El futuro del sistema previsional estadounidense

BERKELEY – La primera ola de baby boomers estadounidenses está llegando a la edad de jubilarse, y el sistema de pensiones del país comienza a revelar sus fallas. Más de la mitad del total de los trabajadores (y más del 60% de los trabajadores de bajos ingresos) están en riesgo de carecer de ahorros suficientes para mantener su nivel de vida cuando dejen de trabajar. En un reciente estudio comparativo internacional, el sistema de pensiones estadounidense obtuvo la calificación “C” (aprobado), pero para un número importante y cada vez mayor de estadounidenses, no está funcionando bien.

La lentitud de la recuperación de la economía después de la Gran Recesión ha agravado este problema. Llegado el momento de jubilarse, las viviendas son el activo más importante para la mayoría de los estadounidenses; pero a pesar de una subida reciente, los precios de las propiedades siguen un 28% por debajo del pico alcanzado en 2006, mientras que el 28% del total de los propietarios deben más por sus hipotecas que lo que valen sus propiedades.

Uno de los pilares fundamentales sobre los que se apoya el modelo previsional estadounidense es el sistema de planes de retiro empresariales con participación voluntaria. Pero cerca de 16 millones de estadounidenses están desempleados o ya no forman parte de la fuerza laboral; al mismo tiempo, más de la mitad de los empleos creados durante la recuperación son puestos de bajos salarios, que por lo general no cuentan con planes de retiro. En cambio, la mayoría de los 625.000 empleos del sector público que se perdieron durante la recuperación ofrecían generosas pensiones.

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