SECURE Act and Ukrainian Plane Crash

Grind for January 14th
“Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory is too good.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche


The Headline

New law will help small businesses offer retirement plans

The Grind

Late last month, President Trump signed a law designed to help small employers offer retirement benefits.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE) gives unrelated employers the opportunity to join together to create “open” MEPs administered by “pooled plan providers.”

The law also increases the income tax credit for costs paid by small employers who adopt new retirement benefits from $500 to $5,000 and creates a new income tax credit for small businesses that offer automatic enrollment.

Goals of the SECURE Act include:

— Help more Americans achieve retirement security

— Help Americans save enough money to maintain their standard of living during retirement

— Prevent Americans from outliving their savings

The Details

The SECURE Act, which passed with overwhelming support from both parties, provides workers with more flexibility to save money for long periods of time and disincentivizes early withdrawal.

The law applies to part-time workers (after three years) but will not affect contract or gig workers.

Critics worry the law doesn’t go far enough to encourage small businesses, many of which have ignored other federal options designed to help them offer benefits.

“I don’t really think they’re really going to move the needle much at all,” says Alicia Munnell, a researcher at Boston College who focuses on retirement trends. “Without a mandate, without somebody saying, ‘Mr. Small Businessman, you have to do something for your employees,’ I don’t think we’re going to see much change.”

Munnell favors the kind of laws passed recently in California and 9 other states that force private employers who don’t offer benefits to help their employees set up IRAs.

As it stands, more than 50 million people in the US (roughly half of the workforce) do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

A Big Mistake

The Headline

Iran’s military shoots down Ukrainian airplane, claims it was an accident

The Grind

Amid the chaos ignited by the death of General Soleimani comes Iran’s accidental attack on a Ukrainian airplane.

Iran previously denied accusations that it was responsible for the incident.

The Ukrainian plane, a Boeing 737-800, was brought down by a missile on Wednesday just four hours after Iran attacked US troops in Iraq as revenge for Soleimani’s death.

The crash killed all 176 passengers, many of them from Canada, as well as dozens of Iranian civilians on the ground.

Iran’s admission of responsibility triggered outrage in Tehran, where authorities used tear gas to disperse protestors.

The Details

According to Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, leader of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, a junior officer ordered a missile fired at the Ukrainian plane after he was instructed to fire at any American or other enemy warplane on sight.

“We expect from Iran assurances of a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the dead, payment of compensation, [and] official apologies through diplomatic channels,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, adding the Iran’s acknowledgement of responsibility is a “step in the right direction.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assured President Zelensky that those responsible would face the Iranian justice system and said he welcomed international cooperation.

“What Iran has admitted to is very serious,” added Canadian President Justin Trudeau. “Shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific.”

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