07nytThat, basically, is the problem with the nation’s pension system (and a big reason for the troubles at General Motors that led to all those buyouts): those old promises are coming due, and often the money just isn’t there, partly because the math was fuzzy, too.

So it is no surprise that companies are falling over one another to scrap pension plans. The consulting firm Watson Wyatt says the number of Fortune 1000 companies with plans that have been frozen (workers stop earning pension credits) or terminated (workers are paid off) soared to 113 last year from 71 in 2004.

New York Times