How Would Retirement Fare Under a Clinton, Trump Presidency?

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 2, 2016 — The Retirement Security Initiative (RSI) today published an interview with Marc Goldwein, senior vice president of the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, on how retirement issues are faring in the 2016 election.  In the interview, Goldwein discussed the two major presidential candidates’ policies on social security, retirement issues, debt reduction and taxes.

Unfortunately, retirement hasn’t been a big issue this election,” said Goldwein in the interview.  “The candidates are talking very little about retirement, whereas it should be one of the top things being addressed.  This is especially true given the unsustainability of the Social Security program.”

It is estimated that Social Security, the major source of income for most retirees, will run out of funds to pay full benefits beginning in 2034. According to Goldwein, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump adequately address the problem.

Both candidates have their heads in the sand on Social Security policy,” said Goldwein. “Donald Trump’s plan is to keep the system on its current path to insolvency. Hillary Clinton’s plan expands benefits in targeted ways…but otherwise she doesn’t change the program’s benefits or touch the age requirement. Both candidates are doing tremendous disservice by taking so many things off the table.”

It would seem that public employees would have their pensions to make up for the retirement uncertainty. But, as more public pensions go underfunded, putting at risk public employees’ savings, that payoff may not be so certain. What, if anything, do the presidential candidates’ policies do to address retirement needs?

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have concrete plans to fix some of our most pressing retirement issues, like unsustainable pensions, holes in the Social Security program for low-income wage earners, access to retirement savings plans, and the list goes on,” said Goldwein. “What should have been a priority in the political debate, has unfortunately been put on the backburner in this presidential election.”

As for how each of the candidate's policies would impact historic levels of public-held debt (estimates show up to $5 trillion in U.S. pension debt), Goldwein said that neither of the candidate’s economic plans would slow and reverse the national debt.

“Hillary Clinton’s plan would keep national debt on the path we are headed, increasing it by a small amount: an additional $9.2 trillion in the next decade,” said Goldwein. “And while this is certainly the wrong direction, Donald Trump’s plan is catastrophically worse. It would add $5.3 trillion on top of the already $9 trillion over the next decade, putting the U.S. in unprecedented debt.”

To read more of Golwein’s interview, click here, or visit:

Underfunded pension systems are one of the biggest challenges facing state and local budgets, resulting in an estimated $1 trillion to $5 trillion in total U.S. pension debt. Goldwein’s interview is part of an ongoing RSI series of pension and retirement analysis from the country’s leading policy and fiscal thought leaders. Previously in the series, RSI spoke with the Rockefeller Institute’s Donald Boyd on investment risks being taken by pension funds and their potential consequences.