The American Council of Life Insurers vocally applauded the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee for its recent hearing on retirement security. The organization stated that it "strongly supports" efforts that help Americans prepare for a new era of retirement.

"With the hearing today, Chairman [Bill] Thomas (R.-Calif.) and the House Ways and Means Committee are taking an important step to helping Americans face the challenges that lie ahead," said Frank Keating, president and CEO of the ACLI.

Also, the ACLI is promoting its own agenda to achieve that goal: "Retiring in the 21st Century: A National Retirement Agenda."

"Our agenda provides policy-makers with a roadmap to helping Americans save for retirement as well as protect their savings," Keating said. "Tomorrow's retirees will face challenges that previous generations did not."

The ACLI's agenda promotes three calls of action in the areas of employer-based retirement plans, personal savings and social security. In the first case, the ACLI believes that legislators should, "Strengthen and expand the existing employment-based pension system."

As for personal savings, the ACLI supports fostering and protecting retirement savings, particularly through tax incentives for retirement savings and guaranteed lifetime income.

The ACLI asserts that retirees should not rely on social security but that the system must be reformed in order to remain solvent and it must continue to guarantee income for life. However, the organization remains mute on the subject of whether individual accounts are sound. Should they come to pass, however, the ACLI states that, among other things, "A significant portion of individual account balances should be paid out in a guaranteed stream of income for life."

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