Tag Archives: nationalisation

Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown

18 Aug

Got your attention with that headline?

Good.

Because on the topic of Australia’s last remaining real source of wealth – “our” natural resources – and, on the directly related topic of who should own them, you may be shocked to learn that your humble blogger hangs waaaaaaaay way out there on the so-called “left”.

With the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.

And the government of Norway – which consistently ranks as the happiest nation on earth, and, the most prosperous.

[You see, when you are not beholden to group-think, and the false Left vs Right paradigm, then you can author what the Fairfax media called a “tribute site”, dedicated to supporting the debt-and-deficit views of a so-called “extremist” “far right” politician, and yet, hold “far left” views on other specific issues.  Independent, issue-by-issue critical thinking is a wonderful thing.]

Explanation to follow.

First though, a little background via this media release from Senator Barnaby Joyce, 17 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Some towns are more equal than others

The Queensland Labor party obviously believes that all towns are equal but some towns are more equal than others.

I note that Queensland Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan is already backtracking from the Labor party’s decision to only ban mining within 2 kilometres of towns with more than 1000 people.

Ms Nolan also attacked the Federal Coalition saying that:

This government does not believe that landholders are entitled to the resources beneath the ground. They have never been and to change that now would represent a massive windfall to the agricultural class, to the detriment of those who own the resources now – that is, all of us.*

Ms Nolan is wrong. It is concerning that a Minister does not seem to understand the basic aspects of her portfolio.

Farmers in Queensland owned the petroleum and gas resources under their property until 1915, when the Queensland Government took them off them to protect the resources for the crown during World War I. From my latest investigations I think World War I has finished but the resources were never handed back to farmers.

To quote from section 4 of the Petroleum Act 1915:

… it is hereby declared that petroleum on or below the surface of all land in Queensland, whether alienated in fee simple or not so alienated from the Crown, and if so alienated whensoever alienated, is and always has been the property of the Crown.

Resources have been taken in other states in even more recent times, with the last being the NSW Coal Acquisition Act in 1981.

If Ms Nolan does not believe me, perhaps she would believe former NSW Premier Neville Wran, who stated in his second reading speech on the Coal Acquisition Bill 1981:

The proposal is not without precedent. In 1938 a Tory government in the United Kingdom acquired all coal then in private ownership. In 1953 the Menzies Government resumed all minerals, then in private ownership, in the Northern Territory.

In 1971 South Australia followed suit and acquired privately owned minerals. All petroleum in New South Wales was vested in the Crown without compensation, by the Petroleum Act, 1955 …

* Ludlow, M., Dunckley, M and Kerr, P. 2011, ‘Mining ban expands’, Australian Financial Review, p. 5.

As a fine, upstanding, and outstanding representative of the interests of the rural community, Senator Joyce advocates strongly for the rights of farmers and rural landowners. Especially of late, in their critical challenges with mining interests seeking to explore for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) resources beneath their land, placing our food and water security at risk.

I strongly support the rational, objective, common sense basic position put forward by both Senator Joyce and the Greens – that agricultural land should be very carefully protected against any risks from the mining sector’s activities.

Indeed, I support going even further than either Barnaby or the Greens on this issue.

Why?

There are no “resources” more vital to human existence, than water #1, and food #2.

If proposed mining activities pose any plausible risk to water and/or food security, then protection of our water and ability to grow our own food must always take top priority.

To argue otherwise, you must either be an idiot. A troll. Suicidal. And/or genocidal. There are no other options.

Where I differ with (or perhaps hold a more nuanced position than) Senator Joyce – and most definitely differ with the Australian Greens – is over the question of how best to maximise the benefits for all Australians of our Great South Land’s natural resources.

Senator Joyce is quite rightly concerned with the rights of rural landowners.

The Greens appear to be concerned with the protection of agricultural land – as should we all.  But in truth, the Greens are far more interested in taxing the crap out of the mining companies, whilst paying hypocritical lip service to the quasi-religious notion of “stopping catastrophic climate change”.

I am interested in the national (human) interest.

So, I advocate for nationalisation of Australia’s mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources.

In our world of facile, intellectually-lazy “labelling” of every one and every thing (in lieu of reasoned, nuanced thought), that viewpoint places me right out there on the “extreme left”. Yes, right alongside “evil” socialists like Hugo Chavez.

And the government and people of Norway – the happiest and most prosperous nation (per capita) on earth.

Why is Norway so happy and prosperous?

One very big contributing reason, is that the Norwegian government nationalised their North Sea oil reserves decades ago, and has retained tight control over this vital resource sector ever since, including via the 67% government-owned StatOil. Profits are returned to a now-massive sovereign wealth fund, on behalf of all the citizens of Norway.

(This is used to finance what many would label a “welfare state”; the generally-understood definition of which I do not broadly support – another nuance, for another time).

Beginning in 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved in the same direction. He began an ongoing nationalisation drive, stripping foreign-owned companies of control over vital national resources, especially Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, along with food and key industrial production.

(The fact that it was predominantly US multi-national petroleum companies who lost out as a result of Chavez’s actions goes a very long way towards explaining the true reason why he is painted as an “evil” “insane” “socialist” villain by Western politicians and lapdog mainstream media … and thus, why you probably believe Chavez is all bad, and all wrong. How dare he be more concerned with the national interest of Venezuelans, than with the profits of multi-nationals or the deceitful ideologies of “free trade” and “globalisation”!)

In Australia, we have a ridiculous, unintelligent, ill-considered, short-sighted, shallow, and polarised “debate” over national resources.

Many argue for a mining “super profits” tax, to help “spread the wealth” of our here-today-gone-forever-tomorrow mineral resources, via a sovereign wealth fund.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Many argue for restrictions on foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, including prime agricultural land.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Those who argue against restrictions on foreign ownership of vital Australian resources include the treasonous “independent” Reserve Bank:

The Reserve Bank has warned that the economy’s increasing reliance on mining exports has left it more vulnerable to global downturns but suggests foreign ownership of the sector could help reduce those risks.

A paper co-authored by RBA assistant governor Philip Lowe and presented at the bank’s annual conference highlighted the benefits of foreign investment in mining at a time of intense political scrutiny of the industry’s ownership and profits.

The Greens correctly point out the fact that it is foreign-owned interests who benefit most from our country’s “poor white trash of Asia”, quarry-to-the-world status:

In June, Greens leader Bob Brown used a National Press Club address to slam the size of mining payouts to offshore investors and demand higher taxes on the industry to ensure Australians received their fair share.

He released research showing that $50 billion in mining company dividends would end up in overseas hands over the next five years — far more than the government’s watered-down mining tax would collect for taxpayers over the same period.

“Most of Treasury’s planned super-profits tax is now due to end up in the deep, deep pockets of millionaires in Switzerland, London, Calcutta and Beijing, rather than in Australian schools, hospitals or railways,” Senator Brown said at the time.

The Greens’ solution?

A bigger mining tax.

This sort of small-minded, tax-and-spend idiocy typifies the problems with our country.

Our politicians huff and puff a lot of high-minded hot air. While doing sweet FA, or at best, tinkering around the edges of critical issues.

Because most do not really have the national interest at heart.

They mostly have only their own interest at heart.

It does not have to be this way, dear reader.

Look at the example of Norway.

Then look at Bob Brown’s comment I’ve bolded in the above quote.

And ask yourself a simple question –

“Why dick around with half-arsed ‘solutions’ like mere “bigger taxes” on foreign-owned interests who are profiting off our national resources? If you’re serious about our national interests, then why not go the full monty – just like Norway and so many others – and nationalise our vital national resources?!”

Let us be quite clear.

My views on the topic of foreign “investment” (ie, ownership) of vital Australian natural resources, is far more than just “far Left”.

It is not automatically an anti-capitalist, anti-“free market” (a myth which has never existed, by the way), anti-liberty, anti-democratic, or anti-freedom position.

Instead, it is a nuanced viewpoint.

I strongly support the rights of Aussie landowners to have their livelihoods protected against risks from mining exploration/extraction.

I strongly support the absolute, unequivocal primacy of protecting agricultural land and water resources, over and above the interests of mere mining profits (you can’t eat and drink coal or iron ore, or the profits from them either).

I strongly support just and proper compensation for landowners wherever their property and/or livelihood may be impacted by the activities of other industries.

I strongly support the right of all Australians and their descendants, to enjoy peace of mind thanks to assured, long term water and food security, above all other “economic” considerations.

And, I strongly support the right of Australian citizens and their descendants, to have their interests protected (by their elected government) against the redistribution of wealth from the soil of our land, into the already-bloated bank accounts of foreign interests.

At the end of the day, that is the very heart of the matter.

All the confusion, and rhetoric, and theory, and ideology, and spirit-sapping noise over the relative alleged pros and cons of mining/agriculture/taxes/”free”-markets/socialism/capitalism … is all just a great big load of intellectual onanist #JAFA crap, that only serves to achieve one thing, whether intended or accidental.

It keeps our nation divided into warring tribes, all squabbling over red herrings … while the Big Fish make off with our big fish under the cover of theoretical, ideological, and philosophical darkness.

Why piss about arguing over the merits/demerits of a mere “tax” on foreign-owned mining companies?

Why piss about arguing over how big or small such a “tax” should or should not be?

If you really believe your own rhetoric … that Australia’s natural resources are vital to our national interest … then why not back your conviction with action, put your balls on the block, and simply nationalise the lot?

Despite what you have been led to believe, this is not a far out, “extremist” idea at all.

See for yourself the long list of countries – many of them iconic so-called “capitalist”, “free-market” countries like the USA and the UK – who have all nationalised key resources, infrastructure, and/or industries, for their national interest.

Of course, to do so here in Australia would require a government of adults. Not the current crowd of self-serving, incompetent halfwits … on both sides of the House.

Which is why I also advocate that we change the electoral laws, to only allow real adults to run for public office.

And, it is why I advocate above all for fundamental monetary reform. A complete decentralisation of the power of “money” and “credit”. Thus rendering moot the inane, archaic, 19th century, debunked-by-reality “free market” “capitalist” arguments of the RBA and the banking sector et al that we “need” “foreign investment”. Because when the RBA, the banking industry, #JAFA economists, and/or politicians say that we “need” foreign “investment” “capital”, what they are really saying is this –

You ‘need’ to remain slaves … to foreign credit-suppliers”.

You see, dear reader, the reason why I advocate these “far out” solutions, is because I am Australian.

I believe national sovereignty stands in the way of transnational tyranny.

And I believe that to continue selling the farm, and/or what is under the farm, into the hands of foreign interests (whether ‘national’, ‘multi-national’, or ‘private’) under the guise of “foreign investment”, is both 100% unnecessary, and not in our national interest.

To quote another infamous political figure … “I make no apologies for that.”

UPDATE:

And in timely overnight news, the gold price jumps on revelations that the “evil” “leftist” Mr Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry –

Gold settled at record highs today after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he planned to nationalise the country’s gold industry.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said today he plans to nationalise the country’s gold industry in a move to take over production and grow international reserves.

Speaking on state television via telephone, the leftist leader said he would be introducing a new decree to put exploration and extraction of gold into the government’s hands.

It will be “a decree to take the gold sector,” which still remains in the hands of a “mafia and smugglers,” Mr Chavez said.

“We don’t only have oil wealth, we have here one of the largest reserves of gold in the world … Let’s convert it into our international reserves because gold is increasing in its value.”

Mr Chavez also plans to move the country’s existing gold reserves out of European banks and into vaults owned by the country’s central bank. Venezuela’s official gold reserves, of 365.8 tonnes as of June, make it the 15th largest gold holder in the world according to the World Gold Council. The Latin American country is well behind the US, which leads the pack with 8113.5 tonnes, and second place, Germany, at 3401.0 tonnes.

Vast oil reserves.

A gold industry.

A President with brains and balls.

Lots and lots of pretty women.

Venezuela’s lookin’ better ‘n better all the time 😉

By the way, how does Australia compare with Venezuela for official gold reserves?

Badly.

Less than 80 tonnes, compared with Venezuela’s 365.8 tonnes.

Why?

Yes, all thanks to our stupid/treasonous Reserve Bank, who sold off most of our reserves early this century in a blunder to top all their (many) blunders:

Just over ten years ago, Australia’s central bank the RBA sold off most of the countries gold reserves under the belief that the price of gold would continue to remain flat, and that as an asset, it would no longer play any role in the future financial system, or any crises that may result.

A paper written by the central bank which recommended selling off the gold reserves conceded that that asset whilst the assets served as “insurance against a breakdown in the international financial system”, it was not necessary to hold.

The central bank’s justification for reducing its gold reserves so drastically was that gold represented a poor investment, and Australia had successfully integrated itself into global financial markets, and that it need not worry about access to those markets during a financial crisis.

Since the sale of the gold reserves the global financial systems has experienced severe stress on a number of different occasions, starting with the implosion of the technology bubble at the start of the millennium followed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and more recently the global financial crisis in 2008.

The price of the precious metal over that time frame has risen spectacularly and the asset has begun to play an increasingly important role in the global financial system since the  financial crisis.

The central bank argued that continuing development of financial system meant that circumstances which would require Australia to call upon our gold holdings for economic reasons looked increasingly remote.

Idiots.

Or traitors.

In either case, the RBA should be disbanded.

End the RBA.

Follow the lead of Hugo Chavez.

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Money Morning Agrees – Your Retirement Savings Under Threat

22 Jul

Sorry dear reader. I’ve simply been too busy trying to get this NGER Register debunking research finished to offer you anything original today.

But in a timely and thematically happy coincidence, the estimable authors of Money Morning yesterday published their must-read free newsletter on a topic that has been covered at length right here on barnabyisright.com.

The coming theft of your super by our government.

Below I’ve taken the liberty of quoting some of Money Morning’s commentary on this topic, along with a link to their complete article.

h/t to Twitterer @Kmorefive for bringing this to my attention:

Special Report: Your Retirement Savings are Under Threat

A week ago we got an email from the Australian Treasury.

It was titled: “Exposure Draft – Legislative Framework for Public Ancillary Funds”

In a moment we’ll explain why that email is more proof the federal government secretly plans the wholesale taking of individuals’ retirement savings.

Normally these Treasury emails are dull.

And this one was no different.

In fact, the email’s headline is usually enough to put us off reading further.

But this time, something made us look.  Perhaps it was the words “public” and “funds”.

So we read the document… we didn’t like what we saw…

In our view, this is the next step in the federal government’s plans to nationalise retirement savings.  We’ve been ahead of the game on this for the past three years.

We warned bureaucrats and politicians regret giving up control of retirement money.  That there’s a big stack of cash – $1.3 trillion – the government can’t easily get hold of.

But over two years ago, things started to change.

It started with the government and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) taking the unclaimed superannuation accounts of foreign temporary workers.

Over $700 million of private savings was “transferred” to the federal government’s coffers.  But the government didn’t invest it.  Instead, it went to consolidated revenue.  Consolidated revenue is the government’s day-to-day spending.

In other words, private retirement savings have been taken to fund the public service… while at the same time leaving the taxpayer on the hook to repay $700 million if the foreign workers ever ask for their money back.

Who says governments plan for the long term!

But that wasn’t the end of it.  The next step was to grab Australians’ retirement savings… under the ruse it’s too expensive for private funds to take care of unclaimed accounts… only the government can do that… apparently!

Back-door savings grab

And now, the next stage of the retirement grab is in train… with your savings next in line for the government’s sticky-fingers treatment…

We’ve seen the nationalisation of retirement funds in Australia (examples above).  And it’s happened overseas: Argentina, Ireland and Hungary are just three examples.

But now, with the proposed amendments to Public Ancillary Funds, Australia is set to follow suit.

The call for more public spending on infrastructure gives the government a perfect excuse.  And the country’s biggest and most influential bodies will help – namely the banking and funds management industries and the trade unions.

Beware government offering gifts

Stock market volatility and low savings means many realise they can’t retire without government help.  Public Ancillary Funds are the answer to the government’s problem.  They’ll enable individuals to make voluntary “donations” to the State.  In return for receiving extra credits for the State Pension.

Notice we say voluntary.  That’s how it’ll start.  But odds are that won’t be enough to raise the billions of dollars the government needs to fund its programmes and welfare.

The next – and inevitable – stage is for compulsory investment in Public Ancillary Funds.  Most likely through the back door.  Such as requiring private fund managers to hold a percentage of assets in Public Ancillary Funds.

[click here to read the complete article]

I wonder if the fine lads at Money Morning are aware of the Liberal Party’s quiet, unnoticed-by-all policy announcement on June 3, which is in my opinion by far the clearest harbinger yet of the super theft to come?

Please do take the time to read over just some of the many articles that I have written previously on this very same topic.

And please do especially note the fact that both major parties have clear policy plans already in train, to get their hands on your super –

No Super For You!!

Liberal Party’s Sneaky Plan To Steal Your Super To Pay Labor’s Debt

Why They Are Planning To Steal Your Super, Explained In 4 Simple Charts

US Treasury “Borrowing” Of Federal Pensions Brings Theft Of Private Pensions One Step Closer

Now The UK Government Is Stealing Super Too

US Treasury “Borrowing” Of Federal Pensions Brings Theft Of Private Pensions One Step Closer

25 Jun

Regular readers will know that this blog has been closely following the wave of government confiscations of private citizens’ retirement savings that is quietly rolling around the world.

It is a wave that is already silently lapping at our shores, with both major parties having released policies that sneakily move towards taking our super, to pay down government debt.

If you’ve missed any of these posts, you can catch up with the following –

“No Super For You!!”

“Why They Are Planning To Steal Our Super, Explained In 4 Simple Charts”

(There are multiple links to previous posts at the end of the 2nd link above)

One of the interesting features of this wave of super thefts, is the different methods used in different countries.  In some, private retirement savings have simply been “nationalised”.  In others, the government has started with a “softly softly” approach, by “borrowing” the retirement savings of government employees first.

In the following article from The Examiner (USA), we find the opinion expressed that the US Treasury’s recent “borrowing” of federal workers pension funds is simply a first move. And that confiscations of non-federal workers pension funds – called “401K plans” in the USA – is now one step closer (emphasis added):

This step in pulling from government held retirement funds is once again bringing up the potential for the Obama administration to seek acquisition of the public’s 401K’s to help pay for spending and debt.

On May 16th, the Obama administration agreed to tap into federal retirement programs to help fund programs and agencies that would otherwise be funded through borrowing before the debt ceiling was reached.

The use of retirement and pension funds as the first resort of the government to pay for programs, debt obligations, and even ongoing military operations is a large warning signal to the American people regarding a huge and untapped resource that up until now, the government has refrained from exploiting.  The amount of money stored in corporate retirement funds, federal retirements, and market based 401K’s amount to several trillion dollars that unlike Social Security, which it is collateralized by IOU’s, this is real money that the government has already sought to acquire in budgetary discussions.

The plan, as sketched in the 43-page document, calls for the creation of something called  “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts” (GRAs). Biden slyly shifts the onus for the idea through weasel words typical of the federal government: “Some have suggested the creation of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs), which would give workers a simple way to invest a portion of their retirement savings in an account that was free of inflation and market risk, and in some versions under discussion, would guarantee a specified real return above the rate of inflation.”

These accounts would be “free of inflation and market risk” because they would be under the direct and absolute control of the federal bureaucracy. There would be no risk because the funds would no longer be moored to the free market and subject to the fluctuations thereof. Rather, the retirement funds of every hard-working American dependent on a 401(k) for their retirement security would be nationalized and made subject to the whims and will of the executive branch. – New American (May 2010)

The track record of the Federal government towards retirement accounts is not very good.  Over $3 Trillion dollars has been removed from the Social Security trust, and spent by the government under general budget spending.  The money that was taken out of Americans paychecks each month to be used for retirement was instead replaced by Treasuries that are now on the brink of default.  With the Treasury Departments use of Federal pension funds now to pay for budgetary obligations because the government can no longer borrow money, the next viable step is the acquisition of private retirements and 401K’s.

And as noted from the 43-page document already created last year, this is not a plan regarded as a contingency, but instead as one that is intended to be implemented in the future.

The US government has failed in its opportunities over the past decade to cut spending, and slow down on its debt borrowing.  Now that the rubicon has been crossed regarding the debt ceiling, and the Treasury Department accessing federal retirement funds to pay for general obligations, how soon before the government has no choice but to access the trillions of dollars available in the market, and give the American people another ‘promise’ that they can take care of your money and retirement future.

In Australia, our two major parties have also begun planning for the theft of our super, but in slightly – and slyly – different ways.

The Labor Party has first announced (in the recent May budget) new legislation intended to “encourage” super fund managers to “invest” your super in government “infrastructure programs”.

The Liberal Party has taken a different tack. On June 3, they quietly announced a new policy – sneakily dressed up as a “helpful” business “reform” – that aims to have employers send their workers’ Compulsory Superannuation payments directly to the ATO, rather than directly to your super fund.  It would then be up to the ATO to pass on your super to your fund manager (!?!).

If you are unwilling to see the danger that lurks so thinly-veiled behind these “positive” and “helpful” policies, then consider this.

Senator Barnaby Joyce has directly warned at least twice this year, that the government plans to steal our super to pay down debt. And exactly like America, he has indicated that they intend to start with public servants’ superannuation set aside in the Future Fund:

In response to a question I put in Senate estimates, Treasury revealed that $64 billion of the difference between our gross debt and our net debt is made up of the cash and non-equity investments of the Future Fund. The Future Fund is there to cover the otherwise unfunded costs of public servants’ superannuation.

That is a little fact that the people of Canberra might be interested in. When Wayne mentions net debt translate that to, I am going to pay his debt off with my retirement savings.

Straight after the May budget, Barnaby spelled out his warning even more clearly:

On Tuesday night’s budget, Labor sneaked in an Amendment of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911. Here is the most telling statement for where our nation is going under this Green-Labor-Independent Alliance. Under Part 5 Section 18 subsection 1 “omitting ‘$75’ and substituting ‘250’ ”.

Now that is in billions ladies and gentlemen and it is real money that really has to be paid back. If we have all this money stashed away under the lower net debt figure that is always quoted by Labor, then why not use some of this mystery money to pay off what we owe to the Chinese and others who we are hocked up to the eyeballs to.

The reason why we can’t is at least $70 billion that makes up ‘net’ debt is tied up in the Future Fund and student loans.

Of course, the public servants will not be happy when we use their retirement savings, put aside in the Future Fund, to pay off some of Labor’s massive debt.

Stealing public servants’ superannuation in the Future Fund will only be the beginning. We can be sure of this, simply by looking at what is happening abroad. And by carefully examining the implications of the policies – quietly released, without fanfare – of our own politicians.

Barnaby is right.

Grand Theft Pēnsiō – French Edition

2 Jun

Continuing our recent peek into the world of government confiscations of citizens’ superannuation, we find that France too is indulging in grand theft.

From eFinancialNews:

France seizes €36bn 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 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.

Think our government would never resort to stealing your super to pay down its debts?

Think again.

So far we have found that Argentina, Hungary, Bolivia, Poland, Ireland, France, and now the mighty USA have all either confiscated or “borrowed” their citizens’ retirement money to pay for government debt problems.

And our very own Senator Barnaby Joyce has given early warning of the same thing happening right here in Australia:

Of course, the public servants will not be happy when we use their retirement savings, put aside in the Future Fund, to pay off some of Labor’s massive debt.

Learn more about the growing trend for governments to steal your retirement savings, in these earlier articles:

“No Super For You!”

“Grand Theft Pēnsiō”

“Grand Theft Pēnsiō – Europe’s ‘Economic Superstar’ Steals 5% Of Private Super Funds”

No Super For You!

18 May


What will you do when they take away your super?

From the Washington Post, 17 May 2011:

Treasury to tap pensions to help fund government

The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government lost its ability Monday to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has warned for months that the government would soon hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — a legal limit on how much it can borrow. With that limit reached Monday, Geithner is undertaking special measures in an effort to postpone the day when he will no longer have enough funds to pay all of the government’s bills.

Geithner, who has already suspended a program that helps state and local government manage their finances, will begin to borrow from retirement funds for federal workers.

The USA is taking public servants’ pension funds, to pay government bills.

Note that well.

Because last week, Senator Joyce made a very disturbing revelation (below).

Think it could only happen in America?

From Reuters, 21 October 2008:

Argentina’s center-left President Cristina Fernandez on Tuesday signed a bill for a government takeover of the $30 billion private pension system in a daring and unexpected move that rocked domestic markets.

From Bloomberg, 26 November 2010:

Hungary is giving its citizens an ultimatum: move your private-pension fund assets to the state or lose your state pension.

Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced the policy yesterday, escalating a government drive to bring 3 trillion forint ($14.6 billion) of privately managed pension assets under state control to reduce the budget deficit and public debt. Workers who opt against returning to the state system stand to lose 70 percent of their pension claim.

“This is effectively a nationalization of private pension funds,” David Nemeth, an economist at ING Groep NV in Budapest, said in a phone interview. “It’s the nightmare scenario.”

But Argentina and Hungary are not like us, right?  That couldn’t ever happen in a mid-level “advanced economy” like ours … right?

From Business Insider, one week ago:

Irish Bombshell: Government Raids PRIVATE Pensions To Pay For Spending

But the Irish had a big housing bubble, didn’t they?  No way anything like that could happen here … right?

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2011:

Australian house prices remain the most overvalued in the world, according to the latest quarterly ranking of global house prices by The Economist magazine.

But our housing market could never fall.  Not like it did for Ireland … or the USA … or the UK … or Spain … right?

From AAP, 29 April 2011:

Capital city home prices have posted their biggest quarterly fall in at least 12 years, as more stock in the housing market allows prospective buyers to wait for bargains, a survey shows.

Capital city dwelling values fell by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index.

The quarterly change was the steepest since the index series began in June 1999, RP Data research director Tim Lawless said.

And from the Sydney Morning Herald, yesterday:

Australian real estate, long the subject of global concern, bears all the symptoms of a market that simply has run out of puff.

Ever since America’s housing bubble burst in 2007, setting off a chain reaction in Britain and across Europe – which then infected the global financial system – international pundits have been warning of a similar catastrophe here.

Do you remember what our government did the last time our real estate market began to fall sharply?

It was during the 3-month peak of the GFC, in late 2008 / early 2009:

Steve Keen's Debtwatch

They guaranteed to use taxpayers’ future earnings to underwrite our banks’ trillions in foreign loans.  Poured $20 billion in borrowed money into Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities.  And borrowed billions more to prop up the housing market. By bribing thousands of young people into massive debt, thanks to the government’s double-trouble First Home Owners Grant.

If you think “it could never happen here”, if you think that our government would never take away your super to pay for its massively wasteful spending, then it’s time to think again.

Were you one of those who ridiculed Barnaby’s warning in late 2009, about the possibility of a US debt default?

It’s coming to pass right now.

So pay close heed to another prescient warning from Barnaby, given just one week ago:

On Tuesday night’s budget, Labor sneaked in an Amendment of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911. Here is the most telling statement for where our nation is going under this Green-Labor-Independent Alliance. Under Part 5 Section 18 subsection 1 “omitting ‘$75’ and substituting ‘250’ ”.

Now that is in billions ladies and gentlemen and it is real money that really has to be paid back. If we have all this money stashed away under the lower net debt figure that is always quoted by Labor, then why not use some of this mystery money to pay off what we owe to the Chinese and others who we are hocked up to the eyeballs to.

The reason why we can’t is at least $70 billion that makes up ‘net’ debt is tied up in the Future Fund and student loans.

Of course, the public servants will not be happy when we use their retirement savings, put aside in the Future Fund, to pay off some of Labor’s massive debt.

!??!

That is exactly what is happening in America.  Right now.

And Barnaby is warning that it could happen here too.

The first steps in that direction have already begun.

From Global Custodian (Australia edition), 11 May 2011:

The Gillard government’s 2011-12 budget has proposed a raft of initiatives aimed at encouraging superannuation fund and private investment in infrastructure projects.

In light of the botched “school halls” program, and the stalled white elephant NBN – which so far has only achieved a 12% takeup rate, versus their predicted 58% –  would you really trust this government to wisely and prudently invest your super in Government infrastructure?

Others have their doubts.

From The Australian, 12 May 2011:

The government’s plan to use tax incentives to encourage superannuation funds to invest in new infrastructure could be thwarted by inadequate returns on projects and a reluctance by the states to take on project risk, experts say.

First, a little “encouragement” for super funds to invest in government spending programs.

Then, when the costs blow out, or when the government debt becomes unmanageable?

“No super for you!”

Barnaby is the only one on the ball.

This blog will be following this story of government confiscations of public and private retirement funds in future posts.

A final thought for now.

Yesterday I commented on the proposal that Australia should have an “independent” Carbon Bank (Our ‘Squeeze Pop’ Carbon Bank).  One that …

…could be allowed to borrow money to invest in renewable energy projects against the future revenue of Labor’s proposed carbon tax and emissions trading scheme.

In other words, a Carbon Bank where the government … meaning taxpayers … becomes the guarantor for any losses made on those “investments”.

Does that prospect concern you?

Can you see where this is all heading?

This is a government that has racked up nearly $200 Billion in gross debt.

Is running a “forecast” $50 Billion annual budget deficit.

Is presently borrowing at a rate of over $2 Billion per week.

And has now moved to raise our debt ceiling by another $50 Billion, to a new record quarter of a Trillion dollars.

This is the same government of completely unqualified economic incompetents behind a string of costly disasters – electrified ceiling insulation, overpriced school halls, “green scheme” rorts, the problem-plagued Nation Bankrupting Network … and now, free set-top boxes.

Do you honestly believe that this government would not end up burying taxpayers with even bigger losses from their carbon dioxide “air tax” scheme too?

Do you honestly believe that this government would never follow the lead of Argentina, Hungary, Ireland, and now the superpower USA … and steal your super to pay for massive debts that they have racked up?

These are just some of the many sound reasons why Senator Joyce has persistently tried to raise public awareness of the real and grave peril of ever-increasing Labor government debt and deficit, in a (supposedly) post-GFC world.

Your retirement savings depend upon your taking notice of his warnings.

Barnaby was right.

Barnaby is right.

UPDATE:

Labor’s PM-in-waiting, the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, already thinks of your super as a “significant national asset” … a kind of “sovereign wealth fund”.

From The Australian, 4 May 2011:

Superannuation is our sovereign wealth fund

This week marks 12 months exactly since the government announced plans to take compulsory superannuation from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.

… our superannuation savings place Australia fourth in the world. Its $1.3 trillion in funds under management through superannuation significantly boosts national savings and provides greater retirement security for millions of Australians. Superannuation is also a significant national asset because it strengthens our financial sector.

UPDATE 2:

About the USA’s new edition of Grand Theft Pēnsiō.

From ZeroHedge:

It’s Official: DTS Discloses Total Debt Hit Ceiling Yesterday; Government Draws On $14.3 Billion From Retirement Funds

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