The assault on the EU and the Euro is in full force now. It was nearly a year ago that I predicted that some of the final fronts in the Great Economic War was the assault on pension funds and the profound effects the fallout from those raids would have on the general population. Nearly every major G20 member nation is now in full on raids of their pension funds as we speak. We can expect several million causalities, mostly the elderly and most vulnerable citizens, or as the PTBs say “culling of the herd has begun”.
Source: Zero Hedge
“If the recent Hungarian “appropriation” of pension funds, and today’s laughable Irish bailout courtesy of domestic pension funds sourcing 20% of the “new” money was not enough to convince the world just how bankrupt the entire European experiment has become, enter France. Financial News explains how France has “seized” €36 billion worth of pension assets: “Asset managers will have the chance to get billions of euros in mandates in the next few months for the €36bn Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the French reserve pension fund, after the French parliament last week passed a law to use its assets to pay off the debts of France’s welfare system. The assets have been transferred into the state’s social debt sinking fund Cades. The FRR will continue to control the assets, but as a third-party manager on behalf of Cades.” FN condemns the action as follows: “The move reflects a willingness by governments to use long-term assets to fill short-term deficits, including Ireland’s announcement last week that it would use the country’s €24bn National Pensions Reserve Fund “to support the exchequer’s funding programme” and Hungary’s bid to claw $15bn of private pension funds back to the state system.” In other words, with the ECB still unwilling to go into full fiat printing overdrive mode, insolvent governments, France most certainly included, are resorting to whatever piggybanks they can find. Hopefully this is not a harbinger of what Tim Geithner plans to do with the trillions in various 401(k) funds on this side of the Atlantic.More from FN on how first France, and soon every other socalized pension regime, will continue to plunder a nation’s life saving to fund short-term deficits.
And elsewhere, in the UK, things in the pension arena are also starting to heat up as the country is preparing to launch an “auto enrolment” feature for workers, whereby up to 11 million will be eligible for automatic enrolment. Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber hailed it as an “historic advance”: a minimum pension to go with the UK’s minimum wage. Pensions Minister Steve Webb confirmed last month that all employers would have to enroll staff into a company scheme. As a result, up to 11 million people will be eligible for automatic enrolment in a workplace scheme, with up to eight million of them saving for the first time. However, there is little evidence that employers are ready for it.
And judging by the Hungarian, Irish and French case studies, all monies auto deposited will soon find a new mandate: one of bidding up sovereign European bonds (More from Financial News). Staff can opt out to avoid mandatory contributions that will eventually account for half of the minimum of 8% of salary, with employers contributing 3% of salary, and 1% coming from tax relief.
It is impossible to predict how many people might opt out, but Colin Tipping, head of institutional wholesale at asset manager BlackRock, points to an 80% take-up at US companies that have introduced auto-enrolment compared with less than half of that before the mechanism was introduced. The latest annual review of New Zealand’s national KiwiSaver scheme has an opt-out rate of 18%.
The European experience is less encouraging. Italy tried to boost private pensions saving in 2007 with reforms to the Trattamento di Fine Rapporto, a fund traditionally paid to workers on leaving an employer. However, its policy of “silent consent”, which had the money transferred into a pension unless workers objected, saw only about a quarter participate. Tito Boeri, director of the country’s social policy reform group Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti, said: “It was a great opportunity to develop private pension schemes here, but to a large extent it failed.”
Our only question: how soon before the US administration takes this hint of what every proper socialist country does with funds apportioned to it by a gullible public and ends up investing trillions in the worst possible asset classes (while in Europe this obviously means sovereign bonds, in the US by and far the proceeds will be used to make further purchases of such equities as Apple, Amazon and Netflix, in whose continued successful ponziness lies the fate of a vast majority of US-based hedge funds, whose LPs may at some point, in the distant future, actually pay domestic income tax.”
And in the US there are respected individuals who are now beginning to sound the alarm, but no one is listening. The recent upward movement of the dollar is taunted by conventional wisdom as proof against such alarmists. However consider this article.
By Paul Craig Roberts – BLN Contributing Writer
“On Thanksgiving eve the English language China Daily and People’s Daily Online reported that Russia and China have concluded an agreement to abandon the use of the US dollar in their bilateral trade and to use their own currencies in its place. The Russians and Chinese said that they had taken this step in order to insulate their economies from the risks that have undermined their confidence in the US dollar as world reserve currency.
This is big news, especially for the news dead Thanksgiving holiday period. But I did not see it reported on Bloomberg, CNN, New York Times or anywhere in the US print or TV media. The ostrich’s head remains in the sand. Previously, China concluded the same agreement with Brazil.
As China has a large and growing supply of dollars from trade surpluses with which to conduct trade, China is signaling that she prefers Russian rubles and Brazilian reals to more US dollars. The American financial press finds solace in the episodes when sovereign debt scares in the EU send the dollar up against the euro and UK pound. But these currency movements are just measures of financial players shorting troubled EU-denominated debt. They are not a measure of dollar strength.
The dollar’s role as world reserve currency is one of the main instruments of American financial hegemony. We haven’t been told how much damage Wall Street fraud has inflicted on EU financial institutions, but the EU countries no longer need the US dollar for trade between themselves as they share a common currency. Once the OPEC countries cease to hold the dollars that they are paid for oil, dollar hegemony will have faded away.
Another instrument of American financial hegemony is the IMF. Whenever a country cannot make good on its debts and pay back the American banks, in steps the IMF with an austerity package that squeezes the country’s population with higher taxes and cuts in education, medical and income support programs until the bankers get their money back.
This is now happening to Ireland and is likely to spread to Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even to France. After the American-caused financial crisis, the IMF’s role as a tool of US imperialism is less and less acceptable. The point could come when governments can no longer sell out their people for the sake of the American banks.
There are other signs that some countries are tiring of America’s irresponsible use of power. Turkey’s civilian governments have long been under the thumb of the American-influenced Turkish military. However, recently the civilian government moved against two top generals and an admiral suspected of involvement in planning a coup. The civilian government further asserted itself when the prime minister announced on Thanksgiving Day that Turkey is prepared to react to any Israeli offensive against Lebanon. Here is an American NATO ally freeing itself from American suzerainty exercised through the Turkish military. Who knows, Germany could be next.
Meanwhile in America, the sheeple remain content with, or blind to, their role as sheep to be slaughtered to feed the rich. The Obama Administration has managed to come up with a Deficit Commission whose members want to pay for the multi-trillion dollar wars that are enriching the military/security complex and the multi-trillion dollar bailouts of the financial system by reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security, raising the retirement age to 69, ending the mortgage interest deduction, ending the tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, imposing a 6.5% federal sales tax, while cutting the top tax rate for the rich. Even the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates are aimed at helping the banksters.
The low interest rates deprive retirees and those living on their savings of interest income. The low interest rates have also deprived corporate pensions of funding. To fill the gap, corporations are issuing billions of dollars in corporate bonds in order to fund their pensions. Corporate debt is increasing, but not plant and equipment that would produce earnings to service the debt. As the economy worsens, servicing the additional debt will be a problem.
In addition, America’s elderly are finding that fewer and fewer doctors will accept them as patients as a 23% cut looms in the already low Medicare payments to doctors. The American government only has resources for wars of aggression, police state intrusions, and bailouts of rich banksters. The American citizen has become a mere subject to be bled for the ruling oligarchies.
The police state attitude of the TSA toward airline travelers is a clear indication that Americans are no longer citizens with rights but subjects without rights. Perhaps the day will come when oppressed Americans will take to the streets like the French, the Greeks, the Irish, and the British.”
What is so interesting about the above OpEd is to know who Paul Craig Roberts is and what he is known for in the world. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.
The next Wikileaks is supposedly centered on a large New York Bank. When these documents are released, I am afraid the real backlash will start in earnest. If Congress fails to extend unemployment benefits in the US and does so while extending the Bush tax cuts, I think we see in America what has already started in Europe. What is so sad about this scenario is that “mob” reaction is predicted and contingencies are developed to “deal” with “those” kinds of situations. What people should be realizing is that politicians and banksters can be prosecuted and replaced. This should be the rebellious effort. Make the administrative side of government work. I can dream can’t I?