vendredi 20 octobre 2017

Bagged Salad Recall Expands To Include Vegetables Sold At Walmart, Target, Others

This morning, we shared a recall notice from grocery chain Trader Joe’s that its kohlrabi salad mix had been recalled after a supplier let the company know about potential listeria contamination. It turns out that recall was much bigger, involving other retailers including Albertsons, H-E-B, and Walmart, and vegetables that are less fun to say than “kohlrabi.”

What happened

The company behind the recalled products, Mann Packing, exports some products to Canada, and routine testing of those exports turned up Listeria. While there have been no reported or confirmed illnesses from these products, note that the incubation period for Listeria ranges from three to 70 days, so people could get sick more than two months from now.

What to look for

There are a lot of products included in this recall. They were sold under Mann’s own brand name, and also under the store brands of Archer Farms (Target), H-E-B, Little Salad Bar, Signature Farms (Albertsons), Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Western Family. You can find a table with all of the items listed at the bottom of this post, and images of the Mann’s packaging for each product is available on the company’s website.

What to do

Mann’s asks that you throw affected products away or return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund. If you have any questions about the recall or the products, contact the company at 888-470-2681 or use its email form.

Product “Best Before” Date UPC
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Carrots, 12 oz bags 10/14, 10/15, 10/16 716519013058
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 16 oz bags 10/14, 10/16 716519012174
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013034
10/16/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, 1 lb bags 10/15/2017 716519011009
10/17/2017
Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013072
10/15/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Wokly, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519010163
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Wokly, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013010
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Culinary Cuts Shaved Brussels Sprout, 9 oz bas 10/14/2017 716519036859
10/15/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 2 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020186
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519012181
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013065
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Cauliflower Florets, 3 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020292
10/16/2017
Mann’s Culinary Cuts Cauliettes Chopped Cauliflower, 14 oz bags 10/15/2017 716519069017
10/14/2017 716519069017
10/15/2017 716519069017
10/16/2017 716519069017
Mann’s Family Favorites Cauliflower Florets, 10 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519014031
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Cheddar Pretzel Veggie Tray, 19.6 oz tray 10/15/2017 716519020445
10/16/2017
Mann’s Fiesta Vegetable Tray, 35.5 oz tray 10/14/2017 716519088728
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Honey Turkey Cheddar, 20.3 oz Tray 10/14/2017 716519020483
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Kale Beet Blend, 8 oz Bags 10/14/2017 716519000287
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Southwest Chipotle, 10.5 oz trays 10/18/2017 716519036958
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Bacon Maple Brussels, 7.15 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036941
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
10/20/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowl Monterey Risotto, 8.75 oz Tray 10/11/2017 716519036798
10/12/2017
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Sesame Sriracha, 12 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036811
10/13/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
10/19/2017
10/20/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowl Cauli Rice Curry, 11 oz Tray 10/11/2017 716519036897
10/12/2017
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Southwest Chipotle, 10.5 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036859
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Vegetable Tray, 54 oz tray 10/15/2017 716519014055
Mann’s Power Blend, 20 oz bags 10/17/2017 716519000416
Mann’s Power Blend, 10 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013119
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Rainbow Salad, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013089
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 2 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020155
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519012150
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013041
10/16/2017
10/14/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Vegetable Tray, 2.5 lb tray 10/15/2017 716519014079
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Hummus Tray, 16.5 oz trays 10/14/2017 716519014758
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Veggie Ranch Tray, 16.5 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519020575
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Archer Farms (Target) Broccoli Slaw 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 85239343142
Archer Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239341148
10/15/2017
Archer Farms Broccoli Florets 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239319147
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Archer Farms Broccoli Medley 12oz Bags 10/14/2017 085239339145
10/15/2017
Archer Farms Brussels Sprouts, 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239301142
Archer Farms Shaved Brussels Sprouts, 9oz bags 10/15/2017 085239193143
Archer Farms Cauliflower Florets, 10oz bags 10/14/2017 085239030141
H-E-B Broccoli Carrots, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122097508
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Cauliflower, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097503
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122097505
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Slaw, 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 4122097512
10/17/2017
H-E-B Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, 10OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122065112
10/15/2017
H-E-B Veggie Toss Kit Caulibit Mushroom Sauce, 11oz bags 10/15/2017 4122017706
10/16/2017
H-E-B Caulibits Chopped Cauliflower, 14oz bags 10/15/2017 4122009327
10/16/2017
H-E-B Cauliflower Florets, 10 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122032278
10/16/2017
H-E-B Fiesta Salad, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097501
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
H-E-B Power Slaw, 10 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122083223
10/17/2017
H-E-B Stir Fry Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097504
10/16/2017
H-E-B Vegetable Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097506
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Little Salad Bar Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 041498216030
Little Salad Bar Broccoli Slaw, 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 041498216047
Signature Farms Meat & Cheese Tray, 36 OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130110964
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets 4/28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984497
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets 6/12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983407
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Slaw 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 21130983391
10/17/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Stir Fry 28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984459
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Florets 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130983407
10/15/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Stir Fry, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983322
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 24 OZ. trays 10/14/2017 021130299553
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 24OZ (NS) trays 10/14/2017 021130299553
10/15/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 54 OZ. trays 10/16/2017 21130299560
Signature Farms Vegetable Medley, 28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984466
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Vegetable Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983322
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie & Hummus Tray (NS), 16.5OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130984282
Signature Farms Veggie & Hummus Tray, 16.5 OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130984282
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Trader Joe’s Kohlrabi Salad Blend, 10 OZ Bags 10/14/2017 0058 6146
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131328852
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Florets, 32 oz bags 10/14/2017 681131122344
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131328845
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Slaw, 16 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131148207
10/15/2017
Walmart Stir Fry Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/13/2017 681131457460
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Cauliflower Florets, 10 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131091381
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Cauliflower 6/16 oz 10/14/2017 681131122320
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Super Blend, 10oz bags 10/13/2017 681131148368
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Vegetable Medley, 2LB bags 10/14/2017 681131457378
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Vegetable Medley 9/12 OZ WM 10/14/2017 681131328791
10/15/2017
10/16/2017


California Accuses Retailer Of Using Bait-And-Switch Tactics To Lure In Customers

A Los Angeles-area chain of retail stores is accused by the state of repeatedly misleading customers into thinking they were going to get a good price on merchandise only to be told after they get into the store that the only way to get that advertised price is if they spend more money.

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that it has filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Curacao, an L.A.-based retailer that largely serves the areas Spanish-speaking community.

Curacao has been around for nearly 40 years, and currently operates a dozen stores, mostly in Southern California, with two locations in Arizona, and one store in Las Vegas.

While the store represents itself as a competitor with the big box chains, the state’s lawsuit alleges that “Curacao victimizes consumers through a variety of unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.”

Becerra claims that Curacao advertises low prices and easy credit, primarily to an immigrant community with no or limited access to credit. But, alleges the complaint, these ads are “false or misleading,” and in-store employees are allegedly instructed to not sell items at the advertised price unless the customer spends additional money on unnecessary add-ons, like warranties or overpriced accessories.

“Curacao often tells consumers that merchandise advertised by Curacao is either unavailable, or available only as part of a more expensive bundle that was not disclosed in Curacao’s advertising,” reads the complaint. “Curacao fails to honor prices as they are advertised and marked on its sales floor, and fails to supply reasonably expected demand for the merchandise it advertises.”

In some cases, says the state, Curacao employees are adding warranties or additional services to the customer’s order without telling them. The lawsuit claims that employees hide these add-ons by getting the customer to sign a touch screen agreeing to the contract and only then providing them with an itemized bill and a full copy of the agreement.

Curacao customers are often talked into warranties that in many cases were meaningless, alleges the lawsuit. The state claims that store employees would fail to provide customers with copies of, or any information about, these warranties. Those customers who tried to get a warranty repair were frequently denied or had their warranties voided by Curacao, according to the state.

What’s more, the complaint claims that Curacao misled state regulators about the warranties it sells. The retailer had told state authorities that it was selling warranties administered by a third party, when in reality it was allegedly selling self-administered warranties, but without the insurance or financial backing that is required under California law.

The state says that customers who returned products to Curacao would still be charged for installment payments warranties for products they no longer owned, and that customers were charged for third-party warranties that didn’t exist.

But wait… There’s more. Employees allegedly deceive customers about the price and necessity of accessories, falsely telling shoppers these add-on items may be vital to operating their main purchase.

Additionally, says Becerra, sometimes the prices are low on Curacao products because they are used; a fact that is not disclosed to the customer.

Even if a customer does purchase a Curacao product at the advertised price, they could end up paying several times the product’s value if they sign up for the store’s financing program, which is heavily marketed in both the stores and the Curacao website. The complaint notes that Curacao markets this option at the reasonable — for a store credit line — APR or 19.99%, but that most Curacao customers are ultimately given rates that are about one-and-half times that rate at 34.99%.

The state also alleges that Curacao employees are instructed to encourage customers to use up all their available store credit immediately.

If a Curacao customer did fall behind on payments, Becerra says the retailer used illegal debt-collection tactics, like calling customers early in the morning, late at night, threatening arrest and seizure of property. The state claims that these tactics sometimes kept going years after a customer had already paid their debt to Curacao in full.

When Curacao did make good on threats of legal actions against debtors, it allegedly used an unlicensed process server who fabricated proof of service documents to make it appear as if a customer had been served with legal papers when they had not. As a result, contends the complaint, these customers were unable to contest their alleged debt in court but Curacao was able to obtain default judgments and their wages to repay debt the customer might not have owed.

At a press event in L.A. this morning to announce the lawsuit, Becerra labled Curacao’s alleged bad behavior “disgraceful” and “unlawful.”

“Curacao has a right to market its goods but not to take advantage of its customers,” said the attorney general.



Twitter Puts Timeline On Curbing Hateful Abuse; For Real This Time. No, Seriously

Ever since it gave birth to its first anonymous, hateful egg, Twitter has been promising to do something to repair its reputation as a verbal battle royale of vitriolic threats and malicious dog-piling. After a decade of half-steps (and steps back, in some cases), Twitter has now given an actual timeline for when it will implement what it hopes are policy changes that will result in a less menacing social media platform — but can Twitter actually stuff its nasty genie back in the bottle?

One Thing at a Time

The calendar Twitter released today includes a detailed timeline of when planned features and rules are supposed to role out between today and the first week of January.

Up first are the changes to the non-consensual nudity (i.e. “revenge porn”) policy, joined by an ability to appeal account suspensions.

Those will be followed in November by an initiative to “educate abusers about our rules,” as well as some updates to the rules themselves. The updated terms of service will include language about violent groups, hateful imagery and symbols, “unwanted sexual advances,” and an “Expanded definition” of “spam and related behaviors.”

Later in the month, Twitter says it will be updating its process for reviewing reports, and adding new tools that help them process reports about harassment, abuse, and spam when they come in.

Then, in December, Twitter plans to update the way it handles “witness” reports — the ones you send when you are not the target of an abuser or harasser, but see it happening. Updates to the review process for witness reports are scheduled to be completed in January.

Promises, Promises

Twitter, as a platform, has never been immune to abuse and harassment — but in recent years, streams of abuse have become rivers, and then tsunamis.

After actor Robin Williams’ death in 2014, his daughter Zelda was driven off of Twitter by a wave of abuse. As we noted at the time, there’s really nothing Twitter can do to prevent some users from being, well, utter a-holes.

But the service can take action to mitigate the massive, unrelenting, targeted hate campaigns that regularly strike anyone — especially, but not exclusively, women and people of color — who speaks out about a cultural or political issue.

Then-CEO Dick Costolo admitted in internal emails in 2015 that “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls, and we’ve sucked at it for years.”

He added that he was, “frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue,” adding, “There’s no excuse for it.”

That was more than two years ago. Many times since, the company has promised to do something. Consider:

To many users, however, the company’s endless promises to do better seem more than a bit rote, at this stage, and so far most of the “solutions” on offer have evidently failed to curb the problem in any meaningful way.



T-Mobile & Sprint May Have To Delay Their Halloween Wedding Until Closer To Thanksgiving

If you were eagerly planning to fete the rumored Halloween elopement of T-Mobile and Sprint, you might want to hold on to your candy corn. The corporate nuptials may now be delayed a few weeks, with the telecom lovebirds announcing their “I do”s closer to Thanksgiving.

Bloomberg, citing people close to the matter, reports that an official merger deal between Sprint and T-Mobile may still be several weeks away.

While it had been rumored that the two companies would announced their agreement before, or possibly during, their upcoming quarterly earnings calls, it now appears that they won’t make that sacred vow until sometime in November.

Neither company has announced when their earnings calls will take place, but T-Mobile has, in the past, posted that information during the last week of October. Sprint, on the other hand, has used both the last week of the month, and first week of November for earnings announcements.

What’s all this mean? That instead of hosting a costume-filled wedding, the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless providers might just tie the knot before hitting Black Friday sales.

It’s unclear what might be holding up the deal, as sources only noted to Bloomberg that the two companies have agreed on most of the merger’s more important details, such as not divesting any assets before the marriage. 

Earlier this week, sources said the companies were planning to go into the merger without tipping their hand to regulators about what they may eventually be willing to give up if they have to.

Previously, it was rumored that those regulators were gearing up to look into the merger… once it’s announced.



For Some Reason, No One Wants Entry-Level Retail Jobs

With more commerce shifting online every year and a “retail apocalypse” at hand shuttering stores and malls, you’d think that there would be plenty of folks clamoring for the few retail jobs that remain. But even the stores that are actually looking to hire employees seem to be having trouble finding them, it turns out

Staffing firms have noticed a national trend that there are more low-level jobs and fewer people interested in taking them.

Recruiters told Reuters that entry-level employees are looking for flexibility that isn’t always available in retail. They blame ride-hailing services and on-demand delivery apps for taking entry-level workers, since they offer (or at least advertise) higher starting pay and opportunities for tips and bonuses.

“There just aren’t enough people who are looking for work,” the chief economist of job site Glassdoor told Reuters.

Walmart, the country’s biggest bricks-and-mortar retailer, says that it’s putting money toward higher pay for current employees rather than hiring seasonal help, but in turn is asking employees to do more.



Some Cities Vying For New Amazon HQ Haven’t Learned From Past Mistakes

It’s like the Olympics for corporations: Cities all over the country have put themselves into the running to be the home to Amazon’s planned second headquarters, and many of them are offering huge tax breaks and other incentives. But just like the Olympics, cities may regret making such a deal, and several places vying for Amazon’s attention have apparently not learned important lessons from themselves and others that were overly eager to court a new corporate HQ.

Pew’s Stateline blog recently took a look at the costly incentive packages many states and cities are using to attract Amazon and its jobs, and how those expensive benefits could backfire.

According to a request for proposals [PDF], the future home of Amazon’s second headquarters should be near a “significant” population center, have access to major highways and an airport with frequent flights to major cities, access to good schools, and an “overall high quality of life.”

Sounds like a lot of cities in the U.S. and Canada, no?

In order to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack, many cities have offered to provide the company with free land, low taxes, and other hard-to-turn-down benefits.

But according to researchers, offering these so-called “megadeals” could cost the cities and their residents more in the long run.

A Large Cost

Stateline, citing a recent report from non-profit group Good Jobs First, notes that in many cases the cost-benefit ratio for these megadeals isn’t great.

While states and cities might be happy to create jobs for their residents through these packages, experts note that it doesn’t come free.

“There’s no fairy godmother paying for them,” Timothy Bartik, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, tells Stateline.

In fact, Good Jobs’ analysis of 386 megadeals worth at least $50 million struck between cities or states and large since 1976 have often been more costly than expected.

For instance, the group found that the average cost per job created for these deals was $658,427.

That’s a pretty steep figure, and it’s one the group contends cities and states will never recoup.

Not As Expected

Stateline points to a deal between New York state and aluminum producer Alcoa as an example of a megadeal falling short.

New York provided the company with a 30-year discount on electricity — a benefit worth about $5.6 billion — nearly a decade ago if the business would keep 900 jobs in the state.

Just a few years into the deal, however, Alcoa’s employment roster fell to 750 jobs, and the company was in need of financial help.

The state stepped in once again, providing the company with $73 million in power subsidies.

Similarly, in Louisiana, Stateline reports incentive packages including property tax abatements has cost local governments more than $7 billion in five years.

Why Go For It?

Despite the limited success of some incentive deals in New York and Louisiana, Stateline reports that Albany, New York City, New Orleans, and other cities in the states are vying for Amazon’s headquarters.

In Louisiana’s case, the state has taken some steps to rein-in incentive packages that have in the past cost so much money.

Stateline reports that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order last year that required companies to adhere to strict requirements, including hitting job creation goals and creating new manufacturing plants.

Those requirements don’t apply to Amazon, a rep for Louisiana’s Economic Development agency says, and the agency plans to use offer incentives to attract the company.

Don Pierson, secretary for the agency, said the state just likes to compete, and incentive packages are one way to do that.

He likened megadeals to professional athletes receiving bonuses if they make playoffs or other milestones.

Of course, bringing jobs isn’t the only reason states and cities offer these megadeals, sometimes it’s all about the ego boost.

“There are major political benefits to presiding over a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a press conference to announce you have created or saved all these jobs,” Bartik tells Stateline.

Still, when that politician moves on and the deal goes sour, it inevitably will cause problems for city and state leaders, as well as employees and residents.



Will Republican Tax Cuts Mean Lower Limit On 401(k) Contributions?

Some people with 401(k) retirement plans will put as much money into it as they can, but there are whispers that the tax cuts being drafted by Republicans in Congress could reduce the maximum amount of money you contribute to your retirement savings each year.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that among the many plans being considered on Capitol Hill is one that could leave a lot of hurt in its wake in the long term.

Retirement is complicated… and expensive

Obviously, the exact amount an individual is supposed to save in order to retire comfortably varies widely. Some parts of the country have drastically higher costs of living than others, just for starters; the variables are seemingly endless, and the math gets complicated.

As a general rule of thumb, retirement planners calculate based that you’ll want to replace 80% of your income from retirement until death. So if you retire at 65 and live to 90, you’ll need 80% of your income at age 64 for 25 years.

The U.S. median household income in 2016 was $59,039 — we can round that off to $59,000, for our purposes. That means someone who retires at that income level would need $47,200 per year to live on for 25 years, a total of about $1.18 million.

Now granted — not all of that has to come from money socked away over the previous 40 years of employment. Some will come from returns on investment, in a plan like a 401(k), and some will probably come from Social Security.

Still, by age 30, experts recommend you have retirement savings equivalent to about one year’s pay. By age 40, that increases to 3 times your annual pay (which, ideally, is also higher for you at 40 than it was at 30), and up to 10 times your annual pay by the time you retire. For that median income household, then, that’s at least $590,000.

The current cap on 401(k) contributions is $18,000 per year for workers under 50 and $24,000 for workers over 50, so under the current rules someone who works from age 25 to 65 could put a theoretical maximum of $810,000 a single 401(k) account. (Those limits are set to rise by $500 each in 2018.)

That’s a lot of math, but so far fairly straightforward: Experts guesstimate your retirement will cost seven figures, and you can currently contribute most of it to your 401(k) yourself in theory, not even accounting for employer matches or returns.

If 401(k) contributions were to be capped at $2,400, though, then the maximum a person could contribute to it for the 40 years between ages 25 and 65 would be $96,000.

That’s $200 per month, or about 4% of the gross pay our median household brings in… when experts recommend saving 10% – 20%. In other words, it’s a bare fraction of what you need.

So… why?

The thing that makes 401(k) accounts popular is that they’re tax-deferred. If you make $50,000 this year, but put $5,000 into a 401(k), then when it comes time to do your taxes that $5,000 doesn’t count, and your taxable income drops to $45,000. That means you probably get a fatter refund back (or owe less), and most people like that.

Instead, you pay your taxes on the back end: When you withdraw the funds in retirement, you pay income tax on that money. The benefit there, though, is that you’re probably in a lower tax bracket at that point in life than you were when you were working and saved it up, and so you still come out ahead in the long run.

And there’s the bind. Republicans in Congress want to pass a tax cut. That’s kind of their thing. But taxes fund things; the government uses the money.

Some of the shortfall can be made up in spending cuts, which the White House has already suggested, but some of it needs to be revenue that comes from other sources, too.

So there’s the reasoning behind the math: Congress can cut your tax rate, but — by limiting 401(k) contributions — increase your taxable income at the same time, thus limiting the damage to revenue from a tax cut.

Not exactly popular

Slashing the maximum limit for 401(k) contributions is unlikely to be warmly greeted by pretty much anyone.

Investment firms, and the lobbyists and trade groups that represent them, are concerned about the idea, the WSJ says — and that makes sense. If fewer people are investing money with them, and the ones who are are investing less, that’s bad news for the companies that make money from the funds.

Some members of Congress aren’t so sure this is a good idea, either.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman told the WSJ that he was “skeptical” about the proposal, adding, “I don’t think you want to disincentivize retirement savings in any way right now.”

Indeed, recent surveys find that between one third and one half of all American households have literally no retirement savings at all.

The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to release a version of the tax bill by mid-November, the WSJ reports. After that, given how Congress has operated this year, it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.