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Are Mandatory Savings Accounts the Solution to the Retirement Crisis?

Are Mandatory Savings Accounts the Solution to the Retirement Crisis?

It's not news that Americans aren't saving enough for retirement. The 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Matthew Greenwald & Associates, found that 57% of those polled had less than $25,000 saved for retirement.

“In days gone by in a land far, far away, we had a wonderful thing called pensions. A person worked at a place of employment for 25-30 years and they knew that when they left they would continue to receive money each and every month from that employer. They could even pass that on to their spouse. What a wonderful world that was,” says Annalee Leonard, founder of Mainstay Financial Group.

Welcome to reality. It's not surprising that there are cries for mandatory retirement savings from the likes of investment behemoth BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink and other quarters. “I am glad to see that the calls for mandatory enrollment continue. This should go a very long way in ramping up the personal savings rate and would likely have far reaching social impacts in encouraging more responsible attitudes toward saving investing, put wealth in the hands of families and communities where it has historically been lacking, and increase engagement (societal) and understanding of the business world,” says John Hauserman, CFP Board Ambassador and author, RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions.

Forced savings can help those who may not have otherwise saved for their future. “Any supplement to social security is helpful. A small amount saved, especially when started early enough in one's career, is not likely to be felt in the ultimate take home amount,” explains Leslie Tayne, of the Law Offices of Leslie Tayne, which specializes in debt issues.

Others point to the fact that when Americans fall short financially the onus typically falls on the government. “Entitlement programs are the 800 pound gorilla for our country's deficit. The government needs to shift as much of the burden of retirement away from itself and onto the shoulders of our citizens. Mandatory retirement savings is one of several methods of addressing this issue,” says Bradley Bofford, managing partner at Financial Principles.

The bottom line is, who knows what changes will be made to Social Security and other programs in coming years? The voluntary system, the 401k didn't prevent the crisis.

Then too, private companies realize, “You can't guarantee an income stream for retirees who are increasing their life expectancies at an increasing rate, and expect to remain viable. Companies can't do it and neither can the government, mandating private savings is a potential means to create an alternative,” says Hauserman.

How might this work?

There would be a requirement that employees must contribute some percentage of earned income into retirement savings. There is also talk about adopting the model Australia has been using for the last 20 years. “Their type of mandatory savings requires employers to contribute to the employees' accounts at a greater rate than the typical match. Additionally, the employee is forced to contribute anywhere from 3-5% of their salary into the savings plan,” says Bofford.

While the idea of mandatory retirement savings at its core appears to make sense, there is the matter of implementation, says Tim Gagnon, Northeastern University professor and faculty director MST & MSA On-line Programs. He has many questions. “Does the government mandating the savings infringe on personal privacy? Does a minimum wage earner have the ability financially to reduce their take home pay and still meet daily needs? Does this just line the pockets of the investment community (with account and trading fees)? How does the market volatility play in? Should there be a baseline guaranteed return that the accounts will earn so that they will grow?”

According to a spokeswoman at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, contributions to the mandatory accounts should be made by the employer so that the employee doesn't feel the right to withdraw funds before retirement. Avoiding early withdrawals is important because, in the existing 401k system, such leakages have proven to be a problem.

Simply a bad idea?

“This isn't Russia; Americans are supposed to be free. People should be able to spend or save their money how they desire,” says Tom Hegna, author of Paychecks and Playchecks: Retirement Solutions for Life.

Voicing a similar sentiment, “Are you kidding me? It's not the government's job. Period. If people want to drink their liver into failure; smoke their lungs to cancer; ride their motorcycle without a helmet, or enter retirement with no money – it's their choice,” says Tami Simpson, founder of Wealth Financial Group West.

The problem with mandating savings is who will pay for it? “Force employers to add to payroll the costs and companies may close or lay off employees to address the costs,” says Roy Laux, president of Synergy Financial Services.

One could even argue, says Bofford that mandatory savings would have an adverse effect on the economy, as less dollars would be spent on goods and services.

Then too, says Ted Sarenski, CEO of Blue Ocean Strategic Capital, “Something that is mandated is often resisted. If someone doesn't like that their money is being put into savings for them against their will, they will most likely not keep the money in that plan if they leave that employment.”

If however, mandatory savings come into being, Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director for U.S. PIRG (U.S. Public Interest Research Group), says, “We must be careful not to create mandatory savings without creating an enrichment program for the powerful money managers and stock brokers who have grown fat and happy selling over-priced, under-performing products. Some of these firms smell that new mandatory savings program fee income, and are among those calling for it to be made law. If more and more middle-income consumers will be looking for places to put their mandatory savings, we'll need to have some robust protections.”

Mandatory savings accounts aren't a panacea, but the concept has a discussion going, ideas on the table. “One possible solution is to earmark a portion of the income tax or social security tax that would go towards an individual's retirement fund. With this method, workers would not have to lose anything from their paycheck, but it would force the government to come up with spending cuts to make the program work,” says Hegna.

What's not up for debate is that something needs to be done about America's retirement savings crisis. Says Sarenski, “What is the proverb? Give a person a fish and you feed them today; teach a person to fish and you feed them a lifetime. We need to teach and teach well.”

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paoli2   |     |   Comment #1
I'm for mandatory savings whether personal or payroll because it teaches one to budget early in life.  One learns to live on less and still can have these things they need and want.  The more one has, the more they will usually spend.  Budgeting and saving go hand in hand.  Saving is harder to do nowadays due to the low interest rates but it still should be a part of one'e life to prepare for whatever the future holds.
jshannon   |     |   Comment #2
There should be more education at a young age and throughout life about saving. Also, there should be an expansion of the Indivicual Retirement Account, not mandated savings.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
If you want to make people to save, the Government should stop all of the free handouts like:

The welfare, health-care, housing, food stamps, disabilities (fraud), medicaid and all of the 540 different grants and giveaways.

Look at China, there no government help of any kind except at the extreme case and everybody works and saves till the day they die.

Life is more fulfilling when you find a purpose to live. Re-educate the masses to be self sufficient and stop the insanity of give me this give me that, hell, even the cell phones and the monthly bills  made by the takers are paid by you and I, without even knowing.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
In some respects, isn't Social Security a mandatory savings account?  Although some get nothing in return.  Unfortunately, they die too young.

Oh, and the banksters would just love "Mandatory Savings Accounts".  All that coming in and pay out little or no interest.  Maybe even charge annual or worse, monthly service fees. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
Sheryl Nance-Nash, do you have any opinions of your own?  What exactly do you contribute to this site?

You've compiled a random collection of other people's statements.  Did you interview any of them, or did you just collect them from web sites and etc.?

I've never understood why Ken allows you to be his "weekend author". 
Maecl   |     |   Comment #6
No to mandatory savings accounts.  We have too much government now.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
 do you have any opinions of your own?  What exactly do you contribute to this site?

You've compiled a random collection of other people's statements.  Did you interview any of them, or did you just collect them from web sites and etc.?

isnt that what most of the over- achiever posters on this site do ?
Jason   |     |   Comment #8
If people were forced to save, live responsibly, and pay their own way how would Democrats get re-elected?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
In these days, who can save? My take home paycheck isn't enough to get me home.
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #10

According to the study, 55 percent of workers and 39 percent of retirees report having a problem with their level of debt, and only half (50 percent of workers and 52 percent of retirees) say they could definitely come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month.

Now there's the problem, and a mandatory savings program won't solve it.
paoli2   |     |   Comment #11
#10  If only 52% of retirees can come up with $2,000.00 if necessary, we have serious problems in this country!  I can't help but think it's because they are "over-spending" and not even trying to save for emergencies.  People seem to want what they want "now" and refuse to accept the responsibility for future bills, imo.  Keep the car longer, get a small house, and don't buy anything you can't pay cash for!  There are ways around this problems but from what you post, it seems the average American doesn't want to do what it takes to resolve their financial problems, imo.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
Shorebreak, What percentage of those people are in that poor financial position today mainly because their lust for material things was much larger than their wallets could afford?  Or part of the "we want it all NOW!" generation and got in over their heads through nobody's fault but their own?

Now people who have lost their jobs and/or had dire family medical emergencies arise are a whole different group and I truly feel sorry for them. 
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #13
Re: Anonymous - #12, Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 4:19 PM

I can't answer that for you based on the study cited in the article. I would like to see an historical comparison of that criteria to see how much it has changed over the years or has it always been this way?
rosie43   |     |   Comment #14
Hope you will take a moment to read this Bloomberg article written by a venture capitalist.





rosie43 - #14, Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 5:04 PM

Hope that you will read this article in Bloomberg written by a venture capitolist. Very hard to save on the wages of today.

By Nick Hanauer Jun 19, 2013 6:50 PM 


The fundamental law of capitalism is that if workers have no money, businesses have no customers. That’s why the extreme, and widening, wealth gap in our economy presents not just a moral challenge, but an economic one, too. In a capitalist system, rising inequality creates a death spiral of falling demand that ultimately takes everyone down.


Low-wage jobs are fast replacing middle-class ones in the U.S. economy. Sixty percent of the jobs lost in the last recession were middle-income, while 59 percent of the new positions during the past two years of recovery were in low-wage industries that continue to expand such as retail, food services, cleaning and health-care support. By 2020, 48 percent of jobs will be in those service sectors.


Policy makers debate incremental changes for arresting this vicious cycle. But perhaps the most powerful and elegant antidote is sitting right before us: a spike in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.


True, that sounds like a lot. When President Barack Obama called in February for an increase to $9 an hour from $7.25, he was accused of being a dangerous redistributionist. Yet consider this: If the minimum wage had simply tracked U.S. productivity gains since 1968, it would be $21.72 an hour -- three times what it is now.


Cultivating Consumers[/H2] Traditionally, arguments for big minimum-wage increases come from labor unions and advocates for the poor. I make the case as a businessman and entrepreneur who sees our millions of low-paid workers as customers to be cultivated and not as costs to be cut.

Here’s a bottom-line example: My investment portfolio includes Pacific Coast Feather Co., one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of bed pillows. Like many other manufacturers, pillow-makers are struggling because of weak demand. The problem comes down to this: My annual earnings equal about 1,000 times the U.S. median wage, but I don’t consume 1,000 times more pillows than the average American. Even the richest among us only need one or two to rest their heads at night.

An economy such as ours that increasingly concentrates wealth in the top 1 percent, and where most workers must rely on stagnant or falling wages, isn’t a place to build much of a pillow business, or any other business for that matter.

Raising the 
minimum wage to $15 an hour would inject about $450 billion into the economy each year. That would give more purchasing power to millions of poor and lower-middle-class Americans, and would stimulate buying, production and hiring.

Studies by the 
Economic Policy Institute show that a $15 minimum wage would directly affect 51 million workers and indirectly benefit an additional 30 million. That’s 81 million people, or about 64 percent of the workforce, and their families who would be more able to buy cars, clothing and food from our nation’s businesses.

This virtuous cycle effect is described in the research of economists David Card and Alan Krueger (the current chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers) showing that, contrary to conventional economic orthodoxy, increases in the minimum wage increase employment. In 60 percent of the states that raised the minimum wage during periods of high unemployment, job growth was faster than the national average.

Some business people oppose an increase in the minimum wage as needless government interference in the workings of the market. In fact, a big increase would substantially reduce government intervention and dependency on public assistance programs.


Federal Benefits[/H2] No one earning the current minimum wage of about $15,000 per year can aspire to live decently, much less raise a family. As a result, almost all workers subsisting on those low earnings need panoply of taxpayer-supported benefits, including the earned income tax credit, food stamps, Medicaid or housing subsidies. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government spent $316 billion on programs designed to help the poor in 2012.

That means the current $7.25 minimum wage forces taxpayers to subsidize Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and other large employers, effectively socializing their labor costs. This is great for Wal-Mart and its shareholders, but terrible for America. It is both unjust and inefficient.

A higher minimum wage would also make low-income families less dependent on government programs: The CBO report shows that the federal government gives about $8,800 in annual assistance to the lowest-income households but only $4,000 to households earning $35,500, which would be about the level of earnings of a worker making $15 an hour.

An objection to a significant wage increase is that it would force employers to shed workers. Yet the evidence points the other way: Workers earn more and spend more, increasing demand and helping businesses grow.

Critics of raising the minimum wage also say it will lead to more outsourcing and job loss. Yet virtually all of these low-wage jobs are service jobs that can neither be outsourced nor automated.

Raising the earnings of all American workers would provide all businesses with more customers with more to spend. Seeing the economy as 
Henry Ford did would redirect our country toward a high-growth future that works for all.

(Nick Hanauer is a founder of Second Avenue Partners, a venture capital company in 
Seattle specializing in early-stage startups and emerging technology. He has founded or financed dozens of companies, including aQuantive Inc. and Amazon.com, and is the co-author of two books, “The True Patriot” and “The Gardens of Democracy.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
Shorebreak, I didn't really expect you to know the answer to my question in post #12.    Nor was I criticizing you or you information.  Just thowing the questions out there. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
To rosie43 (anonymous) - #14,

According to your thinking, raising wages is good for the economy, but you are missing the obvious, the cause for low wages.
If you give a hamburger flipper $15/h, you just created a monster price for that hamburger and a chain rection of price spirals upward on anyone or anything connected to that product.

The meat company will say, wait a minute, I sold you the meat for $0.50/lb, but you are selling it at $10/lb, I want a piece of that action. The worker across the street will say after buying a $10 hamburger to his boss, you must raise my salary again, I can not even afford a hamburgers on my salary anymore. You can see where this thing is going, endless connections with endless price and salary rises.
At the end, the ratio of salary and hamburger will stabilize at the present level again and the hamburger flipper will say, now I want $30 per hour, everything else is high in prices and I can not afford even the rent.
And the cycle will repeat into an endless loop of inflation without end.
In other words, low wages are good for the economy and not bad at all. People on fixed income can not afford to purchase anything after few years if you give a hamburger flipper a raise to $15/hour.
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #18
"In other words, low wages are good for the economy and not bad at all. People on fixed income can not afford to purchase anything after few years if you give a hamburger flipper a raise to $15/hour."

I beg to differ with your assertion. In the late 1950's a person who worked in a Sherwin-Williams paint store was able to afford to buy a house on his/her wages. The individual worked at the store full-time while his spouse raised a family in the home. Today this would be impossible due to the intentional degradation of wages in order to maintain equity share price and dividends of the corporation. Those who work today will remain in the labor force, if they can, until they drop dead. Get used to the plutocracy that we are presently living under.

rosie43   |     |   Comment #19
 This article had an important paragraph in it. 

True, that sounds like a lot. When President Barack Obama called in February for an increase to $9 an hour from $7.25, he was accused of being a dangerous redistributionist. Yet consider this: If the minimum wage had simply tracked U.S. productivity gains since 1968, it would be $21.72 an hour -- three times what it is now.

We had 2 children in1968. We were married in 1961 and saved enough to put 30% down and bought  a 3 bedroom home with just my husband working in that paper mill. By 1973 we had the house paid for and 58 acres with a pond paid for and $15,000 saved  to build a new home. This is what our generation was able to do. 

We are not willing to give the young the same benefits that we had. What was so bad back then? Everyone had a chance to better themselves. Now our generation has pulled up the ladder and just say to the kids "we saved." We did it. Why can't you? We say the kids now days don't know how to budget. Well  give them the same pay equilivant that we had and see how they do. 

We could work all summer in a factory and with the overtime hours we worked it would be enough for a year of college including books. Where can anyone work now for a summer and make $15,000 to go to college. 


Big 'O'
Big 'O'   |     |   Comment #20
If I say you buy health insurance you will buy it.  If I say you contribute to mandatory retirement accounts you will do so or else.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
Rosie, you are bitting around the bush. Would you like to pay more for everything you buy or to pay for a service at an egregious price?
Don’t you think that your standard of living will fall?
Do you care for the people on fixed income?
Are you a free market supporter or hater?
Why you care for a hamburger flipper (it is an entry level job for the summer kids to make few bucks and not to be a job you build career on)?
Now, look around yourself and tell me , what would you do if everything is double or triple in price, how are you going to pay for it, when your interest income stays the same. You have to deep into your principle and destroy your nest egg just for the sake of some hamburger flipper.
I thing you have been mislead by our deer leader and brainwashed by the liberals.
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #22

Evidently the gap between real wages and productivity is hurting today’s economy. This situation violates the traditional relationship between real wages and consumption. If the productivity of workers is rising but the ability of workers to purchase, which is the real wage, is increasingly lagging behind, how does this economy, which relies on growth in spending, sustain any reasonable growth?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
Shorebreak - #22

Remember when Obama said Cheep imports from China are good for all of us and the economy.
Well, he said it because his economic writers told him so. The real reason is not the wages for our lack economic growth, but our dependents on the rest of the world to provide us with cheap goods.
As long as that equilibrium exists, there will be no wage raises here. Look what Obama is trying to do, giving citizenship to millions upon millions of illegals, just to make them part of the economy, who will work for low wages, therefore, making our products cheap on the world market, so that we can compete.
The democrats are for the low wages and they will do anything to keep them low, even if that means low standard of living for the working class.
Wil   |     |   Comment #24
I'm having difficulty believing that anyone would take this article seriously in the first place. What are we coming to? Now the government has to mandate what citizens do with their own money? Save or spend it, that's for me to decide with what is my own. So, first we have government telling me, at the risk of a tax penalty, that I must purchase a certain insurance product, and even mandating the specifics of its coverage, and now it wants to tell me how much I should be savings, and will probably mandate the specifics of the savings instrument as well. Essentially, ideas like this assume that the government is a parent and the citizens are children, literally wards of the state, whom the state has to control for their own good. Of course a cadre of public bureaucrats, paid from the public treasury, will be required to administer all these mandates -- and they will become a self-aggrandizing elite, while we become their virtual serfs. That's assuming we haven't already reached the edge of virtual serfdom. What about personal responsiblity, self-determination, and self-reliance? These are the traits of personal character that make a nation great. The founding fathers of our republic must be rolling in their graves!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
I would personally support a rule that demands people have at least some retirement savings before having an emergency fund. Everyone retires but not everyone has an emergency. Having say at least 100k first in retirement before anything else would benefit everyone.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #26
#25  I don't see how you can have one and not the other.  If you had 100K in a retirement fund and you had an emergency come up for 25K, it seems to me one would have to try to take it from their retirement fund (if it were possible).  The reason I have always keep money for  emergencies liquid is that one can't always just take from a retirement fund especially if it is connected to your job.  What good is a so called retirement fund if it can't be accessed in times of need?  This is why I always kept them seperate.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #27
#26 I'm not saying emergency funds are bad, you do need both. But if you're going to create a rule I think it is better to have it on retirement funds first before emergency funds.
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #28
Re: Anonymous - #23, Monday, June 24, 2013 - 1:25 PM

Both political parties are beholden to Wall Street and large corporate political donors through lobbyists. Blaming Obama or the Democrats for low wages without pointing-out the foibles of the GOP when it comes to stifling worker pay is ludicrous.
rosie43   |     |   Comment #29
To 21

I do live on fixed income. I am a retired widow. My husband was put on disability in 1995 and I worked 2 jobs for 23 years until 2008 and one of those jobs I worked for 30 years.  I know when we were young wages were much fairer. I know that you always had enough to eat. It might be oatmeal or french toast or an egg sandwich one or two nights a week but you had enough. Now there are those that do not even have that. Now it is more than just the young that are working as a hamburger flipper. I still have not gotten into the principal. I don't have to but live on less than SS. Don't use the pension, IRA or 401K. I don't need to go south for the winter. I don't need to travel. I get more enjoyment on showing others how they can live for less and buy bargains and sales only.  Why are we all so concerned with self consumption and not of our neighbor who needs help right now. 

Why do we always think of ourselves instead of others? My post was only stating that all do not make enough to contribute to an IRA or 401K. Many are not even afforded healthcare. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #30
Rosie, you may be a good and carrying person, I do not know that, however, when you suggest in a public forum that a hamburger flipper is under paid, you expose yourself to judgments.
If you want higher wages for all, then be prepared to pay a lot for the goods and services.
The people you care about now will not be able to even feed themselves if such drastic wage increases are to happen. There will be millions more homeless people and will become big burden on you and me and all of us.
Now, think about, what is better, $2 for a loaf of bread now or $10 for a loaf of bread and how you will help the people you are helping now when a pound of meat will be $30.
The salaries are connected to the productivity and the work force of the society.
What you are trying to do is disconnect the wages from the value of the product produced.
If you go that road, you must like inflation to eat your retirement savings and you will become a person like the persons you are helping now.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #32


Shes just trying to feed you your favorite meal
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
And so goes another good Topic down hill.   Fight nice KIDS!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #39
#38  This is what you call a "fight"?  I call it just a disagreement about a post.  If you have something constructive to add about the topic, why don't you post it instead of griping about our posts.
SMN   |     |   Comment #40
Something to contribute to the “but raising minimum wage will raise prices” debate.  I recently learned that this statement is not necessarily true.  To summarize why:

Cost of product = cost of materials (plus) cost of labor/wages (plus) profit/shareholder return.

Efficiency increases reduce the cost of labor.  The resulting savings can appear in three ways:  1) passed on to customers as reduced prices, 2) passed on to shareholders as increased profits, and/or 3) returned to workers as increased wages.  Between the 40s and late 60s, there was a pretty good balance between these three.  Prices fell, wages increased, and shareholder profits provided reasonable rates of return.  Everyone was happy.  But starting around the 70s, cost decreases due to increased efficiency were primarily converted into shareholder profit.  Wages, adjusted for inflation, generally stayed flat or decreased.  Prices, adjusted for inflation, generally stayed flat or increased.  Shareholder profits BALLOONED, leading to the wealth disparities we see today.

In these discussions about increasing minimum wage (which pretty much everyone agrees is not enough to live on), most of us (including me) instinctively think “cost of product = cost of materials plus cost of labor”.  We never even see the third piece as part of the equation (probably because it doesn’t apply to most of us!).  But in fact, it is possible to increase wages WITHOUT increasing product costs, by simply decreasing the percentage going to shareholder profit to more historically accurate (modest) levels.

While the devil is in the implementation details, I found this mental model of costs very helpful to understand the debate and possibilities.

As an aside: I’m surprised no one commented on the phrase I’m really hoping was a typo:  Edmund Mierzwinski…“We must be careful not to create mandatory savings without creating an enrichment program for the powerful money managers and stock brokers.."

What?!? We must not create a mandatory plan without creating an enrichment program [for bankers]?!?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #42
What we can't forget is that a "good" CEO who is really worth his job provides a company which can hire a lot of employees.  These employees would not have jobs if the CEO was not making the company successful.  However, it has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous when it comes to the high salaries and bonuses many CEOs do get. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #43
I read all of the posts, some are good, some are terrible, but one thing stricked me:
Low wages are good for the economy because, low wages produce low price goods and services.

Look at Germany, there are no lows about any minimum wages and some people work even for few dollars per hour, the standard of living in Germany is better than here and they have export economy which is second to none. They have positive balance sheet and the unemployment is very low.
So, the minimum wage is just an excuse not to work here and go on welfare because you will receive more benefits for not working. If the minimum wages are raised even one dollar, the export and the economy will fall by at least 10%. and the prices will jump accordingly.

As you can see the low wages are good for the economy and your profit reasoning makes no sense, because the products produced with low wages do not make the stockholder richer, what makes the stockholder rich is people buying that particular stock and over bidding the current price and are raising the  P/E ratio because of demand for the stock as an investment only.
Greg Demetriou
Greg Demetriou   |     |   Comment #44
I cannot believe this conversation is even being had.  Just look at the words used "mandatory", "forced", "against their will".  Folks, this is the United States of America, not some back water third world country where edicts can just be handed down and the populice has to capitulate.  We are FREE and that means we are free to make our own decisioins, right or wrong. 

This whole proposal reeks of "We know what is good for you, better then you do." Personally, I find it offensive.  Simply overreaching into another area of personal freedoms. 

We really need to stop medling with the people and let them exercise their rights.