CNHI News Service

Opinion

January 18, 2013

Americans are raiding their 401K accounts

—  

Editor's Note: If you're not a weekly subscriber to Taylor Armerding's column, you can publish this one if you notify him at t.armerding@verizon.net

---

There was a clear undercurrent of alarm this past week in a Washington Post story reporting that more than a quarter of American workers with 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts are using them to pay for current expenses.

This is draining nearly a quarter of the $293 billion deposited into those accounts every year. Matt Fellowes, a former researcher for the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution and now chief executive of the financial advisory firm HelloWallet, told the Post that employers who match their workers’ contributions, “are dramatically overpaying for retirement, but it is not benefitting the employee.”

To which I wonder, why is anybody, especially the left-leaning Post and other liberals, surprised?

I agree that, back in those long-ago days when personal responsibility was considered important, this would have been seen as a very big problem. But now? The ones raiding their retirement accounts are the smart ones. You can count the ways.

First, why shouldn’t they spend it? At least they’re spending, or borrowing against, money they actually have, unlike our benevolent federal government, which is spending trillions that it doesn’t have – borrowing it from China and leaving crippling debt for the coming generations to clean up.

Time and again in his first term, and now going into his second, President Obama has declared that true fiscal responsibility lies basically in just getting a bigger limit on your credit card.

His recent self-righteous declarations on raising the debt ceiling (which he spoke and voted against as a senator) are just the latest absurdity. Obama slams Republicans for resisting raising the debt ceiling, saying that the U.S. has always been a nation that pays its bills.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Zamperini, the Olympian and POW, was a hero because of his faith

    Louis Zamperini collected many accolades as an Olympic distance runner and brave bombardier who spent a month adrift at sea and two years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. But faith and forgiveness are what truly distinguished him.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hobby Lobby critics push specious privacy pitch

    The violation of privacy argument by liberal detractors of the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare case doesn't hold water when you consider the current collection and use of the personal details of your medical preferences.

    July 11, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Declare your independence from empty slogans

    'Independence Day' is now an ironic celebration in a country where the president promotes government dependence over actual freedom, and where bumper-sticker slogans have replaced actual, independent thought.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Taxi owners, government patrons try forcing Uber to go 'off-duty'

    Uber gives urban passengers an enticing alternative. Rides on-demand arrive faster than taxis, are cheaper and cleaner, and get rated by customers. Rather than hail innovation, government enablers are helping the heavily regulated taxicab industry freeze out the upstart.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama: Don't listen to those who knew Bergdahl best

    The Obama administration chides anyone who suggests that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl - the POW traded for a dream team of Taliban terrorists - might be something less than a hero. The White House wants us to stop jumping to conclusions - unless, of course, we're jumping to the right conclusions.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Left tallies 'true cost' of coal with a political calculator

    Weighing the "true cost" of coal-based energy is politically convenient. In a "true cost" world, coal may be more expensive but alternate energies aren't affordable, either; you don't get a tax break on your mortgage; and the feds don't protect the United Auto Workers from Chrysler's bankruptcy.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Veterans wait for healthcare, we wait for accountability

    Poor care and long wait times at the Veterans Administration are little surprise for an organization with such an entrenched bureaucracy. It's almost predictable as the Obama administration's mock surprise and non-response.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

News
Sports

Features