The President's Proposal: Reactions in the News

February 4, 2002 ( - Following is a sampling of reactions to the reform proposals President George Bush put forward Friday.

For more insights on the proposal, see:

–  The President’s Proposal:  What It Could Mean For Plan Sponsors

–  The Industry Weighs In On President Bush’s K Plan Proposals

Communication, Choice Focus of Bush’s Pension Plan

Rep. George Miller

Representative George Miller (D-California) found fault with the three-year participation period.  Miller just last week introduced a bill to change pension laws, including a three-month holding period (see  Pension Proposal Offers Participants ‘100% Control’ ). 


“The Bush program could have been in effect in the beginning of 2001, and the Enron fiasco could have played out the same for Enron employees,” said Damon Silver, associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO.

Pension Rights Center

“We have this wholesale shift away from insured plans to these self-saving plans,” said Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center, an employee-oriented research group. “This shift has been fueled by corporations’ interest in cutting costs and boosting the bottom line. It’s a very popular shift, but there’s no evidence that all these voluntary savings plans can do the job. It basically turns retirement into a roulette game. You can win big, but you can also lose.”

Alliance for Retired Americans

The 2.5 million-member Alliance for Retired Americans, said the proposals “fall far short of what is needed.” If the Administration’s proposals had been in effect when Enron collapsed, “the company’s employees would still have been in the same situation as they are today,” said George Kourpias, the alliance’s president in a statement.

Rep. John Boehner

“I’m very pleased President Bush has embraced the bipartisan bill passed by the House that would give rank-and-file workers the same access to professional investment advice that wealthy employees and executives have,” said House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH) in a statement. “Many Enron workers would have made different decisions if there had simply been someone to warn them they had too many eggs in one basket, but outdated federal laws denied them that opportunity. ” (See also House OKs Participant Advice Bill ). 

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