Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

FIERCE INDEPENDENT MEDIA IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER. PLEASE SUPPORT COMMON DREAMS THIS #GIVINGTUESDAY

Our staff has grown and our coverage of the climate emergency, COVID-19, and rising authoritarianism has intensified over the last two years. But, our expenses during the pandemic have gone up as well. This has been one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Donations are down. Traffic to the website from Google and Facebook have inexplicably fallen off a cliff. If we have any chance of meeting our fundraising targets for the year, we need this to be the best #GivingTuesday ever. Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers ever make a donation. We're counting on you. Can you make that gift today to help Common Dreams end the year strong?

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Tip jar that says "401k plan!"

Using the "very real" retirement "crisis as a pretext, Donald Trump reportedly plans to allow the wealthiest among us to shelter their retirement savings from taxes for a longer period," says Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works. (Photo: kasahara/flickr/cc) 

Trump's Executive Order on Retirement Accounts Panned as 'Cruel Joke on American Workers'

Republicans "will inevitably use this executive order as an additional excuse to cut Social Security"

Andrea Germanos

Continuing his rapid-fire attack on people who are not wealthy, President Donald Trump is expected to mark the approaching Labor Day weekend by signing an executive order on retirement account rules that one advocacy group says appears to be "nothing more than a cruel joke on American workers" that will further enrich deep-pocketed donors and Wall Street.

Under the expected order, the Wall Street Journal reported, "the Treasury Department would review the rules on required minimum distributions from retirement plans to see if investors can keep more money for a longer time in 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts, and other tax-sheltered savings plans." Under current law, investors are required to start withdrawing from those accounts at age 70.5. The change would also reportedly instruct the Treasury and Labor Departments to look into regulations to allow small businesses to band together to offer multiple employer plans (MEPs).

Trump teased the order in a tweet on Thursday, saying, "For all of you that have made a fortune in the markets, or seen your 401k's rise beyond your wildest expectations, more good news is coming!"

It would be good news for those who have enough wealth to not need to withdraw from such accounts and have a cushion for their potential gains or losses. Further, not all employers offer 401(k)s, and the shift away from traditional pension plans to 401(k)s, say economists, has contributed to growing the inequality crisis and "frightening retirement reality" many are facing.

"Americans are facing a looming retirement income crisis," said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works. "Using that very real crisis as a pretext, Donald Trump reportedly plans to allow the wealthiest among us to shelter their retirement savings from taxes for a longer period. He will also reportedly seek to make it easier for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans."

"Currently," she added, "nearly two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings of any kind. Lack of access to tax-favored savings accounts is not the reason. "

Rather, Altman asserted that "decades of stagnating wagesrising healthcare costs, and skyrocketing inequality have left workers struggling just to keep their heads above water. Families approaching retirement have a median amount of $17,000 in their retirement accounts, and nearly half have $0."

Though the program remains on the Republicans' chopping block, real stability for retirement should be found in Social Security, she added, "which is the most universal, efficient, fair, and secure form of retirement income."

Altman argued that the GOP "will inevitably use this executive order as an additional excuse to cut Social Security because, they will claim, people should take responsibility and save for themselves now that Trump has given them the option."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo