Warren’s Assault on Retiree Wealth

9/10/19
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
9/10/19:

Her vision of ‘accountable capitalism’ would destroy savings built over a lifetime—and sink the economy.

Who owns the vast wealth of America? Old folks. According to the Federal Reserve, households headed by people over the age of 55 own 73% of the value of domestically owned stocks, and the same share of America’s total wealth. Households of ages 65 to 74 have an average of $1,066,000 in net worth, while those between ages 35 and 44 have less than a third as much on average, at $288,700.

A socialist might see injustice in that inequality. But seniors know this wealth gap is the difference between the start and the finish of a career of work and thrift, making the last mortgage and retirement payments rather than the first. Seventy-two percent of the value of all domestically held stocks is owned by pension plans, 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, or held by life insurance companies to fund annuities and death benefits. This wealth accumulated over a lifetime and benefits all Americans.

That means it’s your life savings on the line—not the bankroll of some modern-day John D. Rockefeller—when Democrats push to limit companies’ methods of enriching their shareholders. Yet among all the Democratic taxers and takers, no one would hit retirees harder than Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Her “Accountable Capitalism Act” would wipe out the single greatest legal protection retirees currently enjoy—the requirement that corporate executives and fund managers act as fiduciaries on investors’ behalf. To prevent union bosses, money managers or politicians from raiding pension funds, the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act requires that a fiduciary shall manage a plan “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries

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