E.J. Antoni of the Heritage Foundation gives a misleading and one-sided view of the effect of public policy on the finances of Americans (“Public policy hitting Americans hard,” Feb. 3). Clearly, inflation is taking its toll on people’s purchasing power, but to blame this on public policy paints an incomplete picture. The writer completely ignores the financially catastrophic effects of the COVID pandemic, long overdue wage increases, higher energy costs due to the war in Ukraine and the complete breakdown in global supply chains, all of which played a major role in fueling current inflation.
It is true that average 401(k) balances have declined over the past year, but this is distorted by the large swings in balances in prior years due to stock market volatility. Taking a longer view over the past four years, one finds the average 401(k) balance of $101,000 at the end of 2022 is actually higher than the average balance of $92,000 at the end of 2018.
The writer also ignores the positive action of the government to offset some of the effects of inflation by using a cost-of-living adjustment of 14.6% over the past two years for Social Security recipients.
More objectivity and balance in views from the Heritage Foundation would be appreciated.
— Beryl Rosenstein, Pikesville
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