Do we really need new vehicles for retirement savings, especially ones that give new powers to state governments to coerce workers to save? Several states—most notably Illinois—are creating their own state-sponsored savings plans. The idea is to make retirement saving "easy" for workers (perhaps even by making it mandatory). The Obama administration is supporting the effort, with the Department of Labor recently altering regulations to make it easier for states to create their own retirement savings programs.
Of course, the federal government already makes saving for retirement mandatory: Hefty payroll taxes fund Social Security. The government also provides generous tax breaks to encourage retirement savings.Read more
We never thought we would find ourselves stocking a pantry in Arizona. But now that Phoenix is our winter base, there we were, on line at the deli counter of a supermarket located in one of the ubiquitous strip malls that we love because they are home to thrusting small businesses as well as huge anchor tenants like the store we were in. After waiting awhile, we realized we were in a take-a-number queue. We remedied the oversight and got number 61. We both remember it because of what followed.Read more
They come and they go and, now, Harry Reid has said he is going. When he announced his decision to retire, the predictable chorus of “attaboys” followed. He was a “fighter,” many of his colleagues said. President Obama went the extra mile and spoke fondly of Reid’s “curmudgeonly charm that’s hard to replace.”Read more
"In any election,” Tom Coburn often says, “you should vote for the candidate who will give up the most if they win.” All things being equal, we should prefer politicians who have accomplished something in their lives beyond government work—and who are willing to sacrifice it, at least temporarily, to serve the country at a cost to their convenience and comfort. During his 6 years in the House of Representatives and 10 more in the Senate, Coburn has embodied his own principle.Read more
The Scrapbook is sorry to hear that Andrew Marshall is retiring from the Pentagon, where he has led the Department of Defense’s internal think tank, the Office of Net Assessment, since 1973. Frankly, The Scrapbook is also a bit surprised. Marshall’s popular nickname, Yoda—taken from the sage of the Star Wars epic—while honoring his sagacity, wisdom, and mystery, is also testimony to his longevity. Marshall has served every defense secretary since James Schlesinger and every president since Richard Nixon, and it’s difficult to imagine the Pentagon without him.Read more
In Washington, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose—it’s how long you play the game. Witness the reaction last week to the announcement that Michigan congressman John Dingell would make this, his 29th term in the House of Representatives, his last. The 87-year-old Detroit-area Democrat has been a member of Congress since the 1950s, serving alongside 11 presidents, 10 House speakers, and nearly 2,500 different representatives.Read more
Though she's expected to leave her post at the State Department soon, Hillary Clinton today said she's not going into "retirement." Clinton returned to work yesterday after missing almost a month, according to the State Department, due to ill health.
Here's Clinton's exchange with a reporter, which she had today in Washington:Read more
On June 19, 1981 a vigorously healthy Justice Potter Stewart resigned from the Supreme Court at the age of 66. “I've always been a firm believer in the principle that it’s better to go too soon than to stay too long. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to have an opportunity to spend more time with my wife, Andy, and hopefully, with our children and grandchildren while I was still relatively young and healthy,” Stewart said. Stewart died suddenly only four years later, at age 70, so he and his family must have been especially grateful for those last years.Read more
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