Magazine article USA TODAY

Outdated Laws Hurt Women

Magazine article USA TODAY

Outdated Laws Hurt Women

Article excerpt

With 77,000,000 baby boomers entering their 60s, retirement is on everyone's mind. While Congress is focused on general reforms to company pensions, a new book suggests policymakers should examine Federal laws that threaten the welfare of the largest segment of retirees--women.

According to Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws, the regulations that govern private pensions did not contemplate the influx of women into the labor market and therefore are not suited to the way modern women live. "Because women live longer than men, they are more likely to suffer the defects of our retirement systems," asserts co-author Kim Strassel. "Because the laws governing private pensions weren't designed for the modern woman, many have little retirement security. If reforms are not made soon, a growing number of women will be denied their 'golden years.'"

The books notes that our major economic institutions--including tax, labor, and employee benefits law, as well as Social Security and retirement policies--reward families with a full-time worker and a stay-at-home spouse and, by comparison, punish every other arrangement. For example:

* Congress has sanctioned and subsidized company retirement plans that penalize part-time employees as well as those who go from job to job and move in and out of the labor market--characteristics more typical of women.

* Women are more likely than men to have to save outside of the workplace where the limits on tax-free savings are much more restrictive. …

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