Joe Braddy

Joe Braddy is a retired newspaper editor and longtime resident of Winter Haven, Fla. He continues his writing, editing and media work on a personal and freelance basis. He launched this website on Sept. 11, 2011. He can be reached by e-mail at



Government moves to control Internet, grab retirement funds must be stopped

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Continued from this page


Conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck moved some of his operations from cable television to the Internet just for the greater freedom it allows him to say what’s on his mind and what’s in his heart. And he, too, is warning about federal interference in cyberspace.

Early this year, heavy public resistance to proposed legislation supposedly dealing with online piracy, the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), put a stop to those bills and thwarted federal plans to get a foothold in the Internet.

(Note: Our local congressman, Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, was an early co-sponsor of SOPA.)

Now, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas, is sounding the alarm bells about another Internet-related bill. This one goes by the acronym CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — and at this writing, it has just passed the House by a 248-168 vote. Paul and other opponents warn that the act, if it becomes law, would greatly expand the government’s ability to snoop through the records of millions of people who use Internet services like Google and Facebook. (That would be most of us, of course.)

Don’t let anyone in government tell you that all of these honorable-, logical- and reasonable-sounding proposals are good for us and essential for national security. They’re all about control — more government control over our Internet-dominated lives, less privacy and further intrusions on individual liberty.

In the financial realm, people in government and some of their friends outside of government have talked quite openly and for quite some time about the “need” for a federal takeover of private pension funds and other retirement plans, such as the millions based on simple 401(k) accounts.

Among the more well-known proponents of such a move is the (so-called) Rev. Jesse Jackson, he of the Rainbow Coalition (a race-bating front to shake down millions of dollars from corporations), anti-Semitism and adultery — and father to at least one love child.

Those who propose a federal takeover of private retirement funds say they just want to protect the fund owners from “unscrupulous” and “corrupt” money managers and negative free-market forces. Don’t believe that for a moment. This is nothing but an attempt at a money grab — a huge money grab.

What the politicians and bureaucrats really want is control over the billions and billions of dollars in these retirement funds and the means for a practically insolvent government to spend it.

Controlling — and bankrupting — Social Security isn’t enough for these people. They want the private monies that millions of Americans have set aside for their retirement years.

And don’t think that this attempted money grab is limited to the federal government. People in various state governments have the same idea.

In February, a California Democrat, state Sen. Kevin De Leon, proposed a plan to create a retirement savings plan for an estimated 7 million private-sector workers who don’t have job-related retirement plans.

De Leon said his savings plan, which on the surface sounds like good idea, is designed to supplement Social Security benefits. It would allow workers to put 3 percent of their pay into an investment pool that would be managed — get this — by a new state board.

Keep in mind that Califonia is on the brink of financial default, with mumblings and rumblings in government and the media there about the possible need for a federal bailout.

Also keep in mind that, based on De Leon’s own estimates, the board overseeing his proposed savings plan could manage up to $6.6 billion in investments in just the plan’s first year.

That’s $6.6 billion more than the California government currently has to spend on foolish things.

The proposed savings plan automatically would enroll workers across the state, but De Leon has offered assurances that workers could choose not to participate.

That prompts this question: Once the state starts feeding on this new source of easy money, just how long would the voluntary savings plan be voluntary?

Skepticism prompts this answer: Not long.


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