Congress should act to protect workers' retirement accounts

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002

President Bush has called on Congress to get to work immediately on his proposal to enact pension law changes that would prevent another Enron-style scandal.

That's sound advice. Thousands of Enron Corp. employees have had their nest eggs wiped out because they weren't permitted to dump rapidly falling company stock in their 401(k) plans. Nonetheless, executives profited handsomely because they were under no such restrictions.

The president's plan would give workers 30 days' notice before their accounts could be frozen, allowing them to more easily sell stock in their company. It would also give employees greater freedom to diversify their portfolio. ...

... Other bills before Congress call for more changes in 401(k) plans. One measure ... would bar employees from holding more than 20 percent of their retirement portfolios in any one stock.

Whatever plan Congress eventually adopts, it needs to focus on dealing with the president's recommendations quickly. Because of the shaky economy, there's more potential for corporate failures and with them, the potential for swiftly wiping out the retirement hopes and dreams of America's workers. ...

-- The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

Feb. 12

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