Thursday, May 07, 2009

"This is a time bomb that has been building for years."

[Isn't that a mixed metaphor? I think so, but I've been guilty of these sorts of errors many times in the past, and given that I'm not the best wordsmith, I'm the last one to criticize.]

But, so says an editorial at IBD (seen via Gerard's edge notes).

They are speaking, of course, of the "retirement bubble", or more precisely "the-failure-to-plan-for-your-retirement bubble".

One of my favorite co-posters on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named has had a frequent theme that our retirement plans are in danger. He believes that we may approach a point where enough Americans are panicked enough about their retirement prospects that they may willingly sign over their 401k and other retirement accounts to the .gov.

With the caveat that I have fallen for conspiracy theories before, I think this is plausible. I think the rebound that the market is currently undergoing is a Bear Bounce. As I write this, the Market as a reflection of the health of our retirement plans has already lost 40% [(Dow 14000-Dow 8400)/Dow 14000]. How will the American people react if they lose another 40% from today's number? I think it is very possible that they (we?) will willingly run into the kind embrace of our Cuh-munnity-Organizer-in-Chief who will promise us a Socialist Workers' Paradise.

Conspiracy theory or not? Plausible or not? I sometimes question the steadfast-ness of Americans to hold on to their freedoms.

The editorial points out that the pension plans at medium and large companies have switched from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. However the editorial does not address the growing burden that public sector retirement plans--defined benefit plans--are facing. California is a harbinger here. When your local fireman or policeman sees his retirement plan fail--as the private world has foreseen--just how willing will he be to answer your call to 911?

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