Two recent 401(k) plan terminations in our little corner of the retirement plan world does not a trend make. But it’s a sign that the economic slowdown is also affecting plan sponsors.

Two clients who had not made employer contributions for some time decided that because of the relatively few employees contributing, it simply was not worth the time, trouble, expense, and fiduciary responsibility to continue. Employee account balances will be distributed, and hopefully rolled over to IRAs.

So now what? Nick Curabba in his post, Ways and Means Committee to Discuss IRAs, on Baker & Daniels‘ Benefit Biz Blog discusses one public policy solution to the retirement savings issue.  Mark Iwry, a former Treasury Department official is advancing the new idea of requiring employers to default employees into an "automatic" payroll deduction IRA.

I blogged about Mark before in my post, 401(k) Automatic Enrollment or How to Overcome Employee Inertia. Mark is now involved with helping make automatic enrollment happen and "simpler". He is the Managing Director of the Retirement Security Project (RSP) and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

While serving in the U.S. Treasury Department, overseeing the regulation of the nation’s private pension system, Mark led the government’s initiative to define, approve, and promote automatic 401(k)s beginning nearly a decade ago.

But ten years is too long a time period as an answer to "now what?".