Dear Fellow Citizens,
At this time of great uncertainty for our nation due to the coronavirus health crisis, and its extreme impact on our economic system, we all feel somewhat helpless wondering what part we can individually play to help the situation. Well, there is something we can all do not only to benefit ourselves but our families, friends, and neighbors, and it has to do with easing the economic strain caused by the coronavirus restrictions.
Let me explain. I read an editorial in the Friday, March 20th edition of the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “The Emergency 401(k) Button”. The editorial proposes a significant countermeasure to the stalled U.S. economy resulting from coronavirus restrictions. The countermeasure would involve Congress passing legislation allowing people to withdraw a certain sum, say $10,000, from their retirement accounts without facing the normal penalties or taxes. This is not unprecedented. Congress has given this authority in the past under different circumstances. It’s a way to tap liquidity that already exists so people can keep their own businesses afloat, help family members struggling with health care costs, job losses, bankruptcies, etc. According to the editorial, the Federal Reserve reports that 54% of non-retired adults have a defined-contribution plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Also, 33% hold an individual retirement account. For Americans overall, this represents a huge pool of money, estimated by one survey at roughly $17 trillion. This is a far greater sum to be accessed for many Americans than the $1,000-$2,000 Congress is considering. And, it will not increase our national debt.
So how can you help? Congress must pass legislation to give Americans access to their own monies during this crisis. You can help by immediately, today, calling or emailing/texting your congressional representatives to request they pass urgent legislation allowing individuals to withdraw up to $10,000 from their retirement accounts, without penalty or taxes, to deal with the personal financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve already sent my emails, and hope you will too, as we continue to pray for the health and well-being of our nation, its citizens, and all its leaders.
Former Prescott Mayor and
Brigadier General, Army National Guard (Ret)