Published 28 Mar, 2012
If certain groups have their way with the Surface Transportation Bill workers could be faced with the elimination of pensions
Business lobbyists are trying to get language implemented into the Surface Transportation Bill (or any highway measure the House passes) to receive relief from pension funding requirements. They claim pension funding requirements could possibly have some firms file bankruptcy while the money that is used to make larger pension plan contributions could create jobs instead.
They were able to get a pension provision into the Senate’s surface transportation bill.
The “problem” businesses are having is the amount they must put into their defined-benefit pension funds. According to CQ Roll Call, pension assets come from annual contributions and investment returns. When interest rates are low, as they are now, companies are required to put more into the funds each year because the pension funds’ earnings are smaller.
Despite the fact pension funding is not directly related to transportation, this attempt by businesses is a clear attack against the middle class . About 44 million workers and retirees are enrolled in defined-benefit plans and workers must be protected if businesses do receive funding relief to avoid any attempts businesses may make to weaken and terminate retirement plans if they file for bankruptcy.
With funding about to expire in less than a week, it’s crucial a bill is passed that will keep people employed, to create new jobs for those who are not, to avoid shut downs and to keep the transportation sector alive.