12/4/11

P3 plan a threat to pension plans?

The British government, as notedis trying to lure pension plans in to the government's deeply troubled public private partnership (P3) infrastructure development.

The business oriented newsmagazine, The Economist reviews this proposal and concludes with some words that should provide some caution for anyone who might need a pension one day.

"The infrastructure plan may also point to a longer-term possibility. Two academics, Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia, have suggested financial repression as one way out of the debt crisis—forcing domestic investors to accept negative real returns. Pension funds are being invited to invest in these plans on a voluntary basis. But their assets are a very tempting pool for politicians to tap. Some day in the future, pension funds may find they are obliged to invest in such projects, regardless of the potential returns—for the good of the country, of course."

That would be a very negative outcome for pension plans -- and (especially) for the workers' who depend on them. 

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