Forget the fiscal cliff for a moment, if you can, as there's bigger issues afoot. For instance, the perfect storm of low interest rates and long-term financial uncertainties that has also served to severely impact America's DB plans, to record levels.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, those factors have contributed to an all-time record funding hole for the largest corporate pension plans in the United States. Milliman Inc.'s research shows that the underfunded level hit $453 billion at the end of September, at least a 30 percent increase in unfunded obligations from a year before.

Record-low interest rates are creating a vicious circle for the pension business: Not only are their various investments earning next to nothing, further increasing that deepening pension pit, companies' discount rate - used to compute present value of their future pension liabilities – is based on corporate bond rates, which are also bottoming out, drastically increasing the level of liabilities.

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