Under reported? Maybe. A surprise? Hardly.Underfunded pensions
have been with us since there were pensions. I have a significant problem with
a company being allowed to enter bankruptcy, off load their pension to the
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and go on their merry way.In
several cases I have followed the company that went through bankruptcy and off
loaded their pension liabilities is swimming in money 3 to 7 years later. But
the workers who were promised benefits have suffered drastic cutbacks (the PBGC
only guarantees a portion of the pension).My solution? Let pensions
be subject to a post bankruptcy claw back. For 10 years after the bankruptcy,
the company submits audited financials to the PBGC. If their profits go above a
certain level, they owe the PBCG (and their former workers) some "back
pay".Bankruptcy is a necessary feature of a capitalist economy.
But easy off loading of contractual promises to employees should not be part of
it. Pensions should be treated like what they are - deferred salaries. They
should go to the top of the creditor list.
When the winning streak is over, grab the money and run.
Unfunded pension plans are practically ponzi schemes, yet legal.
Ommited from this article is that the Fed Govt, offers pension insurance to
corporations. Corporations can under-fund their pensions programs knowing they
can fall back on the insurance policy and let the tax payers cover it,