As the House-Senate conference takes up the pension funding and reform bill this month, the conversation about how best to update the nation's retirement saving system is far from over.
The pending pension bill may achieve some important improvements, but it does little to address the fact that American workers are clearly not saving enough: A majority of the workforce does not participate in an employer-sponsored plan, an increasing number of large companies are freezing their traditional pension plans, and last year -- for the first time since the Great Depression -- the nation's individual savings rate was negative.
It is unclear whether any reform can staunch the exodus of firms out of defined benefit plans, or what changes can induce individuals to save enough on their own through 401(k)-style plans. Given the precarious state of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation-- and the bitter battle over the appropriate discount rate currently taking place --it is likely that new legislative initiatives will be surfacing soon.
Our panel will discuss the root causes of the steady disappearance of traditional defined-benefit pensions and examine what legislative reforms have the potential to either preserve these plans, or successfully extend new savings incentives and mechanisms in their place. Please join us for this very timely discussion.
The Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus is Co-Chaired by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI).
HC-5 (House Courtyard 5)
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