Gary Koenig is a Vice President in the AARP Public Policy Institute, where he leads a team of economists, lawyers, and public policy experts working on financial security issues. His own work focuses on Social Security, retirement savings, and income adequacy in retirement. Follow him on Twitter @gary_koenig

Senate Bill: Millions of Older Americans Could See Higher Tax Bills

The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) recently passed its tax reform proposal — the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” This bill, like the House-passed tax legislation, warrants the attention of older Americans. Not only because it increases taxes on some taxpayers 65+, but also because it would trigger rules that, barring congressional action, would result in automatic cuts to federal programs. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, those cuts would be $136 billion in fiscal year 2018, $25 billion of …

Tax Reform: Don’t Count Your Tax Savings Too Soon

If you’ve been following the twists and turns of the ongoing tax reform efforts moving along in Washington, you’ve likely noticed proponents often repeating a particular theme: tax cuts for middle-class Americans. But tax policy is rarely simple, and it is important to look beyond the headlines to understand if this is really the case. How do Americans age 65 or older fare under the proposed legislation? In an effort to understand the implications of the tax proposals for Americans …

A Closer Look at the Medical Expense Deduction

The tax reform bill (HR 1, the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”) recently introduced in the House of Representatives makes a number of substantial changes to the tax system, including eliminating the itemized deduction for high medical expenses. The stated goals of such changes are to make the tax system simpler and provide tax relief for the middle class. The numbers, however, show that eliminating the medical expense deduction could significantly harm millions of middle class taxpayers, especially older taxpayers. The …

Greater Saving Can Increase Retirement Security and Economic Growth

  Increased saving can be an important driver of future economic growth and rising living standards. That is the conclusion of a new report by Oxford Economics – Another Penny Saved: The Economic Benefits of Higher US Household Saving – sponsored by AARP and 10 other organizations. The U.S. personal saving rate has been declining for more than 30 years. And the report’s authors project the rate will drop further – from around 4 percent today to about 3 percent …

Retirement Crisis: Are We There Yet?

It seems like you can’t open up a newspaper (or twitter feed) without reading about the impending “retirement crisis.”  The word crisis, used to describe so many things, may get the public’s attention, but is it accurate?   Many retirees today struggle to make ends meet and others face dire situations triggered by job loss or unexpected health expenses.  But the prospect of a broader retirement crisis depends on your frame of reference. Because of the protections Social Security provides, …