I won’t be watching the SOTU address tonight…sort of got out of the habit during the Bush years because I found him unbearable to watch and these days, the same thing applies to Obama…
A few days ago on an NPR report on the possible content of the SOTU speech I heard a passing reference to something about “retirement.” Having just completed two posts on the subject of IRAs and the talk about “encouraging workers” to sign up for a new savings program, my interest was piqued.
The New York Times also offered a preview of the speech and lo and behold! there was a similar reference…in the first paragraph and later on (my bolding).
Published: January 24, 2010
WASHINGTON — President Obama will propose in his State of the Union address a package of modest initiatives intended to help middle-class families, including tax credits for child care, caps on some student loan payments and a requirement that companies let workers save automatically for retirement, senior administration officials said Sunday.
Another of the president’s proposals, a cap on federal loan payments for recent college graduates at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, would cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion. The expanded financing to help families care for elderly relatives would cost $102.5 million — a pittance in a federal budget where programs are often measured in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. And the automatic paycheck deduction program would simply be a way to encourage workers to save, and would include tax credits to help companies with administrative costs.
Might one of those companies be AIG? See the previous posts on the matter, links below.
Now, of course, the reporter follows up this paragraph immediately with this (which sort of sounds like a bit of editorializing, no?):
Such programs are, notably, much less far-reaching than Mr. Obama’s expansive first-year agenda of passing an economic recovery package, bailing out the auto industry, overhauling the health care system, passing energy legislation and imposing tough new restrictions on banks. That agenda has left him vulnerable to criticism that he is using the government to remake every aspect of American society.
Well, it remains to be seen whether this “encouragement” will be “much less far-reaching” than the New York Times writer assumes.
As I mused in the last post I did on the subject, the idea may be a good one in theory, BUT…the devil is in the details. And those details involve how much money is involved and which companies will be getting all those tax credits. It seems to me that we might be looking at lots of nice credits being passed around as well as lots of fees that will cut into the amount of money that actually gets saved. Sort of like Medicare Part D wound up…companies charging a bundle so we can have the honor of a prescription “plan” that often winds up charging about the same than what someone paid with a discount card and no premiums before Big Pharma got involved!
I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this in the future, unless it’s stuck in another bill somewhere where the sun don’t shine…
More on the Possible IRA Grab–What the Vision Is and Who’s Behind It January 19, 2010
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: 2010 State of the Union Address, AIG (American International Group), automatic paycheck deduction for saving, automatic retirement savings, Barack Obama, Big Pharma, Cheryl Gay Stolberg, George W. Bush, IRAs, Medicare Part D, NPR (Naitonal Public Radio), retirement savings, tax credits, The New York Times | 2 Comments »