Obama Proposes Retirement Account Limit In First "Wealth Tax" Salvo

Tyler Durden's picture

The witch-hunt against the "rich" (as defined by a random group of people) through the establishment of creeping global capital controls continues. First, it was Europe deciding that €100,000 in savings is the "fair" threshold on savings above which any haircut goes, with Cyprus demonstrating first. and next Italy making it clear local depositors above the threshold will also be impaired in the future; then a group of journalists mysteriously lands millions in top secret files exposing essentially every offshore bank account: a perfectly legal option, however when mixed in with the implication that this money is all tax-evasion gotten it provides for a combustible mix, and now it is America's turn to fire the first shot across the capital control bow, because as part of his proposed budget, Obama plans to set a limit of how much one can spend per year on retirement through tax-preferred retirement plans. As it turns out, according to the Obama administration it is only fair to spend a total of $205,000 in nominal dollars per year on retirement, but not more.

Per The Hill, "The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the tax code." Ah yes, "fairness." This means that as a result of the artificial limit, the Budget will set a total cap on retirement plans of about $3 million. Anything above that, feel free to please spend on your peas instead of saving, or just invest in Bernanke's stock market ponzi. After all, that is the only artificial indicator Obama has to point to, when "proving" his policies are working.

Of course, once the administration's destructive policies of attempting to inflate away the debt finally funnel through to the economy, and inflation explodes, that $205,000 may or may not be enough to buy a loaf of bread. But why pretend to even think logically or ahead at this point. It's not like anyone has any real plans about the future of the country when the president is actually willing to release statements like this: “Under current rules, some wealthy individuals are able to accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving."

Why thank you Mr. President for telling the people what you consider "reasonable." Of course, it would be so much below you to simply go on the record as saying the rich (arbitrarily chosen as those who have over $1 million in assets... or $500,000... or $50,000 - who knows, it's "arbitrary") are now fair game and all those who recently received an Obama phone would be legally excused if they were to accidentally eat them. Because all is fair in hate and class warfare.

And speaking of hate, that is precisely the cover that Obama will use to pass his proposal:

The most prominent taxpayer with a multimillion-dollar IRA is Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and co- founder of Bain Capital LLC. Romney disclosed in public filings during the campaign that his retirement account held between $18.1 million and $87.4 million. At one point, the maximum exceeded $100 million.

 

IRAs have evolved from a retirement-planning technique into an estate-planning tool for some wealthy families because tax laws allow the accounts to be passed on to heirs, said Ed Slott, an IRA specialist and certified public accountant based in Rockville Centre, New York.

 

“Over the last election it hit a critical mass when a lot of people found out that Romney had $100 million in his IRA,” Slott said. “People thought, how on earth did that happen? I think that was the tipping point.”

 

The Romney campaign didn’t explain how he amassed that much money in an IRA when contribution limits are much lower. Most taxpayers can contribute a maximum of $5,500 for 2013. Older workers, self-employed workers and those who save through 401(k)-style plans have higher caps and can roll those accounts into IRAs.

 

One possibility is that Romney included Bain investments valued at close to nothing that later grew exponentially. The value would increase tax-free in the retirement account and would be subject to taxation at ordinary income tax rates when taken out.

Of course, the outcry from those who are stupid enough to actually save cash instead of blowing it all on iPhones and other worthless gimmicks will be loud, but since they are outnumbered about 9 to 1 by those who have zero financial planning skills, zero savings but lots of debt, will be promptly drowned out.

We wonder if the administration be as forceful in limiting the net present value of public worker retirement pensions (funded by other taxpayers of course), already over $500,000/year in some cases, with the same passion as it has in going after private wealth. Or maybe because the purchasing of votes with other people's money might be impaired, Obama will just let this slide?

Finally, like everything out of the administration, there isn't actually a plan on how to do this:

The administration’s statement didn’t explain in detail how the proposal would work. The cap would apply to the total of all of an individual’s tax-favored retirement accounts.

So all up in the air and very much unknown. But what is very known is that the tax on the wealthy, which by definition has to be global in nature, is rapidly coming, and the only question is at what threshold of total taxable financial assets it will be arbitrarily set.

However since we predicted all of this in September of 2011, and did some math to go along with it, expect to hand over anywhere between 30% and 40% of your hard earned assets to whatever parasitic government happens to be your host (this of course, after being taxed on the cash flows used to generates these assets).

Because in the new socialist international normal, "it's only fair."