The federal agency that insures pensions for 43 million Americans saw its deficit swell to $34 billion in the past year, the largest in its 38-year history.
In its annual report released Friday, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. blamed the growing shortfall on its inability to charge private employers adequate premiums for insuring pensions.
Citing the increasing deficit, PBGC Director Joshua Gotbaum called on Congress to give the agency power to set its own premiums. “We continue to hope that PBGC can have the tools to set its own financial house in order, the way other government and private insurers do,” he said in a statement.
The Obama administration has called on Congress to give PBGC’s board the power to set premiums. But those efforts have been unsuccessful, in large part because some members of Congress say that a new premium structure could significantly raise costs for companies whose retirement funds already are at risk of running out of money. Although Congress has raised PBGC premiums repeatedly in the past, they have not gone up in recent years.