Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Deficit at pension insurance agency soars

October 15, 2003


— Finances at the government's pension insurance program deteriorated further this past summer with its deficit reaching a record $8.8 billion as of Aug. 31, the agency's executive director told Congress on Tuesday.

The cash-strapped Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. had previously reported a deficit of $5.7 billion through July.

"If companies do not fund the pension promises they make, someone else will have to pay -- either workers in the form of reduced benefits, other companies in the form of higher PBGC premiums, or taxpayers in the form of a PBGC bailout," Steven Kandarian told the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

PBGC is funded with premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans. It receives no tax dollars.

The private pension system is underfunded by more than $350 billion, the agency estimates.

Low interest rates, the sluggish economy, stock market losses and an increase in retirees all have hurt the private pension system.

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