...In a joint agency RFI published in today's Federal Register, the Treasury and Labor departments expressed concern that defined contribution plans generally make only lump-sum payments available to plan retirees.
The agencies specifically want to know whether some form of “lifetime income distribution” should be required in all defined contribution plans...
To put this news in context, consider that in late 2008 Democrats openly discussed the possibility of confiscating private retirement accounts in order to "strengthen and protect Americans’ 401(k)s, pensions, and other... plans".
The [Congressional] testimony of Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York, in hearings Oct. 7 drew the most attention and criticism. Testifying for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Ghilarducci proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.
...The current retirement system, Ghilarducci said, “exacerbates income and wealth inequalities” because tax breaks for voluntary retirement accounts are “skewed to the wealthy because it is easier for them to save, and because they receive bigger tax breaks when they do.”
...GRAs would guarantee a fixed 3 percent annual rate of return, although later in her article Ghilarducci explained that participants would not “earn a 3% real return in perpetuity.” In place of tax breaks workers now receive for contributions and thus a lower tax rate, workers would receive $600 annually from the government, inflation-adjusted. For low-income workers whose annual contributions are less than $600, the government would deposit whatever amount it would take to equal the minimum $600 for all participants.
In a radio interview with Kirby Wilbur in Seattle on Oct. 27, 2008, Ghilarducci explained that her proposal doesn’t eliminate the tax breaks, rather, “I’m just rearranging the tax breaks that are available now for 401(k)s and spreading — spreading the wealth.”
Now that the Democrats have nearly decimated the economy (Stimulus II, anyone?), the trillions of dollars in private retirement accounts represent the juiciest of all possible targets.
So why so concerned about the Democrats taking over your 401(k) plan, Sparky? What could possibly go wrong?