Republicans in their 2012 platform are calling for a presidential panel to look at corporate defined benefit pension plans backed by the PBGC to see whether a taxpayer bailout is in the cards.
The platform, approved by delegates to the Republican National Committee convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, takes aim at corporate plans that are “increasingly underfunded by overestimating their rates of return on investments.” If those plans did fail and had to rely on an underfunded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to assume responsibility, it could trigger the need for a taxpayer bailout of the agency.
“I'm not sure what kind of 'corrective action' they have in mind, but they might want to consider that PBGC premiums were just increased under the MAP-21 (highway funding) legislation, so you think they'd want to give those increases a little time to kick in before considering additional changes,” said Ted Godbout, spokesman for the ERISA Industry Committee. “Moreover, we've been arguing for the past year that the PBGC deficit is artificially high due to the decline in interest rates.”
Officials at the PBGC were not aware of the RNC platform, a PBGC spokesman said.
Also in the GOP platform, concern about transparency and political neutrality at the Federal Reserve prompted a pledge to seek legislation to establish an annual audit of the central bank and creation of a commission to study ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.
The Democratic National Committee is drafting its resolutions for a platform that will be finalized at its convention Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C., a DNC spokesman said.