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Guest Post: It’s Another Assault On Retirement Accounts

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man

It’s Another Assault On Retirement Accounts

When I was a kid, it was a big deal when the postman came around. He was an important man carrying important documents from far away lands that we could only dream about… and each time he pulled up there was a brief glimmer of anxiety, wondering what unexpected surprise he might be delivering that day.

At the time, I remember postage stamps for first class mail costing about 20 cents. If you’re a bit older than me, you might remember them being much cheaper than that.

In fact, prior to President Nixon taking the US dollar off the gold standard in 1971, stamps cost 6 cents. In the 40 years since then, the price of a first class letter has been raised 20 times, nearly 8-fold higher than before.

To put things in perspective, the price of a stamp in 1863 was 3 cents… so we’re talking about a 100% increase in 108-years, followed by a 733% increase over the next 40-years. And yet, despite such rampant price inflation, the US Postal Service is hemorrhage cash and nearing failure.

In fiscal year 2010, the Postal Service suffered a $8.5 billion net loss, the latest in a serial trend of widening losses.  The only way the Postal Service keeps surviving is from the generosity of US taxpayers and Chinese bondholders who foot the bill for its continuance.

The Postal Service has nearly 600,000 employees; it’s larger than the active component of the United States Army, in fact, and, similar to how the Army is far-flung all over the world in places where it has no business operating, the Postal Service has offices across small-town America where there is no chance of profit.

There are over 3,000 post offices across the country that generate less than $27,500 in annual revenue. It’s barely possible to pay rent and keep the lights on with that kind of revenue, let alone hire a staff, maintain delivery vehicles, or pay for fuel.

An organization with such a costly structure is doomed to fail, and if it weren’t a government agency, it would have gone bust a long time ago. By the government’s own admission, the US Postal Service can’t compete with private courier services, yet politicians insist on keeping it alive in the only way they know how– theft and deceit.

Senator Tom Carper recently introduced a bill called the Postal Operations Sustainability and Transformation (P-O-S-T… get it? See how clever they are?!?) Act of 2011.

The bill is filled with oodles of luminous wisdom like, “The United States Postal Service shall develop a plan for the expansion of retail alternatives to post offices, such as… the Internet.”

It literally takes an Act of Congress for the Post Office to incorporate the Internet into its business model… and this is what passes for a turnaround business plan in Washington.

More importantly, a full 50% of the legislation provides for all sorts of accounting tricks that the Postal Service can use to misstate its fiscal condition, as well as provisions to steal from federal pension and healthcare funds.

Last month, in fact, the Postal Service stopped making payments into the Federal Employee Retirement System in order to conserve cash… and this is becoming a bigger and bigger theme across government.

Retirement funds have become the ultimate fudgemaking tool of corrupt fiscal policy around the world. Treasury Secretary Tim Geither has been robbing federal pensions for the last several months in the absence of a debt deal, and several governments overseas have also stolen from retirees in order to continue financing their largess.

Bottom line- if these bankrupt governments and agencies owe to retirement funds, they’ll stop paying whenever it suits them. If they have access to steal from the retirement funds, they’ll steal.

We’ve seen several examples of this over the last two years, and we’re seeing more all the time. This is one of the issues that concerns me the most because I know how many people are completely unprepared for this eventuality.

Even private retirement accounts are fair game in the political calculus… and it’s a simple matter of arithmetic.

When a bankrupt government has to come up with at least $1 trillion annually to plug its budget gap, and several trillion dollars worth of retirement accounts are ripe for pillaging with few other options available, the choice is clear.

I’ve been a vocal advocate of internationalization. With the right kind of structure, it’s possible to safely and legitimately ship your assets overseas to a place where your money cannot be plundered by bankrupt politicians.


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Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:33 | 1502204 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

LOL, MsCreant said 'Raging Boner'.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:35 | 1502211 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

a turgid oratory to be sure

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:51 | 1502261 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

"Raging Bhoaner Erupts in Spasms of Fury"


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:55 | 1502270 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Raging Boehner says "get your ass in line."  Genghis Khan or what?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:45 | 1502601 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:28 | 1502696 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

It is moments like this, that after 72 hour hardline negotiations on multi-million [yes, so... 1980's for impact] deals that you realise that...

The people running the show are far more puerile than you ever imagined1.


Srsly.  And we wonder why real shit never gets sorted.


  • 1. Public School Humour. [UK variant]
Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:25 | 1502156 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This truly is the bottom line. We must all come to grips with the idea that this insanity can not only go on much longer than seems possible, but escalate beyond anything we could possibly imagine.

Desperate (wo)men will most definitely do desperate things. And their desperation will escalate exponentially.

Bottom line- if these bankrupt governments and agencies owe to retirement funds, they’ll stop paying whenever it suits them. If they have access to steal from the retirement funds, they’ll steal.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:36 | 1502216 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Theyre not desperate at all, its all been planned. Suddenly Mr and Mrs America will wake up to find their pensions looted, and what are they gonna do about it? Hold up a sign? This was a planned takedown, not an exercise in 'How long can we keep it going for'. They have a date to pull the rug, I dont know what it is, but its not far. 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:55 | 1502271 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I'm really talking about the puppets and enablers here SD1. The Congressional critters are being used to play this out along with various other tools and enablers. They can truly screw up things here and in fact it is expected that they will, it being part of the planned takedown.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:25 | 1502548 espirit
espirit's picture

...and we pay them for that.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:36 | 1502381 trav7777
trav7777's picture

this shit is FAR from scripted, man.

Why you guys must subscribe to the Potent Directors Fallacy all the time is beyond me.  They haven't got a clue.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:10 | 1502506 Ace Ventura
Ace Ventura's picture

I don't think SD1 means the morons in congress are the script authors. They are merely serving as useful idiots in what has been scripted at levels way beyond a mere 'elected representative(s)'. I believe he refers to the people who've owned congress for generations. Not saying there isn't some 'moron quotient' possible even at such high levels, or that this will play out exactly as TPTB hope. Only that there is a script of sorts, and so far it's playing out closer to what the original intent was than not.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:40 | 1502729 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

I, for two, lean more towards the " incompetent socerers apprentice/cat in the hat theory myself. These guys could fuck up a wet dream. Final test- window jumpers versus Rio tickets. If they jump, they were fuck-ups. If they run, it was all planned.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:40 | 1502733 andybev01
andybev01's picture

Ah yes, Boehner's Potent Fallacy.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:37 | 1502862 VisualCSharp
VisualCSharp's picture

I think you meant "Boner's potent phallusey."

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:59 | 1502283 cossack55
cossack55's picture

They trotted out those two buffoons from Commerce and Treasury in January to put out infor for "public debate".  Ususally 6-month window until action is then viable.  This is the conversion of 401s and IRAs into "gubmint annuities". LOL  Let the seizures begin.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:26 | 1502166 Snake
Snake's picture

more wood to the fire?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:42 | 1502169 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Bottom line- if these bankrupt governments and agencies owe to retirement funds, they’ll stop paying whenever it suits them. If they have access to steal from the retirement funds, they’ll steal.

In the USA at least this is bad news only for owners of significant private wealth and taxpayers. 

 The retirement funds that Geithner has been replacing with IOUs are defined benifit obligations to public sector employees - the most rock solid supporters of government largess there is in this country.

 The federal government will suck your bank account dry and tax the crap out of everything you own before they stop paying federal pensions.  If you're in the executive branch of a statist thug government you don't stop paying the praetorian gaurd and you don't stiff public sector employees - they aren't the ones being screwed here.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:29 | 1502358 OS2010
OS2010's picture

The retirement funds that Geithner has been replacing with IOUs are defined benifit obligations to public sector employees - the most rock solid supporters of government largess there is in this country.

Wrong on two counts:

1)  The IOU's have not been going into a defined-benefit program, but into the fund that employees themselves pay into from their own paychecks, specifically the Thrift Savings Plan G (for Government Treasuries) fund, supposedly the safest 401k you could have (once upon a time). 

2)  O placed a gag order on Federal employees during the off-year election, preventing any political discussion in the offices, which is still in effect!  Clearly he knows that, if he were to walk the halls at (more than one) government Agency, he would get an earful.  The vast majority of Civil Servants (outside DC, at least) keep "Remember the taxpayers" in their lexicon at all times. 

And no, most earn only a fraction of what the Senior Executive Service employees in DC do.  Rather than "sucking at the teat," most are simply "sucking it up" and waiting for the next shoe to fall while waving goodbye to former co-workers.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:00 | 1502468 ping
ping's picture

Oh you funny, wonderful, beautiful man. I wish I could see your world too. Say hello to the unicorns for me.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:10 | 1502662 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

He is 100% correct about item 1, and I would imagine more right than wrong on item 2. Obama froze Fed salaries for 2 years a while back - did you see any protests? Away from DC there is a multitude of GS-5 through GS-9 workers who make a solid "middle" middle class living, and they feel the debt target squarely on their backs. You on the other hand, are likely suffering from projection. It ain't just a river in Egypt, you know.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:37 | 1502585 Mercury
Mercury's picture

1) Thanks. That's interesting and I think more (better) detail than I've seen in any ZH posts on the subject.  Nonetheless it would be completely irrational for the executive branch to screw these people in the long run and I bet they find a way to transfer that debit onto more politically expendable wallets.

2) I don't think that relates specifically to raiding pensions funds (it predates the debt ceiling issue by a while)  but it's atrocious anyway and typical of this fascist bastard.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:29 | 1502179 koaj
koaj's picture

we will not default...the checks will go out but all authority for payments of any social service and entitlement will be transferred to the federal reserve

print check, mail to grandma

$10 gas? sorry hey we didnt default. A Lannister always pays his debts

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 08:35 | 1503915 Dangertime
Dangertime's picture

Ha, I love those books.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:29 | 1502183 wang (not verified)
wang's picture

I have a hard time feeling bad for a 50 year old retired civil servant who either spends his/her time on the links or has landed a job with a supplier to the gov or better still another job in the civil service ... of course it will only be a matter of time before the retirement accounts of working folks also becomes fair game

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:44 | 1502223 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:21 | 1502686 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

Another confused person. Stop conflating Federal retirement rules with your local muni shenanigans. The states may also have a lot of that nonsense, but allow me to direct you to the OPM link that calls bullshit on you:

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:31 | 1502191 Zymurguy
Zymurguy's picture

They've borrowed against Social Security for years.  It's so over leveraged that it is certain to fail as well.  What will the politicians say at that point?  "Uh, I inherited that problem."  "Uh, it's not my fault."

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:50 | 1502258 HarryHaller
HarryHaller's picture

That is until the public gets so pissed off that they simply don't care about excuses and demand that the politicians fix it.  When smoke and mirrors and accounting tricks no longer calm the populace, then it will be apparent to all politicians (current and aspiring) what a death march it is to fix the problem, and noone will want the job.

A similar situation occured the the later days of the Roman Empire.  Provincial administrative positions became hereditary not because of the privileges that came with them, but becuause of the burdens of carrying out the responsibilities tied to them.  

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:32 | 1502198 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Anyone who thinks theyre just going to leave $5 trillion in 401K/pensions just sit there all oblivious and unmolested must be smokin some real good stuff.

The Treasury Is Soliciting Your Feedback Regarding The Proposed Annuitization Of 401(k) | zero hedge

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:41 | 1502395 trav7777
trav7777's picture

those funds only have value if sold.  The government can really only effectively tax them, not seize then sell.

Obviously, they might try seize and use as collateral and hand over another $5T in real wealth to those who get to create money.  But that sort of shit will provoke revolution because the trade classes and the professionals and the lower upper and upper middle are always where the revolutionaries come from.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:34 | 1502207 Dolar in a vortex
Dolar in a vortex's picture

Pillaging private retirement funds would result in tanks in the street.

I hope.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:43 | 1502234 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Yea tanks in the streets, to mow down Mr and Mrs America who just got their 401K and pensions taken by the Treasury. This has all been planned for a very long time people, dont listen to those who are buying into this 'Demican/Republicrat WWF fighting it out cage match style' NONSENSE, which is all it is.

The Treasury Is Soliciting Your Feedback Regarding The Proposed Annuitization Of 401(k) | zero hedge

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:26 | 1502352 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

thanks for the link, Dog............ holy shit! article appears here Feb 1, 2010, ergo "too late now". They got all their nice little "feedback" from Ms America in what 90 days? Then "thanks for your comments....see ya!" no doubt. I'm just dyin' to see what form the Notice takes.... or will we have "emergency order" by Prez, or what?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:52 | 1502756 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Mowing down one's Middle Class in the streets is really bad PR for enticing or inducing foreign investors.  It might even induce others to see such an administration as illegitimate.  On an unrelated note, Obama wants more tanks.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:00 | 1502287 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

No it will not. As a matter of fact the population will heap praise and high polling numbers on whoever does it.

All it will take is Wall Street crashing again. The President will come on TV and radio announcing that he/she

will replace the funds lost in the crash and will fold all retirement plans into Social Security where it will be safe.

You will not be able to cash it out early nor will it go to the estate of the deceased on death. The people will

celebrate thinking their retirement is safe.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:47 | 1502746 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Oh. Fuck. I think you are right.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:21 | 1502542 TheDriver
TheDriver's picture

And as the tanks roll down quiet suburban streets, they'll be lit not by angry men with torches but rather by the soft blue glow of televisions as America watches the next season of Dancing With the Stars.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:36 | 1502217 monopoly
monopoly's picture

They will not get my gold.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:52 | 1502755 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

When you bought your (physical) gold...did you give anybody your name or address, tel, or creditcard #, or any other ID? 'Cause if you did, you have a choice (when the day comes), either give up your gold within the grace period, in exchange for some sort of deposit slip, or face the SWAT team. It's not just enough to buy physical. You need to buy on the black market. But maybe your gold was stolen, and you filed a police report to that effect? That would be handy.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:18 | 1502810 uniman
uniman's picture

When the Enemy decrees that it is time to surrender your gold, plata y plomo, then you will fill out the paperwork declaring your ownership of such things and surrender them, just as you presently do the same via your income tax now. What is going to change between now and then?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:49 | 1502257 youngman
youngman's picture

anyone remember the term  LOCK BOX........that is where all your Social Security money is......well guess what...its not to say they just stole it is a lie..they have been stealing it for years...and you have been voting them back in every two whos fault is that...

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:53 | 1502265 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Argentina nationalized retirement accounts. It was done to "save" them from falling stock and bond prices.

The same thing will be done to "save" Social Security and Medicare here in the USA. When it's all done the

MSM will praise this wonderful way to save the retirement accounts from destruction  while providing a safe

single payer system.

Argentina Nationalizes $30 Billion in Private Pensions

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:01 | 1502288 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Yep, I can see it going down that way. It's been studied (over a year ago).

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:26 | 1502698 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

And given a nifty spiffy name like "The Super Duper Guaranteed Universal Retirement", doncha know!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 16:57 | 1502277 AGuy
AGuy's picture

"The US is a Banana Republic" --David Stockman

David Stockman (Former OMB Chief under Reagon) has some harsh words about the US credit rating. David was a guest on Strategy Session with David Faber.



Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:32 | 1502710 cdskiller
cdskiller's picture

Great link. Everybody should listen to what Stockman says. His part begins around 3:35.

At one point, after Stockman has pointed out the criminal lunacy and negligence of Washington not addressing the need to raise revenue, they show a graph for only a few seconds of the top marginal tax rate over the past 100 years. It falls off a cliff after the 70's. This is what historians will write about when it all falls apart.

I can think of no person in the world more deserving of extraordinary rendition that Timothy Geithner.

Last, but not least, what's a retirement account?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:06 | 1502281 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Yes, the USPS is in trouble.   Labor costs have driven the institution to insolvency.   Actually, there are two different entities, the Post Office and  the U. S. Postal Service.   The difference happened on July 1, 1971.   The old Post Office had a mandate to deliver mail to areas that would not be cost efficient for private companies, per Ben Franklin's original concept.   The USPS, on the other hand, seemed to have the mandate to build a gargantuan union bent upon the pillaging of a "corporation" which was much like Freddie and Fannie.   The system has gone down hill since the inception of the USPS in 1971.   Originally, air mail service by such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh and carried in The Spirit of St Louis clones, could get a letter cross country to your house in 3 days!  An RPO (rail post office) train could get a letter cross country over night in 2 days.  There was twice a day mail delivery.   ...on and on.   Service has suffered over the years as the bureaucracy has grown.   It's the story of government in microcosm.

To be fair about the cost of mailing a letter, one paid about 3% of his daily wage in the 19th century to mail a letter.  That would be out of the question today.   The fact is, delivering a letter from Miami to Hawaii, house to house, for 44 cents is one of the world's bargains.  There is NO private industry that could/would do that.  The USPS is subsidized, true, but be careful of what you wish for.


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:59 | 1502457 trav7777
trav7777's picture

look at the demographics of the USPS workforce if you have any questions.  It has been a jobs program and it has neither hired nor promoted based upon merit.  The entire federal umbrella (including FNM/FRE) have been this way for 3 decades.  WTF do you expect?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:34 | 1502715 DosZap
DosZap's picture


Right now,the USPS is the least of my worries.

They have been bailed out MORE often(yearly) than any governmental agency in existence.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 00:07 | 1503329 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

If you think I was defending them, you are mistaken.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:02 | 1502291 Jim B
Jim B's picture

I have saved all of my life for retirement.  Friends and relatives have lived it up, you better get some kevlar if you come for my retirement account! 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:12 | 1502315 nufio
nufio's picture

and the swat team will come with kevlar.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:03 | 1502478 sabra1
sabra1's picture

it always amazed me when kevlar wearing cops keep getting shot into the kevlar protection. shoot 'em in the head!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:02 | 1502769 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Apparently, you have never tried to shoot a small, moving melon(that is likely returning fire) while under stress and suffering tunnel vision. 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:03 | 1502770 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

'Scuse me, I made a bad smell.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:08 | 1502305 The Cash Flow i...
The Cash Flow is King's picture

There is no reason to be investing in a 401(k) if you are interested in making money or retiring.  Its a total joke... having said that, all the retirement account options scare me as there is no telling where the US, the Dollar, or the global economy will be in 10, 20, 30, 40 years.  So much so that it would be completely within reason for the goverment to begin taxing 401(k)s or ROTH IRAs on the way out.  They may be considered "tax fee" but the goverment has the ability to add on fees that would essentially create the same effect. 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:01 | 1502472 trav7777
trav7777's picture

yes and this is what I expect that they will do.  The taxation regime will become onerous.  All the imported low income voters and the blocs of minorities who have nothing (because they couldn't be bothered to ever save) will back it and democracy will rule!

There is a REASON that usury is a sin.  This is always what it leads to.  And this is why one clan has practiced it as the clan discipline for millennia.  It leads to riches without work and people keep falling for it.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:09 | 1502307 The Cash Flow i...
The Cash Flow is King's picture

There is no reason to be investing in a 401(k) if you are interested in making money or retiring.  Its a total joke... having said that, all the retirement account options scare me as there is no telling where the US, the Dollar, or the global economy will be in 10, 20, 30, 40 years.  So much so that it would be completely within reason for the goverment to begin taxing 401(k)s or ROTH IRAs on the way out.  They may be considered "tax fee" but the goverment has the ability to add on fees that would essentially create the same effect. 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:12 | 1502317 bbq on whitehou...
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

If stocks and bonds crash then people will be screaming for a bailout and .Gov will provide. Inflation will do the rest.

No one will force you to sell your fund but if your funds down 50% and Gov is offering you 15% of that loss back IF you  hold it in a new US backed fund for 10years. Well there is a horse of a different color.

You dont take what people are willing to give you.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:13 | 1502319 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

People generally have an innate ability not to run into a burning building, politicians, on the other hand...

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:23 | 1502344 gs_runsthiscountry
gs_runsthiscountry's picture

Very Argentinian i must say....and people think it wont or cant happen here. Where there are piles of monies, politicians and bankers will gravitate like a magnet. Although many years off, I believe its plausible it will happen in our lifetimes. IRA's, Roth's, 401k's.....who says the rules need to stay the same when there is a shortfall.


Here is a trip into the recent past....


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:25 | 1502346 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

They'll just tell all those old people that they got their pensions a week ago.

Most of them are so scared of going demented that they'll never admit it isn't so.

and the fun part.... THEY CAN DO THAT EVERY WEEK!

Don't you remember? Does this happen a lot to you?



Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:35 | 1502368 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Dutch Pension Funds:

Dutch pension schemes let off hook on Greek rescue package

EUROPE – Dutch pension funds will not be asked to contribute to the EU's financial rescue plan for Greece for the time being, according to the Dutch Treasury.
The arrangements for contributions from the private sector have been made with the International Institute of Finance (IIF), which only represents insurers and banks, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Treasury has said.
She added that, because it has been agreed that any contribution will apply to Greek government bonds with a duration until 2020, pension funds will be exempted, as almost all their bonds holdings have a longer duration.
The Treasury announcement comes on the back of a letter from the Dutch Pension Federation to finance minister Jan Kees de Jager, stressing that schemes had the legal duty to look after the interests of their stakeholders – "which don't include the interest of the Greek government or its citizens".
According to the lobbying organisation, the uncertainty around Greece has already caused many schemes to divest all, or at least part, of their holdings in Greek government bonds.
Schemes still owning bonds have also taken their loss, as they need to value them against the market rate, the federation argued.
The representative body has urged the minister to refrain from mentioning the pension sector in the context of EU support for any ailing euro country.
In its letter, the Pension Federation underlined the severe effects on the credit crisis on pension funds, with plummeting coverage ratios, rising contributions, no indexation and even benefit cuts, adding that schemes were currently at pains to restore confidence in the pension system.
Earlier, the three largest schemes – ABP, PFZW and PMT, which have combined assets of almost €380bn – told IPE they had already offloaded their Greek government bonds last year and now had no intention of buying new ones.
In a recent blog posting, Peter Borgdorff, director of the €100bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said: "Greece should not be rescued with our pension assets, which are meant for a proper pension for our participants. Therefore, we will say 'no' if the finance minister rings us."
Although the €242bn civil service scheme ABP has sold all its Greek government bonds, it said it still held approximately €550m of Greek index-linked bonds with a duration until 2025.
A spokesman for pension supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank estimated the combined exposure of Dutch pension funds and insurers at no more than €1bn based on data from last April.
Banks still own approximately €2bn of Greek government debt, he added.
Author: Leen Preesman Source: Emphasis: mine

Of course taxpayers will be on the hook now. What the responsibillity of taxpayers is, to cover for greek banks, has not been explained, by anyone. And; if you're inside a house, and it's about to fall apart, do you stand underneath it (like the owners of the house say you should) or do you observe some distance?

It's going to collapse either way.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:35 | 1502376 reader2010
reader2010's picture

Starve the beast and let it fall.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:19 | 1502683 Incubus
Incubus's picture

The beast'll rape you and bite your head off before it starves. If you're cool with, I guess?

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:40 | 1502393 dbTX
dbTX's picture

...and it's a simple matter of arithmetic

I think it's just a simple matter of time.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:47 | 1502418 Bob Sacamano
Bob Sacamano's picture

They should clean out all federal pension funds -- they already cleaned out the pension funds my employer and I put on deposit with the Federal government (aka Soc Security) for my retirement.  Doing so would be a "balanced approach" to pension fund raiding.

Also, buy Forever stamps in quantitiy -- 44 cents will be 88 cents soon.  Certainly better than buying 3.0% ten year Treasuries.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 17:53 | 1502433 Bear
Bear's picture

I am cashing in all my ira's this year (regardless of consequences). We still have Bush tax rates and we still have freedom to chose what to do with ira assets ... I'm getting out before it's too late

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:57 | 1502632 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

I cashed in my IRA in mid-1999.   My accountant looked at me like I had grown a 3rd head.   Best move I've ever made.  Started buying gold and silver in earnest at that time, buying and selling all the way to today.   There is no time like the present, as they say.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:14 | 1502666 Bear
Bear's picture

Rocky, you are wise beyond your age (what ever that is). I read "The Coming Generational Storm" in 2002 and started thinking about it ... but not acting on it until gold was $395 / once. I bought then and bailed out in 2008 at $1000 (bad choice). We are still in the "Storm" and it will continue for 10 years as the boomers retire and start downsizing. Although I feel sorry for my peers who have no clue, I am cashing out, buying gold/silver (via Comex) and working to off shore my remaining dollars to Canada, Austrailia and Costa Rico. 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:19 | 1502533 ddtuttle
ddtuttle's picture

I'm rapidly approaching 59 1/2, and I will remove eveything from my IRA on the first day there's no penalty.

Yes, I will have to pay taxes on it prematurely, but at least I'll have it!  Once its comingled with other funds, they can't claim it.  Send it all to Switzerland and buy gold!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:08 | 1502791 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

They do employ some really, really, good forensic accountants. And fear is a great motivator for them. They simply must find money to spend and they will as long as they control what is lawful and what is not.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:28 | 1502557 Henry Hub
Henry Hub's picture

Yes there is a full frontal assault on Social Security, Government pensions, IRAs, 401ks and any other pensions the government can gets hand on, except one: Military pensions.

Anything to do with the military is sacrosanct, off the table, not even spoken about.

But look at it. These people can retire at half pay after only twenty years of service going up to 100% after forty years.

OK, OK, support the troops, patriotism, blar, blar, blar.
But only about one percent of military personnel ever see combat. The vast majority of the officer corp have desk jobs.

A lot of the most strident tea party advocates turn out to be military retirees who have no problem cutting SS but might change their if military pensions were threatened.

If they are going to loot pensions then lets put all pensions on the table including the military.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:10 | 1502797 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Then next time someone gets to shooting at Americans, you go.  Its easy, nuttin to it.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:51 | 1502892 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

Its easy, nuttin to it.

Then get going.  I'm sure all the Iraqis will welcome you with open arms.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:42 | 1502592 HistorySquared
HistorySquared's picture

If it looks like a banana republic…


Argentina Makes Grab for Pensions Amid Crisis


While we're at it : 



  • 10 December 1999 - Fernando de la Rua inaugurated as president after campaigning on promises to revive economy after 10 years under the Peronist President Carlos Menem.
    24 August 2000- Economy Minister Jose Luis Machinea says the 2000 budget will over shoot the $5.2bn target by 10%.
  • 2 March 2001 - Mr Machinea resigns on 2 March and is replaced by Ricardo Lopez Murphy.
  • 16 March 2001 - Mr Lopez Murphy unveils a tough $4.45bn two-year austerity program with deep cuts in education.
  • 20 March 2001 - Domingo Cavallo, a former economy minister under President Menem, is appointed and given special powers to restructure the economy.
  • 3 June 2001 - Argentina says it swapped $29.5bn of debt, deferring $7.8bn in interest payments to 2002.
  • 3 July 2001 - Stock market falls to 28-month low on rumours that President Fernando de la Rua will resign.
  • 11 - 26 July 2001 - Three rating agencies slash Argentina's credit ratings.
  • 30 July 2001 - The government's key austerity bills are passed, forcing an end to budget deficits, slashing state salaries and some pensions by up to 13%.
  • 30 November 2001 - Argentines withdraw about $1.3bn from their bank accounts.
  • 13 December 2001 - Unemployment hits 18.3% in October, the highest since mid-1998, and unions call a general strike.
  • 14 December 2001 - Finance Secretary Daniel Marx quits but agrees to advise on debt restructuring talks.
  • 17 December 2001 - The government presents its 2002 budget that includes spending cuts of nearly 20%.
  • 18 December 2001 - IMF says Argentina can delay payment on a loan of about $940m due in January.
  • 19 December 2001 - Argentina declares state of emergency to stop protests against Mr Cavallo's economic policies. The lower house of Congress repeals special powers granted to Mr Cavallo. De la Rua imposed martial law
  • 20 December 2001 - President de la Rua and Mr Cavallo resign as protests become widespread riots leaving more than 20 people dead.


Thu, 07/28/2011 - 18:49 | 1502611 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Retirement? What's that? ;)

For all your survival needs...

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:10 | 1502660 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Site is buggy -- suspicious....

Fatal error: Call to undefined function bbcode_strip() in /home/content/o/m/u/omurchadha/html/forum/search.php on line 926

Fatal error: Call to undefined function bbcode_strip() in /home/content/o/m/u/omurchadha/html/forum/search.php on line 926

Fatal error: Call to undefined function bbcode_strip() in /home/content/o/m/u/omurchadha/html/forum/search.php on line 926

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:18 | 1502678 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Hmmm, interesting. Not suspicious, but I will look at the fatal errors. Thanks for your input.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:37 | 1502723 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

I'm running FF latest version, Ghostery, Ad block, Ipredator, NoScripts and so on [firewall, Spybot, Avast, Silverlight] and your https works fine.


Edit - you added another fix post down below, but at least this provides a check-in point - I hate your choices in colours though. UGH ;)

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:41 | 1502735 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Thanks UOW!!! As far as your comment on colors, what exactly do you not like? Looking for feedback. Thanks again!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:22 | 1502688 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Hey, Rocky what search terms are you using or how are you getting those errors because I can't seem to duplicate them? I would appreciate your input. Thanks again!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:35 | 1502717 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Rocky, got it fixed. Thanks for your input - coding is a bitch. I appreciate you finding that. Take care!

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:06 | 1502778 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Good.  Working for me now.  

About those colors... I get it that guns, grub, gold and all is rather doomy.   But not GLOOMY.

Hard to read.

And the "techno" look is distracting.   Go back to the templates and get something a little cleaner.

Just my view...  Ain't no way my lazy ass is gonna try running a website.  

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 13:56 | 1505716 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Thanks! Its actually a startrek portal template, not techno ;)   I might contemplate a new style, except that this style, with the different mods I have has literally taken months to program and alter. Thanks again for your input.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:04 | 1502649 SwingForce
SwingForce's picture

You are STUPID if you have a retirement account. You played it for the $2000 writeoff, kiss it goodbye.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:12 | 1502664 tomeuchre
tomeuchre's picture

It's quite simple, actually. Government has grown too large to manage all of the complexities it has created. Chaos writ large.

 Cold reboot. 4-13. slash reset. It is inevitable.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:18 | 1502679 kito
kito's picture

simon "half truth" black---postal service stopped funding because its  prepaid funding and they hit their requirement.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:32 | 1502711 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

You make it sound as if it is Situation Normal w/o the All Effed Up, but the announcement tells a different tale. While you are technically correct on the (currently) paid up aspect, all is not well... behold:

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:59 | 1502913 kito
kito's picture

my dig is at the traveling wilbury who creates issues where there are none. we should all move to chile. according to the wilbury, we can all buy a 4 bedroom hovel in the andean paramo for 100 bucks and live happily ever after. and dont forget to buy those chilean inflation protection bonds!!!! 

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:28 | 1502703 LateToTheTable
LateToTheTable's picture

Unfortunately many folks of my ilk were fast asleep in MATRIX while very friendly H/R personnel assured us that 401K was the best investment - only to be waken from the slumber to find - IT'S ALL A LIE.  So, quit feeding the beast only to find I'm locked in unless I'm willing to divorce very excellent employment (not an option).  PO'd - yes dear observers, that's putting it very mild.  Loan on 1/2 gets zil results since the FRN will just have to go back to pay the loan (no wiggle-room).  One of many coming sad stories.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:35 | 1502721 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

Take the max loan. Buy a good safe and some physical. Pay yourself back at the minimum rate and hope you still get to do it again in 5 years.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:55 | 1502758 LateToTheTable
LateToTheTable's picture

Thanks for the response... btw - love the play on Andromeda Strain (assuming) name  - which was a most excellent flix in early 70... scrared the crap out of me.  I am almost there on the loan thing... I just need to convince my pseudo self that this is truely a 'game on' happening and I need to move along in the steps of 'recovery'.  Think I'll have another Rum & Coke just for fortitude, endurance and becuz it's a cocktail type of day.  Cheers.

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 05:11 | 1503723 Absinthe Minded
Absinthe Minded's picture

I was on the fence too, but now I'm running through the field as fast as I can. Just liquidated the wife's IRA over two years to not bump my income into the next bracket and bought physical. I am doing what Bend&Strain suggested, taking 401K loans to buy physical and paying back at the minimum rate. I just bought a car for my wife, the credit union gave us a 2.75% loan rate for 5 years. They asked how much do I want to put down, I said nothing if I don't have to, they said okay, so I borrowed $16K at
1/4% below the rate of inflation. I'll be paying it back in inflated dollars to make it even better. Time to play the banks for a change.If your still not sure, ask your self this, Can the US pay back the debt we owe? Shit, they can't even come up with a real debt cutting plan on the red side of the aisle. $917B in cuts, with the first year, 2012 only being $22B. Please, we are so fucked, the writing is on the wall, nobody wants to read it.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 10:37 | 1512495 fallout11
fallout11's picture

I just did this myself, solid advice to anyone. Half in PM is better than zero, which is what you'll end up with otherwise.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 19:37 | 1502725 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Personally I think its only a matter of time before they suck the retirements dry. My buddy is getting ready to retire and has been closely watching what is going on. He does have a gov't account, but indicates that he will be retiring soon, taking the penalty and at least having the cash on hand. The other issue is a pension, and the reality that the govt may play with that...

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 20:14 | 1502806 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

All bets are off. Kiss it all goodbye, Social Security, pension, 401k, IRA, etc, etc. Peak Oil declares an end to the miracle of compound interest. Why sift through the lies, when the truth is somewhere else completely? The Social Security Trust Fund is the biggest holder of Treasuries of any entity on earth, AND Timmy said that bondholders will be paid first... so "technically" Social Security is safe... so why doesn't this make me feel any better? Liars, all of them, believing their own lies to the extent they reject the truth as a lie.

Ultimately, all this is an exercise in the release of attachments. How's your health and your spiritual outlook? Will the rat cage in room 101 make you crack? Sure, it's just a thought exercise, but hey, any exercise at all is better than just sitting around on one's ass, hopelessly trying to salvage something (other than one's honor and integrity) from the impending shitstorm. Whether by inflation, or by deflation, or by whipsawing us all between the two, all material wealth will be stripped...better to have something stored up somewhere else, where thieves cannot break in and steal.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 21:28 | 1502974 Cult of Criminality
Cult of Criminality's picture


Robbed the planet,Granny,Grandpa,Mom& Dad,Their children,their childrens,childrens children,widows,, the disabled,vets,military vets......

 Thats it ! next its the pets

 Looting of the pets. Coming to a Goldman trading desk(or home) near you.Maybe they can bet on your pets life and create a new derivative or  maybe suckle the big teet of the pregnant one.

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 22:49 | 1503107 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

Can Seniors guess who gets paid first if the nation defaults?

If you said, "the Seniors who have funded the SS Trust"...would be paid first, you would be 100% wrong.

If you said Bondholders, you would be right:

"U.S. Contingency Plan Gives Bondholders Priority"

By Peter Cook


Fri, 07/29/2011 - 03:43 | 1503646 qing
qing's picture

removed content (spam)

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