It's ultimately a fool's game to put any trust in a government program because the law, especially when created and enforced by an interventionist government, is necessarily dynamic. That means that you can't count on the rules which presently influence your decisions remaining static since the rulemakers will change them any time they believe it will benefit them to do so:
People's retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that don't 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.
The Bulgarian government has come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the state pension scheme. The government gave way after trade unions protested and finally only about 20% of the original plans were implemented.
A slightly less drastic situation is developing in Poland. The government wants to transfer of 1/3 of future contributions from individual retirement accounts to the state-run social security system. Since this system does not back its liabilities with stocks or even bonds, the money taken away from the savers will go directly to the state treasury and savers will lose about $2.3bn a year. The Polish government is more generous than the Hungarian one, but only because it wants to seize just 1/3 of the future savings and also allows the citizens to keep the money accumulated so far.
The fourth example is Ireland. In 2001, the National Pension Reserve Fund was brought into existence for the purpose of supporting pensions of the Irish people in the years 2025-2050. The scheme was also supposed to provide for the pensions of some public sector employees (mainly university staff). However, in March 2009, the Irish government earmarked 4bn from this fund for rescuing banks. In November 2010, the remaining savings of 2.5bn was seized to support the bailout of the rest of the country.
The final example is France. In November, the French parliament decided to earmark 33bn from the national reserve pension fund FRR to reduce the short-term pension scheme deficit. In this way, the retirement savings intended for the years 2020-2040 will be used earlier, that is in the years 2011-2024, and the government will spend the saved up resources on other purposes.
How many more places does this have to happen before Americans begin to realize that the same thing is absolutely going to happen with their local, state, and federal pensions, as well as their entitlement programs. The fact that government officials often refer to pensions and entitlements as "sacred obligations" doesn't mean that they won't eliminate the payouts or grab the funds. In fact, the need to place a legally meaningless adjective in front of the noun underlines the fact that they do not consider the legal obligations to bind them in any way. The word "Obligation" is a bit like the word "Justice", in that if you try to modify it for a new phrase, you're simply showing that you don't understand or believe in the concept.
Unfortunately too many people still believe in government and will steadfastly refuse to believe that this can happen in a "democracy" right up to the moment that it happens. Then, many of those people will believe that it's for their own good and the good of the country or the government wouldn't be doing it. These are your proverbial MORONS.
If you tell a socialist-democrat this today they will laugh at you, if you remind them about it after it takes place they will blame you. If you ever discuss this with someone, their response is usually, "They'll never do that, because the people won't stand for it!" Well, the government does an awful lot of stuff that should have people up in arms, but no such "not standing for it" ever materializes.
The closest to this was the recent uproar about the TSA groping/porno-scanners, and most people's reaction to that was to support the need for the TSA to do the unreasonable searches. Most seemed to believe that you do actually surrender your 4th amendment rights when you enter an airport, if they even knew what the 4th amendment was!
So, yeah, when Uncle Sam gobbles up the pensions, IRAs and 401Ks, people won't care about it because they'll be given some empty promise about converting it into something else for them.
Yep, 401k's, IRA's, flex spending accounts, HSA's, all next. And, just like Social Security, the government will turn it into another tax and then use it for all "odd and sundry" spending programs, until that, too, is all dried up like Social Security, and we'll all be getting worthless IOUs from the gummint–like they do in California. Yes, and most people believe that Social Security is an insurance program, even though the US Supreme Court has ruled that you have NO legal right to Social Security 'benefits'.
This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to grab your family and some guns and head for the hills. Man can't live in a society very long where the law is malleable. Consistency may be for small minds, but utter chaos is for the insane. This is how the cycle turns from Democracy to King. A strongman steps forth and offers consistency again. Not with the rights that once were had, but a few rights that are solidly upheld, allowing a mooring place for people's minds in a sea of chaos. Bleak times indeed if you have no faith in God. Worse for the fools that worship The State as they see all they hold as faith crumbles.
Can't wait for Obama to come on TV next year and tell the people that since the evil Republicans refuse to raise taxes (instead of stopping his wild, unconstitutional spending to "break the bank") he has no choice but to seize their pensions. Hopefully, that's when the guns come out and we make a statement that "the US is our government, not theirs".
The desperation by the government is palpable. They are staunchly against stopping spending, and are spending our way into bankruptcy. They are willfully refusing to reign in spending and are looking for as many programs to start as possible; starting with the most expensive spending program in history–the Obamacare Nightmare healthcare law.
Watch out children, "daddy government" is coming for your piggy bank!