So when the Democratic majority in the House recently teamed with 29
If Central States goes under or cuts benefits in half as the plan has proposed, said the retired
His two brothers and 22,000 other retired
Politicians, economists and actuaries agree that without a bailout, dozens of underfunded pension plans could ruin millions of Americans’ retirement.
“This is about working-class families,” said Stauber, who broke ranks with most of his Republican colleagues to vote for the House bill. “When I look into the eyes of people who could have their pensions reduced 50, 60 or 70 percent, it is unconscionable.”
Stauber said he believes the Republican-led
Yet no one seems sure if the
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader
“These pensions are not in trouble because of mismanagement or because somebody stole something,” said Smith, who served on a bipartisan select committee of the
Smith says problems for multiemployer pensions -- which are single pension plans for workers employed by different companies -- were made worse by deregulation in the trucking industry and the Great Recession. There is also a structural problem because union membership has plummeted. The upshot is that the number of retirees drawing benefits vastly outnumbers current employees paying into pension funds. Central States, the biggest failing fund with 400,000 participants, says it now pays out
“This is a ‘pay me now or pay me later’ kind of problem,” Smith explained. “It doesn’t go away if you ignore it.”
In a statement, Sen.
In the House-passed bill, pension plans pay only interest on their loans for 29 years and use the principal to buy annuities that lock in current retirees’ benefits. Meanwhile, employer contributions and investments they manage provide benefits for future retirees and build a financial base over 30 years to pay back the principal.
“I have met many times with retired workers whose pensions were mismanaged, and I have concern for their plight,” Hagedorn said in a statement to the
In 2014, then-GOP Rep.
Minnesotans head to D.C.
The legislation, tucked into a must-pass budget bill, never received a stand-alone vote. It enraged seniors who had contributed to pension plans and forgone raises for decades based on the promise of fixed payments. They organized, staged protests and gathered impact statements to remind members of
“My husband and I went to D.C. three times,” said
Now that pensioners have finally gotten a relief bill through the House, Petersen said, they fear the
“If [senators] oppose it,” she said, “show us something that can work. They have to fix this. It has been six years.”
Her group is advocating for the
But those savings figures depend on fast action by a body often mired in gridlock and entering an election year, which can slow things even more. According to Kalwarski’s calculations, the public bill for the pension fix rises roughly
“My biggest concern is a delay in implementation,” Kalwarski said. “The longer you wait, the more it costs.”
(c)2019 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.