The Race Is On For Your 401(k)

The Race Is On For Your 401(k)

Teresa Ghilarducci

I wrote yesterday about the feds coming for your 401(k)s using Theresa Ghilarducci’s ‘Guaranteed Retirement Account‘ plan.  I just did a little tiny bit of digging on Theresa and I have to admit that although I should not be shocked anymore, I was left breathless by just one page from one website.  The depth of the collapsing progressivism is just heinously out-of-control, but this post is not about that research.  I will do another article subsequently after I re-introduce my readers to John Willoughby who is making a run at unseating Autocrat Mazie Hirono here in my home state, Hawaii, District 2.

John is the Tea Party endorsed candidate who just picked up an endorsement from Sarah Palin.  John is a true ‘small government’ Constitutional conservative, a former navy pilot, and current commercial airline pilot, and our best hope of sending Mazie packing.  Please consider donating to his campaign here, as when we last communicated he stated, “I have not received, nor have I been told I can expect, any support from the RNC.”

John has written an article on this very issue of the government seizing Americans’ 401(k)s, with his personal experience of losing his retirement when United Airlines filed Chapter 11.  It may help us average moos understand exactly what the social wealth redistributionists are up to.

Democrats in Congress Take First Step Toward Nationalized Retirement

By John W.Willoughby

Psych! The government hasn’t taken the first step… Whether you know it or not, they’re already on, like, step 10.

After the attacks of 9/11 on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the airline industry was thrown into turmoil. The Bush administration sprang into action and in just eleven short days established the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, a U.S. Treasury Department office designed to stabilize an airline industry that was already in dire straits prior to 9/11. The ATSB was to issue federal loan guarantees to viable airlines unable to acquire conventional credit. An amount that seems now like a paltry sum of $10 billion in loan guarantees (not bailouts) was appropriated by U.S. Congress to assist the airlines.

In essence, establishment of the ATSB provided the means by which airlines (including my employer, United Airlines) could continue to operate while meeting their financial obligations, including the funding of the employees defined benefit pension plans.

Instead of immediately applying for the loan guarantee, United Airlines — hemorrhaging money and suffering from self-inflicted wounds including a flawed business plan, an expensive, outdated, and fuel guzzling fleet of aircraft, inefficient work rules, bloated payroll, and unpaid pension obligations — opted to choose protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a means to stop paying leases on aircraft, slash payrolls, layoff nearly half its work force and abrogate its contracts with its labor unions to include defaulting on pension obligations. This effectively ended the defined benefit pension plan.

Under bankruptcy protection, UAL then applied for the ATSB loan guarantee. They touted elimination of the pension plans and other draconian cost saving measures to prove to the ATSB that they were serious about staying viable and thus worthy of the loan guarantee. After a lengthy application process including a rare reapplication after initial denial, it was determined by the three-member ATSB that UAL was perfectly capable of establishing credit withoutthe government guarantee and denied the second application.

This is significant in two ways. First and most important, the market, not government determined whether UAL would survive (which it did). Secondly, by not taking government funds, UAL CEO Glenn Tilton was able to parley some $40 million in executive compensation for himself and tens of millions more for his immediate staff with nary an objection from the public, media, or Representative BarneyFrank.

But it was after this process that I first realized how little control (whether a result of government intrusion or other external forces) we the people actually have over our future, our financial security and the legacy we will be allowed to pass on to our children and grandchildren. With the stroke of a pen, we employees lost our hard earned retirements.

You see, in the past UAL and its labor unions negotiated a comfortable defined benefit pension plan that promised to pay a specific monthly payment at retirement (just as federal, state and local government agencies do now). Unlike government pension plans, that are funded by taxpayers, UAL (and other private and publically held companies that provide a defined benefit pension plan) was responsible to make regular contributions to the plan in addition to insurance premiums it was required to pay to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, an independent agency of the federal government designed to assume pension obligations in case of pension plan failure.

When UAL filed for Chapter 11 protection, its pension obligations and all monies in the plan were turned over to the PBGC. This was a windfall for the PBGC who developed a formula to continue making current pension payments at a drastically reduced amount and establish a schedule for paying future obligations — my and other’s retirements — at pennies on the dollar.

This is what my Hawaii public and private Union brothers and sisters have in store for them in the immediate future (when it is realized that there is no money to pay the $39 Trillion in unfunded pension obligations) and the rest of working Americans have to look forward to if Democrat Congressional Representative Mazie Hirono and “that San Francisco crowd” have their way.

There is method to their madness. Despite the majority party in Congress’s absolutely unconscionable gargantuan spending spree and outlandish promise to pay down their $13 Trillion plus obligation without the means to do it, they know they have a yet untapped resource from which to draw and plan to follow.

Our Union benefactors (and recipients of millions in union campaign contributions) Hirono and her fellow House Democrats including Speaker NancyPelosi, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support Chairman James McDermott, D-Washington, invited Teresa Ghilarducci, Professor of Economic Policy Analysis at the New School of Social Research in New York to testify at McDermott’s committee. Professor Ghilarducci provided a plan to nationalize America’s private pension system and allow Congress to get their hands on $8 trillion of our money. (What’s especiallystinging is that my local Air Line Pilots Association council recently presented Representative Miller with an award for support of our Union. We lost our retirement once, and now he’s going to pick the bones.)

First,they will nationalize (steal) our hard-earned 401K and IRA accounts — every penny.

Second, they will issue each family an account (with a starting balance of zero) administered by the Social Security Administration (oh, I feel better already). We will be required to contribute to the account, 5% of our annual income (non tax deductable).

Third, the government will contribute up to $600 indexed for inflation (or it would actually be a negative sum gain) annually. Fourth, the government would guarantee a 3% rate of return (not indexed for inflation).

So, if you have a job that pays around $50,000 a year, over a 30-year career you will have built a retirement account worth around $150,000. Now, let me see… That will yield a monthly retirement stipend that is less than the present Social Security payment alone. The upside is that this will be guaranteed, hence the title “Guaranteed Retirement Account.” Oh by the way, only 50% can be passed to your heirs upon your death. Questions???

Yes. Are they out of their freaking minds! Who is speaking out against this? Who thinks the Democrat majority in both the House and Senate and the White House can’t get away with this? They have been preparing their “spread the wealth” strategy since early last election. They don’t actually believe they are helping Americans plan for their retirements… They simply want to get their hands on the $80 billion in annual 401K tax breaks millions of Americans currently receive and the crown jewel — the $7 trillion currently in Americans retirement accounts to pay for their socialist agenda.

What support can we expect this ill-conceived scheme to receive from our Hawaii Representatives? As for Mrs. Hirono, she has blindly voted with her Democrat majority nearly 100% of the time. We can also count on socialist Gubernatorial Candidate Abercrombie to be a chief drumbeater for this effort, then “bring the same change from Washington to Washington Place.” The rest is up to us.

John Willoughby Answers “Why Should I Vote For You?”

John Willoughby Answers “Why Should I Vote For You?”

(Editor’s Note:  As my readers know, I have been saying that every race this election cycle is a national race to flip not only the U.S. Congress, but state legislatures and governorships to candidates that are pro-Constitution and anti-progressive globalist.  I strongly support John Willoughby as the GOP candidate to run against autocrat Mazie Hirono in Hawaii’s District Two race in November.  Mr. Willoughby was sent an email asking his qualifications to be that candidate.  What follows is his response.  To find out more about John and/or donate to his campaign, go here.)

WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR YOU?

Aloha Friends! As you are aware, we are facing a contested Republican Primary in District Two for the first time in many years. The interest in this race notwithstanding, there have been few efforts in the media or community to highlight the differences between my opponent and me, which does a disservice to voters who wish to make an educated choice. I am attaching a recent email below and my response to illustrate some of the differences I see in our campaigns.

The following is from a voter on the Big Island. Besides de-identifying the author, his email and my response are exactly as written:

John,

I will be departing for the mainland on 9/1/10. I am awaiting my absentee ballot. Why should I vote for you verses Ramsay?

I too am a Navy Vietnam Vet and retired Pilot, so we have a few things in common. As well as being a staunch conservative.

I support the TEA party ideals as well as most of what Sarah Palin has to say. Are we on the same page?

Let me know.

Darrell F.
Waikoloa

Aloha Darrell!

I’m glad you asked the question… I’m surprised more people don’t. The Primary election is just four weeks from tomorrow, so I’m not going to waste time mincing words.

It’s been about ten months since I filed my initial press release announcing that I would be running for U.S. Congress. Several months later, when Ramsay Wharton ran into stiff opposition from the Hawaii Republican Party in response to her desire to run for Lieutenant Governor, she shifted gears and decided to seek a path of lesser resistance. That path was to U.S. Congress. (To be fair, I also received opposition from the Party when I, as a complete unknown, first sought out their advice on running for Congress. I understood their concern, but stayed true to my convictions and elected to run despite their reticence. Personally, I feel she should have stayed true to her convictions as well.)

When she ultimately announced that she would be running, I immediately went on record welcoming her to the race. I insisted that her involvement would be nothing but positive with regards to giving Hawaii District Two voters an opportunity to hear a variety of opinions and ideas about substantive issues and solutions to the problems facing Hawaii families. (She even placed a copy of my letter on her website!) Now, six months later, we are closing in on the Primary Election, the results of which will decide who faces Mazie Hirono in the General Election.

This is not a beauty contest. If it was, I think you would agree that I wouldn’t stand much of a chance. Well Darrell, this is not a beauty contest and I’m not trying to win a crown. I’m trying to win a race for the future of Hawaii’s families.

Naturally, Ms. Wharton and I both feel we have the unique qualities required to serve the families of Hawaii. But when placed side-by-side, you would see that the differences between us become stark and the qualifications and experience I can offer Hawaii voters are far superior.

We are being told that we can expect wide scale changes in Congress after the November election. As many as 100 Congressional seats may change hands leaving a large number of Committee vacancies to be filled. We know that House Committee memberships are assigned based on a newly elected Representative’s background and experience. As a 26-year retired military officer (having served in combat, intelligence gathering, and serving many years in overseas duty assignments, etc.), I would line up for membership in the vitally important House Armed Services, House Foreign Relations, and House Veterans Affairs Committees. Possessing an active Top Secret SCI Security Clearance, I would also be considered for immediate membership in the House Intelligence Committee.

As a Commercial Airline Pilot for the past 12 years, I would also line up for membership in the crucial House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where I will join Congressman Charles Djou in moving forward legislation seeking an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act. An exemption would lower the price of virtually every good and service sold in Hawaii up to 22%, and would make our local products more marketable on the mainland and around the world. (By contrast, Ms. Wharton would have a hard time lobbying for membership in any committees other than lower level social service, public service, or communications committees.)

More importantly, my experiences in high-stress, fast-moving positions that require keen judgment and high levels of responsibility and decision making are well-known and have been consistently recognized. I have no qualms about comparing the levels of responsibility each of us has experienced and will have to offer Hawaii voters.

Whether in Command of an aircraft with 20 Navy Crewmembers in combat, or a commercial airliner with 360 passengers and Crewmembers flying into Chicago during a blinding snowstorm, I can’t afford to take my responsibilities lightly – Ever. I can’t routinely call out “cut,” or “let’s do that again,” or “we’ll just wait and try to make that landing later when the conditions are better.” In my business, I am literally responsible for the safety and wellbeing of thousands of families and business people every month. The number of safe landings must equal the number of takeoffs, and the number of men, women and children who walk safely off the plane at the end of the flight must equal the number that board at the beginning of the flight, every single flight. Every day of my life, my mantra must be, “failure is not an option.” I will take that same level of intensity, responsibility, and accountability with me to Washington on your behalf.

Quite frankly, Ms. Wharton is not in the same league. It’s not that she doesn’t have the enthusiasm or resolve… she simply has no common frame of reference, and that is why her claim that she is the only candidate with the experience to be a U.S. Congressman would not stand up under close scrutiny.

Specifically, there are several reasons why you should vote for me. First, my ideas on how to approach the morass our economy is facing are much more substantive: I will move forward on plans (described on my website) to reduce the tax burden on Hawaii families and small businesses; I will fight to stop the government’s incessant and reckless deficit spending that jeopardizes our children and grandchildren’s future; and I will submit legislation to create permanent, well-paying jobs for our unemployed and underemployed workers.

Secondly, I have already established life-long relationships with current members of the U.S. Senate such as Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Mike Enzy, John Ensign, Saxby Chambliss, and Orrin Hatch. And in the House of Representatives, with even prominent Democrats such as House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer, Representatives Ike Skelton, and Sam Farr, and Republicans James Gerlach and Bill Shuster. Simply put, I know how Washington works. It won’t take me 2 or 4 or 6 years to figure things out. Nor will I be reluctant to fight against bureaucrats and politicians who make policies that aren’t in the best interest of Hawaii families.

Thirdly, I am not a career politician and I have no further career aspirations. I will serve no more than two terms. That will allow me to spend every minute in Congress working for Hawaii families instead of trying to get re-elected, or spending your valuable time courting special interests and lobbyists to curry their favor and raise campaign contributions.

And I firmly believe that a member of Congress should not profit from their public service nor leave Washington better off financially than when they arrived. Not only will I not accept healthcare benefits superior to those I already receive in my airline job (Kaiser) or that I can purchase as a retired military member (Tricare for Life), I will donate every single penny more than I will have received from my airline job (which is about half of a current Congressman’s salary) to Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu. That is a promise.

Finally, Ms. Wharton and I also differ on Christian values. I am the only candidate who is Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-traditional marriage, and the only candidate to stand beside Governor Lingle and Hawaii families in opposition to HB444.

I also stand beside the Chiefs of all the Armed Forces and over 90% of our military in uniform who oppose lifting the military’s long standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I also oppose overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which properly defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and does not force us here in Hawaii to recognize same sex marriages or civil unions performed in States on the mainland. Most importantly, I am not afraid to allow God back into our schools and communities.

I hope this has given you some idea why I think you should vote for me Darrell. But the bottom line is that I’m not here answering your email just so I can ask for your vote… I’m here to earn it.

Regards,

John

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