As a retiree of the Cedar Rapids Community School District, I am concerned with a proposed bill (financial transaction tax) that Bernie Sanders has introduced to the Senate and which Elizabeth Warren, another presidential candidate, signed on to. Both are touting on the campaign trail here in Iowa.
I spent 32 years as a classroom teacher and worked hard to build my retirement portfolio. IPERS was meant to help Iowa’s public servants retire with more financial security. Today, I see a real threat coming to our hardworking teachers, state employees, first responders and union families.
Sanders and Warren support the idea of financial transaction taxes, portraying them as “bad for Wall Street,” when to the contrary, they would be terrible for many individuals.
Taxing financial transactions would directly affect the retirement programs of more than 137 million working Americans who participate in such investments. These include 401(k)s used by private companies, 403(b)s for nonprofits, individual retirement accounts, union workers’ pensions, and the over $31 billion in Iowa public pension funds. Studies suggest even a modest financial transaction tax would delay the average employee’s retirement by two and a half years.
Iowans must face the fact that some Democratic candidates are proposing large social programs, perhaps larger than the U.S. can afford. By the time caucuses roll around, these candidates owe us a full accounting of how they would pay for such government expansion and whether burdensome new taxes on the middle class are part of their plans.