In the 1990’s, a growing number of employers defaulted on their pension plans, and political moves to privatize Social Security gained momentum. For the first time in generations, the promise of a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work seemed to fade.
Working with the national Economic Policy Institute, unions and women’s groups, EOI began a statewide campaign to educate Washington citizens about the dangers of Social Security privatization. We delved into the data and showed Social Security was – and is – on sound financial footing far into the future.
Especially in light of today’s economic turbulence, we’re proud to say that our efforts, combined with those of others, paid off. Social Security is the bedrock for millions of American workers, children and families, and will continue to be so for generations to come.
But Social Security alone is not enough. About half of all working Americans are not covered by a retirement plan at their place of work. Employees of small- and medium-sized businesses are at the greatest risk of not having a retirement program.
Working in tandem with the Center for Economic Policy Research and national pension experts, EOI has developed an innovative proposal, dubbed Retirement Security Accounts (RSAs), to provide Washington workers and small businesses with the option of a professionally managed, portable retirement plan.
RSAs use the expertise and bargaining power in the state’s retirement and investment system and economies of scale to lower costs and simplify choices for employers and workers.
In 2007, the Washington State Department of Retirement System received a budget allocation to design a RSA program for Washington State. And a bill utilizing the RSA model was debated in the Washington State legislature in 2009.
Today, EOI is working with state agencies, AARP and other organizations to build similar retirement programs all across the country, promoting a more secure economic future for America’s workers.