Poll Finds Support for 401(k) Advice, Choice

March 5, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new poll by a Republican pollster showed half of those surveyed support Congressional efforts to make it easier for companies to provide financial advice to retirement plan participants.

The survey by Andres McKenna Research, also found that 41% believe that even a well-intentioned Congress will ultimately foul things up for the nation’s retirees, according to a press release put out Monday by members of the House Education and the Workforce staff. According to the release, CongressDaily first obtained the survey.

The McKenna survey also found that 36% of respondents said 401(k) plan investors should be able to sell company stock soon after they receive it. Company stock has been a central issue in the Enron scandal with former employees saying they were improperly pressured to buy Enron shares even as the stock price was plummeting.

Turning to the debate over whether American workers should be allowed to invest part of their Social Security benefits, 53% of the McKenna respondents said they were more upset by suggestions that government wouldn’t allow people to have some say in their Social Security money than by moves to regulate 401(k) company stock.

Disagreeing, 37% said the stock sale prohibitions were worse.

One in six of those polled said it was worse that 20 million 20-something taxpayers may not get Social Security benefits than the Enron workers who won’t get any benefit from their 401(k) plan. About a quarter of respondents said the Enron situation was worse.

The phone poll was taken of 600 registered voters in mid-February, according to the press release.

Republican Assignments

Also in Monday’s release was an announcement that Republicans have divided up the issues involved in the Enron scandal in order to research them for potential reform legislation.

The press release said House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have met with House committee chairmen to distribute assignments:

  • Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), chair of the House Education and the Workforce committee, Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Bill Thomas (R-California) will concentrate on pension reform.
  • Financial Services Chairman Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin, (R-Louisiana) will concentrate on accounting reform.