Why No Mention of Six-Figure Pensions at Age 50 at the IMF?

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Sunday, 22 May 2011 07:49

The Washington Post Outlook section has a column by former World Bank director Moises Naim calling for change at the IMF in the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's resignation as a result of sexual assault charges. It is striking that the piece makes no mention of the bloated pensions received by IMF staff.

The IMF's pension structure allows many of its economists to be able to draw pensions in excess of $100,000 a year in their early fifties. It is remarkable that no major news outlet has ever mentioned these exorbitant pensions at a time when politicians across the country have been screaming about pensions for public employees that average less than $30,000 a year and generally require workers to wait until their 60s before they start receiving benefits.

The high pensions at the IMF might be seen as especially offensive since the institution has been pushing countries around the world to raise the retirement age for their Social Security systems and public sector employees. The IMF also has little basis for claiming that worsening benefits will prevent it from attracting good employees. Its current staff completely missed the housing bubbles in the United States and elsewhere, the largest asset bubbles in the history of the world, leading to enormous suffering for hundreds of millions of people. It would be difficult to imagine being able to assemble a less competent group of economists than the current crew.