David C. John, Senior Research Fellow, the Heritage Foundation, Joins the Retirement Security Project

Contact: Mona Miller, 202.552.2135, Melissa Green, 202.741.6513


Washington, D.C. - 11/09/2006 - David C. John, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, will join the Retirement Security Project (RSP) on November 15, 2006 as a senior advisor, RSP director Peter R. Orszag announced today. At RSP, John will focus on how to make saving more automatic and more rewarding for middle- and low-income households through the automatic IRA and through changes to the asset tests associated with means-tested benefit programs.

“John brings a record of thoughtful analysis on issues related to private pensions,” said Peter R. Orszag. “His 30 years in Washington, many spent on the Hill, combined with his private sector experience will greatly inform our work here. Although David and I disagree on the right way to reform Social Security, we both agree on the urgent need to make retirement saving on top of Social Security more automatic and easier for American families.”

Mr. John will focus initially on the automatic IRA, an RSP supported retirement savings initiative. If enacted, the automatic IRA could provide an automatic savings mechanism to the 71 million Americans who are not offered a pension at work. The automatic IRA would require businesses with more than 10 employees to provide access to a payroll deduction for retirement savings. The employer would not bear any fiduciary responsibility, and would not be required to make any contribution to this account. Employers would only be required to provide an automatic conduit through which employees can save. This policy proposal, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate, has received widespread bipartisan support.

“Improved retirement security in a rapidly changing economy is one of the most important issues facing our children,” said John. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join The Retirement Security Project.”

At the Heritage Foundation, John wrote and lectured extensively on the importance of reforming the nation's retirement system. During this time, he testified before a number of House and Senate committees on subjects ranging from Social Security and pension reform to improving the nation's flood insurance program. In addition John has been published and quoted extensively in many major publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Times, Forbes, Business Week, and USA Today. He has also appeared on CBS News, NBC News, CNN, MSNBC, the Fox News Channel, BBC radio, and many other national and syndicated radio and television shows as an expert on retirement matters.

In addition to having worked with the The Heritage Foundation, John also worked with Republican Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina and was the lead author of Sanford's plan to reform Social Security by setting up a system of personal retirement accounts. John's Capitol Hill service also includes stints in the offices of The Honorable Matt Rinaldo, R-N.J., and Doug Barnard Jr., D-G.A.

In the private sector, John was a Vice President specializing in public policy development at The Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. In addition, he worked for three years as Director of Legislative Affairs at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, and worked as a senior legislative consultant for the Washington law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism, an MBA in finance, and a master's degree in economics, all from the University of Georgia in Athens.

Editor's Note: David C. John will remain at The Heritage Foundation. His work with the Retirement Security Project will be in addition to his work with The Heritage Foundation.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Retirement Security Project on PewHealth.org. 

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