Sunday, April 7, 2013

Retirement Account Caps

One policy that I have been advocating over the last year has been a lifetime cap on government-sponsored retirement accounts such as 401k's or IRAs. I first developed this idea in response to reports that Mitt Romney has at least $20 million and as much as $100 million or more stuffed away in his tax-free accounts, despite contribution limits of around $20,000 per year. There are a number of speculations as to how he pulled this off, but a simple cap on lifetime holdings in your tax-free accounts would cut off any of the loopholes which Romney and other rich people are abusing.

It appears the gods are listening, as the president has included this idea in his soon-to-be-released new budget, using almost the exact same lifetime cap (around $3 million with inflation adjustment) that I had been advocating.

This is great news, and a great policy. Tax-free accounts for the middle class are a good way to assist people in saving for retirements. However, these accounts should not be tax dodges for the wealthy, and there is no reason we should be subsidizing tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars worth of savings. Hopefully this policy makes it through the budget talks, as it is more than needed and more than fair.