Joshua Gad-Harf


Congress passed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 to provide economic security for millions of Americans dependent on traditional defined-benefit pension plans, plans where an employer has promised to pay for the retirement of its employees. The bill was necessitated by the many employers who had terminated their plans both inside and outside of bankruptcy protection. This note will discuss the history of the defined-benefit pension system, the ways these plans can be terminated, and the problems these terminations pose for employers, employees, and the American taxpayers. It will argue that the Act and its exceptions for those in the airline industry could be a good first start for protecting those Americans who expected to have a defined-benefit plan as their retirement savings. Nevertheless, there are some glaring deficiencies with the Act, including the fact that it fails to give similar exceptions for other troubled industries, such as the automotive industry. Finally, this note will argue that defined-benefit plans are a dying breed and today's workers must be made to understand that they cannot depend on such plans.

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