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Starred Review. America's impending pension problem is brutally simple: private companies and governments have pledged to provide retirement income and health care for workers, but have not set aside the money to make good on their promises. Typical accounts of the crisis tend to obfuscate the issue and fixate on laying blame, but Lowenstein (Origins of the Crash) has a refreshing perspective—he tells three fascinating stories in American economic history and situates the current pension problems in the struggle for dignity for workers. Lowenstein regards fixing pensions as a worthy culmination to a century's struggle for justice rather than a painful chore unfairly foisted on the present by the past. Unfortunately, after this incisive and inspiring history lesson, the 10 pages at the end devoted to solutions are too abstract and unoriginal. The book gives the reader lively stories and historical insight, but may disappoint those looking for policy recommendations. (May 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lowenstein has previously written best-sellers on Warren Buffet, the 2000 stock market crash, and the demise of bond-trading firm Long-Term Capital Management. Here he tackles what could be the next looming crisis: the severe underfunding of pensions in both the private and public sectors. Although the implications are far-reaching for cities, states, and corporations across America, Lowenstein narrowed his focus on three massive pension failures: General Motors, the New York transit system, and the city of San Diego. In each case, underfunding, underestimation of promises made to retired workers, borrowing from the pension, and reliance on all-too-rosy predictions of stock-market gains were the causes of massive failure of the system. Lowenstein goes into great detail establishing the history and politics that went into the creation of these pension systems and further expounds on how their mismanagement brought down the whole system. Many businesses and governments will soon need to face up to the facts of their pension obligations and make some tough choices. --David SiegfriedSee all Editorial Reviews
EVERYONE should read this book! A recent AP report (May 2015) said that 22 states were expecting significant revenue gaps (not enough $$$) 6 years after the recession. WHY? Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. Gjeny
and look what has happened since this was penned ! This author today must be very busy if he stays on this subject.Published 10 months ago by marvin arend
Only a few decades ago, most American families looked forward to having pensions when they retired. In the interim, that anticipated security has greatly evaporated, just in time... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Paul Froehlich
Lowenstein does an excellent job in highlighting three cases which showcase the disastrous results that can occur when pension obligations go unfunded, and highlights the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by PauIFAU
Roger Lowenstein has also written When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management, Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing, The End of Wall... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Steven H Propp
Lowenstein has written a great book about a very complicated issue that people need to understand. I highly recommend this for anyone who is trying to understand the politics and... Read morePublished on March 2, 2013 by P. J. Mccoy
The author, Lowenstein, is a financial journalist who dedicates, basically, three sections of his book to three different pension collapses and a fourth and concluding section... Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Yoda
I worked for general motors for over 13 years before quitting I realized even back in 1976 that the company could not last. Read more
Roger Lowenstein has a terrific ability to present facts and history in a well written fashion, yet at the same time provide observations that are insightful, sometimes humorous... Read morePublished on July 21, 2012 by HGC