The Feb. 4 editorial "Stealth Tax Reform" described some of the details of President Bush's 2004 budget proposal, which make "the tax structure less progressive, providing a boon to the wealthiest Americans."
The Post said the proposal should be named "radical tax reform." I suggest we name this proposal "another step toward plutocracy" -- government by, for and about the wealthiest people.
The editorial "Stealth Tax Reform" left out a facet of the retirement savings accounts. According to a graphic with the Feb. 1 front-page story "New Tax-Free Savings Proposed," contributions to the plans would not be deductible. The logic for these types of tax changes stimulating the economy is faulty.
Consumption, not saving, stimulates the economy. Money put into savings accounts is money not being spent. Even if the contributions were deductible, there would be a net loss in money available for consumption, because the tax saved by the deduction is considerably less than the amount put into savings.
President Bush's 2004 budget proposal doesn't contain "stealth tax reform." It takes a bold step forward in securing the retirement of Americans at all income levels.
By proposing lifetime savings accounts, retirement savings accounts and employer retirement savings accounts, the president is giving Americans the tools to plan for retirement. As it stands today, our tax code has an unfair bias against those who choose to save. Removing that bias by allowing the accounts to grow tax-free will only encourage Americans to save more and help our struggling economy.
As our population ages, federal "entitlement" programs such as Social Security and Medicare will strain to their limits, shifting the unmanageable costs to future generations.
Today's retirees didn't have much incentive to save for retirement. They could count on our government to provide for them. Tomorrow's retirees don't have that luxury.
The writer is vice president of RetireSafe.org, which lobbies on retirement issues.