What’s a little Russian control of the nation or discussing classified information about North Korea at dinner when you can make sure that California doesn’t give working people retirement security?
An ambitious California law intended to help create retirement security for low-income workers is in the crosshairs of the Trump-era Congress, which is moving to block the state and others from launching programs to automatically enroll millions of people in IRA-type savings plans.
The push is one of the most direct confrontations yet with California and other liberal states by a GOP-led Congress emboldened by President Trump’s election.
The 2016 law being targeted requires employers to enroll 6.8 million California workers who currently have no access to a retirement savings account at work in a state-sponsored plan. Millions more in seven other states that have passed laws similar to California’s would also be enrolled in those states. Many more states are now weighing joining a movement that has been years in the making.
California first took steps toward creating its program in 2012. Other states, including Illinois, have been slowly implementing their own laws, which have been complicated by federal Labor Department rules governing such investment pools.
In its final months, the Obama administration gave states the green light to pursue their vision.
The state laws generally require employers with no retirement plans to automatically invest a small percentage of each worker’s pay in a state-sponsored retirement account. Employers are not required to contribute anything and workers can opt out of the program if they choose.
The first such program was expected to launch this year in Oregon. California and other states were hoping to begin next year.
Now at the urging of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of Wall Street investment firms long opposed to government-sponsored retirement programs that could compete with their own offerings, key Republicans are moving to revoke the federal approval.
“Our nation faces difficult retirement challenges, but more government isn’t the solution,” said a statement from Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), chairman of a House subcommittee on retirement issues who is taking a lead in the repeal effort.
It is difficult to express to everyday citizens how much the Republican Party hates them. But this is what racism and misogyny can accomplish. In the name of white solidarity and keeping a woman and her emotions out of the Oval Office, Republicans can ensure that mass poverty results for those very people voting them in. That it will also impoverish brown and black people just gives them more cover.