Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Great 401k Hoax

A while ago I read a book titled The Great 401(k) Hoax: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family and Your Future, in which the authors fall barely short of calling 401k's a swindle. I am pretty sure that the title of the book was setteled in concert with the publisher, and that Wolman and Colamosca, the two authors, would have preferred to go with swindle or some other stronger connotation of how 401k's really work.

And now, years later, the Wall Street Journal has an article in which--surprise surprise!--we learn that baby boomers who are starting to retire are getting the short end of the 401k stick. Keep both in mind, the book and the article, when some Laffer Curve, trickle-down, supply-side Republican economist tells you that the way to fix the wholly imaginary "Social Security mess" is to let workers invest into private retirement funds. Think Enron, think Lehman Brothers, think mortage securitization and subprime mortgage crisis, then tell them to go *!@$ themselves.

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