GOP votes down low-income retirement plan

For a variety of reasons, the Great Recession of 2008, which wiped out many retirement accounts, together with the high cost of healthcare, the vast majority of Americans, even those at the tail end of the baby boom who are on the verge of retirement, have little to nothing saved or invested for their “Golden Years.”

trump-retirement-vote-450.jpgThe GOP-led Congress and Donald Trump apparently want to see that continue.

Trump this month signed a joint resolution that rescinded an Obama-administration initiative that helped low-income employees of small businesses (relatively) painlessly, and voluntarily, set aside retirement funds through payroll deductions; the funds would be deposited in government retirement plans.

The vote in both houses was almost entirely along party lines. Sens. Corey Booker and Robert Menendez voted against the measure, as did Rep. John Gottheimer (Dist. 5); all three are Democrats. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) voted in favor.

As with income taxes, payroll deductions help working and struggling families to set aside money needed later by taking the bite out before an employee can see it —out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.

Although Congress has given itself salaries and healthcare for life, and employees of larger companies can elect to have direct payroll contributions to 401(k)s, those who work at small businesses (who also can lack such perks as health benefits or access to the FMLA) don’t have that option, and the GOP thinks they shouldn’t.

After all, as with healthcare, maybe a minimum-wage worker in a Mom-and-Pop shop should sink her money into an IRA instead of buying that fancy new smartphone.

Or something.

Proponents of the repeal—largely financial services companies and trade organizationsargue that it actually helps workers, as they would not qualify for all the pension benefits offered to public-sector workers.

Since the GOP also wants to privatize Medicare and Social Security, the elimination of a savings option for low-income workers puts entire generations at risk as they age.

According to Teresa Ghilarducci, a retirement expert at the New School for Social Research, “A greater percentage of the elderly will be poor or near poor than in the last 40 years.”

Lucky thing that global warming is a figment of Chinese imagination, as the longer Trump and the GOP are in charge the more likely it is that the elderly will simply be dumped on ice floes and set adrift.