401(k)'s, according to public comments aimed to help the departments of Labor and the Treasury determine steps to "enhance retirement security for workers in employer-sponsored retirement plans through lifetime annuities or other arrangements that provide a stream of income after retiring." The stock-market crash and economic recession erased up to half of many Americans' 401(k) plans and IRAs, a devastating blow to new retirees and those about to enter their Golden Years. Obama's Middle Class Task Force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, has cited as one of its goals the availability of "annuities and other forms of guaranteed lifetime income, which transform savings into guaranteed future income, reducing the risks that retirees will outlive their savings." Reading through the 500 comments posted online, it's clear that few of those taking the time to weigh in want anything to do with such a proposal. A sample of the responses: 1. "I am appalled and insulted that you would consider yourself in a better position than I to know what is best for me in regard to my own money. I have already decided to skip both my and my wife's 2009 Roth IRA contribution, and I have already ceased contributing to a retirement plan for 2010. Unless, and until, I hear that you are dropping this disastrous plan, I have made my last retirement contribution." 2. "Is your plan seeking to privatize my IRA by turning it over to the custody of a private insurance company? If that is so, then I've got major heartburn over this plan. Do you realize that as an unsecured creditor (which I would be) to a private insurer, my fate would depend solely on the solvency of the insurer? With the recent revelation that the use of
credit default swaps was fairly widespread throughout AIG ( AIG), might I not assume such practice may be widespread throughout the whole insurance industry? To that I say, your hare-brained scheme is fraught with systemic risk. I have taken comfort in the knowledge that after my demise, my heirs would be able to share the remainder of my IRA nest egg. Needless to say, your annuitization proposition would drive a stake right through the heart of my estate plan to the detriment of my heirs. You are declaring war on my family, and I will do whatever it takes to protect them."