BPC Blog

Sep. 29, 2014
Retirement in America: What’s Working and What’s Not?

Most of the public discourse on retirement planning revolves around how much people should save during their working years and what is the best means by which to do so. Just as important to retirement security, however, is what individuals do after they reach retirement and how they make their savings last for the possibility of living two, three, or more decades beyond their working careers. This is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. retirement system today.

At last week’s meeting of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council, of which I am a member, we heard about some of the amazing innovations taking place around the country to better prepare students for the workforce and to better align our workforce programs with the current marketplace. These innovations are far-ranging and aim to provide more options for every type of student, learner and worker as they seek to achieve the skills necessary for gainful employment and career advancement. We wish to promote more of these innovations and are seeking opportunities to promote these ground-breaking approaches to both federal and state decision-makers.

Happy end of the third quarter of 2014 and a very happy new year to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah! We hope you enjoy the following selection of readings. As always, the views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent the views of the initiative, its co-chairs, task force members or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

What is ISIS?

  • Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or, as it now calls itself, simply the Islamic State (IS).
  • A jihadist organization that aims to form an Islamic state (caliphate) over the region stretching from Turkey, to Syria, to Egypt, to Jordan and to Lebanon, if not beyond.
Outside Spending in 2014 Already Second Highest, Ever

The dramatic growth in elections spending over the last few years is obvious to anyone who has turned on a TV only to be met with a deluge of campaign ads. Political spending has doubled in the last decade, and more and new groups are getting in on the action.

On September 22, for the first time in the three-and-a-half–year long Syrian civil war, the United States carried out airstrikes in Syria, as part of a campaign against the terrorist group that now refers to itself as the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL). “I made clear,” President Barack Obama told the nation, “the United States would take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria so that these terrorists can’t find safe haven anywhere.”

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on September 17th entitled “Retirement Savings 2.0: Updating Savings Policy for the Modern Economy,” focusing on how public policy could help increase the number of Americans who are financially prepared for retirement. 

Policymakers seem to be gradually wakening to the fact that the sequester process that trimmed discretionary defense and non-defense accounts in the federal budget has begun to hurt. The impacts of sequestration are not only damaging to our national security, but also short-change investments in the future that affect projected economic growth.

The proposed regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. There are several compliance pathways, or policy designs, that states may consider in developing implementation plans. If you are looking to learn about them or explain them to someone else, review BPC Energy’s latest graphics on three of these approaches.

Rate-Based Trading System

The crisis continues to affect the attitudes of the American public toward housing

Long-term interest rates may be a near record lows, and international markets have done U.S. markets a favor by conspiring to keep U.S. rates even lower as their central banks are behind the Fed in moves, but despite very favorable rate conditions, many American families are still feeling the squeeze when it comes to housing affordability.

Retirement in America: What’s Working and What’s Not?

For Americans who have access to workplace retirement plans and contribute early and often, the current defined contribution system enables significant accumulation of savings for retirement. But as we have discussed, many employers don’t sponsor plans, and ones that do but lack automatic features too often result in workers failing to participate.


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