The agency established in 1974 to insure private pension plans, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., is—by many accounts—in deep trouble. Poor financial management, bad bets in a falling stock market and an underlying problem of moral hazard have left too few assets in the system to pay pension benefits in the future.
President Bush and several others have offered reform proposals involving higher insurance premiums, tighter funding requirements and greater financial transparency.
But changes are being resisted by those who consider the problem overstated and proposed solutions too drastic. The likelihood of significant reform seems politically slim.