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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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A House committee is considering nationalizing 401(k)s but you wouldn't know it from the press release they put out. Luckily, the Carolina Journal, a publication of the John Locke Foundation, investigated more deeply and has publicized the testimony of Theresa Ghilarducci. To read the aforementioned press release, the only notable outcome from the two witnesses was that the situation has workers and retirees spooked. (The later field hearing in San Francisco was much more muted and reasonable in its calls to action.)

Thus far, a call for better information and education is the only thing that has come from committee chairman George Miller. But he's "considering" all options, including those of Ghilarducci and Weller. Their preference is for the government to offer Guaranteed Retirement Accounts to those worried about their retirement and eventually phase in a replacement of everyone's 401(k) with a GRA, which is fully "invested" in Treasury bonds guaranteeing a 3% annual return.

But with a statement of commitment like the following, how long will Miller hold out?

"We will fight to restore workers' rights, so that every American can benefit from economic opportunity. And we will make the preservation and strengthening of retirement savings a priority, so that all Americans can enjoy a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work."

The whole retirement savings sector is suffused with government meddling and distortion. It needs to exit in an orderly fashion, protecting commitments already made but leaving those without such guarantees to make their own decisions. People earn the money that they segregate for their later years; why can't they be allowed responsibility for managing it?