Friday, January 06, 2012

not to defend romney...

...but the PBGC pays a company's unfunded pension liabilities from its own funds, not from the u.s. treasury. so it's not really accurate to say that "the taxpayers lost", at least not in the sense that the PBGC payments were taxpayer funded. as the wikipedia entry notes, the PBGC is funded mostly by premiums paid by ERISA-regulated defined benefit pension plans, with some funding also coming from monies the agency recovers when it takes over plans and from investment income.

a few years ago, there was some talk of a PBGC bailout because so many defined benefit plans were terminating the PBGC's assets were projected to fall short of its liabilities. if a bailout had happened, then the bailout funds would have come from taxpayer dollars. but the bailout never came, or at least it hasn't yet. the agency was able to stave off the crisis by raised its premiums. and even if there had been a bailout in the last year or two, that would not have meant that the monies paid by the PBGC in the mid-90s were "taxpayer dollars." at the time that bain capital ruined GS technologies, the PBGC was not taxpayer funded.