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Don't give up on 401(k) plans

Here's another solution looking for a problem. Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor, has managed to get some traction for her new retirement savings concept that would call for doing away with the tax benefits of 401(k) plans. Her book, "Now We're 64" has been touted by various shows on National Public Radio. As if that weren't enough, the New York Times published her op-ed piece on the subject. Now, it's been reported that Congressmen are taking the concept seriously.

Long Term, We Won't Be Left Behind

I don't think the current economic malaise is a canary in the mineshaft signaling the "End Times," as some religion-oriented economic web-sites have proposed. More secular economists have predicted a recession like we had in the early 1980's. If so, a review of the past and its effect on the stock market could offer a glimpse into the future.

401(k) money can offer a lifeline

WHEN my daughter recently moved out of her San Francisco apartment to go to New York for graduate school, she went on Craig's List and sold everything she and her roommates had used to create that home in the city. They got what seemed like thousands of dollars for stuff I would have taken to Goodwill. Even their little coffee maker and some kitchen utensils went on the block and out the door. Buyers even came and did the heavy lifting.

Taxpayers deserve equity stakes

BACK in the days when leadership existed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt got on the radio and announced that the government would stand behind any bank savings deposit up to $10,000. It was a complete surprise to everyone including Congress, but it stopped the run on the banks, and blind-sided legislators got on board the next day to create and pass a bill without delay.

Prison guards test for governor

Former S.F. Mayor, Willie Brown, suggested recently that anyone eating dinner in Oakland should order soup. Why? If the restaurant is held up, patrons can slip their jewelry into the soup to prevent theft.

Our embattled governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, needs to find the legislative equivalent to soup on the menu as the state prison guards file a petition for his recall - a definite holdup of sorts.

Remedies to pay for health care

Last week's depressing news was a report that health insurance premiums have risen yet again. Worse now is that employers are making employees pay more of the cost. Fifty nine percent of the companies surveyed also said they were cutting benefits and/or raising employees' share of premiums.

Whether the employer or employee has to pay more hardly matters, because it's effectively employee money that makes up the cost of fielding a labor force. We're only kidding ourselves when we consider a benefit to be "free" because the employer pays for it.

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