Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Countdown to the Nationalization of Retirement Savings Has Begun!

International Man ^ | 02/05/2014 | Nick Giambruno

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. (Note: If you haven't yet heard of myRA, I'd strongly suggest you read this excellent overview by my colleague Dan Steinhart.) 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. You'd be much better off using a precious metals IRA to save for retirement than participating in the government's latest Ponzi scheme. There are other protective strategies as well, such as internationalizing your retirement savings into assets that are hard, if not impossible, to confiscate on a whim—like foreign real estate and physical gold held abroad. More on that below.

Retirement Savings Are Always Juicy Targets


As bad as it is to deceive naïve Americans into trading their hard-earned retirement savings for garbage (i.e., Treasury securities), the myRA program potentially represents something far worse… the first step toward the nationalization of existing private retirement accounts. 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. And retirement savings are a juicy target—low-hanging fruit for a desperate government. Naturally, politicians will try to slickly sell the idea to the public as something "for their own good" or as "protection from market instability." This is how similar programs were sold to skeptical publics in the past. In reality, governments take these actions not to "reduce the risk" to your retirement savings or whatever propaganda they happen to come up with, but rather to obtain financing—by forcefully dumping their unwanted debt onto seniors and savers. Below are several ways it has happened or could happen. Of course, there could always be some sort of new, creative proposal that was previously unthinkable. No matter the method, however, the end result is always the same—the siphoning off of purchasing power from your retirement savings.
New Contribution Mandate: The government could mandate, for example, that 50% of new contributions to private retirement accounts must consist of "safe," government-approved investments, like Treasury securities. Forced Conversions: This is where a government will forcibly convert existing assets held in retirement accounts into so-called "safer" assets, such as government bonds. For example, if the US government forcibly converted 20% of the estimated $20 trillion in retirement assets (401k plans, IRAs, defined benefit and contribution plans, etc.), it would net them $4 trillion. Not a bad score, considering the national debt is north of $17 trillion. Special Taxes: The government could look into levying special taxes on distributions from retirement, especially those deemed to be "excessively large."

In order to be more effective, forced conversations probably wouldn't happen until after official capital controls have been instituted. Once in place, capital controls would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for you to avoid the wealth confiscation that is sure to follow… like a sheep that has just been penned in for a shearing. Since FATCA and other regulatory burdens already amount to a soft form of capital controls, it's absolutely essential that you start implementing protective measures now. It's like I have always said: internationalization is your ultimate insurance against the measures of a desperate government. In the case that the government makes a grab for retirement savings, it's much better to be a year or two early rather than a minute too late.

Internationalize Your Retirement Savings


It's much more difficult for the government to convert your retirement assets if they're outside of its immediate reach. If you have a standard IRA from a large US financial institution, it would only take a decree from the US government and Poof!: your dividend-paying stocks and corporate bonds could instantly be transformed into government bonds. Obviously, this is much harder for the government to do if your retirement assets are sufficiently internationalized. For example, you can structure your IRA to invest in foreign real estate, open an offshore bank or brokerage account, own certain types of physical gold stored abroad, and invest in other foreign and nontraditional assets. In my view, owning an apartment in Switzerland and some physical gold coins stored in a safe deposit box in Singapore beats the cookie-cutter mutual funds shoved down your throat by traditional IRA custodians any day. If and when there's some sort of decree to convert or otherwise confiscate the assets in your retirement account, your internationalized assets ensure that your savings won't vanish at the stroke of a pen. There are important details and a couple of restrictions that you'll need to be aware of, but they amount to minor issues, especially when weighed against the risk of leaving your retirement savings within the immediate reach of a government desperate for cash. After placing a juicy steak in front of a salivating German shepherd, it's only a matter of time before he makes a grab for it. The US government with its $17 trillion debt load is the salivating German shepherd, and the $20 trillion in retirement savings is the juicy steak. Internationalizing your IRA has always been a prudent and pragmatic thing to do. And now that the US government has now officially set its sights on retirement savings, it's truly urgent. You'll find all the details on how it to get set up, along with trusted professionals who specialize in internationalizing IRAs in our Going Global publication.

IRS's Lerner, Treasury Department secretly drafted new rules to restrict nonprofits!

The Daily Caller ^ | 2/5/14 | Patrick Howley

The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested. The rules place would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups. “Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting…,” Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 email to Lerner and others obtained by Ways and Means and provided to The Daily Caller.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailycaller.com ...

Obamacare’s Scorekeepers Deliver a Game-Changer

Washington Post ^ | Dana Milbank

For years, the White House has trotted out the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to show that Obamacare would cut health-care costs and reduce deficits:
Live by the sword, die by the sword, the Bible tells us. In Washington, it’s slightly different: Live by the CBO, die by the CBO. The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes. This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers. White House officials rushed to dispute the referee’s call — arguing, somewhat contradictorily, that the finding was both flawed and really good news if interpreted properly.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

Obamacare may prompt people to work less!

 CNN Money ^ | February 4, 2014 | Tami Luhby

Many workers may opt to work less to retain their eligibility for Medicaid or federal subsidies under Obamacare, a new report has found.
The Affordable Care Act could reduce the labor force by the equivalent of 2.5 million workers in 2024, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's annual outlook. That doesn't mean employers will start swinging the ax or even that that many jobs will be lost, CBO says. Rather, more people will likely opt to reduce their hours, or leave the workforce entirely, so they stay under the income caps for Medicaid and federal subsidies.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...

CryoSat shows Arctic sea ice volume up 50% from last year

Watts Up with That ^ | February 5, 2014 | By Anthony Watts

Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this past autumn.
The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year. In October 2013, CryoSat measured about 9000 cubic km of sea ice – a notable increase compared to 6000 cubic km in October 2012. Over the last few decades, satellites have shown a downward trend in the area of Arctic Ocean covered by ice. However, the actual volume of sea ice has proven difficult to determine because it moves around and so its thickness can change. CryoSat was designed to measure sea-ice thickness across the entire Arctic Ocean, and has allowed scientists, for the first time, to monitor the overall change in volume accurately. About 90% of the increase is due to growth of multiyear ice – which survives through more than one summer without melting – with only 10% growth of first year ice. Thick, multiyear ice indicates healthy Arctic sea-ice cover. This year’s multiyear ice is now on average about 20%, or around 30 cm, thicker than last year. . .

(Excerpt) Read more at wattsupwiththat.com ...

Hillary's new job

Cruz vs. Obama on foreign policy

Washington Post ^ | February 5 at 10:00 am | Jennifer Rubin

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is making no bones about his views on foreign policy. Last week, it was a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Russia. Yesterday, he spoke on the Senate floor about the president’s foreign policy, such as it is.
The remarks are noteworthy on a few counts. First, while the language may be different, the policies are very similar to those of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with whom Cruz previously tangled. Moreover, they aren’t materially different from many hawkish Democrats’ views; the difference is that Cruz is not inhibited by party affiliation. Second, Cruz is adopting a perspective that could not be more different from the sentiments of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) with whom he has sometimes allied himself (e.g. on drones). Cruz, I think correctly, sees that strong foreign policy is also good politics on the right. Paul is often left of the president and Hillary Clinton; Cruz is going right. And, last, Cruz weaves a narrative to explain a number of discrete events as part of one syndrome that affects the president (and I would argue, the left more generally). In that, he is giving voice to the frustration and fears of those who see this president as frittering away U.S. prestige and making us less safe. (“I’d like to talk today about the contrast concerning foreign policy between the fantasy that was presented to the American people and the cold hard realities of the dangerous world in which we live, which is only getting more and more dangerous.”) He began with a blistering attack on Obama’s counter-reality on Syria. He said, “On Syria, in the State of the Union, the president claimed , ‘American diplomacy backed by the threat of force is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work ’

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

The definition of crazy: Healthcare.gov developer, CGI gets more gov't. work after Obamacare flop!

American Thinker ^ | 02/05/2014 | Rick Moran

What is it about the primary cultprit behind the failure of healthcare.gov that allows them to continue to win federal contracts despite the most spectacularly incompetent website design and implementation in history?
The Daily Caller is reporting that CGI, the general contractor used by CMS to build the Obamacare website, has received six additional contracts from CMS after the failures were discovered.
The company that built the failed Obamacare website received six additional contracts from the Obama administration's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the website's disastrous launch, The Daily Caller has learned. According to a company spokesman, CGI Federal was awarded six additional contracts from CMS worth approximately $37 million between October 1 -- when the over $600 million Obamacare website launched -- through January 2014. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of the Canadian company CGI Group, and was formed in 2009 to bring CGI into the federal contracting business. The company employs Michelle Obama's Princeton classmate, and 2010 White House Christmas guest, Toni T0wnes-Whitley as a top executive. CGI, which received the Obamacare website contract in Obama's first term, was fired from its role as prime contractor on the website in January. But the idea that CMS, a division of Kathleen Sebelius' Department of Health and Human Services, would cancel its other pending contracts with CGI "does not reflect the relationship that CGI has with CMS," a CGI spokesman told TheDC.




(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

So why don't the anti-smoking zealots care about marijuana?

St. Paul Pioneer Press ^ | 2/4/14 | Joe Soucheray

Because we don't have enough to worry about and the news is slow and it's February and, well, the whole country seems to be suffering from cabin fever, a new level of smoking has been defined just to shake us up. I suppose, whenever there is a lull in the national conversation, you can always count on a medical researcher to bring up smoking, just in case we forget it is a nasty habit. There is, as we all know, firsthand smoke. Firsthand smoke is when you actually light a cigarette while you are standing outside in a frigid doorway and start puffing away. Firsthand smoke is dangerous. We have been told that for about 50 years now. There is also secondhand smoke. People who have quit smoking but accidently walk past the guy standing in the frigid doorway and smell the smoke from the guy's cigarette are exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is apparently responsible for there being no firsthand smoking anymore inside restaurants and bars and theaters and the like. A few of us actually remember when you would go to see the Saints play the Millers at the St. Paul Auditorium and you could hardly see the skaters because of the haze in the building. Now, researchers at the University of California-Riverside have come up with a new hand. They have come up with thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is the smoke left behind by secondhand smoke on drapes and furniture and table tops and whatnot. In other words, it is the faint odor of smoke you get in many hotel rooms that have seen better days. Why it isn't the smoke left behind by firsthanders doesn't seem to make sense, but it does give a new heft to the seriousness of secondhand smoke. I guess the secondhand smoke clings to surfaces and builds up as a toxic coating. When mice were exposed to thirdhand smoke, they started acting goofy and got a little hyperactive. Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology who led the study, said in a statement reported by CBS News: "We found significant damage occurs in the liver and lung. Wounds in these mice took longer to heal." By the standard of there now being a thirdhand smoke, we can never be safe. For if there is thirdhand smoke, doesn't it stand to reason there has to be a fourth- and fifth- and maybe even a sixth-hand exposure? I mean, if you buy a coffee table at a garage sale that was exposed to cigarette smoke, you are at least at a level four contamination. There was the original owner of the table, a smoker, all the secondhand smoke the table was exposed to on Sunday nights watching Ed Sullivan, the thirdhand smoke that has resulted in the table being so cheap in the first place and now the fourth hand, bringing that piece of furniture with its thirdhand effects into your dwelling, where, if you have mice, they will start acting goofy. You have to grudgingly admire the zealots. They just don't stop. If they feel that they have not frightened enough people, they just come up with another hand. I keep looking, but have yet to discover where the anti-smoking zealots stand on the legalization of marijuana. It seems to me that marijuana is just as dangerous as cigarettes. The residues are just as oily and toxic, thus meeting the criteria for first-, second- and thirdhand exposures. Not to mention that marijuana has the additional fault of contributing to obesity because marijuana smokers often consume whole loaves of Wonder Bread at one sitting. But I have yet to see or hear the zealots go after marijuana. I don't see any billboards. I don't see any warnings. I don't see any force of public shaming beginning to gain ground. I don't even see any high-powered law firms looking for somebody to sue. Man alive, imagine what some of those early settlements would have been if they had had a third hand to work with.

The enduring spirit of the Tea Parties

The Washington Times ^ | February 4, 2014 | Ben S. Carson
Time hasn’t dimmed liberty set afire in Boston Harbor
The famous Boston Tea Party involved disgruntled colonists who felt unfairly treated by the British Motherland, which was imposing an ever-increasing burden of taxation with little or no input from those being taxed. The British reasoned that they were offering protection to the colonies and, therefore, the taxes were justified. Because the British Empire was almost continuously expanding and engaging in warfare, a great deal of revenue was required. There appeared to be enormous natural resources and the capacity to develop them in the New World, and the monarch thought these could provide an endless source of revenue. There was no consideration of the fact that the colonists worked hard to sustain themselves and also wanted to accumulate enough wealth to provide for their later years and for their families. Interestingly, the much-maligned Tea Party of today faces the same concerns as the brave pioneers of old. They are also concerned about government overreach with programs such as Obamacare, unnecessary and unlawful surveillance of citizens, blatant and unchecked abuse by the Internal Revenue Service, and government cover-ups and media complicity. Neither did the Boston Tea Party’s participants, nor supporters of the modern Tea Party object to paying their fair share of taxes, but both witnessed an incessant escalation of government spending, which was always taken out of their hides. The concept of cutting back on government expenditures was as foreign to the British as it is to our government today, which provides lip service but no meaningful action. Why do so many members of the political class go to such great lengths to demonize the Tea Party?

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

One union leader is so frustrated with obamacare he did something a little unexpected!

theblaze.com ^ | february 5, 2014 | becket adams

The chief of the national hotel workers union is “bitterly disappointed” with the Affordable Care Act — and he decided this week to meet with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a longtime opponent of the bill. Donald “D” Taylor, the general president of the Las Vegas-based UNITE HERE, met with the Senate Minority leader for a private meeting Tuesday that reportedly touched on the union’s grievances with President Obama’s signature health care law, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. McConnell confirmed that the two met in the nation’s capital, adding that it was Taylor who requested the get-together. “It was a fairly brief meeting but it’s safe to say this is a good example of some of the president’s union constituents who were very enthusiastically for him who think Obamacare has been a disaster for them,” McConnell said after the meeting. The Kentucky Republican added that Taylor did not get into the specifics of his complaints against the Affordable Care Act, but he said the meeting was an “exchange of pleasantries.” A spokeswoman for the union leader told the Review Journal Tuesday that Taylor had indeed travelled to the nation’s capital, but she would not confirm if he had additional meetings in Washington. Taylor did not meet with Senate Majority Leader and Obamacare supporter Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a spokesperson with the senator’s office confirmed.

(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...

Little Sisters

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The Coronation

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LOADED!

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Sterilize black people?

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Please help us!

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BECAUSE!

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The View

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The real state of the union!

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Thank You!

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You crack me up!

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WHAT?

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HELP

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FAULT

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His Majesty

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The dumb-assed Republicans

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Hey Broncos...

Getting a jump!

If Obama had a son

Not a smidgen...

Speak smugly...

New to town?