Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is proposing a new kind of retirement account he says would be less vulnerable to corporate bankruptcies. Edwards says business should be required to automatically enroll their workers in a traditional pension, IRA, or 401(k) that they can carry from job to job.
"Instead of relying on a single employer to provide for its workers for life, we need universal health care and universal retirement savings accounts that follow workers from job to job," he says.
Edwards vows that if he’s president, he’ll ensure that corporations honor the pension promises they’ve made to workers. "We can’t allow fundamentally healthy companies to go into bankruptcy just to avoid keeping their promises to employees or to emerge from bankruptcy with millions for CEOs and nothing for workers," Edwards says.
Edwards says it’s time to right the country’s economic disparities. He cites statistics indicating the average U.S. business exec earned about 41 times as much as his employees in 1960. By 2005, the average CEO earned 400 times as much as his or her workers.
"What does Washington do while corporate profits climb and the wealth of the very wealthiest grows at the expense of the vast majority of hard-working Americans? Here’s what it does: it circles the wagons around the people who are already doing well…and hoards prosperity for the few," Edwards says. "…And it’s bad for our economy to boot."
Edwards made his comments Friday morning during a speech in Des Moines.