Over 100 people, including key congressional staffers, leaders from the financial community, and policy advocates attended Solutions for Increasing Savings, Ownership and Retirement Security, co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and the Retirement Security Project, in conjunction with the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucuses. Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Congressman Philip English (R-PA), Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN) and Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) were active participants throughout the half-day conference, bolstering an event that included many of the pre-eminent scholars on retirement, savings and asset building.
Jeanne Hogarth of the Federal Reserve opened with an in-depth view of the current trends regarding individual savings. Following this introduction, the two panels focused on the dual challenges of improving existing savings vehicles and seeking out new ways to improve savings.
Presenters on the first panel included Ray Boshara, Director, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation, Jagadeesh Gokhale, Senior Fellow, CATO Institute; Gene Steuerle, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute; Paul Weinstein, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Fellow, Progressive Policy Institute; and, Rene Kim, Vice President of Retirement Products, Schwab.
The second panel featured Maya MacGuineas, Director, Fiscal Policy Program, New America Foundation; David John, Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Mark Iwry, Senior Adviser, The Retirement Security Project and Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Bernie Wilson, Vice President, Business Development and Community Outreach, H&R Block; Carol Wayman, Senior Legislative Director, CFED; Dallas Salisbury, President and CEO, EBRI; and, Bob Greenstein
Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Panelists discussed a range of proposals including the ASPIRE Act, the Savings for Working Families Act, revising the Saver's Credit, permitting split tax refunds, promoting 'opt-out' 401(k) programs among employers, instead of opt-in, and providing the same exclusion for 401(k)s and IRAs that pension funds receive in the asset limit tests from government benefit programs like food stamps, SSI, and TANF.
Peter Fisher, former Federal Reserve Board official and current Managing Director of BlackRock Inc, closed the conference with a provocative overview of the underlying monetary, tax, and fiscal policies that promote consumption over savings, while advocating a progressive consumption tax to replace payroll taxes and a bold proposal for the U.S. government to offer annuities.
Rayburn HOB, Room #2212
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