To encourage saving for retirement, private pensions such as employer sponsored 401(k) plans or IRAs receive favorable tax treatment by the federal government. A major goal of such tax provisions is to increase personal saving. A measure of the value of these tax benefits is provided by the Treasury Department, and the National Income and Product Accounts contains a measure of personal saving. With the sudden drop in personal savings in 1999 and its steady decline in more recent recession years, government tax expenditures on pension benefits began to approach the personal savings level by the end of the 1990s.
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