NY Times — Savings: Lots of Talk, but Few Dollars
Personal savings have declined fairly steadily for more than two decades, even as tax incentives for savings have proliferated. According to a recent analysis by Elizabeth Bell, Adam Carasso and C. Eugene Steuerle at the Urban Institute, the federal government now spends more on tax breaks for retirement savings than Americans actually save.
By contrast, one of the hottest ideas in Washington grows out of new research on the behavior of savers. Recent studies by researchers at the Wharton School of Business and Harvard showed that employee contributions to 401(k) plans soared at companies that automatically enrolled employees and gave them a chance to opt out.