Millions of Americans are at serious risk of losing their pensions during retirement, but few lawmakers or politicians are addressing the issue, expect for an organization known as Protect Our Workers’ Earned Retirement, called POWER for short.
“It’s one of those things that’s a time bomb that’s ticking. At least in the United States, policy is driven by a problem that is a reality rather than a potentiality,” Bill Greener, who is helping promote the project, told The Ohio Star, explaining why the issue has gone largely unaddressed.
According to a report conduct by Matrix Global Advisors CEO Alex Brill, and sponsored by POWER, an estimated six million retirees and four million workers in the United States rely on multi-employer pension plans (MEPPs), which are collectively-bargained plans maintained by more than one employer to limit risk.
“Even after legislative fixes to improve plans’ financial status in 2006 and 2014, one-third of the 10 million participants are in plans that are headed toward either a funding deficiency or insolvency. More than 1 million people are in plans projected to be insolvent within 20 years,” Brill’s report elaborates, though the problem doesn’t stop there.
Brill points out that the federal backstop for MEPPs, called the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, will “itself be insolvent in less than a decade,” while the Central States Pension Fund, one of the largest MEPPs in the country, will also be insolvent by the year 2025.
All things considered, the report estimates a projected loss of more than 55,000 jobs, a drop in $3 billion in labor income, and a drop in GDP of more than $5 billion, which brings us to POWER.
According to Greener, the organization is conducting a three-pronged campaign, which starts with making sure that citizens “understand the urgency and size of this.” Second, POWER is “looking for a bipartisan solution” to the problem.
“We need to get the Democrats past ‘send a check’ and the Republicans past ‘no government bailout,’” Greener explained.
Finally, the organization is seeking “a durable solution,” which is one that “spreads out the sacrifice” but also protects the American taxpayer.
“If we don’t do something about this, we’re staring down the barrel of something really bad,” Greener commented, speaking on behalf of an organization that named former congressman Connie Mack its national chairman in March.
“Millions of retirees and workers are staring at deep reductions in their pension benefits, while employers risk going out of business unless Congress and the President act swiftly,” Mack said in a March press release. “We need all sides to come to the table to find a solution. The longer we fail to address the situation, the harder and more expensive it will be to solve it.”