(T)he plan will wind down the largely state-owned Cyprus Popular Bank, known as Laiki, and shift deposits under 100,000 euros to the Bank of Cyprus to create a "good bank", leaving problems behind in, effectively, a "bad bank".All of that last sentence is a government doublespeak that means, the Cypriot government is going to confiscate assets from deposits over $100,000 Euros ($130,000) to bail out the banks and the government. The government bought Greek bonds, fer cryin' out loud, of course they need bailing out.
Deposits above 100,000 euros in both banks, which are not guaranteed by the state under EU law, will be frozen and used to resolve Laiki's debts and recapitalise the Bank of Cyprus, the island's biggest, through a deposit/equity conversion.
Cyprus shows the willingness of governments to go after privately owned money to pay for stupid business decisions - by themselves or or other privileged classes like bankers. In the US, the most noticeable (and therefore most vulnerable) group of accounts with large amounts of money in them are 401ks or IRAs. One of the leading advocates for going after your 401k accounts is Teresa Ghilarducci, a policy analyst whom I've encountered and linked to before.
In a 2009 research paper, Teresa Ghilarducci declared “Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRA’s) are like universal 401(K) plans except that the government, as befits a large and enduring institution, will invest and manage the pooled savings.” That’s because, as the professorial Ghilarducci believes, “Humans often lack the foresight, discipline, and investing skills required to sustain a savings plan.” (Of course, that analysis of “humans” would not apply to left-leaning PhDs, members of Congress, and bossy bureaucrats – who somehow are endowed with the skills needed to manage everyone else’s investments.)Financial advisor and retirement plan creator Jim Dreos puts it this way:
Ghilarducci touts her proposed accounts as enabling everyone to avoid stock market risk and still earn guaranteed inflation-beating returns. She would have you believe that the government can magically guarantee that the money under its control will earn a 3% annual return on top of inflation. The notion that anyone can guarantee sizable inflation-beating gains in perpetuity and zero downside is a naïve fantasy at best. It’s probably more accurately described as a canard put out to hoodwink the gullible public.I've written on the topic many times, as have many others. The threat is real. No, I can't give a good prediction of when. The people in Cyprus were told right up until the moment that the banks closed that everything was fine; there's no need to be concerned. And don't take financial advice from me any more than you would from any random dood on the internet. I take my own advice, and put my money where my mouth is, but I may be less than 100% consistent.