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Amy Klobuchar: The Retirement Survey

Yahoo Finance and the Funding our Future campaign (an alliance of organizations dedicated to making a secure retirement possible for all Americans) teamed up to get more details on where the 2020 candidates for president stand on retirement. According to a recent Gallup poll, “Not having enough money for retirement” is a top financial worry among Americans yet the issue has received minimal attention thus far on the campaign trail. During the September debate, the words “Social Security” or “Retirement” weren’t uttered, according to ABC’s transcript.

The following are the responses from Amy Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota.

U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Will you address the coming insolvency of Social Security’s Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund in your first term as president? If so, what specific policies will you advance?

Social Security has served as a stable and secure retirement guarantee for generations of Americans. Senator Klobuchar believes that this program must remain solvent for generations to come and she will fight against risky schemes to privatize it. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap, as currently the payroll tax only applies to wages up to $133,000. Senator Klobuchar supports lifting the Social Security cap so those making over $250,000 pay their fair share, extending the solvency of Social Security.

Should every person who pays into Social Security be eligible for full benefits, regardless of their socioeconomic status? In other words, will your plan include means testing? Will your plan include raising the retirement age or other benefit reductions?

Senator Klobuchar believes every person who pays into Social Security should be eligible for full benefits. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap and she supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and extending the solvency of Social Security. Her plan to strengthen and expand Social Security does not include raising the age for retirement benefits or other benefit reductions. And Senator Klobuchar will make sure people are treated fairly by the current Social Security system. As President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members.

Should Social Security be funded primarily through payroll taxes, as it is currently, or should other revenue be used to shore up the program’s funding? If so, what revenue source(s) do you propose using?

Senator Klobuchar believes that Social Security should continue to be funded through payroll taxes and she will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap so that those making over $250,000 pay their fair share.

Should Social Security benefits be increased for any beneficiaries? If so, how do you propose increasing them, and how will your plan pay for any increase in benefits?

As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to strengthen, expand and improve Social Security benefits for America’s seniors, widows, as well as people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members. To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will lift the Social Security payroll cap and close the trust fund loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes on inherited wealth.

Current legislation in Congress, the SECURE Act, has bipartisan support. Its primary pillars are expanding access to workplace retirement savings plans, increasing retirement income options, and enabling people to contribute to and retain their funds in IRAs and 401(k)s at later ages. Do you support the legislation? Why? Are there certain aspects you oppose? Why?

Senator Klobuchar supports the Secure Act and has long supported expanding access to workplace retirement savings plans, increasing retirement income options, and enabling people to contribute to and retain their funds in IRAs and 401(k)s at later ages.

Should every worker have access to a workplace retirement savings account?
a) If so, how would you make that happen?
b) If not, why?
c) Many states are establishing plans of their own. Do you support these plans and what role do you envision them playing in the broader system?

Senator Klobuchar believes all Americans deserve a secure retirement. As President, Senator Klobuchar would work with Congress to create innovative, portable personal savings accounts called Up Accounts -- modeled after landmark legislation she has introduced with Senator Coons -- that can be used for retirement and emergencies by establishing a minimum employer contribution to a savings plan. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career.

The gig economy has upended traditional retirement models, and those workers face some of the greatest barriers when it comes to saving for retirement. How would you improve the ability of gig workers to save for retirement?

Senator Klobuchar believes we need to have a safety net for our gig economy workers, and that includes access to retirement and emergency savings. Her proposal to create innovative, portable personal savings accounts called Up Accounts would ensure people working independently or in the gig economy have access retirement accounts and an individual tax credit to help them contribute.

Do you support making it easier for workers to move their retirement benefits from one employer to another, such as a portable benefits model? How would you achieve that?

Senator Klobuchar’s proposed personal savings Up accounts are designed to maximize portability. Because an UP Account is attached to the worker, not the employer, it moves easily with a worker from job to job.

How would you propose improving retirement security for low-income Americans, many of whom cannot afford to put away savings?

Four in ten adults do not have liquid savings to meet a $400 emergency expense and three in ten workers lack access to workplace retirement plans. Senator Klobuchar’s proposed personal savings accounts will provide income on top of Social Security for Americans who don't have retirement savings or a pension. Under her plan, most workers will receive at least $1,000 per year of employer savings contributions and according to one estimate, a high school-educated worker is projected to build more than $600,000 in wealth over their career.

More Responses

Every active campaign was invited to participate. Several declined or did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Some campaigns opted to respond only to select questions and are not included here.

Michael Bennet

Steve Bullock

John Delaney

Amy Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Joe Sestak

Marianne Williamson

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