So it looks like life insurance companies will be allowed into the federal hand-out line. These are the businesses that allegedly specialize in risk management. Their entire operation is based on their ability to calculate how much risk an individual represents and set policy premiums accordingly. Yet somehow these risk experts were unable to manage their own risks, and now they want taxpayer money to help them out. The U.S. is now officially a welfare state. Only it is companies that are dependent on the dole. This goes way beyond bailing out AIG ( AIG). That insurer was into all kinds of nonsense and is so interwoven into the entire global financial system that the government felt compelled to shore it up. Apparently, bailout money will soon be offered to insurers that also own federally chartered banks. You may recall that many insurers rushed out to buy some banks last fall in the hopes of qualifying for bailout money, and now the U.S. Treasury is set to grant that wish, according to the Wall Street Journal. We're talking about some big name life insurers like Prudential Financial ( PRU), Hartford Financial Services ( HIG), Lincoln National ( LNC), Genworth Financial ( GNW)and maybe even MetLife ( MET), according to the Wall Street Journal. Some of these life insurers got into trouble by offering generous guarantees to attract more customers for annuity products that provide retirement income. They promised minimum payouts on investments regardless of market performance -- and we all know what happened to the markets. Were they a little overzealous with their promises? And that's whose problem? Right, it's yours as a taxpayer. These insurers are considered too fundamental to the overall financial system to be allowed to fail and, well, all those folks counting on those annuities to retire would otherwise have to just keep on working forever. That hardly seems fair.