- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Washington Times wants the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) reforms to avoid a taxpayer bailout (“The coming pension earthquake,” Comment & Analysis,Wednesday). I couldn’t agree more.

PBGC has never taken a dime from taxpayers and we want to keep it that way. That’s why the Obama administration proposed reforming PBGC’s premiums. If Congress agrees, these reforms would both strengthen PBGC’s finances and encourage companies to preserve sound pensions.

Under current law, most companies’ premiums are being raised to pay for the mistakes of others. They know it, and they don’t like it. It would be better and fairer to follow the practices of private insurance companies and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.: Base a company’s premium on its own financial condition and that of its pension plan. If a company is healthy and doesn’t pose a risk to its pensioners and the PBGC, it shouldn’t be paying for those that do pose risks. Of course, there’s opposition to the proposal; companies would rather have someone else pay their pension insurance costs. If they succeed, that someone else might end up being the taxpayers.

The Washington Times is not alone in recognizing that the status quo is unacceptable. PBGC premium reforms have been endorsed by the major bipartisan budget commissions, Rep. Paul Ryan’s House budget resolution, officials from both this and the prior administration, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office, major industry publications, The Washington Post and the Boston Globe.


The ball is in Congress’ court.Let’s hope it makes the right moves.

JOSH GOTBAUM

Director, PBGC

Washington