U.S. companies with defined-benefit pension plans could end up with a contribution bill -- legally binding for the first time under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 -- of $40 billion next year, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis. Beyond that, falling prices on capital markets raise the possibility of a combined pension deficit of more than $200 billion, the highest ever. Read a Nov. 18 letter to Congress signed by the AICPA and 350 other organizations regarding the pension situation.

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