Here in the US, in the last several decades, we have had at least three different instances of where people had huge amounts of money--hundreds of millions and maybe billions---of dollars sitting around. And people being people and business being business, they saw it sitting there and it just killed them. They knew SOMETHING had to be done with it, would be done with it and by gosh, they could get a piece or chunk of it and who would that hurt, after all?
Well, the fact is, it hurt Americans and soon, with all the Baby Boomers about to retire, it's going to hurt America. And it's going to hurt mightily.
Here are three of the most famous pots of money.
This is an old story and well-known.
We had all these people, Americans, many of them the biggest generation to ever come along in our nation's history, contributing to this Social Security fund since FDR got it going and what could Congress do but take and spend it? After all, there's more where that came from, right?
One Senator, now deceased, God rest his soul, Senator Patrick Moynihan, made a very public, long term attempt at being wise with the fund. Unfortunately, even before he passed, it died, also.
But rob it they did. It is a shadow of its former self.
This example is much more recent, however. This goes back to the budget deal this last Fall, in 2015 so they're still robbing that puppy:
So the robbing of and from the Social Security fund is still going on, unabated and I don't think most Americans are even aware.
Next up? The 2nd big pile of money that was sitting around?
And actually, it's piles. There were pensions all over this country---public, private, all kinds. And it was just far too tempting to too many people.
Millions of Americans had pensions. They had been funded mostly by business and by the people themselves, contributing to them through their work, their companies. Once again, it was just far too much temptation for people and businesses to ignore.
There was all that money sitting there and there was no way these people and businesses could let it sit there and not be skimmed.
Again, what could it hurt, right? There was SO MUCH MONEY. And it wasn't illegal? Why not, eh?
And then there's the final big pile of money that was heretofore sitting out there, just waiting to be raided.
So people saved for retirement. They squirreled their money away, saving for that retirement "rainy day."
And it created, again, huge piles of money. HUGE. And all kinds of insurance companies and investment companies had these things. It was supposed to be terrific.
Except with the companies who created them "guarding them", protecting them, holding them for these Americans---their customers---it was the fox being in charge of the chicken coop, so to speak.
Who's to say what the fees and charges for holding and protecting and investing these funds were going to be?
Why the very companies taking in all the big money, of course.
These 3 are really untold tales of just what has happened in America in the last 50 years or so to retirement savings. Government had no rules, really, for what could or could not be done to or with them so who's to say what could or would happen to them?
And the answer is, in the place of Social Security, Congress was to say---they spent it.
And in the case of pensions, both private and public, and mutual funds, again, no rules so whoever is in control of them could do whatever with them they wanted. After all, with "campaign contributions", they could keep the regulators--read: Congress---from passing any legislation that would put any restraints on them. And to this day there are no real rules on what can and can't, should or shouldn't be done with people's hard-earned and saved retirement funds.
It's great to be rich, isn't it?
So now, all these millions of Baby Boomers are going to retire and they're going to be sitting on and falling back on either not much or nothing at all.
This was decidedly not how this was supposed to play out and it's certainly not good for either these people or, worst, the nation and our nation's short-term future.
God bless America.
In fact, God help us.