Universal 401k accounts

Today’s New York Times column is here.  Excerpts:

Just as the earned-income tax credit pays poor people to work, the universal 401(k) would pay poor people to save…By directing the benefits toward the neediest, the universal 401(k)
savings plan tries to increase economic security in a cost-effective

There is an obvious way to pay for a universal 401(k)
plan.  For every dollar spent on the universal 401(k), the federal
government could spend one dollar less on Medicare and Social Security

It may seem that what the poor need is more money to spend, but the
universal 401(k) plan is taking a gamble by encouraging them to lock up
more savings.  Perhaps support for a culture of savings and discipline
is more important than subsidizing additional spending.

…A fiscally responsible universal 401(k) plan would not make everyone
happy.  Libertarians and conservatives would be suspicious of
government-created accounts.  Liberals might not like freezing or
reducing future expenditures on Medicare and Social Security.  But if we
are looking for policy initiatives that address real-world problems and
offer something to each side, encouraging low-income savings is a good
place to start.


Comments for this post are closed