Comedic genius George Carlin once described cynics as “disappointed idealists,” which is a good description of journalists — as long as you remember that though journalists are, indeed, often disappointed, they remain idealists. So here’s some reason for cheer, and in time for Thanksgiving.
► The U.S. Labor Department, in something of an experiment, is seeking to reduce 401(k) “leakage” by allowing one firm to automatically transfer departing employees’ accounts to their new employers’ plans, what’s called “auto-portability.” The guidance applies only to balances of $5,000 or less. Currently, employees often cash out these small-balance plans or even abandon them. In a 2015 report, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimated that such leakage results in a 25 percent reduction in total retirement wealth. Anything that helps Americans save for retirement is a good thing.
► In this week’s Outtakes column, Assistant Editor Kyle Massey reports that a couple of veteran journalists are stepping into the breach in Arkadelphia after GateHouse Media shut down the Daily Siftings Herald. John Robert Schirmer and Bill Sutley are launching The Arkadelphia Dispatch, a weekly focusing on the news that goes unreported when a local outlet vanishes: the football game photos, the city council and school board meetings, the business openings and closings, all the events that make up life in any town, but particularly in small towns.
► President Donald Trump is supporting a bipartisan (bipartisan!) effort at sentencing reform. “Conservatives see an opportunity to begin to cut into the high costs of the nation’s growing prison population,” The New York Times reports. “Liberals have long opposed the current sentencing laws for what they see as having unfairly incarcerated a generation of young men, particularly African-American men, for drug and other nonviolent offenses.”
And so the season of miracles begins.