Tax-Favored Savings Accounts: Who Gains? Who Loses?

Recent legislation greatly expands the limits on tax-deferred savings accounts, including 401(k) plans and IRAs. This legislation is the latest in a quarter century effort by the federal government to convince Americans that saving through tax-deferred retirement accounts results in lower lifetime taxes.

What Should Congress Do About 401(k)s?

Under the old (defined-benefit) pension system, the investment returns were good, but workers were penalized for switching jobs. Under the new (defined-contribution) system, pensions are more portable, but the returns are too low to fund adequate retirement incomes.

Today's Paper

Ever spend a week with only today's paper? I was on vacation last week down in the islands; hot, sunny, beautiful. But on this island there were no televisions, newspapers, or Internet connections. So my last link with reality was the Saturday, January 12th New York Times.

Time to Go Antiballistic

Russia and China currently have the capacity to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at an American city, and a third nation–North Korea–very nearly does. Iran and Iraq have limited-range missiles and within a few years will have ICBM capability. Libya and Syria have missile development programs. North Korea is selling its missile technology to other nations, and Iraq has substantial stockpiles of bioterrorism toxins that could be launched on a missile.

Bush's Steel Crucible

Americans are caught in a steel trap. Lower consumer prices are good for the economy–especially in a recession–and good for fighting wars. But the politically powerful steel industry is addicted to protective tariffs. So Congress and President Bush may use the cover of war and recession to raise the cost of living for all of us.