Are Retirement Savings an Illusion?

The nation is facing a looming retirement income crisis. Average retirees today are not well off. Tomorrow's average senior is likely to be in worse shape.

Instead of addressing this looming crisis, too many of the nation's policymakers and elites propose to make it worse. They tell the American people that Social Security's earned benefits must be cut, despite their modest size. They tell public-sector workers that their pensions are unaffordable, despite the fact that workers have already earned those benefits, indeed foregoing current compensation in the process.

Rather than proposing the expansion of Social Security and fighting for public pensions, these elites complain that Americans are not saving enough. Americans, they say, need to be more frugal in their habits if they wish to avoid going off their own personal fiscal cliffs when they retire. Spare the lattes; pump up the retirement savings accounts instead, the elites lecture us.

In response to the retirement income crisis, these elites push to require that workers be automatically enrolled in retirement savings plans, financed from deductions from their pay, with automatic escalation of the amount deducted each subsequent year. Meanwhile investment houses compete for retirement savings dollars through massive and expensive advertising campaigns on television and in magazines, assuring us that in return for trusting them with our savings, they will coach us into the retirement end zone.

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