NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Reinventing Pensions

July 26, 1999

With the rise of two-earner families and an increasingly mobile labor force, the country needs to rethink and reformulate its pension system, experts argue.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Enable workers to shelter from taxes 10 to 15 percent of their annual income.
  • Do away with vesting, which requires an employee to wait some years before being guaranteed a pension, replacing it with a system in which employers contribute, say, two percentage points of an employee's allowed contribution to his pension the first year, four percentage points the second year, six the third year, and so on.
  • Establish a safe-harbor investment option by giving employers immunity from future lawsuits if they establish a choice of investment options and actively encourage plans that are diversified and designed to grow with the economy.
  • Eliminate laws which prohibit the creation of some retirement accounts if not enough lower- and middle-income employees participate.

Other suggestions include:

  • Encouraging portability by allowing any employee leaving a company to cash out his pension benefits -- including defined-benefit plans.
  • Minimizing or eliminating restrictions on all pension plan rollovers.
  • Splitting pension contributions equally between spouses at the time of deposit -- or treat them as community property in the case of divorce.
  • And to protect accounts against employer or union manipulation, making plans "visible" and subject to third- party oversight.

Source: Merrill Matthews, Jr. (National Center for Policy Analysis), "A Blueprint for Pension Revolution," Investor's Business Daily, July 26, 1999.


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