More than 300 readers posted a comment on the retirement planning blog I wrote about the government's flirtation with the idea of taxing, or at least removing, the tax-advantaged status of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s.
As you can probably guess, almost everybody was against it. However, many of the posts were thoughtful -- and Congress should take a look. Here are a few of the comments that struck me as the meatiest:
Mike: That's right. Take away the one incentive that average Americans even have a prayer of saving for retirement. That makes a lot of sense. No, no. Don't cut wasteful government spending. Don't reform the tax code to make it fairer. No, take aim at the 401K. Bunch of idiots. Please. E-mail your Congressmen and just say no. The only way I could see changing the 401K is if the tax code was reformed to blow out all deductions, loopholes, credits and exemptions for everybody and lowering the rate to 10 percent with a three-quarter super-majority needed in Congress to raise the rates. I'd even consider a moderate inflation adjuster (capped) to account for inflation. Where is Murray the Accountant (from the movie, "Dave", when you need him?)
Regina Boyer: Why don't any of our congressional members or presidents start leading by example? Let them start paying for their medical care, and pass a law banning pay raises for the next 10 years for themselves. And when they do get a raise, it can only be .25 cents an hour.
Jim M. Gau: The economy tanked a couple years ago, and I lost a huge chunk of the value of both my 401(k), and my primary home, as well as a couple additional pieces of property I had. How can I find anyplace safe for my money? Retirement plans like 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. should have be iron-clad protected and insured by the government against losing value. I am 53. I guess I had better live to a ripe old age to keep the family afloat! One more major tanking like this last one, and we will all be saying, "God bless the bankruptcy courts!"
Sam: What a bunch of taxophobe whiners. You already live in the advanced country with the lowest taxes in the world, and all you do is cry. Taxes are the price of civilization -- police and fire protection, education, prisons, the armed forces, and yes, Social Security and Medicare. You think government is the problem. Try living in a country which has none (Somalia); anarchy isn't the fun you think it will be.
There are lots of comments like this -- definitely worth a read.