By Brian Donohue
Few voters are going to choose between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry based on their position on pension policy. Pensions haven't been a big issue in the campaign. But, in their acceptance speeches at their respective conventions, both the president and Mr. Kerry did touch on pensions, providing a good starting point in assessing their views in this area.
Here's President Bush: "Many of our most fundamental systems — the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training — were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared and thus truly free to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams."
Here's Mr. Kerry: "What does it mean when Deborah Kromins from Philadelphia, Pa., works and saves all her life only to find out that her pension has disappeared into thin air — and the executive who looted it has bailed out on a golden parachute? America can do better."
These soundbites hit the mark in representing each candidate's larger approach to pension policy. President Bush wants to reform the system in the image of an "ownership society" (a major theme of his campaign). Mr. Kerry wants to stop employer abuse and ensure an adequate retirement for rank-and-file workers.