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Opinion

It’s time for retirement specifics from President Trump

President Donald Trump laid out ambitious plans during his first major address to Congress and the nation.

In his first major address to Congress and the nation, President Donald Trump laid out ambitious plans for rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, reforming immigration and invigorating the economy, among other themes.

All are important points for any administration, especially a new one. Missing, however, was a hint as to how the president will address the looming retirement crisis.

Before the election, retirement industry participants wanted to know how Mr. Trump would approach current tax incentives for retirement savings and deferral limits for defined contribution plans, among other things, and how his administration would deal with the push for state-run retirement programs for private-sector employees without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Pensions & Investments' readers put the need to advance retirement security — expanding plan access and coverage, and protections for lifetime income — on their wish lists.

But their wish for improved access hit a roadblock last month, when the House of Representatives approved two resolutions that blocked Department of Labor safe-harbor rules allowing states and cities to set up private-sector retirement savings programs. In lieu of an agreement from Congress on a national, unified approach, more than 30 states have considered “Secure Choice” state legislation to create programs for private-sector employees. Programs in Washington and Oregon are expected to launch this year.

The president, in his first days in office, signed executive orders for departments and agencies to take hard looks at existing regulations, requiring them to eliminate two for every one implemented. In his speech, Mr. Trump reaffirmed his campaign promises of corporate and individual tax reform, despite providing few specifics on how the changes will be accomplished.

Addressing both regulation and taxes are key steps to reinvigorating business and, ultimately, the economy.

But long-term income security of the nation's rapidly aging population also is a key economic factor. Mr. Trump is expected to hold to his campaign pledge to preserve Social Security, but made no mention of it in his speech.

Still to be addressed are what P&I's readers sought: an indication of his policies on the needs for easier and broader access to retirement plans as well as lifetime income. We hope some of these concerns are addressed in Mr. Trump's budget proposal, expected to be released this week.

We're not alone in wanting to hear some specifics.

This article originally appeared in the March 6, 2017 print issue as, "It's time for retirement specifics from President Trump".