pension problems

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David Dayen's FDL piece on the war on public employees:

There has been a concerted effort for years to demonize and delegitimize public employee unions, from both Republican pols and the media in general. This has left a distorted impression about greedy union contracts and well-paid government functionaries. So the new class of Republican governors ... are animated by a general hatred of unions, which have maintained their strength in the public sector while fading away in the private sector.

Dave Johnson observes in Ten Holiday Attacks on Public Employees that:

If you haven't already noticed, there is a corporate/conservative campaign underway to convince the public that public employees are living high on the taxpayer's dime and should have their pay and pensions cut back. [...] When you see this kind of coordinated campaign from the right (and "mainstreamed" by corporate media) you know it is part of a larger strategic plan. The larger plan is to weaken public-employee unions, including teacher's unions.

Jon Perr's 590,000 Republican Lies about Public Employees also notes that "Republicans are ramping up their war on government workers:"

At the heart of their crusade is the bogus claim, as 2012 GOP White House hopeful Tim Pawlenty put it two weeks ago, that "since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly 8 million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000." Alas, as with so much conservative mythmaking, the statement isn't merely a lie. As the data show, the public sector has actually shed hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past two years.

Arun Gupta's piece at AlterNet on corporate America's assault on the middle class lays bare their pension-looting scheme:

Having decimated aid to the poor over the last 30 years...the economic and political elite are now intent on strangling middle-class benefits, namely state-provided pensions, health care and education.

The NYT discussed some municipalities' precarious finances:

Bankruptcy, increasingly common among corporations and individuals, remains rare for municipalities. Local leaders who want to win elections find it unappealing and often have other choices for solving financial woes. Besides, states have a say in whether a municipality may pursue bankruptcy at all, and they have every reason to avoid such an outcome, not least of all for fear of a creating a ripple effect that could cripple the municipal bond market and drive up the cost of borrowing.

Yet with anemic property tax revenues and forecasts of more dire financial times ahead, some experts and elected leaders fear more localities may have to at least consider bankruptcy.

Providing another example, Susie Madrak writes at Crooks and Liars about the beginning of NJ's pension problem:

New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.

In other words, she and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)

Jamison Foser notes at MediaMatters that "a big part of the reason that 'Christie and his predecessors' failed to make required contributions to the pension fund is that they decided to use the money for tax cuts instead." Madrak provides this helpful reminder, also missing from most media accounts:

When a state is in debt and cuts taxes, the cost of the tax cut is actually a loan that taxpayers will pay interest on, sooner or later.

Again and again, we hear the plutocrats complain about the working class's unreasonable desires to be paid a living wage and to receive a secure retirement after a lifetime of work--we must give back some of our wages, our benefits, and our pensions because times are tough. One never hears, though, that the wealthy should give back their tax cuts...that's an idea so unreasonable that it cannot be voiced in the corporate media.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 29, 2010 10:44 PM.

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