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State of American Retirement

Thinking back to 2007, before the financial crisis, public pension plans in the aggregate had nearly 90% of the assets on hand required to pay retirement benefits due decades in the future. In 2008, with markets in a downward freefall, pension assets plummeted, unfunded liabilities grew and pressure mounted on state policymakers to enact reforms. Although the environment back in 2008 appeared fertile for a wholesale switch to individual defined contribution accounts from defined benefit pensions, it never happened. That begs the question, why did policymakers stick with their defined benefit plans in the face of financial pressure and the corporate trend away from them?

*Audio quality improves at the 17:57 minute mark.


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