Just who does the HELPER Act help? Senator Rand Paul (R, KY) has put forward a startling proposal that proclaims to help our struggling students with their student loan debt. But does it? We do have a massive student loan debt issue with roughly 42 million Americans saddled with approximately $1.5 trillion in debt. So, instead of seeking relief by reducing the ridiculously high cost of college education, we instead get a proposal that would further diminish savings for retirement. I’ve called defined contribution (DC) plans nothing more than glorified savings accounts and Senator Paul is putting a rubber stamp on my description.
Those individuals who have student loan debt are likely the ones that don’t have a 401(k) or IRA plan at this time as they are using whatever discretionary income they have to meet their student loan debt obligations. We know that many life events – marriage, childbirth, home purchase, etc – are being delayed as a result of this enormous debt burden. To think that taking prematurely assets that were intended to meet their retirement needs is a good idea just further highlights the disconnect between many in Washington DC with the reality that is facing our general population.
Let’s not take one awful situation regarding the cost of higher education and compound it with a dreadful decision to impact one’s financial future in retirement. As we reported yesterday, 53 million American workers are averaging roughly $10.22/hour or $18,000 per year. Do you really think that they have enough assets to pay for college and save for retirement let alone put a roof over their head and food on their table? It is time to get serious about the many social and economic issues facing our society. The HELPER Act is NOT a serious attempt.