Sep 29, 2016

Economist Teresa Ghilarducci and Blackstone President Tony James Publish “Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans”

Plan Guarantees Millions of Americans Safe and Secure Retirements

Book Draws Praise from Two Former Chairmen of White House Council on Economic Advisors

New York, New York, September 29, 2016. Economist Teresa Ghilarducci, one of the nation’s leading experts on retirement security, and Blackstone President Hamilton “Tony” James today announced the publication of their co-authored book, Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans, from Disruption Books. The book outlines a deficit-neutral proposal to ensure that all workers can save enough to retire through mandated, individually-owned, and effectively-invested Guaranteed Retirement Accounts. Left unaddressed, the authors emphasize, the strain of a newly poor population of senior citizens would devastate federal, state, and local budgets for decades to come.

Key components of their visionary plan include:

  • Universal coverage: Every American worker would have their own Guaranteed Retirement Account, ensuring consistent retirement savings throughout their career.
  • Individually owned, effectively invested: Unlike Social Security, workers keep ownership of their assets through transparent individual accounts.  As with traditional pension plans, their assets will be pooled and invested in long-term, strategies that generate higher returns than current 401(k) plans.
  • Deficit-neutral and costless for families at or below median income: The plan redeploys current tax subsidies more evenly across the income distribution, and uses existing Federal payment infrastructure, avoiding a negative impact on the budget.  
  • Guaranteed lifetime income: Upon retiring, savings will be returned through life-long payments, guaranteeing a continuous standard of living as long as retirees live.
  • Bipartisan appeal: This model keeps accounts under personal control, distributing savings based on the amount invested, not based on income, and without impacting the budget or raising taxes.

The publication of the book coincides with the launch of a website dedicated to the plan and its promotion, rescuingretirement.org, and a social campaign driven by the hashtag #fixretirement on Twitter and Facebook.

“This book should be required reading for everyone concerned with how Americans will fund their retirements and makes a compelling case that it should include us all. It is an important conversation starter in an area that will only get more relevant in the years to come,” said Austan Goolsbee, Former Chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisers.

 

“At a moment when America's retirees are caught in the middle of a political tug-of-war, James and Ghilarducci offer a new way forward. Rescuing Retirement proposes a provocative yet practical solution to America's pending retirement crisis,” said Alan Krueger, Professor of Economics, Princeton University and Former Chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“Our retirement system is broken – if we do not take action, America will face rates of poverty among senior citizens not seen since the Great Depression,” said Teresa Ghilarducci. “Our Retirement Savings Plan is a pragmatic solution that includes no new taxes, will not increase the deficit, and intelligently integrates into existing infrastructure to address this massive issue that cuts across all demographics.”

Said Hamilton “Tony” James, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone: “If the country acts now, we can solve this problem, and solve it relatively painlessly for everyone. Our plan is a simple, sustainable, low-cost and politically viable proposal to enable workers to save and invest more effectively to secure their retirement.”

“Clear, thoughtful, and engaging. This book is a must-read for future retirees, policymakers, and anyone concerned with our nation's future,” said Christian Weller, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.

“We may have philosophical differences, but the plan put forth by Teresa and Tony provides a bold, refreshing approach to modernizing America's retirement infrastructure,” said Bill Jansien, CEO, StoneHedge Global Partners and member, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

The publication of this book follows the authors’ March 2016 white paper published by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School, “A Comprehensive Plan to Confront the Retirement Savings Crisis,” and their January 2016 New York Times op-ed, “A Smarter Plan to Make Retirement Savings Last,” in which they wrote, “Our plan would guarantee millions of Americans safe and secure retirements that would benefit them, their families, and the nation’s economy.” 

About Blackstone
Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our asset management businesses, with over $350 billion in assets under management, include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.

About Teresa Ghilarducci
Teresa Ghilarducci is an economist and nationally recognized expert in retirement security. She is the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Professor of Economics at The New School for Social Research and The New School’s Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab). She is a court-appointed trustee to the $53 billion United Auto Workers Health Care Trust, a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center Commission on Retirement Security, a former Presidential appointee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and a former trustee by gubernatorial appointment to the Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund.

Contact
For Dr. Ghilarducci
Bridget Fisher
Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School
212.229.5901 x1
fisherb@newschool.edu

For Mr. James
Christine Anderson
Blackstone
+1 (212) 583 5182
Christine.Anderson@blackstone.com