And this is just the corporate pension promises. When you add in the public pension plan deficits, pension funds are in the red by an impossible-to-fathom three quarters of a trillion dollars. And even that number could be higher: it’s dependent on dangerously optimistic forecasts.
So the age of pensions is over. Private corporations are phasing them out, and public municipalities, even as they promise ever larger benefits, are running dry. But what replaces them? Will our savings suffice? (Will yours?) Can a “responsibility society” afford a safety net — a net strong enough to hold the weight of an aging American, or tens of millions of them — in this globalised century?
- U.S. Secretary of Labor, 1993-1997
Professor of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley
Author, Reason:Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America and The Work of Nations, among many others
- Blogger, Working Life
President, Economic Future Group
Lead plaintiff, Tasini vs. New York Times
- Former IBM employee and pension advocate
- Co-director of the Center on Aging and Work/Workplace Flexibility at Boston College
Dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Boston College
Professor of Psychology
- Web Features
- IBMers on Losing Pensions