yet again, our property rights under assault in the US
Dear readers, we are very sorry to have to interrupt the series of photo essays, but a couple of topics are begging to be addressed. We will resume posting photo essays early next week.
The below photographic image is of a cup with the Chinese character for “wealth” on it. (Turning the cup, one sees the characters for “longevity” and for “happiness”.)
We addressed how to effectively alleviate poverty in June, 2012. We dealt with threats to our property rights in late July or early August. As the threats and the attacks on property rights continue and show no signs of abating, we take up this issue again.
Earlier in the week, the radio news told of more discussions in Washington of the desire to seize, or, at the very minimum. change the rules on individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and employee 401K plans. (Readers outside of the US may not be familiar with these terms. They denote saving vehicles for individuals to put away (and invest) dollars each year that will be drawn on during retirement (when over 59 1/2 years of age). These accounts are the personal property of the individuals who contribute to them. The tax deferred status of the contributions to these accounts does not change that fact!)
This is not the first time that government officials and politicos have cast covetous eyes on these assets that sum, by some estimates, to as much as 15 to 20 trillion dollars. (I think that number is high, and that the true figure is likely lower, say in the range of 10 to 12 trillions at most.) Their thinking is, that with a current national debt of 16 to 17 trillion dollars, the seizure of these funds would allow the government to continue in its profligate spending far into the future. This nonsense got its start a few years back when an academic from an Ivy League college (her name slips my memory) testified before a congressional committee and suggested the government look at this possible source of “revenue”.
Upon such an unconstitutional and unconscionable seizure of these financial assets, each individual citizen impacted would be given a promise by the government to get a larger check from the (now technically bankrupt) Social Security Administration (SSA) when they reach retirement age. 3 problems with this “promise” come to mind.
1. There is absolutely no guarantee that Social Security is going to be able to make full payments of benefits in the future. The higher-ups in the General Accounting Office, The Congressional Budget Office and at the SSA itself know this.
2. As a way to postpone the total and inevitable collapse of this flawed vote buying scheme (Social Security) hatched in the mid 1930s, middle-aged and younger workers must now wait until much older ages to collect any monies from Social Security. If you were born after 1959, you will not be able to collect full benefits until age 69 or 70. These required ages will likely be raised again. Not everyone is going to live to age 70. Too bad for them is the government’s attitude. (Having worked with actuaries on pension fund accounting issues some years back, I can say that it is known that a not insignificant percentage of people (of both sexes) die between age 65 and age 70.) Younger workers who are currently paying historically high payroll tax rates for Social Security are not going to get back anything near what they will have paid in over their working lives – that is if they get anything at all down the road a few decades!
3. This is what gets my blood boiling and should anger (righteous anger) you as well. These accounts, really financial assets (property), are not like a promised monthly check from the government. As property, the individual (owner) controls when and how much to withdraw upon retiring (within some broad government proscribed restrictions). Also, as property, these assets can be inherited by one’s legal heirs when one dies. If you die with a promise from SSA for a monthly check, well your heirs won’t get much other than a tiny death benefit, if that.
To give some perspective here, for many of us in our 50s, who have been contributing to 401K plans with our employers for decades, and have seen tax deferred investment returns within these accounts, the plans can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is exactly what they were designed for – to provide a powerful means of building up a financial asset that can then be drawn upon for many years of retirement. Such a seizure or confiscation (let’s call it what it really is – a theft) thus represents a large reduction in an individual’s or a married couple’s net worth (accumulated wealth).
Make no mistake, readers, this is a dangerous idea that is actually being considered in Washington. This topic comes up from time to time since it was first raised back in 2008 or 2009 (not sure which year now). This is a wake up call. When something keeps coming up over and over again in the nation’s capital, it is a sure sign that the politicians want to do it.
The Left has always hated property rights. They sat on the left side of the assembly hall in Paris during the French Revolution (it makes me ashamed that I have some French ancestry). Then Marx and Engels took up the crusade against property rights and indeed, ultimately, against all human rights.
For those on the Left, I have a simple question. “Does an individual (woman or man) have a right to the fruits of her/his labors?” That’s it.
Let us be honest here. Let us face a very unpleasant fact here. Socialism, communism, Marxism, or call it “statism”, is a philosophy that appeals to life’s losers – not to the self-made (through personal sacrifice) winners. Solve (reduce) poverty through policies that facilitate and promote economic growth (which creates economic opportunities for all). Do not continue with policies that promote the gluttonous growth of government and its control over our lives!
Obama (Caution: reader discretion is advised)
President Obama is the leading exponent of the Left in the USA at the current time.
Procopius had written a secret history of emperor Justinian (reigned in Constantinople 527 to 565 AD) and (his wife) the empress Theodora. In this “history”, he provides a litany of Justinian’s crimes and outrages and claims that if he, Procopius, were to list all of Justinian’s outrages there would be no end to his book. The longer Mr. Obama is in power, the longer his list of actual (not alleged) outrages grows.
President Obama has enraged tens of millions of gun owners (and even freedom loving non gun owners!) all over the nation with his calls for restrictions on our 2nd amendment rights. There have been rallies in support of the 2nd amendment in many locales. Gun sales have soared nationwide in recent weeks. And, most tellingly, sheriffs’ and police departments in a growing number of states have said they will not enforce any unconstitutional orders coming from Washington to disarm law-abiding citizens. (Note: These peace officers have taken an oath to defend the US Constitution. Their oath is not to Mr. Obama.)
Civil disobedience anyone?
Now, Obama’s cronies are not so subtly hinting at their ardent desire to gut our property rights. This may finally prove to be Obama’s undoing. Is he finally over-reaching such that even the apathetic Americans will finally say “No!” to this bully? President Obama needs a reality check here.
If Obama succeeds, has his way, and we lose our property rights, it will be final proof that the sheeping of America is complete.
“What’s that you say, Barack? . . . . . Is that so?”
A “re-education” camp is in Larry’s future.