CNBC: U.S. Congress Contemplates New Retirement Measures, Social Security Solvency

The United States Congress will have an abundance of newly proposed legislation to discuss when it returns from its August recess, including several proposed bills that could have a substantive impact on American retirement.

Among the provisions that will need to be debated in either one or both chambers of Congress is the Secure Act, the Social Security 2100 Act and other additional proposals related to Medicare and Social Security, according to CNBC.

The Secure Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 417-3, would expand access to retirement savings by allowing small employers to band together in order to offer 401K plans. It would also give part-time employees access to retirement plans, remove the 70.5 age limit for individual retirement account contributions and raise the age for required minimum distributions to 72.

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While easily passing the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, the Republican-controlled Senate has yet to take the measure up. The concern then is whether or not the Senate will take up the measure in time to be included in the federal budget that Congress needs to pass by October 1, according to Jamie Hopkins, director of retirement research at Carson Group.

“I’m still very much of the opinion that’s what’s going to occur here. The Senate, generally speaking, wants it passed, and I think they’ll get there,” Hopkins tells CNBC.

The Social Security 2100 Act aims to address the solvency of the Social Security benefit program, which if nothing is done will run out of funds by 2036. As the proposed legislation’s name implies, it aims to make Social Security’s trust fund solvent into the 22nd century.

It seeks to accomplish this by increasing payroll taxes, and increasing the amount of non-Social Security income a person can earn before his or her benefits can begin to be taxed. It also calls for those receiving benefits to get a raise equivalent to 2 percent of the average benefit, and set a new minimum benefit at 25 percent above the poverty line.

A proposed way to cover the cost of these and other changes includes raising payroll taxes on wages over $400,000 since currently, wages up to $132,900 are taxed.

The bill’s possibility of getting through the Senate in its current form is slim, according to experts cited by CNBC.

Read the original story at CNBC.

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  • Neither the multiple employer provision discussed above nor the labor union multiemployer give away presented in the linked article should be passed. Like so many of the rather futile pension law changes Congress has either considered or passed into law in the last decade have done much to change the retirement savings habits of their intended participants. Both provisions look more like buying votes than real attempts at pension reform or expansion.

    Why the multiple employer 401(k) is even being considered is ridiculous. ERISA already recognizes multiple employer retirement plans. Targeting small employers’ employees will not change their retirement savings habits unless there is some requirement that the related employers are required to make substantial matching contributions and pay all plan administrative costs but then what would be their incentive for adopting such plans? There is so little content on this proposal, one wonders why it is covered in either article.

  • I hope everyone reads Jim Veal’s comment, it holds a lot of truth. Jim has hit the Nail on the Head! What is being proposed is a lot of fluff and yes, a great vote giver with no real substance!

    Something like what is being proposed is for those who have little to no knowledge of the social security system, its history and what will truly do good for our retirees!

    I am sorry to be so bold about this proposal, but this is politics as usual!

    John A. Smaldone
    http://www.hanover-financial.com

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