One of the major things that people voted for in sending Republicans to Congress was tax reform and cutting onerous taxes.
While Congress is considering tax reform, they are also considering a terrible idea for which we surely did not vote.
In the early stages of negotiating tax reform, Congress is already considering whether to reduce the benefits of contributing to a 401(k) and similar retirement plans — even as U.S. representatives and senators bask in the safety of the pension system that taxpayers fund for federal employees.
They’re considering taxing 401(K) contributions, basically eliminating the benefit of using them.
At a meeting with members of the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month, Gary Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, discussed ideas that would remove pre-tax benefits from retirement accounts including 401(k)s and shift them to after-tax benefits, according to people familiar with the discussions. It wasn’t clear how seriously the administration is evaluating any specific proposal, these people said.
Meanwhile, while they’re considering cutting the benefits from our plans, they enjoy one of the best plans in the country.
Alongside several million U.S. government workers, members of Congress participate in the Federal Employees Retirement System, which wraps their current savings and future pensions in a cushion of comfort that most American workers can only dream of.
Only about 13% of employees nationwide are covered by both a 401(k) and a traditional pension that assures stable, lifelong income, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College; all 535 members of Congress are.
You can read more about what they’re considering here.
So this would undercut one of the principal elements of stability in retirement that people use: a pension, Social Security, a 401 (K) and any savings one might have accrued.
They better not go down this road. Not unless they plan to give up their taxpayer-funded cushy benefits as well. As the Wall Street Journal accurately says in their title, “Grab Your Pitchforks, America, Your 401(K) May Need Defending from Congress.”