The problem is that, while without question some of the strife the nation currently is facing is a result of questionable economic policies used by the Bush Administration a lot of it frankly… is just not.
Take one of the big promises made by the Obama/Biden ticket: “we will save your pensions!”. This nebulous promise to bring certainty to millions of Americans’ retirement accounts has less value than a North Korean made automobile. There is already a security net in place for pensions everywhere: it is called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (aka the PBGC).
ERISA provides for legal protection of vested rights obtained by employees through the course of their careers, and the PBGC is a government run corporation that steps in to insure those pensions in the event that the company is unable to honor their commitments. While this is a highly simplified explanation of benefits law and concepts, the bottom line is, if you have a pension and it is vested you are already saved. Obama/Biden got here about 35 years too late.
Furthermore, just to cover all of the bases for those still concerned that those gosh darn corrupt corporate boards are all out to get us, there is Sarbanes Oxley (Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002). This law, which applies to publicly traded corporations, addresses issues like transparency, proper regulation, and criminal penalties for those public firms that do engage in wrongful conduct. (Remember it was a response to Enron and Worldcom). While this law is far from perfect, it does beg the question how much more could the government ever reasonably be expected do?
With all of this already available law in place to protect the retirement security of America’s workforce, one can’t help but wonder why we even care about social security anymore!
Beyond the obvious multitude of laws, though, that apply to this issue, there is also the reality that it is and always has been each individual’s responsibility to save their money in preparation for retirement, not the federal government’s. There is no legislative substitute for a thrifty attitude, proper spending habits, and a well- diversified retirement savings plan.
In closing there really is little question that the Obama/Biden promise to save our pensions is based on pure conjecture and nothing more. Like many other grandiose promises offered by the Democratic Party this year, this one again has little basis in reality and disregards the facts as they are. Candidates that promise to do what has already been done shouldn’t be trusted—your personal and economic futures are far too important!
By U.S. Grant