When citizens or legislators talk about eliminating public pension plans because of their cost to taxpayers, they fail to understand the $1 trillion impact these plans have on the economy as a whole.

A new study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, "Pensionomics 2012: Measuring the Economic Impact of DB Pension Expenditures," looked at the impact this money has on local and national economies. Its research found that not only do retirees, who receive steady paychecks from their defined benefit pension plans, spend it in their local communities, but those expenditures support 6.5 million American jobs that paid more than $315 billion to American workers. They also supported more than $134 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.

In 2009, the average benefit for a retiree, in both public and private sector defined benefit plans, was $22,500 per year. "That may not seem like much, but in total, these funds were $426 billion in payments," said the report's author Ilana Boivie, an economist and director of programs for the National Institute on Retirement Security. "That is a significant amount of money poured into the economy."

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