The 1.1 trillion dollar budget legislation approved by Congress and signed this week by the President, included a provision that is supposed to prevent an implosion of multi-employer pension plans. Those in favor of this provision claim that it is better to preserve some pension benefits for workers rather than letting plans collapse… especially because the multi-employer fund is “supposed to” run out of money within 10 years. And If the multi-employer system were to collapse, pensioners would be left with no benefits. But the multi-employer plans are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federally sponsored agency that insures private sector pensions. So what’s the problem?
Remember when all of those banks were about to go under because of their predatory lending scams and derivative packaging frauds and phoney bond rating swindles? And the federal agency that insures their money put it all back to the tune of trillions and trillions of dollars at tax payer expense? And then the bankers and wall street execs gave themselves million dollar bonuses for all of their good (dishonest) work?
So why can’t these at risk pension plans receive a giant infusion of money from that same federal government to save them and bail them out to keep their pensioners getting their full hard earned pensions…just like when all of those banks and bankers were bailed out? Because according to the plan as set forth in this bill, the maximum cuts permitted under the law for retired union workers are pretty drastic. For a retiree with 25 years of service and a $25,000 annual benefit, the maximum annual cut permitted under the law is… $13,200! That’s more than half of what is already a fairly meager amount, especially when you compare it to a millionaire’s bonus money.
Imagine being a middle aged man receiving a 2 million dollar bonus annually and having it cut by 1 million? You still get a million dollar bonus…and it’s a bonus! Now imagine being 70 years old and living on 25K per year and then being told you’ll have to live on 13,500 dollars! And did you know that this recent budget legislation, besides cutting these multi-employer pension benefits, includes the loosening of regulations that will make it easier for those same U.S. banks to lose all of their (our) money again?…If and whenever they please that is.
So, if the rich keep getting richer, and those who run our government are rich and are backed by the even richer, then what future is there for the honest working men and women of this country and their other hard earned retirement plans like public sector pensions, Social Security and Medicare?
According to financial experts full pension benefits shouldn’t be considered a sure thing anymore and everyone should have a Plan B…like saving your money to “make sure you have something to rely on in the future”. That’s if you work for a living of course, and have money laying around that isn’t sunk into an underwater mortgage or inflated college tuition or predatory credit card debt at up to 20% interest. If you do you can save it for the future…at .1% interest… from the big banks.
And what do you suppose is the super rich’s plan B when times get tough?
Thanks to Congress That’s an easy one… Just steal all the money again!