Pension Funding Under The Gun

Pension reform just got a boost. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that insures pension benefits, was expected to report on Jan. 6 that underfunding of companies' pensions shot up 39%, or $19 billion, in 1992. The new total: $53.1 billion. The Clinton Administration will use the sharp increase as ammo in its call for tougher pension rules. Most of the underfunding, however, was caused by falling interest rates that cut into funds' investment earnings. Most of the underfunding was at 50 big companies; at General Motors alone, it jumped by $8 billion.