In the pre-dawn darkness of a chilly LA morning, my day started off with a chuckle. A friend in the reforestation business sent me an email detailing the US Department of Agriculture’s new ‘Christmas Tree’ tax that was approved yesterday. I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t.
One can only laugh at the absurdity of the government getting involved in such a matter. But it’s happening more and more.
You see, the United States is on a one-way collision course with its financial judgment day; the country long ago passed the historical point of no return– the point at which it has to start borrowing money simply to pay interest on the money it has already borrowed.
Throughout history, countries that passed this point of no return soon defaulted on their debts, entered into extended periods of severe inflation, or both. This is nothing new– the idea of a government going bankrupt is practically as old as the concept of government itself.
Along the way as they slide down the slippery slope of economic calamity, governments typically hit the accelerator by resorting to financial repression; rather than making the economy open and attractive to talented people and investment capital, they instead confiscate, inflate, and overregulate.
These tactics include oldies but goodies like civil asset forfeiture, capital controls, and a host of whacky new taxes. Like a Christmas Tree tax, for example.
Sumptuary laws (regulation and taxes over lifestyle habits) are quite common, dating back to the Renaissance period ‘beard taxes’. If you wore a beard during the time of Peter the Great in Russia, or Henry VIII in England, you paid a tax to the government for the privilege.
There are many modern day equivalents of the beard tax– taxes on cigarettes, mobile phones, vehicles, luxury goods, etc. We should expect the introduction of even more– a national sales tax, an Internet tax, a carbon emissions tax, and a financial transactions tax.
After this, the next mind-boggling category of taxes that will be introduced are ‘social taxes’. In other words, you get taxed on what everyone else is doing… like an anti-terrorism security tax, or better yet, national healthcare where you pay for other people to go to the doctor.
During the Tokugawa period in feudal Japan, they called this ‘honto mononari’. Village peasants were taxed by the local daimyo on the basis of the entire village’s rice yield for that season. Even if you didn’t grow a single grain, you still paid.
Perhaps the most heinous forms of taxes to come, though, are asset taxes. And at roughly $5 trillion in total value, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are the lowest hanging fruit that the federal government can grab.
It’s not that far-fetched. Argentina has done it. Hungary and Ireland have done it. Even France passed a law last year authorizing the government to use pension fund assets to pay off its debts. And if you recall, the US Treasury raided public pensions this year to tide itself over during the budget debacle.
The next step will be for the government to nationalize a portion of IRA assets. They’ll wait for a severe market downturn that wipes a huge chunk from most IRA accounts, blame capitalism for the failure, and then pass a law requiring that X% of IRA funds be held in the ‘safety and security’ of government debt.
If you think this can’t happen, then I encourage you to do absolutely nothing. Keep your IRA funds parked with a big, conventionally-thinking financial institution that has absolutely no interest in your financial security.
If, on the other hand, you can see the writing on the wall, then one of the biggest no-brainers you can undertake is establishing a Global Self-Directed IRA.
This is a structure where YOU take control over your own retirement funds, opening up your savings to a world of possibilities and protecting against government confiscation.
Many Sovereign Man subscribers have written in to tell us about their successes with this approach. Subscribers have shipped their retirement funds overseas, bought foreign property, purchased precious metal coins, funded early stage technology ventures, and more.
Best of all, their hard earned retirement savings accounts are out of the government’s control, and back into their control.