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Author: joetangerine Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25239  
Subject: DO NOT let this happen to your 401k! Date: 12/19/2001 4:03 PM
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I saw this news article at Excite.com last night. Cannot find a link now. But I found it very disturbing. This kind of proposed change is ridiculous. And for of all people Sen. Jon Corzine (NJ) to be a proponent is both a conflict of interest and an extreme example of unmitigated hypocrisy!

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Two U.S. senators offer post-Enron 401(k) bill
Tuesday December 18, 4:24 PM EST - By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Seeking to protect other U.S. workers from the retirement savings meltdown suffered by Enron Corp.(ENE) employees, two senators proposed legislation on Tuesday requiring more diversification in pension plans.
Senators Barbara Boxer and Jon Corzine also called for a thorough investigation of events leading to Enron's collapse, with Boxer declaring she thought someone should "go to jail" for the way Enron employees had been left in the lurch.

Thousands of Enron workers lost their jobs and much of their retirement savings when their retirement plans collapsed along with the former energy giant's stock price.
Boxer and Corzine said 67 percent of the assets in Enron 401(k) retirement plans were invested in Enron stock. They proposed limiting to 20 percent the investment an employee can have in any one stock in their individual 401(k) accounts.

"No one who gives investment advice would ever recommend someone being invested at 67 percent," Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, told a news conference together with Boxer, a California Democrat.

"Frankly we have been generous with our bill putting down a 20 percent cap," Corzine said.
The proposal also calls for limiting to 90 days the time an employer can force an employee to hold a matching employer stock contribution in the employee's individual account plan.
It urges a reduction to 50 percent from 100 percent the tax deduction an employer can take on a matching contribution to an individual if that contribution is made in company stock.
With Congress soon to recess for the year, Boxer and Corzine's bill will likely have to wait until next year to progress. They also acknowledged they have yet to round up Republican support.

TEARFUL WORKERS
Boxer and Corzine spoke after tearful Enron workers told the Senate Commerce Committee how they had been left with nothing after the collapse of the company, which made the largest bankruptcy court filing in U.S. history on Dec. 2.

"When you look at the faces of these hardworking, loyal company employees who have nothing -- they are physically sick over what happened -- you would say the Justice Department should go after these (Enron) people and they should be penalized," Boxer said.

Boxer charged earlier this month that the one-time energy giant Enron had broken existing pension law, a law she authored four years ago, when it prohibited employees from divesting company shares from their retirement plans.
She said she would continue urging the government to enforce that four-year-old law, and planned to write to the Justice Department about it, but added that law was no long enough.

"We're going to see if Enron broke the law. I personally think they broke many laws. I hope some of these people wind up in jail ...And that extends to people who audited the books here," she said."But unfortunately that law was watered down ...I want to do more," she said.


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Think about what a 20% in one stock limit would mean.

First, most 401k programs usually only give you the options of the company's stock and a limited number of mutual funds to invest in. Most of the mutual funds are actively managed funds that force the 401k contributor to pay fees for the ridiculously high salaries of supposed "professional fund managers."

As an aside, it is interesting that some of these highly paid "professionals" are the same ones that put mutual fund holders' money into Enron and lost lots of money for them too. Where are these high paid "professionals" now? Are any of them going to jail for not fulfilling their duty to protect fund holders' money? Why are they not getting drug up to Capitol Hill, to explain why they did not protect fund holders' interests and ask the right questions about Enron's finances?

Now back to my point, these supposed "professional" fund managers rarely ever beat the returns of the S&P500 index. This leaves 401k contributors stuck with their company stock and poorly managed mutual funds. With the company stock limited to 20%, then the contributors would be forced to invest more into actively managed mutual funds. Gee I wonder if that might cause a certain former CEO of Goldman Sachs <cough> Sen. Corzine <cough> a bit of a conflict of interest. This sure seems to help his Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street cronies extract more fees for their crappy funds.

Plus, if 401k contributors do get the option to buy individual stocks other than the company stock; they usually have to pay the normal trading fees, plus an additional monthly or quarterly management fee to the brokerage firm for the privilege. Gee with only 20% being able to be in one stock that would mean more fees for the brokerage firms if a stock is going up and the 401k contributor is forced to sell some of his shares to meet the 20% requirement. Hmmm, once again this sure smacks of conflict of interest on a certain former Goldman Sachs CEO!

This is such a ridiculous proposal. I am sure Sen. Corzine kept this "only 20% in one stock principle" in his personal portfolio throughout his entire career at Goldman Sachs. It is amazing how one person can basically buy a New Jersey Senate seat with his own personal fortune and still manitain only 20% of his portfolio in Goldman Sachs stock, including options, throughout his entire career! We need this financial genius here at TMF. I hope TMF will invite Sen. Corzine to be a special guest on their next seminar, "How to become a multi-millionaire and only keep 20% of your holdings in one stock ever!"

This is the most idiotic piece of investment legislation that I have ever heard of in a long while.

Here is a link to Senator Corzine's web site if you would like to voice your opinion:
http://corzine.senate.gov/

I could very easily go on. Yet, when you boil this proposal down, based on all the facts, it is once again a prime example of a liberal that wants to legislate for others a law based on a principle that they do not even follow themselves. When will liberals learn that they really, really do not know any better when it comes to, "How to the average American runs their life?" Liberal "Big Daddy" government does not know best.

I do not need "Big Daddy" government micro-managing every aspect of my life from cradle to the grave while charging me higher taxes for the supposed privilege.

I am so thankful I do not live in New Jersey and have that for a Sentor,
tangerine
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