As populations age and pension costs strain governments, a retirement crisis looms

  • Article by: DAVID MCHUGH , Associated Press
  • Updated: December 30, 2013 - 10:43 AM

A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages.

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cassell40Dec. 30, 1312:47 PM

Article lists 3 reasons for the crisis, but fails to mention a very critical 4th reason: defined benefit pension plans for government workers. This type of plan has been deemed unsupportable by most companies in the private sector. It should be unsupportable in the public sector where non-government employees not only have to fund their own retirements but have to subsidize the retirement of government workers.

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luzhishenDec. 30, 1312:52 PM

The free trade agreements pulled the rug out from under the Middle Class and took new taxpayers out of the system who could have protected it. Add to this the cost of endless wars to protect global Big Business and "Voila!" retirement crisis.

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fromupnortDec. 30, 13 1:31 PM

Let's be careful not to strike at each other; this only plays into the hands of the responsible parties. For governments to feign there is a lack of funds for retirement is disingenuous at best, criminal at its worst. The government sold the 401K scheme to the workers and business drove it down our throats. That same money could have been used to buy real estate or other real assets. Social Security is not broke. We got 10 years of near zero returns on our 401k money. The banks got bailed out in 2008 along with insurance and auto companies. So there's money when they want it for their cronies.

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mkuldaDec. 30, 13 5:53 PM

Only one insurance company got bailed out, AIG, and it wasn't because of insurance...it was because of its other operations, i.e. derivatives. Its insurance operations were fine and didn't need a bailout.

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tinosaDec. 30, 13 7:20 PM

I looked at what the teachers and other employees of our school system were not only being paid, but also the cost of their benefit packages. These packages were negotiated by school board members who were ex-teachers or related to other employees with the union. NY law doesn’t allow the people to see the contract until it is signed and in place. The biggest thing I saw right off was that the employees were only being asked to pay for only 14% of the cost of their benefits while the standard tax payer who had medical was paying between 40 to 55% for their benefits. The fastest rising costs in every school district around the county are these benefits. It is the same for government workers who pay almost nothing and get great benefits while the people who pay their salary go without. The taxes payers can no longer afford these give a ways and the employees need to step up and share the pain like the people who pay their salary.

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swmnguyDec. 30, 1310:08 PM

Here's another factor not mentioned. Over the past couple of decades, the bond market has been absolutely looted by fraud. That's at the core of the 2008 financial meltdown; the strip-mining of the bond market by bogus derivatives. To save the finance sector from having to own up to their own utter insolvency, we've also kept interest rates artificially low. So there isn't any good way to invest money long term. Retirees have to put all their savings into the stock market to not lose money to inflation, as interest rates are held down to prop up finance. But every few years, the stock market wipes out all the little investors. Just now, adjusted for inflation, the stock market regained the level it was at in 2001, for heaven's sake. This is the same problem bedeviling our infrastructure investment deficit, long-term finance in general. You can't talk about retirement problems without addressing the looting of the bond market.

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swmnguyDec. 30, 1310:13 PM

It's amazing to see Americans complaining about teachers' pensions. Yet people would never go into teaching because the pay is so low for the level of education required and the unpaid hours worked. Part of the total compensation package that even makes it possible for teachers to pay back their college loans, never mind buy a house or raise a family, is that benefits package.

Yet because the rest of us have allowed our benefits to be taken away from us and the money used for stock buybacks and executive compensation, we think it only fair that everybody else should lose their agreed-upon benefits. Today in America we can't stand to see anybody get ahead by working; instead we need to drag everyone down to our level. If I don't have benefits, well, we should take your benefits away too. No thought that maybe it would be better if we all got ahead.

No wonder our country is going down the drain, with attitudes like that.

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markerminnDec. 31, 13 8:58 AM

All the King's horses and all the King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again - and this IS a real crisis that will not be solved by taxing the rich to the point they stop working or by cutting benefits to the disabled and unskilled. It's a result of demographic change and global competition. If you are under 50 get educated on these issue, get active, and vote. In that order please.

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partskcojDec. 31, 1312:10 PM

No more government help...every man for himself. If you didn't save then just go out in the cornfield and lay down. It's way past time to thin out the herd!

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mmediaJan. 1, 14 8:25 AM

"NY law doesn’t allow the people to see the contract until it is signed and in place."__That's because there is no contract until it is signed and in place. In MN all contracts are public info (some even have them on the website); if you want to follow along while negotiations are taking place, a copy of the previous/current contract would be useful as a starting point.

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