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Governments Begin Seizing Private Pensions

Five European governments have begun to take private pensions to fill annual deficits. Don't believe it can't happen here--Congress has already held hearings to find ways to eliminate 401(k) plans in exchange for federally operated schemes.

Originally from the Mises Institute in Poland:

Peopleís retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that donít want to reduce spending or make privatizations. As most pension schemes in Europe are organised by the state, European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends. In recent weeks I have noted five such attempts: Three situations concern private personal savings; two others refer to national funds.

The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings.† More here.

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