Good. We'll make this brief.
The Democrats are proposing to end the tax breaks on 401(k) plans. That means no incentive for employer matching funds, which will promptly go away: you will instead be given up to $600 dollars a year by the government. Hope that you weren't counting on your employer's matching funds for your retirement!
You will also be required to contribute 5% of your gross income per year, which will be locked into a 3% annual rate of return via government bonds. And, no, you do not have a say in how they invest the money. Based on what I can tell about Teresa Ghilarducci - the genius who apparently came up with this exercise in applied looting, and who briefed the Democrats on it last week - she's about as interested in actual middle-class opinions as the rest of the New School for Social Research. God save us from academic economists.
Yes, this is a welfare system. Of course, this hurts the poor disproportionately. Indeed, this is a rather drastic, socialist notion that reminds many people of the games that Argentina is contemplating playing with with regard to nationalizing their private pension fund system. And, yes, the difference in what you're being forced to invest in the government, and what the government will deign to give back to you, can be significant.
That's why the Democrats are doing it - particularly Representative George Miller, Democrat from California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington. They think that they know better than you do about how to spend your money.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?