It is a standard and really awful journalistic practice to make assertions about what politicians really believe or what is important to them. Reporters do not know what are in the heads of politicians. This is why they should just stick to reporting what they say and what they do.

Going in the opposite direction, they often neglect to report very relevant things that they say and do. Coverage of the Republicans' policies on retirement income very much falls in this category. Politico has a piece today that reports on the failure of the Obama administration's myRA accounts. These were designed as small dollar savings accounts (capped at $15,000) that would be investing exclusively in government bonds. Few people signed up for the program and the Trump administration canceled it.

The piece then turns to a discussion of state-run 401(k) type accounts which are being created by Oregon, Illinois, California, and a number of other states controlled by Democrats. The article then points out Republican opposition to these plans, ostensibly because they lack necessary consumer protections.

"These plans have triggered significant pushback from Republicans and the financial industry, however, which argue that the state plans lack important consumer protections and could funnel workers into costly products that don’t fit their savings needs. The biggest argument has centered on a 1974 law, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which was created after a series of scandals around private-sector pensions in the 1950s and ’60s. ERISA imposed a fiduciary duty on employers that manage their workers’ retirement plans, requiring them to act in the best interest of their employees, and also set standards around financial disclosures. These rules are designed to protect workers, but they also discourage small businesses from offering 401(k)s and other, similar savings plans."

This is where it would have been appropriate for the article to note that Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration, with few exceptions, have been doing everything they can to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They also have sought to block the Fiduciary Rule put in place by the Obama administration, which would require that investment advisers act in the interest of their clients.

While we may not be able to know the state of mind of the Republicans who are working to undermine state-run retirement plans, it is worth pointing out that in other contexts they have been doing everything possible to undermine consumer protections. That makes the notion that they are actually concerned about the safety of workers' retirement accounts rather dubious.

It seems much more likely that they are doing the bidding of the financial industry in trying to prevent competition that will take away business and drive down fees. But we would not want reporters to attribute motives.