Several CEOs — under the guise of a campaign known as “Fix the Debt” — have recently called for cuts to Social Security and other entitlements. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, for instance, said that “there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised.” “The solutions [to the fiscal cliff] are – it’s the retirement age; means testing Social Security and Medicare,” said Aetna CEO Mark Berolino. “We just need to get leadership.”
Of course, these CEOs have little cause for concern if government retirement assistance is cut, as they have millions of dollars squirreled away in their personal retirement accounts:
— The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs of public companies have average retirement assets of $9.1 million. Of these 71 CEOs, 54 participate in their company‘s retirement programs and have collective pension assets of $649 million, or more than $12 million per CEO — enough to generate a $65,873 pension check each month for life. In contrast, the average monthly Social Security check for retired workers is $1,237.
— A dozen of the Fix the Debt executives have more than $20 million in their individual company retirement accounts. If each of these CEOs converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.
Blankfein has nearly $12 million in retirement assets, while Bertolini has $1.5 million. Adding insult to injury, many of the CEOs calling for cuts to the social safety net are underfunding their workers’ retirement accounts:
Of the 71 publicly held Fix the Debt member companies, 41 provide employee pension funds for their workers. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their pension funds to meet their expected obligations. The rest have underfunded their worker pension funds by $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average.
Since 1985, 84,000 pension plans have been eliminated. And now these CEOs are coming after the government programs upon which the elderly, and many others, depend.