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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974A Political History$
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James Wooten

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242739

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242739.001.0001

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“A Major American Institution…Built upon Human Disappointment”

“A Major American Institution…Built upon Human Disappointment”

Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate

(p.151) 5 “A Major American Institution…Built upon Human Disappointment”
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

James A. Wooten

University of California Press

Richard Nixon’s administration took up pension reform as part of the presidential transition process. Current law required the managers of a plan to file a description of the plan and annual reports with the Labor Department. The reception of a long-awaited study of pension funding by the Pension Research Council reveals the increasing polarization within the policy community. It is stated that “It is a rare thing to find a major American institution—private pension plans—built upon human disappointment—a shocking thing, and something which should move us all to act with determination to make that institution deliver upon its promises.” Treasury focused on “the incidence of vesting by age group” because this approach clearly identified the workers who were most threatened by forfeiture risk. Harrison Williams blamed the president for having Senator Long kill the bill, a charge repeated by Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.

Keywords:   pension reform, Richard Nixon, Pension Research Council, pension funding, Harrison Williams, George McGovern, policy community

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