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For many decades a good many companies provided defined benefit pension plans for their employees.

Then the US Congress got into the act, adding greatly to the regulatory burden of offering such plans.

I understand that in SP world regulations just fall out of the sky for no reason at all. However as has already been explained to you, the government got involved because tens of thousands, no, hundreds of thousands, no millions of workers were losing their pensions.

Coal miners. Practically the entire aviation industry: Eastern Airlines United, American, US Air. Auto parts workers. The steel industry. And tens of thousands of other businesses that went belly up, either because of changing economic conditions, or because corporate raiders came in and stripped them. Workers were not only out of jobs they lost their pensions in the bankruptcy shuffle. (Bain Capital was notorious for this.)

Finally, at last, and only after damage had been done to millions of American workers who were promised one thing and then wound up with nothing, the government put regulations on how pension monies might be used, the fiduciary responsibilities companies had regarding their pensions, and so on.

If the regulations were tough, well, that's because corporate America proved itself irresponsible in handling pension monies.

If you're looking for someone to blame for this, it isn't "regulators", it's "businessmen" and sometimes the vagaries of the market.

And people who think "pensions" just appear out of nowhere is deluding themselves. Managers have a fixed amount of money to pay workers. Some of that is used for salary, but another decent sized pot is used for benefits such as medical - and yes, pension. It isn't as though it's "a gift." The workers worked for it; it hardly seems fair to have it suddenly disappear - or worse, end up in the pocket of a corporate raider - through no fault at all of the worker.
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