Is A Call To Personal Savings Really Just A Call For More US Debt?

I read with great interest today a news article on a new White House initiative that calls on people to save for retirement. There will apparently be an option to get your tax return issued to you as US Savings Bonds as well as new legislation to make it easier for employers to automatically enroll workers in 401(k) plans.

If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, this country is going to honor our collective responsibility to you: to ensure that you can save and secure your retirement. –US President Obama

I didn’t know we all had a “collective responsibility” to ensure that someone has common sense.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in agreement with anything that helps people save more money, and especially save for retirement. But the term “collective responsibility” and retirement shouldn’t be in the same sentence.

Consider this headline three weeks prior to the White House’s initiative to encourage Americans to buy savings bonds: China reduces holdings in US debt.

Since “US debt” and Savings Bonds are essentially the same thing, it appears to this writer that the White House is trying its dead level best to hold on to as much cash as possible. If the treasury can divert tax refunds BACK into the treasury, it means more money for the Federal Government to spend while keeping a check, albeit small,  on inflation. With the current dismal rate of interest on savings bonds, I would guess that only the uninformed would choose this option.

How long before the tax refunds converted into savings bonds are spent on ridiculous pet projects just like our (now) non-existent Social Security “Trust Fund?”

Also, the administration said the IRS will provide approved language for employers to use when amending their retirement-savings plans to include automatic-enrollment — a system whereby workers are put into the company’s savings plan automatically and must opt-out if they choose not to participate … Treasury and IRS are also releasing a ruling explaining how employers can automatically increase workers’ contribution rates over time, so a bigger portion of their pay is saved each year.

What’s your take? Would you like it if you were enrolled automatically in your employer’s 401(k) and had to opt out? Do you want to have to opt out of the automatic increases in the proposed plan? If you’re eligible for a tax refund next year, will you get it in savings bonds?

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