treasury

U.S. treasury raids federal employee pension funds to cover debts

Friday, January 20, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: treasury, federal employees, pension funds

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(NaturalNews) There is a saying, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." Roughly, it's an expression that's meant to be reassuring, conjuring up an image of a true statesman-like leader who is preparing to do whatever is necessary to lead the masses out of danger.

Of course, the expression doesn't have the same connotation when applied to the Obama administration in its futile struggle to balance the nation's books. Left to fend for itself by a hapless Congress that couldn't agree on the color of red bricks, let alone pass a budget that actually curbed spending and lowered the national debt, the administration has taken to theft as a way to pay the country's bills. Specifically, the Treasury Department is stealing cash from federal employees pension funds so the government can obtain more credit to pay its debts.

In a letter to Congress earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he would "be unable to invest fully" the federal employees retirement system, a tactic the federal government has had to employ six times over the past 20 years in order to remain under the statutory debt ceiling limit.

In addition to shortchanging federal employee retirement, Geithner "has already tapped another seldom-used fund in order to allow the government to continue borrowing without running afoul of the country's laws," according to Reuters, which of course didn't name the "seldom-used fund."

The Treasury-sponsored raid this week follows an earlier one in May 2011, when Geithner once again took to stealing the retirement funds of unsuspecting federal workers in order to finance the voracious, expanding Leviathan State. Then as now, Congress dithered. And a question arises: Did Treasury replace the funds it raided, or did the department do what Congress did to the Social Security system - issue IOU's the government can never repay?

How bad is the bleeding red ink? Consider that the nation's debt has risen some $4 trillion since Obama took office, nearly as much as the entire eight-year tenure of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Don't get me wrong. Neither of these men, nor the lawmakers who served with and before them, are blameless in bankrupting the government of the world's largest economy. But when Bush left office, the national debt was something more than $10.6 trillion; now it is north of $14.6 trillion, according to the Treasury Department, and more than $15.2 trillion according to USDebtClock.org, which tracks the national debt, and a range of other economic figures, in real time. So the bleeding is getting heavier.

Who thinks about raiding pension funds? Where did the notion even come from? Try Socialist Europe, where Ireland, Portugal, and a number of other central European nations have all resorted to theft of pension funds in order to finance their bloated, benefits-laden budgets.

Contributing to our worsening debt crisis is the fact that successive administrations have pursued domestic and foreign policies that hinder or stunt growth. As big as the U.S. economy is - about $15 trillion a year - it could be even larger if we weren't forced to buy $450 billion worth of oil every year from volatile regimes (even as the administration kills energy projects designed to make us more energy independent). It wouldn't run a trade deficit of nearly $800 billion annually while throwing up a regulatory wall that prohibits expansion of our own industrial base. And it would not continually pass legislation that creates new IOU's and unfunded liabilities.

You should have little doubt that the "desperate times" will continue, simply because those who lead us are incapable of taking the "desperate measures" that would restore our national fiscal health. They'd rather steal from our future than guarantee it.

Sources:

http://news.yahoo.com/treasury-dips-pension-funds-avoid-debt-limit-202850021.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/treasury-to-tap-pensions-to-help-fund-government/2011/05/15/AF2fqK4G_story.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20095704-503544.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704506004576174371199128648.html

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