As a Cypriot cries, “They have stolen our money,” eurozone officials have begun confiscating money from Cyprus bank accounts bigger than 100,000 euros, in order to pay for a bailout of the bankrupt nation.
As Americans look on, they wonder, “Could it happen here?”
In some ways it already has: The money the federal government takes from you as a supposed savings for your retirement has, for decades, been “borrowed” by Congress to pay for other things – today’s comforts, rather than tomorrow’s necessities.
In short, Social Security is a fiction. It’s just another forced tax that the government converts to its own use – while
making its books and the nation’s financial situation look better than they are.
If your boss tried something like that with your retirement funds, he’d be in prison. In Congress, it’s just another day.
To add historic insult to that injury, Washington also knows that its spending is unsustainable, and experts warn that both Social Security and Medicare will need serious reform if they are to even survive.
In addition, there has been some talk that Washington politicians may end up eyeing our retirement funds – fat, vulnerable, unmoving targets of easy cash.
“Slapping a special ‘emergency’ levy on these assets will become an irresistible temptation for politicians,” Steve Forbes writes in his April 15 magazine.
“Don’t put it past our politicians to try it in a financial emergency. The breaking of contracts by the U.S. government, unfortunately, has happened before, and what’s under way in Cyprus shows that feckless politicos will continue to try such things.”
The best way to avoid such unpleasantness – other than electing leaders who abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution – is for Washington to get its fiscal house in order now.