For the White House, providing a secure retirement for Americas middle class is a primary concern. In June, Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary for employee benefits security at the Department of Labor, endorsed a report by the Washington-based National Institute on Retirement Security highlighting the state of pension anxiety among U.S. workers. We often hear that defined benefit pensions are consigned to history and that no one should count on them for retirement, said Borzi in a June DoL newsletter. It seems as if the majority of the American people do not agree. But since President Barack Obama named Borzi to her current post in 2009, the defined benefit universe has kept shrinking: In 2011 there were 45,256 private defined benefit pension plans in the U.S., compared with 113,062 in 1990, according to the DoL. Former pension lawyer Borzi, 66, grew up in New York State and earned a JD from the Catholic University of America. From 1979 to 1995 she counseled the labor-management relations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. Today, with more U.S. workers covered by defined contribution plans than by defined benefit pensions, Borzi and her department devote much of their energy to improving transparency and accountability for 401(k) retirement plans and fees.
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