Is the government making plans to confiscate your retirement money? The Obama administration is certainly exploring the idea.
This question no longer seems far-fetched when the group-thinkers in Washington unabashedly promote a doctrine of wealth redistribution and central planning. These Keynesian socialists know they will need vast new sources of revenues to fund their relentless spending binges to "transform" this nation. A logical next step would be to legitimize the confiscation of private retirement assets -- an idea that was contemplated in the recent past by the Clinton administration. According to the Investment Company Institute, there was $7.835 trillion in IRA, 401K, 457, and 403b accounts in 2009. That is certainly too large a sum to be ignored by the big spending social engineers in Washington. Bureaucrats and politicians have been hard at work formulating a social justice excuse to legislate an historic seizure of private assets. This would not be the first time the statists extorted wealth from U.S. citizens on a massive scale. The public shakedown always employs a two-step tactic to repeatedly dupe the malleable electorate. First, the statists fabricate and incessantly excoriate a contrived crisis of social injustice that is victimizing helpless and unknowing Americans. Next, they "craft" -- a term Pelosi uses again and again -- insidious legislation disguised as a necessary and compassionate solution that makes participation and universal funding compulsory by force of the law.
It is a simple and effective strategy that continues to trip up even the staunchest conservatives, who ultimately succumb to the throng of propagandized constituents demanding protection from the newly revealed threat.
Expect to see terms such as "retirement income protection" thrown around. It is highly likely that such a program would be implemented in steps to help overcome public opposition. The US government plan is to eventually take ownership of all assets in IRAs and 401K accounts and replace them with US government "Treasury Retirement Bonds." In the October 2008 hearings, it was proposed that these bonds pay a 3% interest rate. Another major change is that, upon retirement, the individual's retirement account would be converted into an annuity. Once the individual is deceased, the individual's heirs would not inherit anything.
Has personal responsibility and self-reliance been transformed into a perceived disadvantage? Our benevolent government seems to think so.
In February, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), in collaboration with the Department of Treasury, announced a "request for information" to study the Lifetime Income Options for Retirement Plans and asked "for ideas on how to help reduce the chances that workers will run out of funds during their retirement years."
This request signals the "starting point" for launching yet another spurious social justice crusade by these two agencies. The fictional victims and the offending policy have been manufactured and publicized, and now it is time to fire up the propaganda machine and work on a new, expansive social engineering plot.
In public statements, EBSA has sounded a disingenuous alarm that employees "are increasingly responsible for assuring the adequacy of their retirement savings." Federal bureaucrats and politicians now feign concern that retirees not covered by defined benefit plans are put at undue risk because they receive their "retirement savings in a lump sum payment" which unjustly compels them to be "responsible for ensuring that their savings last throughout their retirement."
The government is working diligently to rectify this wrong.
EBSA recommends government intervention "to enhance retirement security for employees," so it is considering an alternative program that facilitates "access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide a lifetime stream of income after retirement."
In other words, the government intends to convince Americans that the abrupt seizure of trillions of dollars in defined contribution retirement accounts in exchange for token government payments is for their own protection and benefit.
Argentina confiscated private pensions in 2008 in what is accurately described as a cash grab. Will Americans and their representatives capitulate and surrender their fortunes as well? The next joint hearing for discussing this issue will held September 14 and 15. A live webcast of the hearing will be available on EBSA's website at www.dol.gov/ebsa.