·  by Robert Roach, Jr.; President, Alliance for Retired Americans   ·  Alliance for Retired Americans

Pension Benefits Are Not Only Critical to Retirees but to the Overall Economy

Retiree pension benefit spending generated $1.2 trillion in total economic output in 2016, supporting 7.5 million jobs across the United States, according to a recent report by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

The most substantial effects on employment occurred in the health care, real estate, food services, and retail trade sectors.

When a retiree maintains a steady income, the whole community thrives. This is especially true for lower-income areas and areas fraught with higher-than-average unemployment. It is not just a drop in the bucket, either. Each dollar of defined benefit pensions contributes more than double, $2.13, back to the economy.

Pension spending added a total of $202.6 billion to government treasuries since retirees paid taxes at the federal, state and local levels on their benefits and purchases in 2016. Virtually every state and local economy across the country gains when retirees spend their pension benefits.

That spending also provides stability in the face of economic downturn. This is most noticeable in rural areas with less economic diversification.

Our unions are crucial in the fight to maintain and improve pension benefits for workers around the country. We defend these earned benefits because no one who has worked hard, in some cases for over forty years, deserves to live in poverty.

The Alliance’s defense of traditional pension benefits is particularly important as we experience a rising life expectancy and longer periods of retirement. Our current retirees, our future retirees, and their communities all depend on them.

Robert Roach, Jr. is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. He was previously General Secretary-Treasurer of the IAMAW. For more information, visit www.retiredamericans.org.

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