I just read a story that was quite troubling. As many of you know, this current financial crisis is one that has been largely created through poor and incompetent government policies, including (but not limited to): the Federal Reserve, under Alan Greenspan, holding interest rates at a fairly low level for an extended period of time; rules that required banks to suspend normal lending practices that required the bank to lend money to borrowers who have the ability to pay, and instead replacing it with a government edict that those who could not possibly pay their mortgage back receive mortgages as well; then, there is the creation of the government enterprises--Freddie and Frannie Mae, which would buy the bad mortgages from the banks and securitize them (and thus, sell them all over the world); and, last but not least, the government also had a list of "approved" credit agencies who would then rate the credit worthiness of these bad mortgages, which meant that the supply of useful information related to these mortgages was rationed and restricted by the government.
OK. So the government created this mess, and the stock market has obviously taken a hit due to the uncertainty that this has brought. But never fear, for the government has more ideas on how to wreck your life.
Now, the government is looking at your 401(k) plan, and they are thinking about ways that they can take over and control your 401(k) plan because you are not managing it as well as the government could. Yes, everyone's 401(k) is quite low at this point in time. However, anyone who is invested in the market should realize that wild swings are a normal part of market participation. There are a great deal of benefits to waiting if you're presently invested. Those who hold their equities for the long-term can expect returns of 7-8% per year, adjusted for inflation. As everyone knows by now, the Social Security system has guaranteed far more than it can ever possibly expect to pay in the future. In other words, Social Security is going to go broke at some point in the future. However, not to fear, as the government actually wants to take over your 401(k) and convert it into a government-managed system. What would be the great benefit from such a deal? Well, according to the article I just read in the LA Times (available here), you would be guaranteed an "inflation-adjusted 3%" return. Wow! Now that is a wonderful deal, isn't it? You hand over all of your life savings to the government in exchange for an "inflation-adjusted 3% return." Sounds like socialism to me. If you hand it over to the government, though, don't expect them to hold your money. More likely than not, they would take your loot, and spend it, which is exactly what Congress has done with the Social Security surplus.