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Will Bipartisan 'Libertarian Paternalism' Save the American Retirement System?

Recently a laggard in retirement policy, the United States may have a chance to become a leader again.

Early in childhood, most of us learn Aesop’s tale about the industrious ant and the improvident grasshopper. The tale ends in the winter, when the fun-loving grasshopper has no food but the ant has plenty--which it declines to share. The clear message of the story is that we should emulate the ant’s work ethic and self-discipline, if perhaps not his lack of charity.

Unfortunately, when it comes to retirement planning, we tend to be more grasshopper than ant. Many of us decide not to fund an IRA, even if we lack access to a workplace retirement plan; fail to participate in company-sponsored retirement plans when they are available; or do not save enough even when we do contribute to a retirement account.