Clinton’s national 401(k) plan includes government match

Citing the success of 401(k) retirement accounts, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) proposed a plan Tuesday that would allow all Americans to participate in such a plan and get up to $1,000 annually in federal matching funds in the form of a tax cut.

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“My plan will help tens of millions of middle-class families go from just getting by to getting ahead,” Clinton said in announcing the plan at a campaign stop in Webster City, Iowa.

The former first lady was careful not to package the proposal in a way that would allow opponents to accuse her of trying to put in place a government-controlled program for the successful private-industry 401(k) program.

“The new American retirement accounts will build upon and strengthen the existing employer-based retirement savings systems,” Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said. “If you like your current retirement savings options, you keep them as they are.”

The senator noted that data show that people with such accounts are more likely to build a nest egg and that “automatic enrollment, direct deposit diversified investment options” have proven to help people save.

Specifically, Clinton’s plan would provide a dollar-for-dollar match annually up to the first $1,000 saved to families earning up to $60,000 a year. For those earning up to $100,000 annually, there would be a matching tax cut of $500.

“That means tens of millions of middle-class families will be eligible for matching tax cuts of up to $500 and $1,000 to help them build a nest egg,” Clinton said.

She stressed the need for reform, stating that “nearly one-third of all households entering retirement do not have enough savings to replace even one-half of their income, and that is including Social Security.”

Clinton slammed the current administration, saying it only looks out for the rich.

“It’s always the same answer [with the Bush administration]: Help those with the most and good luck to everybody else,” Clinton said.

The senator proposes to pay for her plan by freezing the estate tax.

In addition to providing for the retirement security of working families, Clinton proposes that the money saved could also be used to make “major life investments,” such as paying for a home or sending a child to college.