Like the candidates themselves, the political platforms adopted at the Republican and Democratic conventions have little in common when it comes to retirement security and tax reform — two issues that could wind up having a big impact on how Americans save for retirement.
Social Security has received most of the attention from candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Pressed by AARP on behalf of its nearly 38 million members, Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton took sharply divergent approaches to strengthening a system that is expected to be insolvent by 2034. It has to be a priority for presidential and congressional candidates, said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, “or future generations could stand to lose up to $10,000 per year in earned benefits.”
For the Clinton campaign, “there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more,” including raising the taxable income cap and taxing other income, campaign officials told AARP. They also promised to fight “any attempts to gamble seniors' retirement security on the stock market through privatization,” and other ideas such as raising the retirement age or reducing cost-of-living increases.
Democrats also want to expand Social Security for widows or people who took time out of the workforce to care for family members.
The GOP platform said Social Security “is long overdue for major change. ... To restore public trust in the system, Republicans are committed to setting it on a sound fiscal basis that will give workers control over, and a sound return on, their investments.”
Mr. Trump told AARP that “the key to preserving Social Security ... is to have an economy that is robust and growing,” and the first step to achieve that is passing comprehensive tax reform that includes fewer brackets and lower tax rates for corporations and investors.