The Cyprus Cash Grab - Coming to America?
You were shocked - SHOCKED, you say - at the very idea that the government of Cyprus would order banks to seize 10% of every bank account and hand the money over the government? Well … excuse me for being rude, but maybe if you had been spending a better part of the last 20 years paying attention to the atrocities that happen with nauseating regularity in Washington, instead of going into an annual swoon over March Madness and/or the Oscars, or blindly tuning in to Entertainment Tonight every evening rather than an actual newscast, you might have seen this money grab coming. I’m no rocket surgeon, and I saw it coming (in America, not Cyprus) and I been warning the listeners to my talk show from 1993 right up until my retirement two months ago.
It’s simple. Taxing your income is simply not enough. The left is coming after your wealth. They’ll be satisfied with some of your retirement funds … for now.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the Cyprus story, here’s your short version: Cyprus is in financial trouble. The Cypriot government is led by communists. Trade unions are fighting austerity programs needed to erase huge deficits. Sound familiar? That is similar to the situation in the United States in more ways that you might imagine. So Cyprus did what every other troubled Eurozone country is doing: went to the Eurozone finance commissioners for a bailout. The commissioners said fine, but as a condition of the bailout Cyprus must levy a 10% tax against the outstanding balance in all depository accounts in Cyprus banks. Call it a tax. Or call it stealing. Either way, every Cypriot depositor loses 10% of their account. The government screws up, the people pay. Again, it sounds so very familiar.
Oddly enough, the people of Cyprus weren’t particularly elated over this move, nor were investors and citizens throughout the Eurozone. Imagine that! Cypriots immediately grabbed their ATM cards and started to withdraw as much money as they could from their accounts. Cash in their hands wouldn’t be hit for 10%. It was clear there would be a run on the banks as soon as they reopened. Now the plan to simply seize individual wealth is being delayed, though not abandoned.
Could it happen here? Well certainly it could. Congress could pass and the President could sign legislation calling for the seizure of 10% of every checking and savings account in every bank in America. This might finally be enough to cause a resurrection, but they could do it. So in America the wealth seizure has to be just a bit more selective and subtle. And that brings us to the warning I’ve been voicing for 20 years.
Go back to 1993. Bill Clinton has just been sworn in. The Democrats are running the show. They’ve passed a nice little tax increase – retroactive, mind you – and they feel encouraged. Along comes a lady by the name of Alicia Munnell. She’s been appointed by Clinton to be an Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Development. Munnell proposes a plan to come up with some cash to shore up Social Security. Not everyone, it seems, is “fortunate” enough to have a nice little IRA or 401k retirement account. Why this just isn’t fair! Everyone should have a comfortable retirement, not just the people who actually planned and worked for one! So Munnell proposed to Clinton an idea! Let’s just go out there and seize 15% of the outstanding balance of every IRA and 401k. Seize that money and pump it into the Social Security system. As it turns out, Munnell and Clinton never really had the chance to put their plan into action since the very next year the Republicans took control of the House and the Senate in the voter revolution of 1994.
Munnell hasn’t gone away though. She now hatches her wealth seizure and redistribution schemes as the Director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Never fear .. the idea is alive. House and Senate Democrats are even now toying with various plots to seize retirement and pension plans and pour them into some grand new government operated and controlled pension system .. a system that would be “fair” to everyone. This is just a perfect scenario for Obamian class warfare. “Those rich people are enjoying their fat-cat retirements with the money that should have been used to pay workers a living wage. They steal a comfortable retirement from the middle class and laugh at them from their yachts and private jets.” Yeah … that works. And as you should know, the government would certainly do a better job providing for American’s retirements than could free people interacting in a system of economic liberty.
Cyprus? I hope you enjoy that spectacle as it unfolds. Shake your heads and tsk tsk all you like. Just remember … the Democrat party is watching this episode and celebrating. You’re next.
Neal Boortz, retired after 42 years in talk radio, shares his memoirs in the hilarious book “Maybe I Should Just Shut Up and Go Away” Now available in print and as an eBook from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.