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Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:34 AM

I gotta rant on the pension cuts in the funding bill, it made my 77 year old mom cry!

My dad worked for Bethleham Steel for 30 plus years, long hours, stressful and hard, but he was lucky because he dearly loved his job. The company went belly up right before he was to retire. He had given his best years, and by that time his health was starting to go. The the big shots did something that would soon become all to familiar, they stole the pension money and left! My dad's $1,100 a month went to $50! Fifty lousy bucks! He tried for two years to get a job, even joining a group called "Forty Plus" which tried to help older Americans to get another job. He practiced at interviews, he wrote and rewrote and rewrote his resume. The man could do calculus in his head and anything could be done with his slide rule, but no job. They sunk all that they had to by a muffler shop that had been losing money and he turned it around. I quit my job as a young attorney to save the business after his third hear attack. They eventually sold it, but his medical expenses ate up the bulk of their money.
My mom is a very proud, tough lady, who has lived on her own since his death. She has recently had to move in with me because, even though her house and car were paid off, she doesn't get enough to live on. That $1,100 is the difference!
I came home tonight to find her crying because she heard that her $50 a month was being cut by a third in this spending bill. Really? Has it come to that? All so some 1% SOB can have more! The next time some idiot yells that America is the Greatest country in the world I may just slap them!

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Reply I gotta rant on the pension cuts in the funding bill, it made my 77 year old mom cry! (Original post)
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 OP
elleng Dec 2014 #1
marym625 Dec 2014 #2
Hoppy Dec 2014 #3
pacalo Dec 2014 #14
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #44
KansDem Dec 2014 #73
belzabubba333 Dec 2014 #78
Elmer S. E. Dump Dec 2014 #143
NewDeal_Dem Dec 2014 #7
olegramps Dec 2014 #82
geretogo Dec 2014 #122
dotymed Dec 2014 #90
MisterP Dec 2014 #99
marym625 Dec 2014 #101
MisterP Dec 2014 #103
salib Dec 2014 #133
MisterP Dec 2014 #138
sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #4
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #19
sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #20
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #23
Joe Worker Dec 2014 #38
WhiteTara Dec 2014 #57
Joe Worker Dec 2014 #151
sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #132
840high Dec 2014 #87
colsohlibgal Dec 2014 #5
Baitball Blogger Dec 2014 #10
Doctor_J Dec 2014 #18
Baitball Blogger Dec 2014 #30
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #45
840high Dec 2014 #88
frazzled Dec 2014 #6
NewDeal_Dem Dec 2014 #11
kelly1mm Dec 2014 #109
NewDeal_Dem Dec 2014 #131
kelly1mm Dec 2014 #135
NewDeal_Dem Dec 2014 #136
kelly1mm Dec 2014 #139
NewDeal_Dem Dec 2014 #142
kelly1mm Dec 2014 #144
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #13
antigop Dec 2014 #24
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #47
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #65
sulphurdunn Dec 2014 #75
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #77
Flatulo Dec 2014 #97
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #128
Flatulo Dec 2014 #150
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #155
Flatulo Dec 2014 #156
belzabubba333 Dec 2014 #83
doc03 Dec 2014 #104
antigop Dec 2014 #25
Number9Dream Dec 2014 #41
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #50
jtuck004 Dec 2014 #46
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #63
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Dec 2014 #56
frazzled Dec 2014 #67
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Dec 2014 #70
The Green Manalishi Dec 2014 #96
rhett o rick Dec 2014 #129
Joe Worker Dec 2014 #149
pacalo Dec 2014 #8
Doctor_J Dec 2014 #12
Samantha Dec 2014 #17
pacalo Dec 2014 #27
Doremus Dec 2014 #95
Doctor_J Dec 2014 #9
mountain grammy Dec 2014 #15
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #21
mountain grammy Dec 2014 #61
liberal_at_heart Dec 2014 #16
Cleita Dec 2014 #22
WinkyDink Dec 2014 #26
winterwar Dec 2014 #28
NaturalHigh Dec 2014 #29
Heather Kube Dec 2014 #34
SleeplessinSoCal Dec 2014 #31
stillwaiting Dec 2014 #39
SleeplessinSoCal Dec 2014 #114
Ykcutnek Dec 2014 #32
Heather Kube Dec 2014 #33
suffragette Dec 2014 #35
Joe Worker Dec 2014 #36
Trailrider1951 Dec 2014 #40
daredtowork Dec 2014 #37
99Forever Dec 2014 #42
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #52
99Forever Dec 2014 #55
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #43
ctsnowman Dec 2014 #48
WillyT Dec 2014 #49
bullwinkle428 Dec 2014 #51
ancianita Dec 2014 #53
belzabubba333 Dec 2014 #85
SheilaT Dec 2014 #54
Lars39 Dec 2014 #60
Stellar Dec 2014 #62
doc03 Dec 2014 #107
DebJ Dec 2014 #124
Omaha Steve Dec 2014 #58
sorefeet Dec 2014 #59
Roland99 Dec 2014 #64
CrispyQ Dec 2014 #66
raouldukelives Dec 2014 #68
closeupready Dec 2014 #69
DeSwiss Dec 2014 #71
nichomachus Dec 2014 #72
Stonepounder Dec 2014 #74
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #86
ReRe Dec 2014 #76
CountAllVotes Dec 2014 #79
marions ghost Dec 2014 #80
former9thward Dec 2014 #81
belzabubba333 Dec 2014 #84
former9thward Dec 2014 #92
Zorra Dec 2014 #91
former9thward Dec 2014 #93
Zorra Dec 2014 #102
former9thward Dec 2014 #106
YvonneCa Dec 2014 #121
doc03 Dec 2014 #111
doc03 Dec 2014 #110
former9thward Dec 2014 #112
doc03 Dec 2014 #113
former9thward Dec 2014 #115
doc03 Dec 2014 #119
doc03 Dec 2014 #120
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #140
doc03 Dec 2014 #117
Number9Dream Dec 2014 #153
former9thward Dec 2014 #154
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #137
former9thward Dec 2014 #145
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #146
former9thward Dec 2014 #147
Joe Worker Dec 2014 #152
heaven05 Dec 2014 #89
Zorra Dec 2014 #94
Flatulo Dec 2014 #98
Zorra Dec 2014 #105
Flatulo Dec 2014 #157
sammy750 Dec 2014 #100
shireen Dec 2014 #108
WillTwain Dec 2014 #116
lpbk2713 Dec 2014 #118
mstinamotorcity2 Dec 2014 #123
BeanMusical Dec 2014 #125
YOHABLO Dec 2014 #126
americannightmare Dec 2014 #127
Jesus Malverde Dec 2014 #130
tooeyeten Dec 2014 #134
WillyT Dec 2014 #141
BlancheSplanchnik Dec 2014 #148

Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:43 AM

1. Some years ago, pensions were 'sacrosanct.'

Horrible from the time that first changed.

for you and your mom.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:51 AM

2. I'm so sorry.

What your mom must be going through. Just so wrong.

How any person that voted for that horrendous bill, especially pushed for it, can call themselves a Democrat?

We have two choices when it comes to the current democratic party. We either admit that many current members shouldn't be called, or allowed to run as, democrats. Or we admit that the democratic party is not what we want.

Very well written, touching story. I am so sorry this has happened to your family

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Response to marym625 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:53 AM

3. Getting rid of Landrau was a good beginning.

 

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Response to Hoppy (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:29 AM

14. Ya think?




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Response to pacalo (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:29 AM

44. Knuckledragging mouth breather?

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Response to pacalo (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:22 PM

73. Who the hell's that?!!



I can remember a time when representatives of both parties had decorum. Now many of the new Republicans look like they just stepped out of a scene from "Nightmare Alley."

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Response to pacalo (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:14 PM

78. some have a hard time of thinking past their immediate,foremost concern to the consequences

 

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Response to pacalo (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:04 PM

143. The guy looks psycho! Herman Munster without makeup.

 

No doubt he's a sociopath.

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Response to marym625 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:10 AM

7. They're not Democrats.

 

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Response to marym625 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:43 PM

82. Are we approaching the "tipping point" of an outright revolution?

Aristotle work "Politics" is a dissertation on his study of over one hundred and fifty forms of government. His conclusion in regard to democratic forms of government, which he regarded as the most just, is that democracies require a prosperous middle class to survive. He also observed that if middle class is decimated the only recourse throughout history is open rebellion since the oligarchs will never voluntarily relinquish power. At this state the oligarchy has in reality become a tyranny and will stop at nothing to retain power therefore justifying rebellion.

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Response to olegramps (Reply #82)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 07:16 PM

122. Yes !!!

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Response to marym625 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:07 PM

90. I agree marym625.

It has gotten so bad that most Democratic politicians are solidly corporatist. IMO, if we FDR Democrats (progressives, populists..) are to be able to actually field viable candidates, we are going to have to distinguish ourselves from the corporatist "Democrats" that "our" party currently puts forward. I am not sure how to do this. I know that the majority of Americans are non-corporatist and anti-oligarchy, but we no longer have a party whose platform reflect those ideals. IF Bernie Sanders by some miracle, became the Democratic POTUS candidate, I believe that this would have a huge transformative effect on politics and hopefully the future of the Democratic party. He is a proven commodity whose ideals resonate with the majority of Americans. I believe his candidacy would dramatically increase voter participation which would allow us to gauge how much our votes actually count.
I am ready for the flamers..

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Response to marym625 (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:56 PM

99. real question: why the hell would they? most movement Dems won't risk having a Pub win,

and the intermittent voters are sufficiently affected by the party's Nurse-Ratched-like apparatus of shame for anyone who dared to not blindly vote Dem '10 or '14

even with radical campaign finance reform the system is very far gone: look at all the DU threads noting how Hil's actually no better than Jeb (and Jeb's ties to the ones writing Uganda's anti-gay bill are looser than hers!), and then concluding with "I'll still vote/sacrifice my firstborn for her": it's like saying "don't step on me or I'll *gum* you!"

in 2001 voting third party was disallowed, since 2006 primaries have been sabotaged, and nowadays the party demands you show a receipt that you've driven at least 200 people to the polls before you can complain about any boots on your neck (after all, you just asked for that boot in November)

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Response to MisterP (Reply #99)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:27 PM

101. I was treading lightly

I think I see you around enough you know what I really think. The Democratic party of today, sucks. It's not liberal. It's not progressive. It's just more wall street with a little twist from the Republicans to try to fake it.

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Response to marym625 (Reply #101)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:51 PM

103. oh, there *are* plenty of liberal Dems in Congress, but the leadership is all bankster

and is basically riding the accomplishments of the other moiety

it's like "the party of Lincoln"

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Response to MisterP (Reply #103)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:47 PM

133. "Plenty" is a poor choice of words.

If there were plenty then we would have a huge majority. That is not the case.

Otherwise you make a good point about much of the leadership.

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Response to salib (Reply #133)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:41 PM

138. I calculated that it'd take 74 Dem Senate seats for the "worthwhile Dems"

to have even a one-seat majority (and pass things without wheeler-dealing)

and I was being generous with our current composition of delegates

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:58 AM

4. I'm so sorry! And I'm even more sorry that excuses are being made for this.

So long as the people try to defend these horrible actions by our government, it is only going to get worse.

You sound like a good son/daughter, your mom is lucky to have you. What about all those who don't have someone to help them out?

Does ANYONE in DC, other the usual few lone voices, care about the American people?

Bernie is right, there needs to be a revolution and the more garbage like this they pull, the sooner it's likely to happen.

Shameful for them to do this to the most needy AND deserving.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:53 AM

19. Thanks! Bernie has made getting rid of campaign contributions his number 1 issue!

He supports Publicly Funded Elections because it attacks the root problem of the corruption and the ability of the corporations and the 1% to control government, and so do I!!!

I say we surprise them all by joining every group that is fighting for the issue closest to their hearts together and ALL OF US attack the root problem that is sinking this country and destroying lives! Spread the word!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:56 AM

20. Yes, everyone has to get involved. And I am for boycotts and strikes, don't buy their stuff

That is where their power comes from, money. Starve them of what they use to control the people.

It would take a sustained campaign, nation-wide, maybe globally, to stop buying their child labor made garbage.

Turn off their propaganda machines also.

But are people ready to suffer a little inconvenience? Maybe it has to get worse before they are.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:59 AM

23. I am afraid you are right. The Plutocrats have been very adept at getting us to blame each other

for the problems we are experiencing while their puppets play pretend politics on the national stage. Most people believe this shit now, but they are getting too greedy and their slip is starting to show.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:45 AM

38. It Will Get Worse

 

I could not agree more. SS is also on the chopping block as well as future retirement plans. Many of the elderly have no living family members to assist them. This is a failure of our elected officials not the retirees who have no responsibility for these so called Trust Funds. (Congress = Taking the TRUST out of Trust Fund)

Many believe you can contact these members of congress through email which just is not true. Its also interesting that representative George Miller who helped craft this theft is also retiring from congress this month and cant be reached. The media is giving next to nothing on this story while distracting with another story on normalizing relations with Cuba.

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Response to Joe Worker (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:39 AM

57. welcome to DU!

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #57)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 01:25 AM

151. Thank You

 

I haven't posted on forums for about 3-4 years but hope I can contribute.

This is what investing in Wall Street will do. The big fish eat the little fish and to think they want us to invest SS in this den of thieves.

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Response to Joe Worker (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:46 PM

132. Yes, it will get worse. Unless the people WAKE UP and stop protecting whichever team

they are rooting for.

I agree regarding contacting these people. It's a waste of time to call them and talk to some 'assistant' who all seem to say the same thing 'thank you for calling, I will pass your message along'.

They should be required to spend at least a day every week to take calls from constituents. They go to DC and forget who sent them there.

The theft is always from the most vulnerable people. It is insidious and devious and shameful.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:23 PM

87. ...

 

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:01 AM

5. It's Just Plain Criminal

Pension looting is just wrong and should be illegal. Wall Street commits fraud and goes belly up, they get bailed out then leave with 500 million dollar golden parachutes. Hard working people like this get their pensions slashed to an unlivable amount.

$50 a month and even that gets cut? Amazing and beyond callous, all of it.

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Response to colsohlibgal (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:15 AM

10. Pension Looting.

This should be a household term. The Republicans are hungry animals that are looking for new hunting grounds and corporations are only happy to unburden themselves by giving up their employees as prey.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:50 AM

18. a bunch of dems voted for it too, and another dem is going to sign it

 

So don't place all of the blame on the republicans

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:43 AM

30. No fan of the thirdway "stir-the-economy now" and "sacrifice the future" types either.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:33 AM

45. I agree. "Pension looting." We must make it a household term.

We don't have many means available to us to fight back.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:24 PM

88. Can't just blame Repubs.

 

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:02 AM

6. Here's a good explanation of what has happened

with these multi-employer funds. Basically, declines in these industries (trucking, for instance) means there are not enough monies coming into the pension funds compared to the number of retirees. For example:

That is the situation confronting the Central States plan, which was notorious in the 1960s and ’70s for being used as a slush fund for organized crime. Since then it has operated under federal court supervision and with the help of professional fund managers. Yet that has not been enough to overcome demographic and other trends that have weakened its finances.

In 1980, the Central States fund had four active participants for every retiree. Now, there are nearly five retirees or inactive members for every worker, because many unionized trucking firms have gone out of business in the decades since deregulation, Thomas C. Nyhan, executive director of Central States, told Congress earlier this year.

The fund has about $18 billion in assets and pays out annual benefits of $2.8 billion to retirees. But it receives just $700 million each year from employers. Even given the strong stock market returns of recent years, that puts the plan on course to run out of money within the next 10 to 15 years, Nyhan has said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/congressional-leaders-hammer-out-deal-to-allow-pension-plans-to-cut-retiree-benefits/2014/12/09/4650d420-7ef6-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html


It's sad ; there should be some kind of government bailout, but it seems unlikely, given the political climate. So the only alternative to these cuts seems like it would be total insolvency.

It's hard for me to believe that Bethlehem Steel left your family with such a paltry pension after thirty years.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:16 AM

11. Here's a better explanation: they stole it. Like they're going to steal SS and everything

 

else.

Beth Steel stole it too. Or rather, the .01% did; the people who shipped off the jobs and bankrupted the companies (deliberately), and restructured the trucking industry (deliberately) in the interest of their own profit and at the bidding of their masters.

Fuck 'em all.

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/feb/10/business/fi-steel10

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Response to NewDeal_Dem (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:12 PM

109. Who stole it? The union run pension plan? I am particularly asking about the Central Teamsters. nt

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Response to kelly1mm (Reply #109)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:43 PM

131. Was it union run? Read the OP.

 

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Response to NewDeal_Dem (Reply #131)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:14 PM

135. This sub-thread is about the recent multi-employer, union run pension plan changes

pushed in congress and included in the Comnibus Bill just passed. As several posters have pointed out, the OP's mother's pension is not at all effected by this legislation.

This thread that you are in says exactly what types of pensions are effected and why. The employers did not do this one. It is on the unions this time. The problem with that is there is no pot-of-gold to go after as unions themselves have little to no assetts. These pensions will either go to the Pension Board (greatly reduced) or be voluntarily reduced by the recipients to a somewhat lower reduction in benefits. Or, the taxpayers could make up the difference I suppose (but then one could argue the taxpayers should make the Bethlehem Steel pensions whole as well)

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Response to kelly1mm (Reply #135)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:28 PM

136. This subthread is about the Teamsters Central States Plan.

 

That is the situation confronting the Central States plan, which was notorious in the 1960s and ’70s for being used as a slush fund for organized crime. Since then it has operated under federal court supervision and with the help of professional fund managers. Yet that has not been enough to overcome demographic and other trends that have weakened its finances.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/congressional-leaders-hammer-out-deal-to-allow-pension-plans-to-cut-retiree-benefits/2014/12/09/4650d420-7ef6-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

Many pension funds followed strategies that involved high fees for Wall Street companies while producing “financial returns that trailed plain vanilla investment strategies,” said Jay Youngdahl, a fellow with the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University. Central States appears to be a prime example, he said. “Before cutting benefits, we need to examine what exactly has happened.”

Financial firms came to manage the Central States Fund thanks to a 1982 federal consent decree that stripped the Teamsters of its power to oversee retirees’ money. In recent years, the decree divided a portion of the pension assets into low-cost index funds, and gave the rest of the fund’s assets to firms including Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.


Doesn't sound to me like the union is running it, and hasn't for a long time. And as I read elsewhere, the main reason the central states plan is having problems is that UPS was allowed to buy out of the plan and then the stock market tanked.

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Response to NewDeal_Dem (Reply #136)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:53 PM

139. So, who should pay? The crime bosses? The "federal court" that supervises the fund?

Wall street bankers? (good luck with that one and, as everyone knows, wall street = risk), Sell any union held assets (buildings, etc)?

If you don't like the pension participants having the OPTION via vote to voluntarily reduce their own pensions, rather than have them even more severely reduced by being turned over to the Pension Board, what exactly do you want to do?

I am not saying this is not a shitty situation, but I am saying I understand the need for it.

(As a side note, this is one of the main reasons I am a fan of 401k/IRA plans, don't have to worry about my 'promised' pension going from $1,100 per month to $50, and I say this as a person WITH a defined benefit pension)

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Response to kelly1mm (Reply #139)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:58 PM

142. no, you just have to worry about your 401k tanking for various reasons. unless

 

you do bank interest, in which case you lose money, even though it's relatively (but not entirely) safe.

there is no "need" for it except for the leeches that run the country being able to get away with stealing it.

yeah, leeches and parasites.

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Response to NewDeal_Dem (Reply #142)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:06 PM

144. With the employer match of 125% of contributions, the ability to put some/all in safe investments,

and the reduction in taxes from (combined 29.6% down to a combined 8%, I seriously doubt I need to worry about losing money. I did not actually 'lose' my money in the 2008 crash and have way more than made up for it since. Plus, with a IRA to ROTH IRA pipeline, one can make withdrawls penalty free at any age enabling early retirement (way earlier than non-military, non-public safety pensions, like early to mid 40's).

I do admit that it takes some level of knowledge to not get hosed. But, I certainly will not have to be like those Detroit pensioners, those GM salaried pensioners, the Bethlehem Steel pensioners, soon to be Teamster's pensioners ...............

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:19 AM

13. I don't buy that story. If there were four workers to every retiree,

 

then the extra money could have been invested and the capital would have grown. But many companies didn't invest the money that was earned for retirement. They spent the money on pay raises and bonuses for the bosses. When things turned bad, the debt that was owed to the retirees was forgiven by a Republican judge. The bosses kept their bonuses and the retirees got screwed.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:02 AM

24. here's what really happened with that pension fund....Wall Street ran it

http://www.ibtimes.com/pension-fund-run-wall-street-cited-push-cut-retiree-benefits-1748439

Lawmakers pushing to allow benefit cuts are citing the example of the $18.7 billion Teamsters' Central States Fund, which has 410,000 members and is the nation’s second-largest multiemployer pension plan. There’s an estimated $22 billion gap between assets in the Central States Fund and promised benefits to the system’s current and future retirees -- a shortfall that legislators point to as a rationale to pass a new law permitting multiemployer plans to slash promised retirement benefits.

“We have to do something to allow these plans to make the corrections and adjustments they need to keep these plans viable,” said Democratic Rep. George Miller in pushing the plan.

But critics of the provisions say the plight of the Central States Fund is not a cautionary tale about unsustainable benefits but an example of Wall Street mismanagement. They note that Central States is the only major private pension fund where all the discretionary investment decisions are made by financial firms rather than by the fund’s board. Roughly a third of the pension system’s shortfalls -- or almost $9 billion -- can be traced to investment losses accrued during the financial industry’s 2008 collapse. Those losses were in addition to more than $250 million in fees paid by the plan to financial firms in just the last 5 years.

Many pension funds followed strategies that involved high fees for Wall Street companies while producing “financial returns that trailed plain vanilla investment strategies,” said Jay Youngdahl, a fellow with the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University. Central States appears to be a prime example, he said. “Before cutting benefits, we need to examine what exactly has happened.”

Financial firms came to manage the Central States Fund thanks to a 1982 federal consent decree that stripped the Teamsters of its power to oversee retirees’ money. In recent years, the decree divided a portion of the pension assets into low-cost index funds, and gave the rest of the fund’s assets to firms including Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

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Response to antigop (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:40 AM

47. This explantion is the most believable.

This sort of shit has happened world wide.

There is only one answer. There is only one answer because there is no end to their greed.

[URL=.html][IMG][/IMG][/URL]





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Response to antigop (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:13 AM

65. Now that I can believe. Here's what happened to a person I know.

 

Small scale but I think typical. Small company had their employees' retirement funds invested in conservative mutual funds. When the company started going south, the company reinvested the retirement fund into the company's own stock. Guess who took advantage of the short term stock price increase to sell off their stock? And now guess who ended up holding worthless stock?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #65)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:30 PM

75. In a civilized society,

 

snakes who pulled shit like that would be skinned and made into fashion accessories.

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #75)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:56 PM

77. When I tell that story, I like to add: "Guess who are the Republicans and who are the Democrats in

 

the story."

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #65)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:50 PM

97. Similar to Enron.

 

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #97)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:25 PM

128. Funny you should mention Enron. Honest, I have another friend that worked for

 

Portland Gen Electric. I don't know the exact details but Enron bought into or somehow got control of the retirement fund and invested it all in Enron stock. When the stock dipped Enron encouraged the employees to invest their savings. And we know the ending. My friend is living off Social Security.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #128)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 01:24 AM

150. Death was too easy an escape for Ken Lay.

 

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #150)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 02:25 PM

155. I don't believe he is dead. Just sayin'. nm

 

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #155)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 05:20 PM

156. Well, if anyone had the means and motive to buy

 

an island and vanish, it was Kenny.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:56 PM

83. sounds like it was invested it grew to 18 billion but now

 

The fund has about $18 billion in assets and pays out annual benefits of $2.8 billion to retirees. But it receives just $700 million each year from employers. Even given the strong stock market returns of recent years, that puts the plan on course to run out of money within the next 10 to 15 years, Nyhan has said.

btwv The pension provision in the bill had nothing to do with employer plans such as Bethlehem Steel. The provision is for multi-employer plans which are managed by unions. The Teamsters pension plan is an example. Many of these plans are terribly underfunded due to mismanagement -- and in some cases criminal actions.

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Response to belzabubba333 (Reply #83)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:52 PM

104. I don't know about Bethlehem but I worked at Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel. In 2003 we went to a

similar multi-employer plan called the Steelworkers Pension Trust. As of last year it was funded around 87% so I don't think it
is in any financial trouble as of then anyway.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:03 AM

25. see post #24 for what really happened... nt

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:03 AM

41. Bethlehem Steel ex-employees also lost their health insurance

I have a couple relatives who worked at "the steel" in Bethlehem. My cousin has been going without health insurance since they shut down. He can go on Medicare next year.

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Response to Number9Dream (Reply #41)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:04 AM

50. Yes, it has been so hard on them. The American Dream is really a nightmare.

My dad was a great engineer who always had his projects come in on time and under budget. No other engineer in his department ever had one project on time or underbudget. They started giving him two projects at a time when the Navy commissioned for them to cut a ship in half, build a new huge "mid-body", and put it back together. These ships would transport troops, vehicles, tanks, planes, helicopters, and the fuel to run them all on short notice anywhere in the world so we could immediately respond or start a war with a fully self contained platform to do it. He did two of these
The other project was his usual, building semi-submersible oil rigs to drill in the rough North Sea.
He coordinated all of the different crafts, thousands of men, who had to do their part at certain times so that he had to be good at estimating when he would need them so they weren't sitting around waiting for one craft to finish.
To have to interview after interview and not get a job, have another heart attack and keep going. Then risk everything you have to buy a failing business in something you have no background in and pull it off.
The stress and strain was hard on them both. Fighting insurance companies and congestive heart disease, watching the money go out so fast after working so hard to get it! Republicans should be protecting people like that since these are the kind of actions they say they respect.
All to have it stolen at the end, legally, is unbelievable! We have to act so this doesn't happen again! We have to make SS the third rail again and fry the next ones who touch it!

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:34 AM

46. "not enough monies coming into" < That's a lie. The money was being siphoned off by thieves in

 

management. They chose not to put enough in. Dirty thieving bastards, stole the product of others work.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #46)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:08 AM

63. They better hope they never come accross my mom, she is one tough cookie and would really

give them "what for!" "Ma" as I affectionately call her, is the type who stubborn to the point where she will do whatever she has to do as long as she is able to do it. This trait has stood her in good stead while she worked and took care of my dad. I have been blessed by very amazing parents who earned and deserved much better.
I hope that we can work to prevent anymore hard working Americans from having to suffer through this kind of thing. People don't like to think about getting old and I believe that is part of the problem, but we all do if we are a little lucky and careful!

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:35 AM

56. You've got a lot of the cause in there...

because many unionized trucking firms have gone out of business in the decades since deregulation


The war on unionization has gone on for decades, and the Right is perfectly happy to use deregulation to drive entire companies out of business if it will break their unions. And to leave union members without the pensions they agreed upon in lieu of higher pay their entire careers.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #56)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:20 AM

67. Indeed, but the question is:

Once this has happened, it's a reality. And then what do you do about it? This was a problem that began many decades ago. Complaining about what happened in the past is fine, but it doesn't do anything to change the present situation regarding the funds. There appear to be two solutions: insolvency, so that nobody gets anything after x number of years; or make some changes in the benefits. Most of the unions apparently supported this "pension reform act" as opposed to the other option. (There of course would have been a third option: for the government to come in with a bailout. Not going to happen with this Congress).

So I always have to ask the question: what would you do about this situation? How would you solve it? Remember, you can't go back and change the past. You've got a problem on the table. What's the least horrible solution?



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Response to frazzled (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:42 AM

70. Given what we've got to work with at this moment in time?

Keep track of every pensioner who gets screwed over and by how much, and make sure they get every gov't benefit they qualify for until such time as we get a Congress that can 'bail them out' and restore all of their benefits and repay them for those they've missed in the interim.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:45 PM

96. Pretty damned simple:

EVERY pension should be guaranteed fully before we spend one cent on foreign aid, the military or anything else.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #67)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:30 PM

129. The government should bail out the retirement funds and tax the shit out of the wealthy-assed

 

bastards that are robbing us blind. Tar and feathers the bankster bastards and run them out of the country on a rail.

And thanks for asking.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 01:12 AM

149. Here is what the business section of the Wash. Post is not telling you

 

Nyhan is not a good source of information. Unions (members) do not make decisions on pension fund investments. This is done by a board of Trustees usually composed of equal numbers of union and company representatives. If I had my way I would not invest one dime in Wall Street. A "Trust Fund" should be just that. A LOCKBOX! Most of these plans went insolvent after the crash in 08. Many more are in endangered or critical status right now but with restructuring in place are NOT necessarily headed down the road to the "insolvency" line we are being fed by the business sections and their Wall Street allies.

I would also just like to add that most of these pensions are not higher paying ones like the raiders like to confuse us with. Most of them are very meager and pay out less than 20k a year. Most average much less than that.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:12 AM

8. Our legislators should be looking for ways to protect us from corporate thievery

instead of making the law work for the thieves. Your parents deserved much better. You should send this to your senators, representatives, & to President Obama.

I'm just flabbergasted that your mom's $50/mo. will be cut by a third because of the spending bill -- they're cutting $50?!

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Response to pacalo (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:17 AM

12. They work directly for the corporations now

 

If Jaime dimon told the president to start conducting human sacrifices on the white house lawn, they would begin tomorrow.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:49 AM

17. You know what I was wondering today, pacalo

I was thinking about that 60 billion dollars the USPO has in reserves as a result of having to prefund workers' medical insurance 75 years in advance in a ten-year window. If the USPO is dwindled down, and with each cut there are fewer workers contributing into its pension fund, will one day that be declared busted? The USPO could not borrow from the health insurance fund because that law passed in the early 90s required the funds be in reserve for just that -- health insurance. If those who are trying to slowly privatize the post office ultimately succeed, the pensions for the workers could be declared not fully funded and thus cut or eliminated and the 60 billion could be usurped by those who shut it down.

Do you think my cynical imagination iis working overtime or is this a real possibility?

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:15 AM

27. Sam, there's nothing too strange to imagine now that republicans will have the majority.

Anything's possible.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:26 PM

95. The main reason for the ginormous pension reserve is to make it look like the PO is drowning

in a sea of red ink.

The 2nd reason is exactly as you've theorized.

No doubt they're salivating at the thought of getting their hands on it.


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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:14 AM

9. it's the best we can do, given the political climate

 

and the fact that our government consists of a bunch of corporate whores

Sorry about your mom's plight

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:30 AM

15. This is one of the most untold stories in America.

What has happened to people who had a planned retirement, only to lose it all at a time in their lives when it's nearly impossible to get back on your feet.
It happens all the time, it's happened to people I know.

But wait! There will finally be relief now that pensioners can contribute up to $300,000 to their favorite congressional campaign. That ought to change things pretty darn quick. We got that gift in the spending bill too.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:56 AM

21. I brought this up not because it is personal and really pissed me off, but because it is so

widespread! We all have seen and/or heard of a company(s) doing this. The top people always leave with the money and get away with it.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:05 AM

61. It is widespread and needs to be addressed, but

our Congress is paid to do other things, so sorry. America is corrupt to the core and any and all savings for things like retirement are just sitting there ripe for the pickings. Greed knows no bounds.

Of course, the money in politics is the reason behind every terrible thing that's happened in America (and the world,) now including acts of nature.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:33 AM

16. This bill will encourage companies to take more risk knowing they can use the pensions

as a cushion if things go south. This bill also encourages banks to take more risks knowing they will get another tax payer bail out if things go south for them. This bill SUCKS! And the Democrats who voted for it SUCK too. It is time to hold them accountable at election time.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:57 AM

22. Everything that is wrong in our world is here in your post.

I hope your mom lives long enough to see justice.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:06 AM

26. SAME EXACT BETHLEHEM STEEL STORY HERE! Pension "Guaranty" HAHAHA! Corps totally messed her up!

 

Widowed since 1979 now.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:16 AM

28. It's a damn shame

This is a very sad story. They are going to run out of peope to rob eventually. I hope some day the people can come together and make a statement that enough is enough. Whether by voting in record numbers or increasing union membership, we have to do something.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:30 AM

29. How could anyone with a conscience vote for this?

It makes me sick when people defend politicians who push through crap like this and then line their pockets with campaign contributions. The next time someone tells me about President Obama's brilliant strategic chess skills, I'm going to remind him that the President lobbied to push this bill through Congress.

The system is stretched to the breaking point. This whole "work til you die" model is not sustainable.

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Response to NaturalHigh (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:05 AM

34. Completely agree! Nm

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:49 AM

31. Please get your story told to every Republican possible

They need to hear it repeated as much as possible.

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Response to SleeplessinSoCal (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 08:10 AM

39. They will say Obama pushed for it and many Democrats voted for it, and

they won't be wrong.

It's why conservative Democrats are so very bad for the 99% and why they are so very good for the wealthy elite. They confuse the situation so that too many people don't know what needs to be done (i.e. progressive solutions).

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Response to stillwaiting (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:44 PM

114. We can't be worrying about the status quo. By getting this and

similar experiences in the faces of Republicans, con dems will be forced to step up. This is the time, well before candidates declare.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:58 AM

32. THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY IT PISSES PEOPLE OFF WHEN SOMEONE SAYS...

 

"It had to be done to get something done."

Real people are affected by capitulation in budget deals. It's more than numbers on paper.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:03 AM

33. I can't believe it. Its so important that people like you tell your

stories because people are like so dumb. We need to gote for serious Democrats. Fuck Republicans and fake Democrats.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:33 AM

35. The injustice done to your parents and the other workers and spouses is vile

And it always seems to be these who shout loudest about family values who do this.
to your mom.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:09 AM

36. Its Autocratic Theft And Pillage

 

Does anyone believe congress would vote to cut their own pensions? How about the effect it will have on profit margins for local businesses and the well being of the economy? Same thing that happened to Cyprus when that government robbed private accounts to keep government afloat.

Make no mistake. This is grand theft on a massive scale and many Democrats are responsible as well as the GOP.
That includes everyone from Wall Street, (who got their bailout) Citigroup, George Miller, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, all the way to Obama. We have simply been told the elderly are expendable and deserve no bailout (through no fault of their own) for the mistakes of Wall Street.

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Response to Joe Worker (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 08:36 AM

40. Not only did they not cut their own pensions, the clowns who voted for this

monstrosity also voted themselves a $1000 per month in taxpayer money for a luxury car allowance.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025971851

Thanks to WillyT for pointing that out.

And a big WELCOME to you, Joe Worker. We're glad you're here!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:17 AM

37. I was also angry

That the only thing the Senate tried to stop were the major Wall Street shenanigans. No one tried to "slip out" the WIC cuts or the Pell Grant cuts or the pension issue...

No one stood up for the little guy. Again.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:15 AM

42. This is what voting for "the lessor of two evils" gets us.

Thieves and those who enable thieves.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:05 AM

52. Amen!!!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:12 AM

55. And I'm so sorry about the awful way your parents have been treated.

The "system" is broken. I'm ashamed of my nation.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:28 AM

43. This sucks, big time, Dustlawyer. I'm sorry your parents had to go through this.

This is why pension raiding makes me so pissed off. The suggestion that we cut social security benefits completely ignores the fact that people can't make it, already.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:44 AM

48. Hug to your Mom

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:00 AM

49. Huge K & R !!!

 






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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:04 AM

51. K&R. And some people question why some of us go ballistic over the idea

of chipping away of any Social Security benefits.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:11 AM

53. Pension looting erodes corporate law and should be a federal crime with mandatory jail time.

After his campaign/election reform bill, Senator Sanders should present such a bill before Congress.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #53)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:04 PM

85. pension looting is a great bumper sticker slogan - and a good name for a bill in congress

 

the anti-pension looting bill

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:11 AM

54. While you don't tell us what years your dad worked,

 

I find it a bit scary that after 30 years he only got $1,100/month. Even though that's practically a fortune compared to fifty bucks, it still sounds like not very much after all those years.

Some decades ago I worked ten years for one of the predecessors of USAir, and they were one of the many companies who got out from under their pension obligations. I recently came across some old statements from them and realized that my pension (which I only started taking a year or so ago) was cut by two-thirds. Luckily for me I never counted on that sum to be important in my retirement, but plenty of others did, especially the co-workers I started with who spent their entire working lives at the company.

And now municipal employees are having their pensions greatly reduced. It's relatively easy to get the taxpayers stirred up about the generous pensions teachers, firefighters, and policemen get, since that money comes from taxpayer dollars. Except that all pensions, be they private or public, are promises made. It doesn't matter if a person's paycheck and then pension comes from tax dollars or not. What's happened is that they've been either systematically underfunded, or the money looted for other things.

Meanwhile, the managers of the companies get huge sums of money both while working and when they retire, and the politicians vote themselves very generous pensions and health care.

I'm old enough to remember the generation who didn't have Social Security. My grandparents, for instance. They wound up living with children in their old age, and fortunately for them that worked out okay. We are very quickly getting back to that Golden Age.

I'm not being ironic or sarcastic, just truthful and somewhat bitter here.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:54 AM

60. There were also Poor Farms for the elderly.

And orphanages for the children of the poor.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:06 AM

62. Speaking of the amount of retirement his dad was supposed to get.

it sounds exactly like the amount of money my dad received at retirement. He passed last Christmas at age 90yrs old. My mom got a smaller amount of that...don't know just how much, she passed two years before he did. I always thought they were rolling in the money because of how well my dad managed his money. People (myself included) were always borrowing from them.
When he passed that's when I found out just how much he got. I've been retired for several years and I'm sure he would have thought I was the one rolling in money.

Money, it's all relative I guess, according to the times one lives.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:59 PM

107. I worked 40 years in the steel industry and get $1900 a month. Of course now that

is subject to change.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 07:48 PM

124. My Dad is 83. He was a union worker / truck mechanic for a utility company.

His pension is $978 a month. It was supposed to be $978 a month plus free health care, but several
years after he retired that was changed, however, they are only having to shell out about $50 a month
more for the health care.

He was born in 1931. He retired around 1985; forced to retire earlier than they had planned to because
my Mom was put in a wheelchair by a drunk driver that year.


On Edit: they've done fine because their home was completely paid for.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:40 AM

58. There are a lot of members in that club


We bailed out Wall St. Why not Main St?

OS

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:42 AM

59. Maybe in all reality we need

a few small plane crashes. An eye opener. Voting is so corrupt your vote doesn't count anymore. Boycott?? Americans are too spoiled to do without Wal-Mart for a month. THREATEN??? A terrorist on the other side of the planet can shut down sony, but an American born and raised here has no voice.
Cruz can shut down the entire country for 16 days, why do 300 million people live in fear of every day survival. We need to shut the fucking country down for as long as it takes for the PTB to realize it is OUR country not theirs.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:11 AM

64. cuz 'Murika!!!



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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:20 AM

66. Theft, pure & simple.

Fifty bucks by fifty bucks, they will not stop until they get every last dollar.

I am so sorry for what happened to your family & my heart goes out to your dear mother.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:26 AM

68. Very sorry DL. Damn them for making all our lives harder than they have to be.

Damn them for turning their backs on the general welfare of us all.
Damn them for selling us all out for a few bucks and fancy country club membership.
Damn them for having no soul, no empathy, no love for America.
They know the end of it all is nigh. This is the start of one last, great fleecing of everyone before the shit really hits the fan, and it will. Collapsing environments, lack of fresh water, species extinction and the majority of us still staring blankly at the TV screen and working hard for them while it all burns.
They are not Americans. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not liberal or conservative. They are not Christians. They are not our brothers keepers. They are our brothers fleecers. They laugh at war, torture, dead kids in the street and stealing from Grandma. They laugh and people can't wait to bend over to help them.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:40 AM

69. They looted his pension, and Wall Street will loot our social security,

 

if they get their way.

Sorry about your dad. K&R

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:09 PM

71. The system is dead to us Dustlawyer.

 

I keep saying it but no one wants to accept the TRUTH. Our energies need to be directed toward saving ourselves and creating this system's replacement.

- Doing anything else is a waste.

K&R

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:12 PM

72. Severance agreements are suffering the same fate

I have friends who worked for a company (where I used to work) that had severance agreements in placer. If the company let you go, you would get X number of weeks of pay, depending on your length of service. So, another company bought the first company, then fired a bunch of people and claimed that they weren't bound by the original severance agreement. A whole lot of people got screwed.

As far as pensions, when I retired, I took all of mine in lump sum payments -- because I predicted that pension funds would be looted. People called me a crazy conspiracy theorist. These are legal contracts, they said. It will never happen. You're nuts.

I take no joy in having been right.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:25 PM

74. Its all the damn unions' fault!

Don't y'all know that this is all the fault of the greedy unions who force corporations to accept contracts that allow union members to sit around all day drinking coffee and playing cards? Union members are overpaid, lazy, good for nothings! Unions are what cause recessions and force corporations to outsource jobs to someplace where they can actually get an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Look at the number of CEO's taking just $1 a year and board members serving for no compensation at all trying to save corporations from rapacious greedy union bosses! It is unions that are destroying the country getting contracts that allow members to retire with full pay and benefits after only 20 years on the job, and guaranteeing them generous COLA's each year! Get rid of the unions, blow all those generous pension plans out of the water, and get America back on track to greatness.....

Oh wait. Sorry. Was at the doctor's office waiting to get some blood drawn and that had on FOX News.

I'll be OK in just a couple of minutes.

(Do I really need a sarcasm tag here?)

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Response to Stonepounder (Reply #74)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:13 PM

86. Fox would have nothing to say to the trade deal with Japan that allowed them to glut our market

with cheap Japanese Steel!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 12:37 PM

76. I feel the same way, Dustlawyer

I just want to slap the smart-ass Republican that mouths off about some such shit that he has no idea what he's talking about. Exceptionalism: bunk. The first time I noticed these kinds of thieving shenanigans going on was back in the 80s (I think) with the BCCI scandal. And they have happened over and over again since then. The S&L scandal, Nationwide, the dot.com bubble, Enron, the housing bubble, Sept 14, 2008, no sacrifice for the war (just put it on our "credit card". And little by little they are taking their pensions. Oh yeah, and Bernie Madeoff in the middle of it all. It's been down hill ever since Reagan. The money went somewhere, now didn't it? It just didn't disappear into thin air. From our pockets to theirs (the 1%.) My Mother passed about 7 yrs ago. And the stars lined up for her and she did not have to go to a nursing home. Had it not worked out that way, us kids would have pulled together and made sure she was taken care of. It's not right. Your Dad worked all those years and should have gotten a full pension. All you can do is hug her tight and tell her everything's going to be alright, that you are going to take care of her.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:15 PM

79. This is an absolute disgrace!



& recommend.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:20 PM

80. sad what this country has come to

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:34 PM

81. Your story leaves out many facts.

Where did your mom "hear" her pension "was being cut by a third in this spending bill."? On the internet? The pension provision in the bill had nothing to do with employer plans such as Bethlehem Steel. The provision is for multi-employer plans which are managed by unions. The Teamsters pension plan is an example. Many of these plans are terribly underfunded due to mismanagement -- and in some cases criminal actions.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #81)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:58 PM

84. oh you with your facts dont you know youre ruining the rage du jour

 

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Response to belzabubba333 (Reply #84)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:20 PM

92. Yes, but I don't want a 77 year old worried over nothing.

I hope to make that age someday!

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Response to former9thward (Reply #81)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:20 PM

91. AARP: Letter to the House and Senate on the Unacceptable Plan for Pensions

On behalf of AARP’s nearly 38 million members, we urge that you do not adopt as part of year-end spending legislation a proposal that impairs a fundamental tenet of pension law and permits multiemployer pension plans to cut the earned and vested pension benefits of current retirees. Making significant and far-reaching changes to pension law without scrutiny of the legislative proposal and with no opportunity for debate or amendment is unacceptable. This is all the more true given that the proposal may result in a significant reduction in the modest income of millions of retirees. We urge Congress to instead consider all possible alternatives, and to allow time for adequate debate that can produce a fair and reasonable solution to the funding challenges facing a handful of multiemployer plans.

Currently, most multiemployer pension plans are well-funded and able to pay promised benefits in full. But, a small percentage of multiemployer pension plans are seriously underfunded and as a result are facing eventual insolvency and employer withdrawals. If this happens, both active workers and current retirees will lose a significant portion of their accrued benefits, and the PBGC’s multiemployer guaranty program, which is itself underfunded, will come under significant financial pressure. To avoid these outcomes, a proposal to save troubled plans has emerged that would broadly end fundamental and longstanding legal protections and permit cuts to retiree pensions, even if a pension plan is not facing immediate insolvency.

The lengthy and complex proposal has not been introduced, the legislation has not been considered by any committee or subject to a hearing, the language has not been reviewed by members of Congress, and the public and those retirees who will be affected have had no opportunity to consider the impact of the legislation. Yet, the proposal may be attached to the fiscal year 2015 omnibus and enacted without further scrutiny.

Permitting plans to break the fundamental requirement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) -- that plans must honor pension promises for benefits already earned and vested -- not only would hurt retirees, it would also significantly weaken ERISA and set an undesirable precedent. This precedent could have a detrimental impact on other earned pensions, and the overall retirement income security of the nation. Certainly, Congress should not permit such a significant proposal to be adopted in the remaining days of the 113th Congress, without the public scrutiny and broad debate that such a significant proposal deserves.

http://www.aarp.org/about-aarp/press-center/info-12-2014/letter-to-house-senate-pension-plan.html

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Response to Zorra (Reply #91)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:23 PM

93. Exactly as I said.

This is for multi-employer plans -- not single employer plans such as the OP's mother is receiving. She got bad information.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #93)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:45 PM

102. Did Congress stipulate that this change ONLY applied to multi-employer plans?

It appears that it changed ERISA to allow change to multi-employer plans, but that there is no guarantee that it will be specific to multi-employer plans. This appears to leave the back door open for putting single employer plans open to the same cuts later on.

The language we are reading in this bill is weasel speak.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #102)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:57 PM

106. I don't have the language of the bill

nor have I seen it anywhere. I have just read summaries and they all say multi-employer.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #106)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:56 PM

121. Two words for you...

...'precedent' and 'slippery slope.'
Guess that's three... GOP comments in last weeks hearings included remarks about needing to do same with SS.
But I hope you are right.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #93)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:24 PM

111. Not necessarily I worked for Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel and the PBGC froze our plan

in 2003. We went to such a plan called the Steelworkers Pension Trust but I think
it is funded fairly well I think 87% last year. So Bethlehem could be on that plan or some other
multi-employer fund.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #81)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:13 PM

110. You may be wrong about their pension. I worked 40 years at Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel our

our company pension was frozen by the PBGC in 2003 and we went to a multi-employer plan managed by the USWA. It is called the Steelworkers Pension Trust
and as of last year it was funded at 87% I believe, I think it should be Ok. I don't know if that bill applies to all such plans or just the one by the Teamsters,
it would depend on the language.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #110)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:26 PM

112. It applies to all multi employer plans.

But ones that are well funded will not fall into the formulas in the bill. The language says it will apply to those plans projected to grow broke in 15 years or are less than 80% funded. In the event of a cut disabled and those 80 years old will be shielded.

The OP says they are getting a pension from Bethlehem Steel. If that is accurate they are not affected.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #112)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:36 PM

113. I doubt they are actually getting it from Bethlehem, they liquidated, it probably comes from the

PBGC or possibly a multi-employer fund most likely the Steelworkers Pension Trust which is ok I think.
I think she may be upset about nothing at least I hope so.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #113)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:49 PM

115. I worked for Republic and then LTV.

I get a pension from the PBGC.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #115)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:38 PM

119. Same here I worked for Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel and get a

check from the PBGC (which is underfunded), one from WHX corporation (former owner) which is only around 70% funded last year and one from the Steelworkers Pension Trust that is one of the multi-employer plans. All together I get $1900 for 40 years.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #115)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:40 PM

120. In my opinion the two worst things to affect our

industry was #1 Bill Clinton and #2 Ronald Reagan. Regardless of who voted for this or
who introduced the action, the Republicans will hang any cuts in pensions around Obama's neck just like they
did with NAFTA and Clinton.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #113)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:53 PM

140. You are correct, PBGC, her $17.00 a month is three weeks of gas at current prices. I hope

you are right!

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Response to former9thward (Reply #112)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:33 PM

117. I get a laugh out of that one they won't cut it if you are

80 years old or disabled. So apparently they think as long as you are under 80 you can get a job
and make up the difference, real humane of them huh?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #112)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 09:20 AM

153. In your opinion, would this affect PA municipal retirees system?

My wife gets a pension administered by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirees System. It is from multi-employers, but administered by the state agency. Would it be worth calling them to find out if they would be affected? Calling them is a pain. Thanks for your time.

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Response to Number9Dream (Reply #153)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 01:47 PM

154. No, they are not affected by the bill.

The bill only affects those pension plans in the private sector. Those plans, if they fail, will be absorbed by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. The PBGC is a federal agency responsible for private sector pension plans that have failed. It would not cover your wife's pension plan.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #81)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:35 PM

137. It was with the union, but once the company failed, it became administered by PBGC, a government

administered plan that doles out what was left, her $50.00! The company set up a group rate health insurance, United American, that my parents had to stay with and pay the premiums for, no matter how high they got! My dad was uninsurable due to congestive heart failure. Even if my mom wasn't one who had her whole damn $50.00 cut, it would still be wrong, both for her, and the millions of others who are being totally screwed by this naked, greedy, corrupt Congress and Wall Street owned President!
Why in a post like this, where everyone will concede so many are being screwed having their pensions cut by a 1/3, would you feel the need to attack us? The issue is much more important than whether or not my mom's fifty is cut by $17 or $18! It will be much worse for others who started out with their full pension and now get a 30% cut. Their bills, prescriptions, and food are going up and all of the sudden, BOOM, income cut by almost a third!
If you still doubt, look it up for yourself!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #137)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 11:35 PM

145. "Attack us"????

Where is that coming from? I just wanted to know some specific facts because reading the OP it did not sound like your mom's pension would be affected based on what I know about the bill. It was YOU who said your mom was CRYING. Wouldn't you want to give her the correct information so she would not be worried????

The FACT is that no one's pension is being cut by a dime because of this bill. The bill ALLOWS union controlled pension plans to PETITION for cuts in the future if they are going BROKE. Whether they are going broke is something determined by the UNIONS themselves -- not someone on the outside. Would YOU rather they go BROKE????

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Response to former9thward (Reply #145)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 12:22 AM

146. If that is the case I apologize, I am having a lot of medical issues and a little shorter fuse than

normal. There are other ways to keep the pensions from going broke, unfortunately, I think we probably agree that won't happen in the short term, and very possibly the long term either.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #146)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 AM

147. Let's hope you get well and best wishes to your mother.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #81)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 04:26 AM

152. Your post leaves out many facts

 

Underfunded due to mismanagement? They are NOT managed by unions (or members for that matter) They are managed by TRUSTEES! (and influenced by Political Action Committees)

As a former shop steward with 34 years I can tell you that most of the "mismanagement" is the result of investments made before the crash in 08 and employers who underfunded these plans in a designed effort to use the system to break these unions through bankruptcy. (while giving their CEO's ludicrous raises) The majority of these trustee boards consist of equal numbers of union and company reps.

The criminal actions come directly from management while the PACS negotiate the contracts.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 02:36 PM

89. and what the hell are we/can we

 

do about it. Write, call, email the 'leaders'.?...they don't care about 'we the people'. With this criminal bill that was just passed, the veneer has been scratched off and below that veneer, putrid corruption and graft encouraged by the oligarchs so that while we are storming the gates of our Versailles, they'll be on the beach in their gated secure enclaves laughing and toasting the demise of the minions scratching and clawing at each others throats........for the crumbs still available to the unwashed masses.....what a joke....except I'm not laughing.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:23 PM

94. Wyden Criticizes House Proposal On Multiemployer Pensions

“We’ve seen this movie before and it never ends well – a last-minute scheme worked out largely in private to solve a complex problem without the full and public consideration of Congress,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said.

“This time, the topic is multiemployer pensions and the excuse for hasty action is the need to keep pensions for millions of hard-working mine workers, truck drivers and other retirees from going bankrupt. And this time, the last-minute scheme was rushed through by a few House members in private during the final days of the legislative year without consideration by the Senate Finance Committee and other committees of jurisdiction.

“That flawed process has produced a lopsided solution leaving existing retirees to shoulder a disproportionate share of sacrifice. It also will result in the rolling back of a major tenet enshrined in pension law – never take away money a pensioner has already earned.

“Under this bill, for the first time, Congress will allow multiemployer plans to cut retirees’ earned pension benefits. This is unprecedented and I worry about the impact on retirees and the slippery slope we’re about to head down. At a minimum, all stakeholders should have the opportunity to understand and deliberate fully the implications of a complicated bill 160-pages long – and we all know that is impossible this late in the game.

http://www.finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=958e1412-74b6-4d8c-8142-006904575679

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 03:51 PM

98. What the hell ever happened to the notion of a 'contract'?

 

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Response to Flatulo (Reply #98)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:54 PM

105. The validity and terms of a contract are directly proportionate to the wealth possessed

by the signatories of the contract.

In other words, in our new American privatized ownership society, the party that has the most money to pay the best lawyer is the person who, or financial entity that, wins a contract dispute.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #105)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 05:21 PM

157. True, that's what lawyers do mostly, these days. nt

 

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 04:24 PM

100. Thisis part of the mission of the Republicans, Walmart, Koch brothers and other large

corporation to destroy the middle class. They are taking away their funding from every direction. The GOP is the real ISIS of this nation. But ignorant voters continue to elect them.
In the funding bill they again make the tax payers be responsible for to the large banks if they mess up. If they default, the tax payers pay the bill. Didn't the American people and law makers wake up to the destruction of the economy under G. Bush and the GOP. Now they will do it again.

The GOP law makers are banking millions supporting any bill against the middle class.
WAKE UP VOTERS.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:03 PM

108. This is horrible

Send your dad's story to Bernie Sanders, with more details. He needs to know about this.

I am so sorry to hear this; those evil callous people deserve to suffer for their crimes.



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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 05:57 PM

116. Hundreds of Thousands

 

of Americans have gone through this. In the mining industry, I know of many workers that had their pensions cut in half. The scam used was to file a bogus bankruptcy claim, shut the plant down for nine months, sell the company, rehire the same guys for less money with half the pension. In the case that I know of, the majority of workers were due to retire within a few years. The company did not want to pay the pensions, so they screwed the workers. To make matters worse, the company was not paying into the pension fund prior to the shutdown. This left the fund underfunded and the PBHG was forced to pay back the folks at 50 percent.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 06:37 PM

118. Thieving and lying corporatist bastards.




FWIW I'm almost as pissed as you are. These assholes
must sell their souls to get into upper management.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 07:41 PM

123. Go ahead I am

kinda feeling you on this one too. Wait until it happens to them. Its coming. They are modeling how they are going to do it to every pension holder in America. They started here in Detroit. Give mom a big hug from me. I know it hurts. And I love my mom, so to see someone or something bring your mom to tears and there isn't much you can do about it sucks. But I am glad she has you, it takes the sting out this awful shit in the end.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 08:31 PM

125. That's horrible.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 08:33 PM

126. Who voted? Who votes? Who participates in the process. Not many. Shame on these people.

 

We have the power to change the way things are going. We are choosing to put blinders on.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:17 PM

127. I'll keep saying this until they kick me out of here...

The ONLY power we have left is our wallets. Stop giving these fucking corporations your money. And that starts with cutting the cable TV. Those of us who still have a smidgen of disposable income have to lead the way - go local, 45 cents of every dollar spent locally stays in the community, versus 13 cents spent with national chains/corps. Talk about a job creator! Those of us who live somewhere with transit must start using it, and those who don't need to carpool and/or consolidate trips. If you live in a moderate climate, turn down the thermostat. Here in Portland we can buy a ton of things from local companies, even toilet paper. It's all we got, folks. If it sounds a little familiar, maybe this will refresh your memory (if you're old enough)...


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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 09:32 PM

130. Bump..nt

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:12 PM

134. GOP

Has nothing for the 47%, they don't exist in their minds or budgets.

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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Thu Dec 18, 2014, 10:55 PM

141. Kick !!!

 


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Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Fri Dec 19, 2014, 12:36 AM

148. it makes me cry too.

for the people who are looking at a world of hurt.....

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