Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Do Congress and the president have the will to fix the broken pension system?

Blaming CEOs for the current pension crises may address Scott Klinger's need to engage in class warfare rhetoric, but it does not address the root causes for the funding deficit facing private pensions ("Fix the debt? Fix private pension's first," Dec. 26).

Retirees are living longer than anticipated while there are fewer active workers paying into private pension plans. The projected rate of return for most pension funds has fallen short because of a volatile stock market, a financial crises, a recession, low interest rates and a weak economy.

The result has been a dramatic growth in benefits and a decline in contributions and fund performance.

There is reason to blame CEOs for their personal financial excesses and for not being more honest regarding the under-funding problem of private plans. Similarly, union leadership views pension benefits as deferred compensation while ignoring actuarial soundness. Both contributed to the unsustainability of many private plans.

"Pension Deficit Disorder" is not limited to private plans. Under-funding exists in many state and municipal pension plans, with politicians and public-sector unions sharing equal blame for refusing to modify plans that are unsustainable.

As a retiree, I was surprised to learn that Mr. Klinger considers both Social Security and Medicare to be "earned-benefit" programs. That's a stretch considering their return of $3 for every $1 contributed.

Both programs require significant change, but the president and Congress are reluctant to consider unpopular measures that would make them sustainable.

Mr. Klinger complains that in 2020 the Social Security retirement age will rise to 67. What is happening in Europe is instructive.

Recently, Poland, which is enjoying robust growth, will phase in an increase in the retirement age for men from 65 to 67. By contrast, in Greece you can retire at age 58 with 80 percent of your benefits. What path does Mr. Klinger want to follow?

Lowell Abramson, Baltimore

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Male circumcision is abhorrent, too

      Male circumcision is abhorrent, too

      Is male circumcision also a human rights violation ("Masking the truth at the BMA," May 26)? Seventy-five percent of the men in the United States have been circumcised. Fortunately, fewer circumcisions are being performed every year.

    • Don't connect Reginald Lewis and Freddie Gray

      Don't connect Reginald Lewis and Freddie Gray

      To bring Reginald Lewis into the debate surrounding the tragic death of Freddie Gray, as commentators Ron Busby Sr. and C. Earl Peek did in a recent op-ed, is wrong ("Baltimore, Reginald Lewis and Freddie Gray," May 16).

    • Trial should be in Baltimore

      Trial should be in Baltimore

      Lawyers for the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray claim they cannot get a fair trial in Baltimore and want a change of venue ("Officers want trial moved," May 28). This is downright insulting to Baltimore jurors. If the judge in Boston refused a change of venue for the marathon bomber...

    • Take a cruise out of Baltimore? No way.

      Take a cruise out of Baltimore? No way.

      My name is Mark Brown and I am a retired yet still sworn and active law enforcement officer in North Carolina as well as the recently retired mayor of my small town.

    • Asperger's is not a mental illness

      Asperger's is not a mental illness

      In the recent article, "Teen guilty in her father's killing," The Sun quoted the defendant's lawyer in describing her as "profoundly mentally ill." You then listed her diagnoses as "Asperger's syndrome, depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit disorder."

    • Do we really care about parallel parking right now?

      Do we really care about parallel parking right now?

      Baltimore is in a state of flux, most of it on the negative side of the ledger, and The Sun is devoting editorial space to parallel parking ("Goodbye, parallel parking," May 21)?

    Comments
    Loading

    84°