The Employee Retirement Income Security Act was born into a tumultuous world, winning enactment only after years of repeatedly failing to overcome stiff resistance from the nation's business interests.  

It was signed into law as the country, fatigued from the seemingly endless Vietnam War, was at the same time reeling from the constitutional crisis of Watergate. 

A decade or so earlier, the nation's attention had been drawn to the need for pension and health benefit reforms after the Studebaker-Packard Corp. shuttered its Indiana automobile factory in 1963. More than 4,000 workers saw their hard-earned pensions go up in smoke. Abuses had occurred before, but the Studebaker case brought home the need for change. 

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.