Monday, June 16, 2014


With the Treasury needing another $1.5 trillion in debt to finance the anticipated federal budget deficit, the Obama administration is obviously scrambling to find new ways to sell government debt cheaply, without having to raise interest rates.

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Treasury Department held joint hearings on whether government lifetime annuity options funded by U.S. Treasury debt should be required for private retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k) plans.

Now I ask you-can you point to the clause in the Constitution that gives the federal government the right to tell you how to invest your money?

I do not seem to remember that amendment.

But our Kenyan Emporer is starting to grease the skids.

Packaged as a new retirement-savers plan designed for workers whose employers do not offer IRAs or 401(k), President Obama announced in his State of the Union address earlier this year an initiative that allows first-time savers to start building up their savings in Treasury bonds that could eventually be converted into traditional IRAs or 401(k) plans.

While it is not as onerous as an Obama administration directive demanding a certain percentage of individual retirement savings must be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds, it may be a first step in that direction.

With the Obama administration having run federal budget deficits in the range of $1 trillion every year in office since 2009, somebody has to buy all the Treasury debt the Obama administration plans to issue.

In January 2013, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggested it should play a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings. “That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in terms of whether and what authority we have,” bureau director Richard Cordray told Bloomberg in an interview.

Under the direction of the Obama White House, the Treasury and Labor departments have increasingly pushed the investment theory that because government bonds carry a sovereign guarantee against default, any IRA or 401(k) funds placed in a Treasury R-Bond would constitute, in effect, a government annuity that would pay the retiree a lifetime income, regardless how stock and bond markets might independently perform.

The government’s argument is that IRA and 401(k) investors lost principal from their retirement savings accounts when the housing bubble burst and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a closing high of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007, to a closing low of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009.

That is true.

My 401K plummeted. 

And as soon as I was permitted (I was governed by insider rules, even though I only saw a small fraction of my company’s results), I put every dime into my company’s stock at $8 per share.

My logic was, if the stock kept going down, retirement was the least of my worries, but there was no reason it should not go up to it’s former value.

I moved it out at $40 a share within a year, and it has since been as high as $90.

Fidelity Investments estimated the average 401(k) fund balance dropped 31 percent between the end of 2007 and March 2009.

With the stock-market rally that began in March 2009, Fidelity noted 401(k) account balances increased 28 percent by the end of the third quarter 2009.

Since 2009, most IRA and 401(k) investors have registered substantial gains.

So the people who were at retirement age who were in risky investments may have suffered, but most people had the opportunity to recover.

Without the help of our government.

And without investing in bonds backed by a government whose spending is out of control.

A government who would have to sell more bonds to pay us back.

Which is the equivalent of paying Visa with a Mastercard.  

Retirement savers in nations with high debt that have demanded retirement savings be placed into government debt have fared badly, taking huge losses as debt crises deepened and bond markets began selling the debt at serious discounts.

The Argentine state took control of the country’s privately managed pension funds in a dramatic move to raise cash.

In 2008, Argentine sovereign debt was trading at 29 cents on the dollar, reflecting the devalued state of the Argentine peso, with the result that private pensioners holding government debt in their retirement accounts could not be assured those bonds would have any meaningful value at maturity.

Think it can’t happen in the US?

Reuters reported last year that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced a government decision to transfer to the government pension system all bond investments in privately owned pension funds within the state-guaranteed system in an effort to educe Polish national debt and allow the Polish government to resume borrowing in international markets.

By confiscating, or otherwise “nationalizing” the bonds held in Polish citizen private retirement accounts, the Polish government, with public debt currently standing at approximately 52.7 percent of GDP, circumvents restrictions that deter the government from allowing debt to rise to over 50 percent of GDP.

By shifting bonds held in private retirement accounts into government accounts, the assets are held on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving the government more scope to borrow and spend.

As is the case with other nations in the European Union, Poland faced with slowing economic growth, a grim job situation, and declining tax revenues, has been forced to borrow to maintain the nation’s large social welfare system without imposing austerity measures.

The international reaction among private investment advisers was one of shock and dismay.

Poland’s move follows a similar move taken by the Mediterranean island of Cyprus earlier this year.

The Cyprus government confiscated 10 percent of the amount in all bank accounts in a move calculated to raise 6 billion euros to meet a condition set by international bankers, including the International Monetary Fond, as a condition of finalizing a proposed Eurozone bailout.

Still think it can’t happen here?

Americans live with an illusion that their retirement, guaranteed by Social Security, is safe.

As I showed readers in a previous post, the taxes that were withheld from you and your employer have been spent-there is no money set aside for you.

The government plan is to tax your children to pay for your Social Security.

I was speaking to a lady friend recently who is retiring this year, and she thinks she is secure because she had filed for her benefits. 

Her actual statement was that I am at risk while she is not because her benefits have been approved.

She has no concept of the fact that she is dependent on future tax revenue streams to continue her benefits.

Nor does she understand that in fifteen years or so (give or take), when we are both retired, we will both be supported by those tax revenues from the younger Americans who are still working, a situation that will be strained by the demographic reality.

And she is pretty much the mainstream. Americans are oblivious to this.

For most Americans, Social Security is a primary part of their retirement plan (even though it was never intended to be so).

They are counting on Uncle Obama to care for them.

I would even argue that the below chart is unrealistic-I believe most people in the bottom income tier have nothing but Social Security, and that the same is true for the middle income tier.

In fact, because Social Security benefits are capped, I would further argue that the percentage of the top income tier's portfolio for Social Security is far less than the 37% illustrated below.

The government encourages that "Uncle Obama Will Provide" mindset because it makes you more dependent on them and gets them closer to their goal, which Stephen T. McCarthy explains in several posts like this one HERE. 

Why else is Obama considering stealing private retirement funds?

He knows the federal government can't pay everyone who will be demanding benefits by the end of the decade, so he wants to steal your personal savings from you to repay the money he took from you during your working life.

In the Obama vision, your retirement will look like this:

An interesting statistic from a friend who works at a brokerage firm-85% of all boomers are woefully under-funded for retirement.

 Yet according to the above graph, not even half of all Americans are worried about it.

Now I know that it's a fact that 67% of all statistics are bullshit 50% of the time, but don't you think Americans ought to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!

Especially since they won't be able to afford coffee in retirement.

No, I take that back-for a few hours a day they'll be able to get coffee for free...

My thanks to Robin at Your Daily Dose for the idea for this post....


  1. You are welcome for the idea, but I can see that you have taken the glimmer of an idea and ran with it making it all your own.

    With the debt being what it is, the welfare state being what it is, and the government's inability to reduce spending.... how can they NOT at some point decide that the best "solution" is to raid the people's IRA and bank accounts. A day will come when our deficit is so high that other countries will not loan us any more money. At that point, something will have to give (and you can bet your last dollar - and it might be your last dollar) that the government will take the bail out by way of digging into our pockets in a way that MOST Americans will find surprising. I know of some people who are already concerned that this could become a reality and are doing what they can to mitigate their loss. But, as you say, most people are completely unaware that this COULD EVER HAPPEN. They will be blindsided. No doubt.

    Great post!

    1. Robin-

      The lady I was talking to the other day (who is retiring-I refer to her in the post) thought that the concept of the government not being able to pay her was crazy talk.

      Even if they do not physically raid people's retirement accounts, I can see a time coming soon where if you have any kind of retirement income they will say you make too much to receive Social Security benefits.

      This idea has already been posed, and I am sure will get traction as the cash flow begins to tighten (which will happen as baby boomers retire).

      There is already a requirement for minimum IRA distributions to prevent people from avoiding taxation on Social Security benefits-how long before this mindset extends to avoid paying the Social Security benefit itself?

      Never mind that EVERYONE has 7.5% of their wages withheld (up to roughly $110K) and employers match that percentage. And it was all done with the understanding that the government would pay this back to you in retirement.

      But the socialist-minded in this country will not see this as the breaking of a promise, they'll see this as those evil wealthy people paying their fair share.

      What will come as a surprise (it always does) is that for any such action to make a dent, the income thresshold will have to be far lower than anyone thinks.

      90% of Social Security benefits go to households that had income of 50,000 or less. That ten percent paid out on the incomes higher than $50K is not going to be enough to help the cash crunch.

      Maybe if politicians had started acting in the seventies when these discussions started, the implosion would not be inevitable.

      But they ignored it since it would not happen on their watch, and it will probably all come to a head during President Hilary's administration.

  2. Very good article, LC!

    Of course all of our work is a lost cause, however at least when it's all over and done with, like R. P. McMurphy, we will be able to say: "But I tried, didn’t I? …Damn it! At least I did that."

    I love the look of that 'OBAMOPOLY' game board. Having a stack of "Race Cards" is damned clever and funny.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. This issue is a pet peeve of mine, Stephen, because I know so many people who have NOTHING set aside, still want to believe that Social Security is secure, AND squander their money foolishly rather than squander less and save something.

      Why will President Hillary go after my savings?

      Because of idiots who spend and spend but hide their heads in the sand during any discussion of Social Security running out of money.

      Once again, the responsible people will be vilified (guess I'm in the 1%, huh-better start dressing nicer) and will get screwed.

  3. Larry,

    If you truly think that having money set aside in an IRA is going to cause you to be screwed by the Federal Government (and that certainly appears to be a very grim possibility)... one idea would be to start taking it out. Yeah, you will pay a penalty BUT you will have complete access to the money and you can store it however you like. (More and more "average" people are buying safes to keep at home because they do no trust the government - or banks - with their money.)

    If I had a significant retirement income I would seriously be contemplating that course of action. I might have one if not for the chronic migraine that uprooted my life in 2003. Or the ex-husband that uprooted my life a couple years prior. So... for me it isn't an issue. When I start working again (notice I say "when" and not "If" despite the fact that I have a migraine RIGHT NOW that is about to push itself through my right eye) and have money to set aside for retirement I will think long and hard about how I want to save it.

    On a related note... aren't you always surprised at how everyone thinks the fiscal problems of this country would be solved by OUTRIGHT THEFT of the money of the 1%? (Granted many of these 1%ers are IBs and people who are actively pushing the NWO, so my threshold of pity for them doesn't run so far.) BUT, even if the government STOLE EVERY PENNY from these folks it would not solve our debt problem. It would just make everyone equally poor. I suppose trying to reason it out is a fruitless operation b.c. the IBs would never give up their money even to promote their own agenda. So, there will always be talk about taking from the 1%ers and it will always be the Middle Class who takes the hit. The Middle Class has already sustained enough hits that you would think they would have this one figured out...