Two Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economists said there's only a slim chance the PBGC will need a government bailout similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980s. In a report, economists Mark G. Guzman and Fiona Sigalla said the improved economy combined with increased corporate profits and temporary interest rate relief recently enacted by Congress will make it less likely that the PBGC will be required to take over many more corporate defined benefit plans, although its deficit will likely worsen over the near term.
"Equally important, the recent legislation directly targets relief for those industries (steel and airlines) most likely to dump their large, underfunded plans on the PBGC," according to the report. "The economic desirability of such targeted relief is debatable, but the practical result will be less stress on the PBGC's ability to stay solvent in the short run."
In addition, more companies are expected to switch to cash balance pension plans, further easing the potential burden on the PBGC.