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Des Moines Register - Biden: My Retirement Plan Helps From Birth

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Location: Des Moines, IA

Des Moines Register - Biden: My Retirement Plan Helps From Birth


Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said Wednesday that his new retirement security plan will not only protect Social Security and the senior citizens it serves, but also will put a patch on the nation's spendthrift habits by encouraging money-saving habits virtually from birth.

The Democratic presidential candidate canceled a press conference in Des Moines and a Burlington campaign stop Wednesday, as well as a Wapello event scheduled for this morning, because of scheduled Senate votes regarding the war in Iraq. In a telephone interview with The Des Moines Register, he laid out the details of his five-point plan on the eve of tonight's AARP Democratic debate in Davenport.

The plan lays out five key components to preserving retirement plans.

"This is about allowing average people, median income and below, to benefit from a system that people with money have been able to benefit from for a long, long time," Biden said. "Our incentives for savings are directed toward people with significant or disposable income. This ... protects everyone."

Biden's plan promises a secure retirement by safeguarding Social Security. Biden staunchly opposes privatization of Social Security.

Also included are:

- Encouraging personal saving by expanding automatic enrollment in 401(k) savings programs and making individual retirement accounts more accessible.

- Creating Kids Accounts that would start with a $500 government contribution to every child born after Dec. 31, 2008. The original $500 would have to be repaid to the government by age 30, but the money would earn interest in the meantime and would be redeemable for education expenses, home ownership or retirement beginning at age 18. Parents and grandparents also can make tax-free contributions.

- Protecting pensions by strengthening workers' claims on their benefits.

- Preserving retirement in- vestments by requiring retirement plan administrators to help workers understand their investment options.

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