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Friday, April 1, 2016

Saving For Retirement Before Collapse

What prompted me to write this article is that I just finished reading a report titled "Not As Many Americans Saving For Retirement", where it was reported that during a survey of 15,000 people in their 40's, less than half of them had more than $10,000 investment in retirement accounts or saved in a conventional manner for retirement.

This is not good news, either for the continuation of Life As We Know it or for The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI). Some readers will think "why is Urban Survival Skills writing about retirement?...I want to read about guns, gear and surviving the collapse". I fully understand that, but I look at many different financial and investment resources in order to provide indicators of where the financial collapse might start,.....will it be a slow devaluation of the dollar and rise in prices of commodities?....will it be a food based collapse where the dollar value becomes inflated? Could it be a cash crunch if the Government nationalizes our 401K and other savings accounts?

People are investing fiat currency into on paper financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401K plans, etc. This is a crap shoot as far as building wealth, makes it hard to divest yourself and re-coup cash on short order and does nothing to cover the possibility of a collapse where transfer or access to these paper assets will produce just pennies on the dollars of your investment at best, or just a memory of lost wealth at worst.

People really need to consider developing a good balance between tangible and intangible assets. I reduced my payroll contributions to my 401K to the minimum necessary to obtain the employer matching funds. I took the money freed up every two weeks and split that into precious metal purchases (primary silver bullion) and began working off a list of things I want to improve for my preps,....ammunition, bulk long term storage food, non-hybred seeds packs, on hand cash, some surplus military gear including a large box of two quart canteen and rain suits which I discovered on the cheap and purchased intended as barter items.

Anyway, lets look at the possibility of the Government ruining your conventional retirement plans. The article below is from Ryan Guina, titled "Can the US Government Seize Your 401k or IRA?"

Last year, the Irish government passed a law which placed a 0.6% levy on assets held in private pensions for each of the next 4 years. The Irish tax on private pensions was made in response to a larger financial crisis and the need to increase government revenues. Ireland isn’t the only country in recent history to seize private investments. Hungary, Argentina and France have all overhauled their private and public pension plans in recent years, in some cases seizing them in their entirety, and in others, taxing them to oblivion. There have been recent discussions of something similar in the United States, which brings up a good question – are private pensions and retirement plans in the US also at risk?

Is Your 401k or IRA in Danger of Government Seizure?

Can the government take your 401k? Will the government scramble your nest egg?

Lets get one thing out of the way first: unless you have an IRS lien or other legal judgment against you, the US Government has no legal standing to seize the contents of your private retirement account, such as your 401k, IRA, Thrift Savings Plan, your self-employed retirement plan, or any other retirement plan.

Can the government take your 401k? Absolutely. But not without changing the laws, and in this case, it would take an act of Congress for the US Government to be able to seize your retirement funds. That means it would need to get through Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court before it would happen. And getting past the Supreme Court is where I see there being big problems – keep in mind that ownership of private property was one of the founding principles of our country. It is very difficult for the government to seize private property at will. The government can, and does, seize private property, but only in rare cases and through a legal process called eminent domain, which is when land or other property is seized “for the greater good.” However, the government is required to pay fair market value for whatever they seize.

The above is a simplified explanation of eminent domain, which is a highly complex and much debated topic. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think eminent domain would be a legal basis for seizing retirement accounts. Taxation, however, is a different topic, and the government can easily change tax laws.

What about the rumors of a government takeover?

Every few years there are rumors that a particular administration wants to seize private retirement funds, and so far it hasn’t happened. The rumors come in different flavors and several ideas have even been proposed before Congress. For example, the Clinton Administration proposed a one time tax against the value of private pensions, 401k plans and IRAs.

A more recent proposal involves seizing and converting a portion of privately held assets into US Treasury bonds. A more extreme proposal is a true government takeover of retirement plans which involves seizing private retirement accounts and converting them to government sponsored annuities that would guarantee and annual income for all Americans.

What basis is given for a takeover of retirement plans?

There are many reasons given to support these ideas, and the most frequently given reasons circle around the idea that converting some or all of the privately held investments into an annuity or into Treasury bonds would protect Americans from themselves and possible market fluctuations and guarantee an income for retirees. In essence, the government believes it can do a better job of managing your retirement funds than you can.

The reality is these proposals would represent a redistribution of wealth and further extend the problem that got the government in trouble in the first place writing IOUs. Seizing pensions or retirement plans now and replacing them with a Government Treasury bonds or a government sponsored annuity simply gives the government money to spend now and passes the problem on to a future generation. It also goes against the reason private retirement plans were created.

The purpose of retirement plans-

Let’s back up and look at the purpose of 401k plans, IRAs, and other retirement plans. These retirement plans maintain a special tax status and were created for a specific reason: to entice more people to save on their own because Social Security benefits do not pay enough for most retirees.

Social Security is not intended to be a full retirement plan for everyone; it is intended to help people through retirement. Several decades ago Congress was smart enough to realize that people needed to take more of their retirement planning into their own hands, so they created the tax incentives we know today as the 401k plan, IRA, and similar retirement plans. The special tax rules found in these retirement plans provide an incentive for people to take care of their own retirement planning and not rely on the government for 100% of their retirement needs.

How retirement plans affect the government-

Retirement plans are good. They provide retirees with a source of income and in many cases help keep people off government benefits. For example, Medicaid eligibility is age and income based, starting at age 65. Social Security benefits are also taxable for retirees who meet a certain income threshold. So retirees receiving enough income from their retirement savings stay off Medicaid and pay taxes on their 401k withdrawals and Social Security benefits, both of which help the government.

While retirement plans help the government, they can also hurt it in other ways. In the case of retirement investing, what is good for investors can be bad of the US government. The tax benefits offered by retirement plans limit or defer the income tax the government collects, to the tune of billions of dollars per year.

For example, Traditional IRAs and 401k plans offer investors an immediate tax break on contributions and the proceeds are taxed when the money is withdrawn in retirement age – often deferring income tax for decades. Roth IRAs and 401ks are the opposite, with the contributions being made after taxes have been assessed, and the withdrawals and income growth being tax free. These tax benefits are the reason there are contribution limits on IRAs and other retirement plans. Without contribution limits, the government would severely limit their income tax receipts.

What will the government do with private retirement plans?

Will the US Government seize private retirement plans? The simple answer is, we don’t know. It’s very possible the government could pass a law that seizes every private pension and retirement plan in the US and replaces it with a government annuity to be paid out once retirees reach a certain age. It’s also possible they will do nothing and leave things as-is. My guess is the government won’t “seize” retirement plans like other governments have, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see things will change.

Let’s face it, our government is hurting. There are huge gaps in our fiscal policy and unless we see changes soon, something major will happen, possibly even the collapse of the dollar and our economy. But seizing private pensions wouldn’t solve that problem, and in fact, it could be seen a as sign of weakness by the global economy and hasten the fall of the US Dollar compared to other currencies. Additionally, seizing private retirement plans would be political suicide for politicians.

What changes might we see to retirement plans?

We can’t see into the future so all we can do is speculate. I don’t see the government seizing retirement funds from private individuals. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government make changes to the number and scope of retirement plans. But this would probably be a gradual change and old plans would likely remain grandfathered in.

For example,the US government could decide to decrease retirement plan contribution limits, lower the income eligibility threshold, or eliminate some retirement plans altogether. But even if they do this, they would likely grandfather in current contributions, meaning your retirement plans in their current state would be safe.

What can we do to prepare for our retirement?

Right now I don’t think there is anything to be scared about. We can’t control the future, so the best course of action is to continue preparing the best we can based on the information we have at hand. This means to continue making investments based on current tax laws, while being mindful of possible changes. Personally, I am preparing for retirement by investing in my 401k and IRA, and I am also investing in taxable (non-retirement) investments when I can. It is wise to be aware of possible changes to tax laws, but I don’t think it’s wise to let fear and unsubstantiated rumors drive one’s investments and retirement planning. So I will continue investing responsibly, and I will keep an eye on the news.

Urban Man-

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Would Obama Start A War To Stay In Office

This is an article that just came out and serves out a book end to my earlier article addressing a reader's concern on possible martial law in the near future. This article is by Michael Synder writing for the International Forecaster. If any "event" that serves as an excuse for the Administration to forestall the elections, can also certainly be used to nationalize assets including bank and retirement account as well as mandate gold and silver bullion from one ounce rounds to higher weights, be exchange with the U.S. government.


Why Threaten North Korea And China? Would Obama Start A War To Stay In Office?

Is Barack Obama trying to start a war, and will that war be used as an excuse to stay in office once his
term is over? Late in his second term, Obama is starting to become extremely aggressive with the rest of the world. He just angered China by sailing an aircraft carrier task force past disputed islands in the South China Sea, he is provoking North Korea by simulating an invasion of that nation during a military exercise that is going to involve more than 300,000 troops, and he is backing Saudi Arabia and Turkey as they make moves that could very well start World War III in the Middle East. If a war did begin, that could give Obama the excuse that he needs to exercise his emergency powers, and that could potentially include suspending the election that is scheduled for November.

I know that all of this sounds a little bizarre, but it would help to explain Obama’s extremely aggressive behavior lately. For example, why is the U.S. military risking a major incident on the Korean peninsula? North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is about as paranoid as they come, and he is extremely alarmed by the massive military exercise that is about to begin in South Korea. More than 300,000 troops are gathering for what is being billed as the biggest military exercise in the history of that nation. Reportedly, U.S. and South Korean forces plan to simulate an invasion of North Korea and practice the elimination of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

In response to these “exercises”, Kim Jong Un has placed his nuclear weapons on standby for “use at
any moment”, and he is warning that North Korea may launch a “preemptive and offensive nuclear
strike”… North Korea warned it would make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that began Monday.

The news was announced in a statement by the National Defense Commission of North Korea and
published in the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “As the joint military exercises to be staged by the enemies are regarded as the most undisguised nuclear war drills aimed to infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its military counteraction will be more preemptive and offensive nuclear strike to cope with them,” the statement read.

I don’t care how crazy someone is – if they have nuclear weapons and they threaten to hit the United
States with a preemptive nuclear strike, I am going to get alarmed. Remember, North Korea did claim to successfully test a hydrogen bomb in January, and the North Koreans did successfully launch a satellite into orbit in February. The North Koreans absolutely hate us. In fact, hatred for the United States is one of the pillars of their society. I know that may sound strange to many Americans, but it is true. If you can believe it, each year they actually have an entire month during which hatred for America is celebrated. Tensions on the Korean peninsula are running extremely high, and a single hydrogen bomb could potentially kill millions of people.

So why risk an incident?

Why provoke North Korea more than necessary?

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been provoking China in the South China Sea. Yes, it is a problem that China has seized control of several important islands in the Spratly and Paracel island chains. But there are other ways to handle this crisis rather than trying to show how tough you are.
Last month, China deployed surface-to-air missile systems on the disputed islands. Obama’s response was to sail an aircraft carrier task force past the islands to see if China would start shooting at it. The
following comes from an article about this incident that was posted by the Navy Times…

The U.S. Navy has dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea. The carrier John C. Stennis, two destroyers, two cruisers and the 7th Fleet flagship have sailed into the disputed waters in recent days, according to military officials. The carrier strike group is the latest show of force in the tense region, with the U.S. asserting that China is militarizing the region to guard its excessive territorial claims. Stennis is joined in the region by the cruisers Antietam and Mobile Bay, and the destroyers Chung-Hoon and Stockdale. The command ship Blue Ridge, the floating headquarters of the Japan-based 7th Fleet, is also in the area, en route to a port visit in the Philippines. Stennis deployed from Washington state on Jan. 15.

Do we really want to go to war with China over these islands?

The first time we sailed a military vessel through those waters after China had claimed those islands, a Chinese state-run newspaper boldly declared that China “is not frightened to fight a war with the U.S. in the region“.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but our relationship with China is rapidly going downhill. There is
more to this than just the South China Sea, but without a doubt this is a major point of contention as far as the Chinese government is concerned.

At the same time, we keep getting closer to World War III erupting in the Middle East. Last month,
defense ministers from 49 different nations met in Brussels to discuss a ground invasion of Syria, and since that time forces have been massing in northern Saudi Arabia and southern Turkey. If a ground invasion of Syria does take place, the goal would be to go to Damascus and take down the
Assad regime. That would put “coalition forces” in direct conflict with Iran, Hezbollah and most importantly the Russians. It could very easily be the spark that sets off World War III, but Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies will never go ahead without the direct approval of the Obama administration. Barack Obama does not need all of these flash points to erupt in order to evoke his emergency powers.

He just needs one of them.

Let me repeat that..... He just needs one of them.

Throughout American history, presidents have always had emergency powers, but since 9/11 these
powers have been greatly enhanced. Given the right circumstances, a U.S. president could now essentially declare himself (or herself) a dictator for the duration of the crisis.He just needs one of them.

Of course the word “dictator” would never actually be used, but that would be the reality of the situation. And if we had a “national emergency” that was bad enough, Barack Obama would have the authority to postpone or suspend the upcoming election. He just needs one of them.

Let us hope and pray that does not happen, but the truth is that such a scenario could actually take
place. Hopefully what we are witnessing around the globe right now are not attempts by Obama to artificially manufacture such a criss. Let us hope and pray that when his time is up that Obama is ready to gracefully move into retirement.He just needs one of them.

Urban Man

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Another Possible Catalyst to a Collapse - Chaos

This is an article written by Bill Bennett about Donald Trump. Bennett is an author, former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, and currently writes about cultural topics at the . Bill Bennet, who holds a Doctorate degree is truly part of the American conservative braion trust. Read what he has to say about Donald Trump. What is left unsaid is the possibility of chaos following his predictions and the resultant governmental actions that would further plunge this country into violence and lawlessness.

What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
By Bill Bennett

"They will kill him before they let him be president. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.

Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

It's about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it's in all of their interests to protect one another. It's one for all and all for one. It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

It's no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It's because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there's one man who isn't beholden to anyone. There's one man who doesn't need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher's union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama? Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to de-fund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

First, I'd guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything. Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment. Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump. Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama's birth certificate. He questioned Obama's college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he's doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He's questioning our relationship with Mexico; he's questioning why the border is wide open; he's questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he's questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he's questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he's questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question! I'm certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion. Trump will ask if Obamacare's architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama's widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama's college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant. Trump's election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama's records, the game is over. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money. Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

Yes, it's become open season on Donald Trump. The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses, and, if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can't silence him. And they sure can't intimidate him. The more they try, the more the public will realize that he's the one telling the truth".

If this comes to happen, if Trump is elected then killed, then Obama will likely declare martial law "until new elections can be held". The results would be revolution from some states,...Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma come to mind. There may even be a military coup - and believe me when I saw that this will pit parts of the military against parts of the military, and parts of Homeland security against parts of homeland security - not to mention all the other government agencies. Sounds like a plot from a book by A. American.

Urban Man

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Readers Concern on Martial Law

I am received several e-mails from readers who are predicting that there will be something in this year's election cycle, such as Hillary Clinton being a nominee then indicted leaving no democratic candidate, or some type of mass shooting or terrorist attack, or an Iranian nuclear attack on Israeli, or a huge military defeat for the U.S. such as North Korea attack or striking at South Korea, or one of our aircraft carriers being sunk, or a combination of events that will allow Obama to push off the elections, make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court, implement some more constitutional busting executive orders and start cracking down on right wing talk show radio and gun rights.

I can tell you the chances of anything like that happening are bleak, very remote. There could be an issue with the Democratic nominee for President, being Clinton, indicted for criminal acts relating to her violations of the safeguarding national security information and leaving the Democratic ticket open. Sure the Libs will whine and tap dance about extending the elections in order to give their new candidate time to campaign, but an indictment of Hillary will not be forthcoming. The current Administration will rationalize that this would be bad for America and especially bad for securing Obama's legacy (no comment there) with another four years of Liberal Rule over the U.S.

As far as martial law or executive actions curtailing the second amendment - martial law would not be far behind if there was drastic executive orders undermining the second amendment.

I believe that the majority of Americans would continue on with the lives if the Administration banned assault rifles, or banned multiple sales of guns, or restricted ammunition purchases, or any number of things they really, really want to do. Yes, they would get away with it. Sure, there would be court challenges and a lot of hulabalu from the right, but it would die down.

It would not be until these restrictions were made retroactive and police action against suspected violators were commenced until there would be backlash. And backlash there would be. What you see with the current political angry propelling Donald Trump in the polls, would be tame by comparison.

I am reminding of an article written by former Navy SEAL Matthew Bracken and author of the series "Enemies: Foreign and Domestic". In a open letter to all Law Enforcement Officers, both local, state and Federal warning them of the consequences for a police enforced unconstitutional gun restrictions or confiscation, in part he wrote:

"I am telling you now that disastrous unintended consequences will happen if Congress passes new laws banning presently legal firearms. To make it very easy to remember, and in the spirit of our beloved Department of Homeland Security’s old color-coded security threat levels, let me spell out three lines of demarcation.

The Yellow Line:

The yellow warning line will be crossed with national gun registration laws, including laws forbidding private gun sales without government permission. When that law passes, millions of Americans will feel that they have been pushed directly to the edge of the abyss above the mass graves of history. Defenders of the Second Amendment know what happened in Turkey, the USSR, Germany, China, and other nations that fell under totalitarian rule: in every case a necessary preliminary step on the road to genocide was national gun registration, followed by confiscation. The Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust say, “Never again!” And so do we.

The Red Line:

The red line will be crossed with the passage of laws mandating that currently owned weapons, ammunition magazines, and ammunition quantities above a certain number must be turned in to authorities or destroyed, and thereafter their simple possession will be a felony. At that point, the nation will be on a hair trigger, with a thousand flaring matches nearing a thousand primed cannon fuses aimed directly at the next Fort Sumter.

The Dead Line:

The next line requires a bit of history to explain. In some primitive Civil War POW camps, where lack of funding or logistical constraints did not allow the construction of proper fences, a knee-high continuous railing of wooden slats encircled the prison grounds. Guards with rifles were positioned at the corners and in crude towers. If a prisoner so much as stepped over the narrow plank, he was shot dead without warning, obviating the need for a real fence to contain him. Hence the term “dead line.” Cross the line and people die, right now.

And this is what liberal Utopians must understand: after passing the yellow line with national gun registration and transfer requirements, and the red line by making possession of currently legal firearms felonious, the dead line will be breached with the first SWAT raids upon citizens suspected of owning legal firearms made illegal by the new gun control laws. People will die resisting confiscation, in large numbers.

Confiscation crosses the dead line, make no mistake about it."

Heck, I can't add anything to that. Everybody who has not read everything that Mathew Bracken has written, needs to do so now and make it a priority. Start with this website then order his books.


Urban Man