Obama Is Coming for Your Retirement Savings

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton supposedly answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” Sutton’s greed and moral outlook are shared by a certain Marxist community organizer who has already seized control of banks, insurance companies, and the auto industry. If you want to know what “reform” will target next, just ask yourself, where is the money? The answer: in our retirement accounts. If Obama has his way, it won’t be there for long.

In Chapter 3 of the Annual Report on the Middle Class released in February by Vice President Biden and the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, the Obama administration calls for enhancing the “retirement options” for the middle class by imposing “new regulations to improve the transparency and adequacy of 401(k) retirement savings.”

Whenever Obamunists use the word “transparency,” you know they are throwing up a smokescreen to disguise something shady.

The plan, as sketched in the 43-page document, calls for the creation of something called “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs). Biden slyly shifts the onus for the idea through weasel words typical of the federal government: “Some have suggested the creation of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs), which would give workers a simple way to invest a portion of their retirement savings in an account that was free of inflation and market risk, and in some versions under discussion, would guarantee a specified real return above the rate of inflation.”

These accounts would be “free of inflation and market risk” because they would be under the direct and absolute control of the federal bureaucracy. There would be no risk because the funds would no longer be moored to the free market and subject to the fluctuations thereof. Rather, the retirement funds of every hard-working American dependent on a 401(k) for their retirement security would be nationalized and made subject to the whims and will of the executive branch.

What better way to “spread the wealth around” from those who have created and saved it to Obama’s supporters?

There’s more:

Coinciding with the publication of the report described above, the Obama White House, together with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, issued a so-called “Request for Information” calling for a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of the “annuitization” of individual 401(k)s. The scheme was set forth in a set of “Proposed Rules” published on February 2, 2010 in the Federal Register.

The document reads in part, “While defined contribution plans have some strengths relative to defined benefit plans, participants in defined contribution plans bear the investment risk because there is no promise by the employer as to the adequacy of the account balance that will be available or the income stream that can be provided after retirement.” And furthermore, “The Agencies are considering whether it would be appropriate for them to take future steps for them to facilitate access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide designed to provide a stream of income after retirement.”

The upshot of that clunky prose is that the Obama administration believes that employers cannot be relied upon to adequately manage the 401(k) retirement accounts it provides for their employees, therefore the federal government will relieve them of that responsibility and take sole discretionary control of those funds, thus eliminating the risk of mismanagement. In other words, the Obama administration is planning to divert the “stream of income after retirement” and channel it right through Washington, D.C.

Look for instability in the stock market like yesterday’s sudden plunge to be exploited as cover for the greatest robbery of all time, the $multitrillion heist of every American’s retirement account. But don’t worry, Big Government will dole some of the money back to you at its discretion, assuming the program doesn’t go bankrupt like Social Security soon will.

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What would Willie Sutton do?

On a tip from Wiggins. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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