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Savers Get the Shaft

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted March 31, 2010

Some of my friends think I’m paranoid…

They think this because I refuse to give cashiers at retail stores my name, address, phone number, e-mail, driver’s license number and DNA sample just to return some piece of malfunctioning made-in-China crap.

They think this because I go out of my way to avoid the gaze of cameras on traffic-light posts, highway underpasses, parking garages, airport departure lanes, stores and malls and coffee shops and government offices.

They think this because I have three loaded guns in my house, one in every room in which I spend time — bedroom, living room, and office. OK, so I’ve got one in the bottom of the magazine basket next to the toilet in my master bathroom, too…

But it’s only a .22 snub-nose. It shouldn’t even count.

They think I’m a nut-job because I’m aware of how just vulnerable I am in an America where people think the "rule of law" gives them the right to $2 million in damages when they spill hot McDonald’s coffee into their crotches — but not the right to their own safety and property under a natural conformity to legal order.

They look at me like I’m the Unabomber when I talk about how easily freedom can be signed away by the pens of the powerful — and how mass ignorance allows the corrupt to bludgeon and dilute our founding principles and documents into shapeless pulp that can be molded to suit their needs.

So maybe my friends are right. Maybe I am a paranoiac. But let me tell you something…

Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.

Paging Doctor Bean Counter

Aside from the fact that it would measure somewhere north of 12 stacked inches worth of 8½ x 11 paper, I don’t know very much about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law on March 25th

In this respect, I’m just like most of the Democrats who voted for it.

However, like the throngs of Americans who didn’t get to cast a vote for or against this Act, I have heard a lot of highly partisan summaries of it from both sides of the aisle.

From the left, I hear how much I’m going to get, and how much fairer it’s going to be for the poor and disadvantaged (read: lazy).

From the right, I hear how much I’m going to pay, and how unfair it’ll be shelling out for care to the poor and disadvantaged (read: lazy).

Naturally, all this contradictory noise is meaningless to me – just like it is to the 59% of the populace who oppose this act, according to a recent CNN poll. These 177 million Americans are against this bill not because they know more about it than the others…

It’s because they intuitively understand that no good can come of anything the government ramrods to approval with such force, fanfare, pork-payoffs, and procedural hanky-panky.

They simply know that at the end of all the back-slapping and genuflecting and cashing in of favors and reaping of spoils, this "reform" plan is about the same thing as every other bill that gets passed by the elected corrupt

Delivering less in exchange for more, while promising the opposite. Bean counting.

That’s all any of us need to know about this bill — that somehow, some way, and by the measures that matter most, American taxpayers are going to get less, while paying more. This is the fundamental underpinning of all legislation sold to us on its "benefits."

And with that truism as your looking glass, I can promise you that one way or another, your health care will someday be rendered not by a doctor, but by an accountant

I’m not saying that what the far-right fringe has claimed is true: That this particular piece of legislation opens the door for "death panels" of bean-counting bureaucrats to approve or deny treatment based on some government-standardized cost/benefit formula…

Like I said earlier, that will be discovered by all of us in time — as the details of this plan slowly become part of the public’s consciousness between now and 2014.

What I am saying is that whether or not any specific care-rationing mechanisms are put in place by THIS bill, that’s the direction we’re inexorably headed.

You can see the rumblings in the mainstream media — especially the New York Times, the bellwether of America’s new leftism. During the heat of the health care debate this past summer, the Times spilled a lot of ink trying to sway Americans to the point of view that health care rationing is inevitable…

In the mammoth opinion piece Why We Must Ration Health Care, author and Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer makes YOU the bean counter:

Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, "No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much," then you think that health care should be rationed.

In David Leonhardt’s Times piece, Health Care Rationing Rhetoric Overlooks Reality, we’re told that:

…[T]he case against rationing isn’t really a substantive argument. It’s a clever set of buzzwords that tries to hide the fact that societies must make choices. In truth, rationing is an inescapable part of economic life.

Now let me be clear, here: I’m not saying that the Times is wrong — or that there is no place for any kind of rationing in America’s health care future…

I’m saying that with 80 million baby boomers now hurtling toward Social Security age and a health plan that’s going to suck up a sixth of the American economy, we’re going to get rationed care whether we like it or not.

None of this really worries me, however. What worries a paranoid like me is something you’ll never read about in the New York Times: The notion that the bean counters in charge of my care won’t just be counting how much money keeping me alive is going to cost the government…

But how much killing me could make the government.

Your Money or Your life

Big Media has been trying to keep this under wraps, but the U.S. government has been exploring options for seizing all the money in America’s IRAs and 401(k)s

In order to pay for its health care and other spending obligations (let’s not forget Social Security), the Obama administration is now desperately trying to figure out the best way to force Americans to turn over their retirement nest-eggs in exchange for annuities that pay a government-guaranteed stream of income.

I’m not making this up (get more information here). One of the front-running proposals focuses on what’s called "Guaranteed Retirement Accounts" that:

  • Pay you only an inflation-adjusted 3% on your money
  • Strip you of all tax breaks on traditional IRA and 401(k) accounts
  • Don’t allow you early access to your money, except for disability
  • Prohibit your voluntary opt-out — participation is mandatory
  • Seize as much as half of your accrued assets upon your death

This last little bullet-point here is the one that’s got me worried…

Think about it: If such a proposal passes (and with our government’s mounting debt and drunken-sailor spending, it’s only a matter of time), it means that the bean counters in charge of my health care will make more money the earlier I die after retirement.

The exact language of the Guaranteed Retirement Accounts proposal reads:

"Participants who die before retiring can bequeath half their account balances to heirs; those who die after retiring can bequeath half their final account balance minus benefits received…"

You see that? No matter what it says in any will of mine, the government will pocket fully half my money if I die before reaching benefits age…

But if I die, say, 20 years after my retirement, they’ll only pocket half of what’s left of my money after making two decades of annuity payments out if it.

In other words: The best-case scenario for THEIR bottom line would be if I kick the bucket the day I retire

That way they get more money in their pockets, faster.

Now do you see what’s got me worried here?

If this proposal becomes law, the people who are responsible for deciding whether or not my life is worth the cost of the health care I need are the SAME PEOPLE who stand to gain the most from my early demise…

The fiscally responsible elected officials of the benevolent U.S. government. 

Bottom line: I’m 41 right now. And call me paranoid, but I’m certain that by the time I reach retirement age, the bean counters in charge of rationing my health care will evaluate not only my prognosis, odds of survival, and expected post-care quality of life when I go in for treatment…

But also how much they can pocket by pulling the plug on me.

Jim Amrhein

Contributing Editor, Wealth Daily

P.S. I didn’t have nearly enough space here to reveal everything I’ve found out about this coming War on American Retirement. You can find out more by clicking here