WASHINGTON – President Bush signed H.R. 4, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, into law today. The following is a statement from Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center.
“The so-called ‘Pension Protection Act of 2006’ is a great disappointment. It wipes out key protections for workers and moves retirement policy in the wrong direction. The Act increases the likelihood that companies will jettison secure pension plans in favor of insecure do-it-yourself savings arrangements. This does not bode well for future retirement security.
“The Act allows pension plans to cut pensions for truck drivers, construction workers and other rank-and-file workers. It allows plans to avoid government scrutiny of conflicted transactions. It irresponsibly raises the federal budget deficit by making permanent unneeded increases in savings-plan tax breaks that primarily benefit higher paid employees.
“The Act does contain a few token provisions that benefit women who become widowed or divorced and lower income workers who can afford to put money into savings plans. It eliminates the worst age-discriminatory practices in cash balance conversions, but will still lead to broken pension promises.
“The best that can be said for the Pension Protection Act of 2006 is that it could have been even worse.”