Your TSP Account and the Presidential Election

In our most recent poll, readers pick George Bush over John Kerry on the issue of implementing policies that result in higher TSP returns.

Most federal employees have Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts to help them have a successful retirement. Some readers now have accounts with substantial amounts of money and which are critical to having a financial cushion to enable them to retire.

Because of the importance of the TSP to our readers, we asked readers to tell us: “Which presidential candidate will implement policies resulting in higher returns for your Thrift Savings Plan?”

45% of readers responding to the poll said George Bush is the best candidate for implementing policies favorable to TSP accounts. 37% said that John Kerry was the best candidate for ensuring favorable returns in TSP accounts. 1% went for Ralph Nader. Another 10% said they were not sure which candidate would be the best for higher TSP returns and 7% said there was no difference between any of the candidates on this issue.

Readers had a wide variety of opinions. Some readers think President Bush is the best candidate for securing a higher return in TSP accounts but they were voting for Kerry or Nader anyway.

The most common reason given by readers for selecting George Bush on this issue was the tax cuts enacted in his administration and that his economic philosophy will ensure an economy that continues to grow. From a more negative perspective, some readers cited the possibility of tax increases under a President Kerry that would result in a slowdown in our economy and, therefore, a lower rate of return in TSP accounts.

Here is a sampling of opinions sent in by our readers. First, those that think the policies of President Bush will lead to higher returns.

A human resources specialist with the VA in Reno, Nevada writes: “At minimum, President Bush will continue moving the economy forward and not backwards as Kerry seems to want–and by the way, what exactly does Kerry stand for?”

An employee of the DCMA in Chicago had this comment: “Kerry is a tax and spend type guy.”

A baggage screener with TSA in Ontario, CA had this to say: “The economy is in recovery and will continue as long as Democrats are held at bay with their insatiable craving for our tax dollars.”

A Health Education Specialist with the CDC in Atlanta: “We are recovering from the recession inherited from Clinton. Our economy is growing, the strongest its been in 20 years. Jobs are being created, and home ownership is at an all-time high under President Bush.”

A mechanic with the VA in Missouri offered this sentiment: “Mr Bush’s policies regarding tax cuts, tax credits, and capital gains rate reductions have turned our economy around. These elements figure positively in the big picture of the investment world and therefore will be of benefit to all TSP investors.”

A manager with TSA from California wrote: “Kerry will be good for the unions but for the economy and the war Bush will do better in the long run.”

A Deputy US Marshal from Pennsylvania was blunt in his assessment: “Anyone who would think Kerry would make a good President is in need of a brain transplant.”

A program manager with the Air Force in Manchester, TN has this comment: “I wouldn’t trust any Democrat with my 401K or TSP.”

A DHS employee has a strong opinion: “Kerry has already promised to raise taxes if elected so as to perpetuate the class warfare that Democrates exist on! Take away the venomous hate that these idiots constantly spew forth, and they have no basis on which to campaign. Bush’s tax cuts are already taking effect as reflected in our TSP balances so why vote in a flip-flop artist like Kerry???”

And, on the other side of the issue, these readers had these comments in support of their belief that John Kerry would benefit their retirement investments.

A human resources specialist with the Dept. of Interior in Idaho says: “We (Federal Employees) and the economy usually do much better with Democrats in office.”

A computer specialist with the Forest Service in Tucson, AZ writes: “Clearly, ‘compassionate conservatism’ has nothing to do with fiscal conservatism. A balanced federal budget is the key to a strong economy. Bush continues to create record deficits. Kerry is more likely to bring spending under control, wage peace, and lessen energy dependence on the middle east.”

A program technicial with the USDA in Vineland, NJ has this comment: “I’m not sure if it makes a difference anymore. My TSP or lives lost – it’s not a hard decision for me to make. At this point, I would vote for anyone running against Bush. We need a change NOW!!!”

A supply technicial with the Navy in Monterey, CA has this opinion: “I think the confidence would rise knowing changes Kerry will bring to the economy, safety from terror and statemanship. it won’t happen overnight but things will be better.”

An HR specialist with the IRS in Dallas offers this comment: “Kerry will bring fiscal restraint and reduced deficit spending. The stock and bond markets will respond positively. Foreign investors will return to the U.S. markets and we will see stock prices start to move upward again.”

An electronics technician with the DCMA in Orlando, FL says: “If Kerry wins this election, his adminstration will implement legislation and policies that will put more money into the hands of the average American. In turn, this will stimulate the economy. Additionally, the Democrats will push for financial solvency in our federal budget, much the same as during the Clinton administration. These actions will bouy the stock market and other investments, which in turn will boost the value of my TSP investments.”

Some readers are undecided on the issue but still have an opinion. Here are a couple of these readers’ comments.

An insulator with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA states: “So far I have made more than lost in the TSP. I don’t think any one candidate is better than the others. Voters are concerned with more than basic wealth in choosing a president. It is quite interesting listening to the liberal Democratic lies, though.” 

An engineer with the FAA submitted a lengthy comment with this summary: “I’m willing to bet that the majority of results that you get from this poll are based on the parroting back of that person’s political party’s rhetoric, not on logic or reason. It’s no wonder that Thomas Jefferson believed that the common man’s vote should not count as much as a more educated person.”

And an IRS programmer in Lanham, Maryland is insulted by focusing on personal economic issues and wrote: “With our loved ones enduing the hell of war, it is insulting to me as a federal employee to be asked this question on TSP!”

Thanks to all readers who took the time to vote and send in their opinion on this issue. Readers can submit additional comments in the box below this article.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47