Via Yahoo News
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
The news that General Electric (GE) was freezing its pension for 20,000 workers this week and offering buyouts to 100,000 former employees sent the company’s beleaguered stock up slightly, but dealt the two fierce blows to two great American institutions.
The first: GE itself. An American staple and iconic industrial company that has employed hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of Americans over the years and paid benefits loyally to its workforce showed yet another flicker, like the incandescent bulbs it famously made.
The second: the American pension.
It’s no secret the private-sector pension is on its last breaths. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of Fortune 500 companies that offer a traditional pension plan has fallen from 59% to 16%, according to Willis Towers Watson. Pension plan freezes have been on the rise as well.