In the Words of Noted Philosopher Lemmy…

“C’mon baby, eat the rich!”

I had meant to talk about this a while back, but Gradeapalooza and such got in the way. One of the problems with expecting government to meet your needs is that you’re trusting the government to know what your needs are. And if you and the government differ as to the nature and extent of your needs, guess who gets the last word? As Jonah Goldberg has pointed out on numerous occasions, a government can’t love you — it can’t care about you as much as your friends, your family, or yourself. How many of your needs are you willing to entrust to someone who doesn’t ultimately give a damn about you?

(At this point, one might argue that we do business and acquire services from lots of folks who don’t give a damn about us. The difference, of course, is that we are their customers, and have the right to take our business elsewhere. There’s mutual dependency in play. Harder to do with a government monopoly.)

This brings us to an interesting article that ran at US News and World Report three weeks back.

According to advance reports, the administration’s budget due out on Wednesday will propose a cap limiting the amount of annual return a retirement account can create to $205,000. If that proposal were enacted today, that would mean retirement accounts would be limited to $3 million in assets. The White House estimates that caps on the tax-preferred accounts would generate $9 billion over 10 years.

“Under current rules, some wealthy individuals are able to accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving,” the White House told Politico last week. [Emphasis mine — Prof. M.]

See, you can’t be trusted to know how you might want to live when you’re done working. You might save too much — you might want to live too well. Who are you to decide what kind of life is suitable? There’s a GS-14 in DC who can make that decision for you — and will relieve you of anything that he or she finds excessive. You know, like an excessive retirement income that is less than the cost of two Spring Break trips for a President’s kid.

Remember, “Government is the one thing we all belong to.” Apparently our cash and the labor that earned it belong to the government as well. And if they want it, they’ll take it.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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2 Responses to In the Words of Noted Philosopher Lemmy…

  1. mike shupp says:

    Well… On a gut level, I understand the objection. It does seem kind of unfair to discriminate against people who have lots of savings. But as I read this, the Feds aren’t proposing to confiscate all the “excess” interest earned by wealthy savers, they’re just proposing to cap the amount of tax-free interest that one can earn in a retirement-oriented savings account. You’re still legally allowed to have other savings accounts which can pay all sorts of dividends; you just have to treat that interest as earned income and pay tax on it just as you do with ordinary savings accounts.

    How is this liberal-imposed income grab more iniquitous than means testing of social security recipients, a solution to our budgetary woes often proposed by conservatives?

    • profmondo says:

      A fair question, Mike — I think the answer is that there’s a difference having something you’ve earned expropriated and not being given something essentially for existing. Now, if SocSec were actually the “savings plan” that it is often sold as being, I might find myself more in agreement with you, but such is not the case — in its current incarnation, it seems to fall somewhere between the dole and a pyramid scheme.

      The larger issue, though, is that if I have earned something honestly, it isn’t any bureaucrat’s place to decide that I have enough.

      Thanks as always for dropping by!

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