Is it another case of the nanny state, or an innovative way to help you save?
California lawmakers are pushing a controversial, first-in-the-nation plan that would require private-sector employers to remove 3 percent from every worker’s paycheck. The money would go into a new state fund with a guarantee that all withheld funds plus investment gains will be available for distribution at retirement age.
The idea behind the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, which got preliminary approval, is for it to be a state-run supplement to Social Security, but only for people who don’t have traditional workplace retirement plans. For an estimated 6 million working Californians, the benefit of a pension or 401(k) is out of reach — so state lawmakers are trying to implement the new mandatory retirement fund for private sector workers.
But critics wonder how the state with a turbulent record of budget keeping and a much-ridiculed public worker pension system can be counted on to protect people’s money.
“I think you’ll find out that what is promised in the (Secure Choice plan) is not possible to deliver,” lobbyist Marc Burgat contends. “If you could deliver guaranteed returns with less than one percent costs, no employer liability, no government liability — that’s a fantasy.”
There is also concern that this is another example of government do-gooders trying to force better behavior by its citizens.