The Perils Of Fat Pension Plans

Investors beware: Corporate income is being puffed up

Late in the year, the Securities & Exchange Commission sends a letter to the accounting profession. The idea is to telegraph issues that the SEC will be focusing on while reviewing Corporate America's annual reports the following spring. Predictably, much of the SEC's latest letter was devoted to the accounting challenges of adding up the numbers in the New Economy: Internet accounting, revenue recognition, charge-offs for research and development. But nestled in between was something surprisingly low-tech: two paragraphs on pension plans.

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