[Excerpt] The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to protect the pensions of participants covered by most private sector, defined benefit pension plans. The PBGC receives no appropriated funds. The agency’s costs are offset by the assets of the plans that the PBGC takes over and premiums paid by the sponsors of covered pension plans. The premiums are established by Congress. The PBGC’s single-employer program posted an all-time high deficit of $23 billion in 2004; as of September 30, 2006, the deficit was $18 billion. The PBGC discloses an additional, off-balance sheet liability for reasonably possible terminations; as of September 30, 2006, it was $73 billion.