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Hmm, I'll have to think about it. Thing is, all of it doesn't come out taxed at 39%. All the money below the top bracket is getting taxed at lower marginal rates. Not sure if that pencils out or not. Perhaps for extremely high withdrawals.

Yes, one has to assume that they will have the same income (top tax bracket) in retirement as they had while they work.

If that correct, then the last dollar one puts into their 401k would receive a 28% tax reduction and the last dollar one pulls out of their 401k in retirement would be taxed at 39%.

I can get on board with reducing the tax benefits of retirement contributions for those with high incomes but those individuals should then get favorable tax treatment on the income when they pull it out during retirement. Income taxes on such withdrawals should receive the same 28% tax cap.

I think your example would apply at most to a very tiny number of people.

Agreed, but the same could be said of the economic burden - it would also apply to a small number of people. As a matter of policy, I believe it is a bad idea to unfairly target and tax a small segment of our population when there are other ways to accomplish whatever the goal might actually be. In this case, it would appear the goal is to increase the tax burden on higher incomes. Penalizing their savings seems to be the wrong way to do such.

Someone who has an SWR of over $400,000/year in retirement

That would be for an individual but that amount does not include pension and SS moneys.

I think the more likely scenario would be for couples with dual pensions since the 39% bracket starts at $457k.
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