Retirement Benefits


Conference 3

Many companies have withdrawn promised retirement benefits claiming that they need to do so to be competitive with companies that do not provide these benefits. However, retired workers may have foregone income in the form of decreased wages knowing that they would benefit in the future from these benefits.
How can this conflict be resolved? Should the workers bear the burden of lack of planning on the part of the employers? Has competition in the world market place changed? Can high CEO salaries be continued while asking workers to forgo promised benefits? Discuss these issues from the employer perspective and the worker/retiree perspective? Whose case do you find most compelling? Do we need to address this problem nationally or can it be resolved at the individual employer level?

Reference Books that can be used***
Jonathan Cohn, Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price. (New York: Harper Collins, 2007).
Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner, Healthy Competition: What’s Holding back Health Care and How to Free it. (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2007).
John Geyman, Falling Through the Safety Net: Americans without Health Insurance. (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2005).
Tom Daschle, Critical: What we can do about the Health-Care Crisis. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
David Dranove, Code Red: An Economist explains how to revive the healthcare system without destroying it. (Princeton University Press, 2008).

***References can be substituted with other reliable sources


In 2001, persons with health-related benefits amounted to 62.2% of total people polled (Buckley & Van Giezen, 2004). Those with low-wage jobs were less likely to be offered such benefits. In 2006, over 66% of uninsured people in the US worked in 2005 (ABC, 2006). These glaring statistics highlights one of America’s biggest social problems: Lack of health-care plans for people in employment. The economic downturn has seen shrinking profit margins and many companies have been forced to send their workers home and cut on costs. Those who are lucky to remain in employment have had to bear with decreased benefits and, in some cases, foregoing their accrued retirement benefits. This essay seeks to explore the issue of retirement benefits and discover whether companies are justified in withdrawing benefits promised to their workers.