Now that we’re banging on the debt ceiling will the government try to grab your IRA or 401K?

These are interesting times we’re living in, to say the least. The warning signs have been out there, I’ve brought this to your attention in the past – see here, here and here for a few examples. Hey, maybe I’m crazy. Our elected representatives are supposed to be looking out for us, right? They have the best intentions at heart. Right?

Well, some do, but nobody looking out for our interests would ever saddle us with such crushing debt that it could take down our economy. Unless they had another plan. Where is all the money? Is it the rich that have it, or is it the middle class savers?

How much do American workers have tied up in 401K and IRA plans? About $6 trillion. Are you telling me the spenders controlling our government don’t know that, and see it as a way to finance the spending binge they’ve been on? Thank God for divided government, or else we may already be at this point.

How Might Government Go After This Money?

There are innumerable ways.  Here is some speculation regarding what might happen.

It is unlikely that government confiscates IRA funds, at least directly.  That is likely too big a step, at least as a first move.  More likely, government mandates that a percentage of IRA funds be invested in Treasury securities.  The percentage would start out small and then likely increase as government insolvency worsened.

Let’s imagine a scenario.  After proper citizen conditioning, the government would require that all IRAs must be at least 20% invested in Treasuries.  The rationale would be that we must all do our share in assisting the country out of its economic hardship.  Those with IRAs certainly are better off than those without.  Therefore it is only fair that they invest in the future of their country.

The reason to enact such legislation is that markets are driving up the costs of borrowing for the government.  By forcing investments from existing IRA funds, the government achieves two objectives:

  1. It reduces the amounts necessary to raise in capital markets and/or
  2. It reduces the amount of new quantitative easing necessary.

Although unnecessary, a special series of Treasury bonds called “Patriot Bonds” could be created.  These bonds would be the only ones that counted for IRAs and could have lower interest rates than traditional Treasuries.  If so, you would be coerced into funding the government by purchasing bonds for more than how the market values them.  But, after all, you are a patriot and one of the “winners in life’s lottery.”  So it is the least you can do.

Over time the required percentage would be raised to, say, 40 or 60 or even 100% as financial conditions worsen.  Finally the government defaults, making whatever portion of your IRA represented by government securities worthless.

In effect, that part of your IRA has been confiscated by government. …

Read the whole thing.

If you’re like me, and have spent your working life contributing to an IRA or 401K, this is a scary thought. But then again, you didn’t think they were going to let the middle class off the hook, did you? Remember Ayn Rand’s warning – there is always someone needier than you. If you did everything right your whole life and have an IRA or 401k, what makes you think you’re off limits in their schemes to extract every dollar they can out of productive Americans?

I’m sorry, but there are not enough private jet owners to tax to get us out of this hole. Sooner or later they are going to come after the middle class savers, and tell us it’s for our own good.

It’s politically expedient  for them to scare Grandma and Grandpa while they continue their spending binge, all the while they have their eyes on the savings of the children and grandchildren.