Joel Rosenberg is the most knowledgeable and well-rounded author in America today regarding the realities of current events in the Mideast, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf. In fact, Joel is a true authority on the geopolitics and history of those regions, and speaks extensively about the serious threats that the Radical elements of Islam present to America and our close ally, Israel….Joel has an incredible ability to write both fiction and non-fiction in a way that the reader senses that they are part of the plot and often, on the front line. If you want to get a better understanding of what is unfolding in the ‘epicenter’ of today’s world, let Joel take you on an incredible and exciting journey.”

Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate:Damascus Countdown will be the most chilling, pulse-pounding thriller you read this year. It will be banned and burned in Tehran and Damascus, but it should be required reading in Washington and Jerusalem. Joel Rosenberg is a good friend and a great writer and he is spot on. Nothing threatens our national security more than the mullahs of Iran and the tyrants in Syria building and deploying weapons of mass annihilation, and an American President who doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stop them in time. I’ve warned about this for years. Now Joel paints an eerie, terrifying, page-turning picture of a worst-case scenario coming to pass. You have to read this book, and then pray it never happens.”

Steve Forbes, editor in chief of Forbes magazine: “If there were a Forbes 400 list of great current novelists, Joel Rosenberg would be among the top ten.  More than a decade ago we kicked off one of his masterpieces, The Last Jihad, at a book party at the Forbes Media headquarters. Today millions see what we saw then, one of the most entertaining and intriguing authors of international political thrillers in the country. No wonder Joel has sold nearly three million copies – his novels are un-put-downable including his new one, Damascus Countdown!”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Senior Israeli minister: Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb in 6 months: Does that mean Israel is preparing to strike? (Listen to “Damascus Countdown” as an audiobook.)

damascuscountdown-audiobook>> Senior Israeli minister: Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb in 6 months

(Washington, D.C.) — With the eyes of the world riveted on Syria, Iran and Israel — and interest in the current crisis, the prospect of a possible coming larger war, and the prophecies of Isaiah 17 & Jeremiah 49 concerning the future of Damascus growing — I’m getting emails, Facebook comments and Tweets asking me many questions about my recent novel, Damascus Countdown. It’s encouraging to see people so engaged in the book and the scenario it portrays, and curious about what the future really holds.

That said, not everyone who is interested in such things has the time to sit down read a work of fiction given their already busy lives.

So I’m very grateful to Brilliance Audio for producing Damascus Countdown — and all of my works of fiction and non-fiction — as audiobooks.

These audiobooks are available in abridged and unabridged formats, on CD, on MP3, and versions that can be immediately downloaded onto your iPod, or into iPhone, Android or other smart phones.

I love listening to all kinds of audio books, fiction and non-fiction, on my phone, whether I’m doing errands, driving long distances, on an airplanes (and I do a lot of flying), or on vacation.

If you haven’t listened to one of my books on audio yet, Damascus Countdown might be a good place to start.

You can find my audio books — produced by Brilliance — at your favorite local book retailer, and/or online through retailers such as:

>> Podcast #8: Joel addresses Iran Alive Ministries Banquet in Dallas, TX, on Jeremiah 49:34-39 and the future of Iran (9/13/13).


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog