The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has an impossible job
Megan McArdle notes that there is no way the federally-backed pension insurer can set premiums appropriate to risk:
And to be fair, it’s hard to set these premiums, because what you’d really like to do is risk-rate the premiums–force firms to pay more when their firms look especially shaky. Unfortunately, pensions look especially shaky when the firms that sponsor them look especially shaky, and the PBGC does not really want to be in the business of tipping shaky firms over the edge of bankruptcy and then … will you look at that! … assuming responsibility for their underfunded pensions. Nor do they exactly want solvent firms to have to pay extra-high premiums in order to compensate for their idiot competitors who poured the pension fund into jackalope ranches and fur-bearing trout farms.