Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“The Power of Pensions: Building a Strong Middle Class and Strong Economy”

Testimony that was delivered this afternoon by NIRS (National Institute on Retirement Security) Executive Director Diane Oakley before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.   As you'll read in the testimony, Oakley reports that pensions provide substantial economic stimulus for virtually every state and town across America as reported in Pensionomics. 

The retirement savings shortfall for Americans is startling. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, calculated that the estimated national retirement income deficit facing American households and is some $5.2 to $7.9 trillion. (Retirement USA, 2010) This retirement under funding for private sector workers could have significant negative impacts for individuals, the national economy, and struggling government budgets.

Therefore, we applaud the Committee’s careful examination of the role of pensions for middle class Americans and the broader economy.

Pension payments are particularly vital to small communities and economies across the country where there is a lack of diverse local industries or where other steady sources of income may not be readily found. For example, the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association made pension benefit payments of $2.1 million in 2009 to its retirees in rural Costilla County and those payments comprise 35 percent of the earned income in that Colorado county.

A complete summary of this testimony is located at http://www.nirsonline.org/

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