Pension Wise

Pension Wise

Confronting Employer Pension Underfunding—And Sparing Taxpayers the Next Bailout

Author: Charles Blahous
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1214-7
Publication Date: 11/18/2010
Pages: 84

America's insurance system for single-employer pension plans, operated by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is under serious financial strain. In America's Single-Employer Defined-Benefit Pensions: Forestalling the Next Bailout, Charles Blahous-one of the nation's foremost retirement security experts-explains the origins and dangers of current underfunding in our single-employer defined-benefit pension system and offers principles to underlie a solution.

Blahous details both the technical reasons behind pension plan underfunding and the political considerations that prioritize the near-term financial demands of employers and pension beneficiaries over the long-term fiscal health of the pension insurance system. The author also presents the fundamental value judgments concerning who should bear the cost of filling the PBGC shortfall and to what extent the risk of financing pension benefits should continue to be shifted away from plan sponsors, either to other employers or to taxpayers at large. Although acknowledging that there are no obviously correct answers, he suggests a range of reforms to improve the pension insurance system's operation and to resolve its projected shortfall.

Charles Blahous, one of the nation's foremost retirement security experts, serves as one of two public Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs. Blahous served as deputy director of President George W. Bush's National Economic Council and, before that, as executive director of the president's bipartisan Social Security Commission and as special assistant for economic policy.


REVIEWS

"Blahous carefully and convincingly explains how our pension insurance system is perfectly designed to fail and what Congress needs to do to fix it before it is too late. This book should be required reading for every member of Congress, every pension plan participant, and every taxpayer."
--Jeffrey R. Brown, William Karnes Professor of Finance and director for the Center for Business and Public Policy, University of Illinois

"Whether you agree or disagree, this book by Chuck Blahous, which addresses one of the most important issues in our society today—pension security—is thought-provoking and definitely worth a read."
--Elaine L. Chao, former U. S. secretary of labor 2001–99

"Pension Wise is required reading for anyone who wants to fully appreciate the challenges facing the defined benefit system and the potential risk to American taxpayers when companies default on their pension obligations. Blahous offers a rare triumvirate in policy analysis—a true insider's perspective on the development of pension reform legislation, real insight into the political and policy trade-offs involved, and in-depth understanding of the minutiae of pension finance and funding rules."
--Bradley Belt, former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation


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Charles Blahous

Charles "Chuck" Blahous, one of the nation's foremost Social Security experts, serves as one of two public trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs. He also served as deputy director of President George W. Bush's national Economic Council and, before that, as executive director of the president's bipartisan Social Security Commission and as special assistant for economic policy. continued




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