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