Commentary: Joint Economic Committee Democrats released today a report on the state of retirement in America. American workers are facing a crisis, the inability to retire with dignity after a life of hard work. Half of all American families near retirement have $12,000 or less in formal retirement savings. Congress should now focus on policies that broaden access to low cost, high-yield retirement savings options, strengthen Social Security, secure pension plans, and restore access to a stable and adequate retirement for an aging population.
The report, “Retirement Security in Peril,” highlights several challenges to securing a stable retirement, including the shifting and slimming of plans, and slow wage growth and retirement savings. The report also finds that the rising cost of education has made retirement readiness more difficult for all aging Americans, and that Republican threats to Social Security—the largest federal anti-poverty program—would undermine the economic security and stability of the millions of Americans who depend on the program.
“Americans deserve to retire with dignity—yet too many families in this country are unable to save for a secure retirement,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. “Congress must take action to make certain that older Americans do not face an impending retirement crisis. A proposal, such as the Preserve Rights of States and Political subdivisions to Encourage Retirement Savings Act (PROSPERS Act), that allow for more flexibility and better access to retirement is a good step towards ensuring that Americans are able to retire with economic security.”
The report also highlights steps for congressional action in order to address the retirement crisis and ensure that all Americans retire with dignity. Congress must take steps to defend and modernize Social Security—with changes focusing on expanding benefits for hard-working Americans. Congress should also help expand access to employer-based retirement plans, and secure the long-term stability of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which serves as a backstop for private sector and multiemployer pension plans. We must address the multiemployer pension crisis with innovative solutions, like the Joint Select Committee to Solve the Multiemployer Pension Crisis or the Butch Lewis Act of 2017, to ensure multiemployer pension plans can continue to provide benefits to every eligible American for decades to come. Finally, there should be new ways to entice employers and state and local governments to provide access to high benefit, low cost retirement plans.
Click here to view the report online.