Recently, the National Bureau of Economic Research issued a report debunking the theory that as the 77 million Baby Boomers begin to turn 65 in 2011 and cash out of their stock and bond holdings, the markets will spiral into a bear market. The bureau's argument is that 401(k) assets currently represent only a small fraction of people's retirement portfolios, and as 401(k)s continue to grow markedly in coming years, the influx of new investments will buoy the markets.

Evidently, the Department of Labor isn't buying that theory. In fact, it's taking the extraordinary step of committing to help China to set up defined contribution plans modeled after those in the U.S., as a first step in laying the groundwork to attract Chinese investors to U.S. markets to counter the massive sell-off of Boomers' assets in coming years.

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