Rubio: Americas’ lagging retirement needs a boost

McClatchy Washington BureauMay 13, 2014 

Rubio Poverty

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — AP

— In his latest in a series of speeches designed to “reclaim the 21st Century American Dream,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and potential 2016 presidential candidate, proposed allowing many Americans the option of enrolling in the retirement plan for government workers.

The Thrift Savings Plan, Rubio said Tuesday, “is one of the most efficient savings plans in America. It charges fees which are a fraction of those in most private defined-contribution plans, allowing beneficiaries to save more.”

The plan is for members of Congress and other federal employees. Rubio proposes giving Americans who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan the option of enrolling in the Thrift Savings Plan.

“The twisted irony is that members of Congress – who are employees of the citizens of the United States – have access to a superior savings plan, while many of their employers – the American people – are often left with access to no plan at all,” he said.

Rubio expressed concern that large percentages of Americans have no savings and no access to a retirement plan.

Among his other proposals, laid out in a speech at the National Press Club:

Eliminate the 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax for all individuals who have reached retirement age.

Eliminate the “retirement earnings test” that can take away some Social Security benefits for recipients who continue to work.

Transition Medicare to a premium support system, which would give seniors a fixed amount of money to use for purchasing health insurance from either Medicare or a private provider.

In the speech, he said his policy changes should not harm current retirees. “First, my mother depends on Medicare and Social Security,” he said. “I will never support anything that would hurt my mother or retirees like her.”

This is the latest in a series of Rubio policy proposals in which he has addressed poverty, higher education and economic growth.

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