RUSH: Rio Rancho "Huevos," New Mexico, this is Alicia. Great to have you on the program. Hi.
CALLER: Oh, Rush, this is such an honor, and I'm so nervous. (giggles)
RUSH: You don't sound nervous at all.
CALLER: Oh, thank you. I'm just urging everybody to get out and vote in all the close races, congressmen, senators.
RUSH: No, no! Get out and vote in all the slam-dunk races. Get out and vote in all of the races.
CALLER: Yes. In all of them, that's true, but we must sweep in, because as bad as what's been done to us already with health care and the takeovers and everything, people have to ask themselves: What's going to happen? What else are they planning? Like nationalizing our 401(k)s and IRAs, that's on the agenda.
RUSH: Well, now, that's fascinating you mention that, because that's the next item up in my Stack of Stuff and I talked about this weeks ago, maybe even months ago when Tom "Dung Heap" Harken proposed this. Now, before you condition Alicia, let me refer to what she's talking about. It's Mark Hemingway in the Washington Examiner: " Will the government outlaw your 401(k) plan? It seems like an absurd possibility, yet earlier this month two Democratic senators, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., held a hearing on Capitol Hill exploring the possibility of doing exactly that. On Oct. 8, the two senators from the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on 'Retirement (In)security in America.' "Among the proposals discussed was 'Guaranteed Retirement Accounts,' or GRAs. The purpose of the GRA proposal is simple: To force Americans to stop putting their retirement savings money into private 401(k) accounts and send their money to the government instead." Now, this has been in the works for a long time and I remember the first time I mentioned this on the program, Alicia, we were deluged with calls from Washington: "No, no, no! You totally misunderstand. Nobody in the Democrat Party is talking about eliminating 401(k)s," and they are.
CALLER: Yes, they are.
RUSH: And it's not stopping there. They're also planning on going after your pension fund.
CALLER: Yeah, your private pension fund.
CALLER: Right. And I'm scared to death. I get a private pension from Verizon. We saved, we lived below our income to save and put in our IRAs, and now they want to nationalize it -- and the worst of it is, the plan put forth by this woman [Teresa] Ghilarducci -- or something, I'm not sure how to say her name, I think: Ghilarducci -- for the White House, is: Okay, if they take all my IRAs, my husband's and my IRAs, whatever we spend, we can't spend it as we want. They only want us to have a monthly allowance.
RUSH: Exactly right. We've talk about this in great detail. They don't want to essentially take your IRA away from you and then give you back something like its current value at 2% interest.
CALLER: Right, and then you can only leave half of it to your heirs.
CALLER: The government keeps the other half.
RUSH: Folks, she is exactly right about this. "The purpose of the GRA" from Harkin and Sanders "is simple: To force Americans to stop putting their retirement savings money into private 401(k) accounts and send their money to the government instead. The GRAs," which is again the Guaranteed Retirement Account where you turn your 401(k) into a guaranteed retirement account, "'eliminate the favorable tax treatment currently afforded to 401(k) plans...'" What this is rooted in is eliminating the tax deduction that you get for the contribution to your 401(k). The Democrats think it's "costing" the government money. Now, they came up with this idea, the 401(k) plan, but now it's costing them money so they gonna get rid of it. You know, you're allowed to put a certain percentage of your gross into your 401(k) without taxes on it provided you don't withdraw it early.
They want to eliminate this. They want to take the money away from you, eliminate the tax deduction for future contributions, and give you back 2% interest on what you've got. That's essentially what it is. I need to find this in the website archives. I remember discussing this in great detail, and I remember -- it seems like years ago, actually' I know it was months ago -- and I remember talking about this and we got more hell from people in Washington saying this wasn't being discussed, that this wasn't being planned. In fact under Bush there had been a move to increase the cap on 401(k)s, and the Democrats stopped all of it. This is social justice.
"GRAs would 'eliminate the favorable tax treatment currently afforded to 401(k) plans, and instead use those dollars to fund government-invested GRAs into which all employees would be required to contribute a portion of their salary,' according to a letter signed by House Minority Leader John Boehner and 12 other Republican representatives. The letter urged opposition to the proposal and was sent to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in May. The Harkin-Sanders HELP committee hearing shows Democrats are ignoring critics of the GRA proposal." Now, guess who's behind it, though? Unions.
The unions are behind this. You might say, "Why? Why are the unions pushing this?" Very simple. The average union pension plan right now is only 62% funded -- and that's way below the point at which the government considers a pension plan endangered. So there are estimates that suggest unions' multiemployer pension plans are underfunded by $165 billion and could be on the verge of collapse, because all the money the union guys think is stashed away for them has been spent. The Reverend Jackson years ago talked raiding pension accounts for "social justice." The union leaders see these retirement security ideas like GRAs as vehicles as a back-door pension bailout:
To go get your 401(k) and add it to their pensions that are underfunded, thereby making their pensions whole, in exchange. The government funds a retirement account for you, but you no longer are in charge of how much it is or what kind of tax deduction that you get. I'm gonna go back. We're gonna go back and find what I said about this at RushLimbaugh.com. We have. I'm just gonna in the process here of Cynthia sizing it, editing it and printing it out. But the unions are behind this. The unions and their Democrat friends in Congress are still pushing to do away with your 401(k)s. They essentially are doing for a bailout of their pension plans with your money. That's what this by no means down to -- and the Democrats, Harkin and what's-his-face here, Sanders, are telling you that they're saving your retirement like putting it in a lockbox, saving your retirement.
When in fact they're taking your money in your 401(k) and bailing out union allies with it. That's the purpose of this. I talked about this back in October of 2008. I know it goes back two years. My memory? Don't ever, don't ever doubt my memory. Here, let me read to you the first part of my transcript from the show on October 24th, 2008. At the website, we entitled it, " "Biden: CEO Pensions 'Go First' (And Your 401(k) Will Go Next) -- I want to talk to all of you who have 401(k)s or SEP/Keogh plans, some kind of pension plan or retirement plan. ... I want to remind you, two weeks ago Congressman George Miller from California who chairs some congressional committee, big Democrat, been there for ages, said, 'We're going to have to do something about the tax deductibility of contributions to people's 401(k)s because government's losing money.
"We're losing money on this,' so he's going to propose eliminating the deductibility of whatever you contribute to your 401(k). This goes back to 2008, and all hell broke loose. All kinds of denials were phoned into this program from Washington in a panic, and I remember pointing out: You can talk about all the so-called greed in the private sector. They're gonna go out and they're gonna take the pension of a CEO and your 401(k) plan and they're gonna transfer it to union plans. I said, "Listen to this. Look at me. 'A plan by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, contains elements that are being considered. ... Under Ghilarducci's plan," this is what the caller was talking about "all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the US government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account [GRA] administered by the Social Security Administration.'
"In other words, there is a plan that the Democrats are considering to convert your 401(k) to the Social Security Administration, your 401(k) then administered by the SSA, your private retirement plan becomes owned by the government. 'The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation'" to you. Ghilarducci is the name the caller was trying to come up with. This goes back to 2008. Now, again this Ghilarducci babe is a professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research. She's the one that went bat nuts. She's the one when they asked her about this said, "Oh, Limbaugh, he's nuts! He doesn't understand what I'm talking about. He doesn't have brain power to understand what I'm talk about," and yet here today, earlier this month, it has now become official with a proposal by Tom Harkin (Democrat-Iowa) and Bernie Sanders ("Democrat"-Vermont) to create the GRA to take your 401(k), take it away from you, replace it with 600 bucks a year at 3%, and give the money to the unions to make their pensions whole. That's what they're proposing, come hell or high water. Look for this in a lame duck session. This is the kind of stuff you ought to be mad about and are.
RUSH: I remember this like it was yesterday. This woman appeared before George Miller's committee, and remember we had a call from somebody in George Miller's district last week. We talked about the who he is. But anyway this woman, Ghilarducci, showed up, and I remember talking about this. The reaction that I got was, "Well, Rush, you're nuts. You're crazy to even be concerned about this. This is just a think piece. This is just Ms. Ghilarducci thinking about things. This is what we liberals do! It's just a thought exercise. She doesn't have any policy power here." I remember this like it was yesterday, and here the story is today. Two years later, almost to the day two years later -- actually 25 months later -- her proposal has now been accepted and has been proposed as a piece of legislation by Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders to create an annuity funded by most of the private money now in private pension plans. It's not much different from Social Security, but it would take your 401(k) away from you, and the people pushing it -- and, by the way, it makes total sense, doesn't it, that Harkin and Sanders are pushing it? I mean, it's for unions. It's the unions behind it who are panicking over their unfunded (underfunded, unfunded, whatever) pension plans to the tune of over $150 billion.