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Letter: Defined benefits

Published: Sunday, March 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Ralph Olson wants to enrage the public over reports taxpayers must guarantee a rate of return on state pension funds ("State pension fund," March 6). He believes state pensioners should be responsible for the gamble on pension investments like he believes regular citizens are. Before succumbing to apoplexy, please understand that Olson is wrong about pension guarantees. Many among us do receive the kind of guarantees against investment risk he objects to for state employees.

Any ordinary citizen who works for an employer offering a defined benefit pension receives guaranteed benefits regardless of investment performance. In fact, all of us covered by Social Security receive the kind of defined benefit pension guarantee Olson vehemently opposes. For the longest time, most pension plans were the defined benefit type which protect pensioners from investment risk. Now, because of the cost of guaranteeing pension benefits, employers are starting to move to defined contribution plans where employee pension benefits are subject to investment risk. But let's not deceive ourselves. State pensioners do not receive special treatment at taxpayer expense. The defined benefit pensions they enjoy are just like those many other private citizens receive.

Bill Anderson

South Salt Lake

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