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Opponents of shifting to Roth plans speak up in Senate

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown says ‘Rothification’ would make saving for retirement more expensive.

Brown vows 'one hell of a fight'

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, promised "one hell of a fight" if tax reform negotiators consider shifting retirement savings tax incentives to Roth accounts instead of 401(k) plans, as a way to pay for corporate tax cuts.

Speaking at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday, Mr. Brown said the move toward "Rothification" would make saving for retirement more expensive for employees and employers, especially small businesses.

"You've got to be kidding me. Their two best ideas to pay for massive tax cuts for Wall Street are to cut Medicare and raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, and then steal from the retirement accounts of working, middle-class Americans?" Mr. Brown said at the hearing. He also organized a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, and House and Senate leaders to demand tax reform not include new taxes on retirement savings.

At the same hearing, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., noted the last major tax reform in 1986 took five years. "The idea that we could accomplish tax reform in a few months is the triumph of man's hope over experience."

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said: "My preference is to move tax reform through this committee with bipartisan support. I have no desire to exclude my Democratic colleagues from this discussion."