Tag Archive | "retirement"

401(k) Plans and Private Pensions Seized Under Obama?

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Sounds like Socialism will be on the rise if Obama becomes President of the United States.   Will Obama and the Dems in congress allow the seizure of 401(k) plans and private pension funds in the name of ”protecting workers’ retirement accounts”?

It appears that some Democrats on the Hill might try to kill 401(k) plans.

From usnews.com :

House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created ” guaranteed retirement accounts” for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, said that since ” the savings rate isn’t going up for the investment of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax breaks], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that’s not generating what we now say it should.”

A few respectful observations:

1) McDermott is right when he says the savings rate isn’t going up. But the savings rate doesn’t include gains to money you invest in the stock market. It ignores the buildup of net worth. (If you bought a share of XYZ Corp. in January at $100, for instance, and its value doubled by December, the savings rate measure would still value that investment at $100. In short, the savings rate is a phony number.)

2) So based partly on the above faulty logic, the $4.5 trillion, as of the start of the year, invested in 401(k) plans doesn’t count as savings.

3) Ghilarducci would have workers abandon the stock market right at the bottom of the market. A stupid idea, according to Warren Buffett: I don’t like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I’ll follow the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then advertised: ‘Put your mouth where your money was.’ Today my money and my mouth both say equities.

4) Ghilarducci would offer a lousy 3 percent return. The long-run return of the stock market, adjusted for inflation, is more like 7 percent. Look at it this way: Ten thousand dollars growing at 3 percent a year for 40 years leaves you with roughly $22,000. But $10,000 growing at 7 percent a year for 40 years leaves you with $150,000. That is a high price to pay for what Ghilarducci describes as the removal of a source of financial anxiety and…fruitless discussions with brokers and financial sales agents, who are also desperate for more fees and are often wrong about markets.” Please, I’ll take a bit of worry for an additional $128,000.

5) What effect would this plan have on an already battered stock market? Well, I would imagine it would send it even lower, sticking a shiv into the portfolios of everyone who didn’t jump aboard. But I am sure the Chinese would love to jump in and buy all our cheap stocks to fund the retirement of their citizens.

Bottom line: If you believe in the long-run dynamism of the American economy, then you have to believe in the stock market. Listen to superinvestor Buffett, not the prof from the New School.

[tags]socialism, communisim,pension plans, 401k, retirement, obama, economy, stock market[/tags]

UPDATED: Barack Obama’s Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Connection

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Lehman Brothers collapse is traced back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big mortgage banks that got a federal bailout a few weeks ago.

Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.

A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 is Sen. Barack Obama.

Now remember, he’s only been in the Senate four years, but he still managed to grab the No. 2 spot ahead of John Kerry — decades in the Senate — and Chris Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, some people who couldn’t afford them.

Fannie and Freddie have also been places for big Washington Democrats to go to work in the semi-private sector and pocket millions. The Clinton administration’s White House Budget Director Franklin Raines ran Fannie and collected $50 million. Jamie Gorelick — Clinton Justice Department official — worked for Fannie and took home $26 million. Big Democrat Jim Johnson, recently on Obama’s VP search committee, has hauled in millions from his Fannie Mae CEO job.

"… Unfortunately, this will come back and haunt Barack Obama in light of what happened this week in the financial markets.  You just can’t go back in time and pick new friends and advisers …" said Shane Kinsch.

Now remember: Obama’s ads and stump speeches attack McCain and Republican policies for the current financial turmoil. It is demonstrably not Republican policy and worse, it appears the man attacking McCain — Sen. Obama — was at the head of the line when the piggies lined up at the Fannie and Freddie trough for campaign bucks.

Sen. Barack Obama: No. 2 on the Fannie/Freddie list of favored politicians after just four short years in the Senate.

Next time you see that ad, you might notice he fails to mention that part of the Fannie and Freddie problem.

UPDATE:

Explosive video found: Fannie Mae CEO calls Obama and Dems the "Family" "Conscience" of Fannie Mae. This is video from 2005 of Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd praising Democrats and Barack Obama at a Congressional Black Caucus gathering.  DEVELOPING….

UPDATE:

What was the real cause of this mess?