Recently I talked to both the New York Times and Businessweek about the retirement crisis. In reading the Times piece, The Gray Jobs Enigma, I am impressed by reporter Steven Greenhouse's subtle message that the only way to ensure financial viability in old age is through a secure retirement account.
Businessweek focused on multi-employer pension plans in An Unpalatable Plan to Rescue Failing Pensions, using Hostess's bankruptcy as an example of a multinational corporation unable to fulfill their retirement pension promises after declaring bankruptcy. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a small federal agency that oversees the nation's private pension plans, can step in when corporations are unable to deliver on their pension promises. However, with the recent avalanche of failed corporations, the agency responsible for bailing them out may need a bailout itself. Last year, the PBGC posted an overall deficit of $35.6 billion.
This is a dangerous trend, not only for multi-employer plans, but single employer plans who will want to follow. For the long-term, the only viable solution to the retirement crisis is through Guaranteed Retirement Accounts.