On Tuesday, February 24th, the
House Education and Labor Committee
will begin a series of hearings to "explore the
shortcomings of our nation's retirement system and look
at solutions to ensure that Americans can enjoy a safe and
secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work."
It's the same committee, chaired by Congressman George
Miller (D-California), that initiated a similar series of
hearings last fall (see
Congress Considers Market Impact on Retirement Security
) - hearings that, following testimony from
Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci
, triggered concerns that the hearings were laying the
groundwork for a campaign to undermine the availability or
tax benefits of the 401(k).
Subsequently, both Congressman Miller and Dr.
Ghilarducci denied those intentions.
In fact, in a response to a Wall Street Journal editorial
on November 18, Miller said, "I do not support abolishing
401(k)s, forcing these plans into government programs, or
changing their tax status. We must preserve and strengthen
401(k)s, not end them." (see
The Plot to Kill the 401(k)
However, those concerns might be reinvigorated with the
new set of hearings; according to the committee's website,
the "first hearing will examine how the current economic
crisis has highlighted existing weaknesses in the 401(k)
retirement savings system."
Testimony to the committee will be provided by:
Dean Baker, Co-director, Center for Economic and
John C. Bogle, Founder, Vanguard Group
Alicia Munnell, Director, Boston College's Center
for Retirement Research
Paul Schott Stevens, President and CEO, Investment
A day after the Education and Labor Committee hearing,
the Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing to
examine, among other things, 401(k) lifecycle or
target-date funds (see
DC Plan Fee Disclosure Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate