Trump supporter and self-promoter Lance Wallnau, an ardent advocate for Seven Mountains Dominionism, is promoting shameful fearmongering that financial “elites” are preparing to “confiscate” Americans’ retirement accounts. Wallnau’s letter to Christian Post readers arrived in email inboxes this week with the subject line, “World-Renowned Preacher Warns Americas to ACT NOW Before Elites Confiscate Retirement Accounts.”
Wallnau’s email begins by highlighting his supposed prophetic gift for predicting the future, as evidenced by his proclamations that Donald Trump would be elected president—the email even includes a picture of the two of them together—and moves swiftly into a dire warning:
I’m Lance Wallnau, Christian author, educator and news analyst for thirty years. In 2016, I was one of the few evangelical leaders to accurately predict Donald Trump’s Presidency and historic impact.
Now, heading into 2024, I want to warn you about something which will almost certainly negatively affect your life.
Wallnau’s email explains that he is writing about “The Total Control of All Financial Accounts…Including ALL 401(k)s and IRAs,” adding, “This is a big prediction. But I am now very confident this is coming to pass.”
Wallnau’s supposed evidence for this claim? That at the most recent G20 meeting, “the most powerful people in the world could NOT stop talking about Central Bank Digital Currencies.” While CBDC’s are a complicated and controversial financial instrument being considered by many governments, and while there are ongoing debates about their potential dangers for privacy and economic stability, that’s a far cry from Wallnau’s claims that Americans’ retirement accounts are at risk of being confiscated by these global “elites.”
Hawking gold has been a financial mainstay of right-wing media outlets and online personalities for years. For religious-right pundits like Wallnau, promoting gold as a hedge against financial and societal collapse can dovetail with broader apocalyptic messaging.
A few months ago, The Washington Post wrote about the extensive marketing on right-wing media of gold coins as a retirement investment, often with outrageous markups. Reporter Hanna Kozlowska, one of the authors of the Post report, followed up with an August story for MSNBC, noting that their research found that older people who watch conservative media are “bombarded” with ads for gold:
We’ve spoken to customers who are disabled, homebound or living only on Social Security, their lives upended by losing their only nest eggs. And although complaints and allegations of fraud against these companies have been public for years, right-wing media outlets have continued to benefit by accepting their advertising.
The kind of fearmongering pitch Wallnau’s email included is a common sales tactic, according to Kozlowska. “To lure customers, the companies often use fear-based and politically tinged messaging in their advertising and on sales calls,” she wrote for MSNBC, citing an example of an ad sent to a Newsmax list claiming, “Nancy Pelosi has been on a secret mission to KILL the US Dollar.”
Wallnau’s recent email encourages readers to get a kit explaining “how to transfer your current retirement funds into a physical gold IRA without paying a dime in penalties or taxes.” Clicking on the link provided takes readers to a webpage that includes another message from Wallnau invoking God and the Bible to back his pitch:
I’m an author, public speaker, business consultant and man of God. We’re living in an age of economic and social crisis. Don’t be afraid, though. We can tap into our spiritual faith to endure adversity, and the Bible explains how we ready ourselves. God gave Noah a blueprint for the ark, and I believe God has empowered us to build our very own financial arks for the stormy seas ahead.
Birch Gold Group didn’t need the recent G20 conversations about CBDCs to sound the alarm about “confiscation.” It sent Daily Wire subscribers an email in April 2022 with the subject line, “Biden Lackeys Found Planning this ‘Confiscation’ of Savings.” It warned that deficit spending and inflation amounted to an unannounced confiscation of people’s retirement nest eggs, and offered a kit that would show them “how to LEGALLY convert your retirement savings into the rock-solid foundation of precious metals.” That echoed a similar email from two years earlier. And they’re not the only ones warning about “confiscation.” The Hartford Gold Group sent a similar email last year to readers of The Patriot Post. Subscribers to The Blaze got a similar message from GSI Exchange.
Despite the sales rhetoric about gold being a safe haven, investing in gold is not a sure thing. Between 1990 and the beginning of 2023, stocks provided a better return than gold; gold has done better since 2000, but dropped between 2020 and 2022 and has been relatively flat in 2023. And that’s not taking into effect huge fees and markups that can face unwary buyers of gold and gold coins.