For the second time in 2015, the President of the United States is talking about 401(k)s.
Yesterday morning at the White House Conference on Aging, President Barack Obama outlined
his three-step vision
for strengthening Americans' retirement security. Steps one and two (strengthening Social Security for the former, and redefining fiduciary under ERISA
for the latter) are nothing new.
Step three, however, is a new point from Obama: new federal regulations, coming soon from the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL
), to help state governments that want to require employers to offer retirement plans or even create state retirement plans for small businesses.
, the Huffington Post
, the LA Times
, and our sister publication 401kWire
all reported on Obama's remarks.
In his remarks yesterday, Obama took Congress to task for not addressing the auto-IRA idea (championed by Mark Iwry
, a key Obama official in the U.S. Treasury Department, and included in every budget request from Obama since he took office in 2009). He highlighted state efforts "to create new ways for people without a workplace plan to save for retirement."
"We want to do everything we can to encourage more states to take this step," Obama's prepared remarks read. "So I've called on the Department of Labor and Tom Perez [Secretary of Labor] to propose a set of rules by the end of the year to provide a clear path forward for states to create retirement savings programs."
It is perverse that in this country it is just easier to save if you've already got money. And I'm talking about not just the fact that you've got money to save; I'm talking about just the mechanics, the mechanisms of being able to save, and then take advantage of the tax benefits of saving. So if we can just make sure that everybody, even if your employer doesn't provide those mechanisms, you still have a way of accessing it, every dollar you put in, that's going to be a dollar that also then benefits from the same kinds of tax advantages that somebody with a million dollars is able to take advantage of all the time.
And that's just fair. That's only fair. And that's all we're trying to do here, is make sure that if you're working hard out there, even if you're not making goo-gobs of money and don't have fancy financial advisors and all that, that you can still put away a little nest egg so that you're protected when you get older.
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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