Despite evidence of a systemic retirement crisis, federal reform efforts have gone from making slow progress under the Obama administration to taking large steps back under the Trump administration. Yet, state-level retirement reform efforts continue to emerge at a breathtaking pace.

  • In only six years, from 2011 to 2017:
  • 40 states proposed bipartisan retirement reform to provide private-sector workers retirement coverage;
  • 9 states enacted retirement reform; and
  • 2 states have programs up and running.
  • Since Trump’s inauguration, 22 states proposed reform and Vermont signed it into law.
  • In the 9 states that enacted plans, 3.5 million workers will have access to coverage.
While heralding the bipartisan effort and innovation of active states, ReLab’s new report seeks to broaden options for future legislation by raising up best practices from the movement’s early leaders. Find out which model ReLab recommends and why here.


The Need for More Social Security and Secure Pensions Retirement systems in rich nations have shifted away from pay-as-you-go social insurance programs (such as Social Security) and towards financially-based, advance-funded retirement accounts (such as 401(k)-type accounts). Financialized retirement systems shift market risk away from employers and governments to individuals. But, individuals are less able to manage the risks of accumulation, investment, and longevity.

ReLab’s policy note finds that, within the OECD, the reliance on financialization rather than social insurance:
  • erodes retirement income security
  • cuts retirement time, especially for lower-income groups
  • requires more people to work in old age
  • raises the risk of old-age poverty


Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) works to bring reality into conventional economics. An economic policy think tank within the department of economics at The New School, we provide scholars, non-profits, and government officials with research on key policy issues.