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Is ObamaRetire Next?

Three years before the 2010 passage of the national ObamaCare law, a “blue ribbon” commission in Colorado explored—at the behest of the state legislature—ways to expand government involvement in health care. Among other proposals, the commission recommended forcing “all legal residents of Colorado to have minimum insurance coverage,” “providing sliding-scale subsidies for low-income workers to purchase private coverage,” and creating a government “‘Connector’ to assist individuals and small employers to understand and choose among insurance options.”

Sound familiar? It should: Prior to the passage of ObamaCare, leftists selected Colorado, a bellwether state (among other places), to begin promoting their health “reforms” nationally, and many of their proposals eventually became part of ObamaCare.

Apparently the left is now trying the same strategy to place retirement accounts substantially under government control. Linda Gorman writes for Complete Colorado:

First they took your health care. Now they’re coming for your retirement.

Progressive activists are in the early stages of attempting to create a retirement security crisis. Using the health care playbook, they claim that people lack access to “adequate retirement security.” The lack of access is said to impose large costs on everyone else because people without “retirement security” consume more public assistance payments. Government must “solve” the problem because only government can provide secure retirement investment options for all by mandating that people purchase them.

This year, Colorado missed joining the crisis by one state senate vote. House Bill 1377 sought to establish a “Retirement Security Task Force” that no doubt would have worked hard to foster a crisis mentality.

One goal of the bill was to have government “establish a secure retirement plan for employees of private sector employers.” Although it’s impossible to predict the details of how such a plan would develop, undoubtedly it would include at least two central elements: It would require people to contribute to government-sanctioned retirement accounts (or penalize them for not doing so), and impose more government regulations on retirement accounts for the alleged sake of “security.” (No doubt the government would provide “security” with regard to retirement accounts about as well as it has with regard to Fannie Mae home loans, Veterans Administration hospitals, and Social Security.) Retirement “reform” also could include tax subsidies for those deemed unable to save “enough” on their own.

Perhaps most notable about the plan is that it seeks more government controls to “solve” problems created entirely by the government. Why do many Americans not save much today? Two of the main reasons are that government confiscates 12.4 percent of everyone’s paychecks for Social Security—making those funds unavailable for investments (or anything else)—and the government forcible keeps interest rates artificially low, thereby actively discouraging savings. If we want Americans to return to sound investment strategies, what we need is for government to stop meddling in the economy—not to meddle in it more.

Government already controls investments in myriad ways through the tax code and through regulations of financial markets—all of which violate the rights of investors, investment managers, and the American people at large. If government takes an even greater role in forcing people to invest and in dictating the terms of their investments, we will see investments—the foundation of the entire economy—even more pervasively manipulated by politicians and bureaucrats at the behest of special interest groups. Needless to say after the nightmare that is ObamaCare, this will not be good for Americans. The questions is, have Americans learned anything from ObamaCare?


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