While the government struggles to save one crumbling enterprise at the expense of the crumbling of another, it accelerates the process of juggling debt, switching losses, piling loans on loans, mortgaging the future and the future's future. As things grow worse, the government protects itself not by contracting this process, but by expanding it. - Ayn Rand, 1973As an example of the mis-direction and "spin" put on economic news, I want to illustrate how today's release of the Case Shiller 20 metro city home price index for February. The index showed a slight gain (.15% adjusted) across the metro areas used in the index, but it missed the degree of gain that Wall Street was expecting. However, prices declined in 15 of the 20 cities. Moreover, if you use the unadjusted numbers in the report - but not reported in the media headlines, home prices actually declined again by .8%, for the 6th month in a row. Furthermore, the C/S price index hit its lowest level in 10 years.
When the news report hit the tape, CNBC immediately posted this headline "home prices post surprise monthly gain." Clearly CNBC was not at all interested in presenting the facts or the truth. Here's the news link from the Washing Post - keep in mind that this is what a lot of the politicians, lobbyists etc will see: LINK You can draw your own conclusions on what motivates CNBC or the WashPo, but in my view the Government machine is teeing up the next round of money printing, Government
I was going to write about this yesterday, but thought that the Spellman piece was a lot more interesting, since I've been warning anyone who would listen for about 10 years that eventually the Government was going to go after retirement fund assets eventually as means of financing Government deficits.
Many of you have already seen this, but there was a report in the NY Post over the weekend that Congress is starting to look at ways to shoehorn money out of your IRA/401 account. You can read the specifics here: LINK
This comes as no surprise to me and this is going to be just the start. I said back in late 2002 that "the elitists who control the system would hold things together until they had swept every last crumb of middle class wealth off the table and into their pockets. This includes eventually de facto confiscating retirement funds in order to fund Government deficit spending."
This is a concept that is so anathema to the thinking and expectations of the general population, that 99% of the people in this country would never believe that Government will pillage their retirement account...that is, until it actually happens.
Most are not aware of this, but during the election/transition period back in late 2008, there was a symposium held in Congress in which academics presented alternative methods of structuring the retirement system in this country. The most plausible scenario, and one which has well-received by the audience of Congressmen, was a plan in which the Government would "annuitize" all retirement assets by exchanging your current retirement plan for one in which, in exchange, you would receive a guaranteed annuity benefit that would be collateralized by Treasury bonds. And of course, Wall Street would be put in charge of managing the whole process.
Think about what this plan does. It scoots around any eminent domain issues - not that Obama gives a rat's ass about Rule of Law and the Constitution, but it will enable the Government to issue trillions more in Treasury paper that will be exchanged for the assets in your retirement fund.
Please make no mistake about it, whatever legislation is born from proceedings described in the NY Post report, it is merely embryonic. As we've seen with everything else that is Big Government, it starts small and the slow creep turns into an avalanche of Government administration and control. If you think that you have some kind of divine right to keep and maintain your own retirement account, you are going to find out in time that you do not.