According to a recent survey, workers prefer having retirement security via a pension than a host of other financial benefits that could come along with their job, including higher salaries, longer vacations, or bigger bonuses. However, as this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, pensions over the last several decades have been disappearing:
BLS noted that pensions “are becoming rare for workers in private industry. In 2011, only 10 percent of all private sector establishments provided defined benefit plans, covering 18 percent of private industry employees.” Since 1985, 84,000 pensions plans have been eliminated, according to research by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Donald L. Barlett and James W. Steele. This accelerating demise will result in increased poverty for America’s seniors.
As former White House economist Jared Bernstein noted, “as [defined benefit] private pensions weaken, we need to strengthen public ones. The loss of DB private pensions — and their partial replacement by financial-market-dependent defined contribution plans — represents a shift in the locus of risk of retirement insecurity from employers to workers.” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has released a proposal to provide a more stable retirement option to American workers.