Looking for our new site?

New Retirement Realities

Pensions at a Crossroads

How can Americans recover retirement security, and what role should pensions play going forward? On May 19, the New America Foundation’s Next Social Contract Initiative and the University of California Retirement Security Institute hosted a diverse group of academics, professionals, and policymakers for a forum that sought to identify the “new normal” for retirement security, examine the troubled state of public pensions, and consider best practices for reform.

After introductory remarks by Dr. Kathleen Connell, Executive Director of the UC Retirement Security Institute, and Sherle Schwenninger, Director of the Economic Growth Program, the first panelists examined the current state of retirement security in the aftermath of the financial crisis and Great Recession. They noted in particular the effects of long-term shifts in the distribution of defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans, and assessed the funding status of public pensions. The second panel looked beyond the “new normal” and considered alternative retirement security arrangements. The proposals included a new state-federal cost-sharing arrangement to replace the current state pension system, and guaranteed retirement accounts to replace the 401(k). The third panel outlined the general contours of reform, assessing various options, surveying public opinion, and noting the considerable political challenges involved. Finally, a lunchtime keynote panel featuring pension professionals highlighted best practices for reform at the state, county, and municipal levels.

Video of the welcoming remarks and first panel is featured above; videos of the subsequent panels are available at right.


8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - Registration and Coffee

8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. - Welcome

Kathleen Connell, Ph.D.
Executive Director, UC Retirement Security Institute

Sherle R. Schwenninger
Director of Economic Growth Program
New America Foundation

8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. - The New Normal Economy: Resetting Expectations

Raymond Scheppach, Ph.D.
Executive Director, National Governors Association

Henning Bohn, Ph.D.

Professor, UC Santa Barbara

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. - Pension Design Innovation: Challenges to Pension Environment

Kathleen Connell, Ph.D.
Executive Director, UC Retirement Security Institute

Teresa Ghilarducci, Ph.D.
Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair of Economic Policy Analysis
The New School for Social Research
Public Trustee, United Auto Workers’ Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association

Joshua D. Rauh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance, Kellogg School of Management

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - Review of Retirement Funding Status and Trends

Keith Brainard
Research Director, NASRA

Elizabeth Kellar

President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for State and Local Government Excellence

Gregory Long
Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Best Practices

Paul Cleary
Executive Director, Oregon PERS

Anne Clutterbuck
Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Houston

Craig Mason
Chief Pension Executive, City of Houston

Carla Sledge
Chief Financial Officer, Wayne County, Michigan

12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Lunch

Event Time and Location

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 8:00am - 1:00pm
University of California, Washington Center
1608 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Video Clips

See video
Video of Panel 2 - Pension Design Innovation: Challenges to Pension Environment
See video
Video of Panel 3 - Review of Retirement Funding Status and Trends
See video
Video of Panel 4 - Best Practices