Homeland Security, fear, and your retirement savings

February 4, 2013
Santiago, Chile

Midway through the Super Bowl stadium blackout yesterday evening (which seems a convenient metaphor for the decline of the West… something ripped out of the pages of Atlas Shrugged), I briefly ducked out on my guests to check email and read the news.

Some friends had jokingly sent along an article about a recently-released video from the Department of Homeland Security– how to defend yourself in an ‘Active Shooter Situation.’

Apparently in the wake of the mass shooting incident in Newtown, Connecticut, Homeland Security has decided that it must DO SOMETHING to save citizens from all the evil in the world.

So they put together this informative, educational video to advise people how to react if a mass murdering psychopath starts shooting up your office. In addition, DHS also has a 90-minute online webinar, live workshops, and an independent study course that you can take.

Homeland Security

Upon completion of this course, entitled “Active Shooter: What You Can Do”, DHS claims that graduates will be able to, among other things, “recognize potential workplace violence indicators”… A.K.A. how to spy on your neighbors and co-workers.

It was the same thing at the turn of the millennium– the government whipped people into a frenzied state of fear over terrorism. And the paranoia has never subsided, especially as the “If you see something, say something” campaign is now ubiquitous.

The prospect of EVIL MEN in the world who intend to do us harm is certainly a powerful image that strikes fear in the hearts of good people. But are these fears of being caught up in a terrorist attack or mass shooting event really justified?

Of course not. In 2010 alone, more people died from accidental drowning (3,782) than in terrorist attacks and mass shooting incidents (3,249) over the last thirteen years combined.

Yet while the government is busy stoking irrational fear, the real dangers go completely unnoticed by the public.

Namely, the new US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is now weighing how they might ‘help’ manage the $19.4 trillion in US retirement savings.

The math is quite simple. The US government is $16.4 trillion in debt, and will be running $1+ trillion deficits for five years in a row. And the pool of retirement savings is irresistible.

We’ve talked about this for years; at some point, they’ll launch new regulations funneling a substantial portion of US retirement savings to ‘the safety and security of government bonds.’

The idea has been bandied about before in Washington, though this is the first time that a sitting agency chief has publicly announced the intention. According to CFPB director Richard Cordray, “[Overseeing retirement accounts] is one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in in terms of whether and what authority we have.”

From Argentina to Ireland, seizing pension and retirement accounts has been a popular tactic of insolvent governments since the start of the financial crisis. Why should the world’s largest debtor be any different?

Yes, there are evil men in the world who will occasionally prey on helpless, defenseless people. Yet aside from slipping in the shower, the far more prevalent danger is the consistent threat that an insolvent government poses to our opportunities, our liberties, and our savings.

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