Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Willard (Mitty) Rmoney's Friends Looted Your Pensions (Bill Maher On God and Money)



(If throwing a contribution Pottersville2's way won't break your budget in these difficult financial times, I really need it, and would wholeheartedly appreciate it. Anything you can afford will make a huge difference in this blog's lifetime.)


This is the technique that has worked - alas, too successfully - for the one percent in almost every industry in America. People don't really have pensions anymore because the financial-services industry helped the one percent loot them for the benefit of folks like Willard Romney, which they were able to do because they were encouraged to bust unions and force people into 401K's, which sank with the rest of the economy while they were stealing everything that wasn't nailed down. Now look, over there: That teacher/fireman/NFL referee has something you don't have! That person stole it from you. Go get 'em. We'll wait right here on our piles of money while you and him fight.
Defined-benefits pensions "don't really exist" anymore because of deliberate acts of politicians that encouraged their wholescale destruction by American business. We didn't "evolve" from them to 401K's. We got them stolen out from under us. Roger Goodell is just the latest front man.

Funny how so many people think this situation is the norm, isn't it, when it was done not that long ago ('80's) by the powerful lobbies for corporate enrichment. At the expense of their workers.

And the country, of course.

Roger Goodell and the 1 Percent's War on Pensions

(Peter Kramer/NBC via Getty Images)

The owners and their stooge want to freeze referee retirement plans that have been in place for years, in favor of the 401Ks that sank with the rest of the economy in the first place.

That Roger Goodell, lord high commissioner of the National Football League, is a well-kept tool of the various plutocrats who own the franchises in the league over which he ostensibly presides is well beyond dispute at this point. But, as he currently helps the league commit consumer fraud on a weekly basis by entrusting the game to scab referees, he also is giving the game away on how exactly the people who pay his salary feel about people who work on salary generally in this country. Here's the head of the NFL Referees Association, even before this latest weekend of high-rent grifting:
"The key is the pension issue," [Scott] Green told HuffPost, adding that the pensions have been around since the mid-1970s. "A lot of our guys have made life-career decisions based on assuming that pension would be there." 

In facing a pension freeze, the NFL refs have plenty of company. Corporations across the country have been trying to switch their employees from traditional defined benefit pension plans to cheaper, less reliable defined contribution plans. Just one example is Con-Ed, which recently locked out workers as it tried to phase out employees' traditional pensions and move them to 401(k)s.
And then, from the man himself:
"From the owners' standpoint, right now they're funding a pension program that is a defined benefit program," said Goodell, who was in Washington on Wednesday attending a luncheon hosted by Politico's Playbook. "About ten percent of the country has that. Yours truly doesn't have that. It's something that doesn't really exist anymore and that I think is going away steadily."
(Gotta love that "Yours Truly" touch. Rog is suggesting to the Politico buffet-grazers that he's really one of them. He'd sell them all for car-fare if it put another million in Jerry Jones's pocket.)
That's the tell, right there. This is the technique that has worked — alas, too successfully — for the one percent in almost every industry in America. People don't really have pensions anymore because the financial-services industry helped the one percent loot them for the benefit of folks like Willard Romney, which they were able to do because they were encouraged to bust unions and force people into 401K's, which sank with the rest of the economy while they were stealing everything that wasn't nailed down. Now look, over there: That teacher/fireman/NFL referee has something you don't have! That person stole it from you. Go get 'em. We'll wait right here on our piles of money while you and him fight.
Defined-benefits pensions "don't really exist" anymore because of deliberate acts of politicians that encouraged their wholescale destruction by American business. We didn't "evolve" from them to 401K's. We got them stolen out from under us. Roger Goodell is just the latest front man.

Comments:

# BradFromSalem 2012-09-17 12:33
 
Don't forget Willie Romney of Willie and Paul, The R&R Boys, who would buy up companies or rather borrow money to buy up companies, then use the Pension fund of the employee's to pay back the loan that Willie's company borrowed.

Pension funds have become an asset in today's 1% run world instead of an obligation made by a company to the people it employs.
 
 # dkonstruction 2012-09-17 12:37
 
Pensions have historically been defined by the labor movement as "deferred wages." In other words, workers earn their pensions today but agree to "defer" payment of this money until later (when they have retired). Therefore, they are not "benefits" in the same way as paid vacation and sick days or even health insurance. They are wages/salaries that workers earn today but don't collect until later.

If employers want to cut pensions then they should be forced to put this money back into the wages/pay that workers receive today otherwise employers are in fact implementing a pay cut.
 
  • Rich Brauer  · Pretoria, South Africa
    Jerry Jones' net worth: $2 billion.
    Goodell's salary: $10 mill, doubling to $20 mill by 2019.
    NFL referee salary: $25 - 70,000.

    These guys have more change in their couches than it would take to fund the pensions.
    Barry Friedman ·  University of Tulsa
    Rich, Good illustration. So how is it possible that the guy who was sitting home yesterday, watching the games, making $65K, has decided he has more in common with Goodell and Jones than he does with the NFL ref--or his son's English teacher for that matter.
     
    Terry Carney · Southfield-Lathrup High School
    • Barry Friedman: That is the question of questions. Retired construction worker here and I can't count the times I've walked away from converstions wondering what in the hell did I just hear. How do you convince a 50 year old carpenter that no, he's not going to be running a major bank before he retires. I exaggerate of course but, this 'selling' of the notion that we can all be millionaires if we'd only just listen to billionaires is, indeed, the most successfull of successful sales pitches.
    • Barry Friedman · University of Tulsa
      Could not, could not--COULD NOT--agree more. Convincing someone making $50K/year that his problem is not with the multi-national corporations who will soon be sending his job to Malaysia but rather with the guy making $25K/yr has been the GOP and its minions best work to date--maybe ever.
  • Barry Friedman ·  University of Tulsa
    Roger Goodell doesn't have a pension, Miitt Romney is unemployed, and the folks at ExxonMobile, well, they're drivers, too. We, liberals, should stop bitching so much. It's a hurting world for everyone.
    Brad Hicks ·  Retired at Social Security Disability
    401Ks weren't the only way the 1% stole most people's pensions; sometimes they just outright stole them. During the junk bond leveraged buyout boom, junk bond raiders made excuses to invest the entire pension fund in the company, used that money to pay themselves and their friends bonuses, and then took the company into bankruptcy to get out of having to pay it back.

    That's what the real war on public-sector unions is really about: the empurpled rage of the finance industry and their clients that there are any pensions out there that can't be stolen via a leveraged buyout. So instead their clients take whole cities into bankruptcy, and then friendly judges approve converting the existing pension funds into 401Ks invested where that money can be paid out to the 1% as dividends and so the surge of money into those shares can pump...See More
  • Roy Skaggs III ·  Louisville, Kentucky
  • They won't be completely happy until we're all working a 60 hour week at $4.00 an hour until we either drop dead or turn 80. We're moving from a consumption-based economy to the Wall Street Casino paradigm, and those of us who once made our livings at honest labor, or the traditional service sector and bought "things" with our money (most of which we needed, plus some excellent middle-class luxuries) are now just Stone Age cargo cultists. If any one of us manages to save anything, our new nobility will Hoover it out of us during periodic "recessions." You know that if you have money, you can pick up some really great bargains during hard times.
    Rob Belgeri 
    For this reason and for what's happened to the pre-'93 players whom the league and the NFLPA have fucked over on disability pensions and marketing revenues, for the last two Sundays, I've stayed caught up with the MLB wild-cards (got two dogs in that hunt), and taken some long bike rides. Fuck the NFL. Fuck Roger Goodell. Fuck the NFLPA sell-outs. Have enjoyed this game for 50 years or more, but I'm satisfied to catch college highlights on Saturday night and be done with it. NCAAF is marginally better in terms of ethics, etc.; I recall Pete Gent's wry opinion: "Hell, they're just renting you." There are a bunch of good books on that shelf over there I just never have time to read. Maybe knocking off a couple of those would be better than watching Polamalu turn himself into Mike Webster because he's afraid the other players...See More
    Linda Koss · Toledo, Ohio
    And 90% of people don't have defined pensions (anymore), thanks to one percenters like "yours truly," the poor slob with no pension and only millions to fall back on. And so the one percent set us against each other like crabs in a pot. And they'll be no boycott by the millions who watch, because they would have to do something else on Sunday afternoon.
    Jon Gardner · University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    How many refs are there? Please, it can't cost more per year than the payroll of a single NFL team.
    Scott Gregory · Realtor at Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
    You hate America.
    Terry Carney ·  Southfield-Lathrup High School
    The refs are being made to suffer not because the players are taking too much of the pie leaving not enough to go around. The refs are suffering because the owners can't make the players suffer and still have a marketable product and goddamnit, somebody's gonna suffer.
    Pat Healy ·Stand Up Philosopher at Self employed
    A couple of years ago, my employer offered entry into a new "amped up" 401(k) to replace the defined benefit play we've had in place for decades - you'd still have what you have earned in the pension plan, but, going forward, you'd be part of a 401(k) with more generous company contributions (and, of course, a higher limit on what you could contribute). I decided almost immediately to stick with the pension plan*, and went to the website and declared my intention. I got email and snail mail reminders that I could still switch to the new plan for the remainder of the 3 month "open" period. Grifters going to grift...

    *The new 401(k) would have offered me more retirement income if (1) I increased my contribution to the maximum; (2) I lived (and remained imployed) to 75, and (3) the stock market didn't tank. Only one of these was totally within my control.
    Terry Carney · Top Commenter · Southfield-Lathrup High School
    But remember, if you'd have worked harder, you could have been born rich.
    Saul Tannenbaum ·  Cambridge, Massachusetts
    The shift from defined benefit plans to defined contributions plans wasn't about helping the financial services industry (though it did help them). It was about shifting the risk from corporations to individuals. This should have looked insane on its face as large aggregates of capital (corporate pension funds) are far better at managing risk than you or me in our individual 401(k)s. Instead, dress it up as part of the "ownership society", build a mythos of noble daytraders winning fortunes at their keyboards and you have the sweet smell of financial freedom. Too bad that smell is just an air freshener hiding the rot that is the so-call stock market.



2 comments:

Bustednuckles said...

Fuck that.
I'm STILL pissed off at Reagan for getting away with raising the retirement age to 67. Of course, beingborn in 1960, I'm one of the first years it applies to.
Rotten sonsabitches.

Suzan said...

You know I'm with you, baby.

I still remember my Dad saying out loud (all the time) with great incredulity:

"Why do people think a grade-B actor is qualified to determine the future of this country? Don't they know his policies are stealing from the workers?"