Open up the popular federal retirement plan to all Americans

Here’s an idea so compelling that it’s backed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Center for Economic Policy and Research, the Center for American Progress, and the American Enterprise Institute: open up the federal workers’ retirement system to everyone else.

That system, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), is popular and highly regarded for good reason—it’s simple and easy to use, well-managed, and cost-effective with low administrative expenses. But it’s not open to just anyone. Moreover, one-third of American workers don’t have any access to a personal retirement savings plan through their workplace. (Fortunately, those workers and everyone else will still be able to rely on Social Security.) So why not let them participate in the Thrift Savings Plan too, to make it easier for them to save up for retirement on top of Social Security?

As prominent economist Dean Baker‘s described it in 2011, the proposal would essentially establish a “public option for retirement savings.” It’s an idea that people across the political spectrum can get behind—it’s included in Sen. Marco Rubio’s economic agenda and reflected in Sen. Jeff Merkley’s legislation modeled after the Thrift Savings Plan.

For more information, see: “Marco Rubio Has One Great Money Idea,” Slate (2016); “One Big Idea For Addressing The Retirement Crisis Just Became Bipartisan,” ThinkProgress (2014); “A Public Option For Retirement Savings,” ThinkProgress (2011); “300 Million Engines of Growth,” Center for American Progress (2013); “Addressing Heritage concerns regarding Rubio plan to open up the TSP,” American Enterprise Institute (2014).