Deal reached to allow pension plans to cut benefits

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  1. Stacie L profile image86
    Stacie Lposted 8 years ago

    Deal reached to allow pension plans to cut benefits
    A bipartisan group of congressional leaders reached a deal Tuesday evening that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.

    The measure, attached to a massive $1.01 trillion spending bill, would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets. … ar-BBgAimc
    Is this another attack on the labor unions and middle class way of life? We seem to be going backwards in the protection of workers in this country.

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      An attack on labor unions that designed unsustainable pension plans?  How do you figure?

      1. Credence2 profile image78
        Credence2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        So where does management figure in when many companies used pension funds for purposes other that what was intended or go belly Up relieving themselves of liability?  Chapter 11 So it is not all just the unions.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Sorry but the link, if I understand it correctly, only affects multiple employer plans.  Union funds, in other words.  Mismanaged or unrealistic to start with; either way it is a union matter and not the evil corporations.

          1. Credence2 profile image78
            Credence2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

            You did, but it does not tell the whole story, evil or not the corporations are accessories tomuch of this

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Really?  The corporations are in cahoots with upper union management to steal the pension fund?

              I really doubt that.

              1. Stacie L profile image86
                Stacie Lposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                If Congress needs to cut pensioners that earned their money, then members of Congress should lead by example and take a pay cut....(when pigs fly!!! roll)

                1. Dreamworker profile image86
                  Dreamworkerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  I have seen numerous retirees lose pensions over the years, and when this happens, it poses a horrible situation for them because they cannot recoup those losses.  Surely there is some way for companies to set up reasonable plans that, coupled with social security, can produce a living income for those who grow old and usually too disabled to earn money.

                2. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  ??  But congress isn't cutting pensions.  The unions are - it is either cut them or stop them entirely in about a decade when the money is gone.

                  Or...the people of the country could bail out the unions like we have the big companies.  After all, we've already started down that road, why not continue it to the bitter end as if we never learn anything?

              2. Credence2 profile image78
                Credence2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

                I can't dispute your point, but to say the fat cat corporate structure is as pure as windriven snow in all of this has to be ridiculous, and is one of the reasons I don't trust conservative perspectives a great deal.

                One and only one example of many is the book written by Ellen Shultz former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, hardly an advocate of leftist opinion. The Retirement Heist, how companies plunder and profit from the nest eggs of AMerican Workers.

                I am not too well versed with ipad that I am using, otherwise I would provide a link. I keep forgetting your group hangs on to the crazy idea that 47 percent of the population is mooching from everybody else. The democrats are engineering immigration reform to get another 5 million votes, not giving  consideration that the beneficiaries have any ability to vote independently. Do you guys continue to think that we need to fix the "American voters" to lure them from the freebies? The conservatives-right wing border on that already with their attempts at legalized voter supression. After all they can't win the hearts and minds of the electorate any other way.

                Sorry for the rant but after reading a couple of article, I am in an anti-red mood this evening

                1. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  What in the world does red, blue or purple have to do with anything?  This is a union screw up, plain and simple, that you've tried to include big corporations into and now the republican party.  The connection simply isn't there, and to bring hatred of corporate America or conservatives into the union problem has no merit.

                2. GA Anderson profile image89
                  GA Andersonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Well then, let me help you out of your anti-Red funk.

                  (But I don't intend to defend corporate shenanigans -  a whole 'nother topic)

                  For instance...

                  "...your group hangs on to the crazy idea that 47 percent of the population is mooching from everybody else. "

                  Uh oh. You are too close to right on this one.  Too many conservatives, (not just the "right-wingers"  fall for this one. But, but, but.... I think a lot of centrist conservatives know better than to swallow this line. And I also think centrist conservatives out-number right-wingers. So maybe a smaller brush is needed to paint this picture.

                  "...their attempts at legalized voter supression. "

                  Could you be alluding to the conservative push for Voter ID requirements? I sure hope not, because other than emotional speculation, I challenge you to prove that even the tiniest most miniscule number of voters would be denied their right to vote by any ID requirement. Before you start, bear in mind that almost, (I want to say all, but don't remember my research readings), every state with voter ID laws also has also bent over backwards to provide voter-friendly programs and outreaches to accommodate any voter that has a hardship getting an acceptable ID.

                  "...not giving  consideration that the beneficiaries have any ability to vote independently."

                  Do you really not think a huge majority of those "new" voters won't vote for the hand that fed them? Yes, I think it is entirely reasonable for the Democrats, (and conservative critics),  to think the bulk of these new voters will vote Democrat.

                  "After all they can't win the hearts and minds of the electorate any other way."

                  Now ,if only you would qualify that with "the right-wingers," then I could give you a high-five, or as Quill would post, a ^5

                  There are left-wingers - you don't appear to be one. There are right-wingers - I am not one. Both generate the most news coverage and attention - but it is us purples, (centrist left or right), that make the real difference.

                  So, now...  can we change your anti-Red mood to anti-Right winger mood?


                  1. Credence2 profile image78
                    Credence2posted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    Ok, GA I  got POed

                    My only point was that the pension problem is not just the fault of the labor unions, is there any way to deny this?

                    1. As for the 47% argument, Wilderness, himself took this tack in another thread that he participated in and I watch for authenticity and consistency in arguments posed here by others. Wilderness brings a great deal to our forums,, but I catch folk with their breeches down now and again. When I see people who say that they are moderate take this what I consider extreme position, does that not give me reason to pause? I invite anyone to call me out if they catch me in the  middle of 'turning my coat'.  I think that this attitude of resentment is a hidden plank in the GOP platform and conservative ideology. The attitude seems to be more prevalent than 'they' would like you to believe. It is like the colostomy bag that you carry but just as soon not tell everybody about, or the secret rallying cry that incite the elephants to stampede.

                    Ok, I have moved beyond much of my disgust with the Voter ID idea in principle, but I am still irked by other aspects of this voter suppression concept. Why make it illegal to vote on the Sunday before election? Is that to prevent  fraud or a way to stifle participation by Blacks in the franchise who traditionally vote after church services? This is  just one of many examples put forth by GOP legislatures. I know that we have talked about this before, but I don't like this kind of business as it sticks in my craw.

                    I am proud of Maine, as being 'true blue', if I had to live in New England, that's where I would live. This excerpt is from a Maine newspaper on a typical GOP ploy and how it was short-circuited.
                    "Maine has much to be proud of in its voting laws. The state managed to register 60,000 new voters on Election Day in 2010 - and the only claims of voter fraud were specious. Along with Minnesota and Wisconsin, both of which also had same-day registration, Maine ranked well above the national average in voter turnout. But this year, Maine’s new Republican-led House and Senate voted to get rid of same-day registration, and the state’s new Republican governor, Paul LePage, was more than eager to oblige".

                    "In over 34 states, more restrictive voting rules are being proposed or enacted, in most cases by newly elected Republican majorities in the legislatures. These laws disproportionately limit the access of young, low-income, and minority voters, all Democratic constituencies. The most common and best publicized are laws requiring government-issue photo IDs. But the assault on more efficient and accessible voting is taking many forms, including Maine’s ban on same-day registration".

                    "Access to voting is the mainstay of democracy. Having failed to win in the legislature, Maine residents are now bypassing their representatives, going straight to their neighbors, and waging a “citizen’s veto.’’ The citizens of Maine - those who are able to register, at least - should overturn this unjustified, politically motivated attack on a long-established voting rule"
                    2. As for the Hispanic voters, ok, the democrats will gain support at least in the beginning, but I resent people automatically being consigned to a monolithic voting block. The moderates, where ever they are, hopefully recognize the need to appeal to them and not take the attitude that they are obstructive.  But, the GOP I know  will lose here like they lose with other demographics, that includes Jews, Asians, traditionally successful groups from an economic standpoint. In the search for a solution to their problem, maybe they need to focus their attention and approach elsewhere.

                    3. I dunno, GA, doing a little reading about this, consistent polls among  a large group of conservative leaning voters say that they lost the previous 2 presidential contests because their candidates were not conservative enough. The Republican party is the predominant representative of conservative ideas and principals in our political sphere. So, wherever the party is taking its right-leaning approach, its going to make more than a mild suggestion to moderate conservatives to get on board or be left at the station to face Democrats. I am afraid that the centrists are what "the silent majority' once was. I think that extremism in defense of liberty, vice or no is going to overtake us. I have not really seen a 'radical left' since the sixties and early seventies, so what are we left with? When has government ever been more contentious and divided in modern times?

                    Did not mean to hijack this thread but while I am open to other ideas and perspectives, I am still pretty much black and blue.....

      2. rhamson profile image71
        rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        It was just a matter of time when this would happen. The intrusion by the government only exasperates the situation by allowing the legal withdrawal of monies promised to the individuals who earned them. With the great job plunder that has happened for the last twenty years there is little that could have been done to avert this. These truckers and such were on board a train to failure from the beginning and now the government has kicked them off. This really is a private matter and the government should butt out. But why did they get involved? Who is to prosper from this? And why do you think the unions are going along with it albeit...reluctantly?

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          What monies?  Where are the $$ being "withdrawn"?  Who is "withdrawing" the money that doesn't exist? 

          Yes, it was a train wreck about to happen from the start.  No one will prosper from the unions failure to maintain good fiduciary control.  Unions are going along with it because it will bankrupt them if they don't.

          1. rhamson profile image71
            rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Why are you such a tool for explanation? The "monies" I refer to are the reduction in pension benefits reduced now by legal means. A breach of contract where "monies" will be reduced. The "monies" that will not be paid due to government intervention. A reneging on the labor contract where "monies" will not be delivered as promised. THOSE MONIES! Why always so contrary?

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Have you forgotten, or conveniently ignored, that if the step isn't taken that the union coffers will be empty shortly?  THEN where will the money come from?

              1. rhamson profile image71
                rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                Oh I got your point all right, but you conveniently ignored mine. You chose your opinion and ignored the conversation. How about what was promised to the people who now will have to go back to work to make up the difference of what was promised them? I know what your answer is so I will cut to the short of it. Too bad and not even a AWW on the end of it. Those filthy money grubbing unions are the reason. Forget that the corporations bribe the politicians to pass friendly foreign labor pool legislation while cutting the legs out from under the middle class worker. Always the people who want what is promised them are the bad guys with you.

       predictable.....and with no answers.

                1. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  Yes, so predictable.  Unfortunately, that corporations bribed politicians (proof, please, of the bribes) to pass foreign labor pool (example, please) while cutting the legs out from under the middle class worker (example, please) is a completely unwarranted attack that has nothing to do with unions either mishandling pension funds OR setting pensions so high as to inevitably fail.

                  But beyond that...who do you propose to pay the "people who want what is promised them"?  Did you forget to think about that one?  Will you now charge the employers that are and have been paying inflated wages anyway?  Will you charge me, who had nothing to do with anything?  Will you tax the politicians you claim were bribed to produce this result?  Who will you take money from to pay workers what was agreed upon by the unions?

                  1. rhamson profile image71
                    rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    Whatever. I knew you were a waste of my time. Remind me to ignore you if I mistakenly respond to you again.

            2. GA Anderson profile image89
              GA Andersonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              It appears you, like the OP, want the government to butt out. Leave the pension rules as they are. Meaning the fund being discussed will go bankrupt in 10-15 years, leaving its pensioners with $0 instead of reduced dollars.

              You are right. It is a private matter, a union matter. Leave the pension rules alone and let those pensioners lose it all instead of just a little bit. Forget changing the rules to allow for a reduction instead of a complete loss. After all, a contract is a contract, right?

              Is that what you propose?


              1. rhamson profile image71
                rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                Not at all! There is no answer to the situation other than requiring the people in charge of the pension program to live up to their obligations. What will have to happen is require new members to receive less of an entitlement than those of the retired ones. What is frustrating is that government is so willing to bail out their buddies (banking and car compsnies) but won't help those who are affected by their failed tariff and trade policies. Maybe the pensions need to fail in order for people to wake up to the crap that their congress has been pulling for years. But as long as we bury our heads in the sand and allow the country to be sold out to foreign labor markets this kind of thing will eat away at the fabric of our country. It is already to late as these people who are going to get reduced pensions are more victims of the race to the bottom that the corporations have been orchestrating for years.

                1. GA Anderson profile image89
                  GA Andersonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  That was quite an anti-government statement, but it is not pertinent to the thread's OP.

                  The fund in question was a truck drivers, (and other transportation), union fund. I don't think those jobs can be shipped overseas. Or are drastically affected by tariffs and trade agreements.

                  The problem is declining union membership. I think the article said that at the start of the fund there were 45 contributors for every pensioner, and now there is one contributor for every 4 or 5 pensioners. (or something like that)

                  The next question might be why the drastic decline in trucker's unions? Of course you might point a finger at "Right to work" state laws, but if you do it appears to advocate forced union membership and forced use of union labor. Is that the way you think things should be?

                  Another thought might be that union membership is declining because modernization and alternative choices have reduced the need for the number of union drivers. Or maybe union labor requirement rules have reduced the viability of union staffed trucking companies to compete with non-union companies. Or maybe union membership has declined because truck drivers just don't want to join. Or there are more job openings in non-union companies.

                  Or this, or that, but whatever the reason, the problem doesn't, (in this case), seem to be a direct result of the government actions you criticized.

                  ps. Requiring pre-prensioners to accept a different payout plan does not seem like a choice that would save the plan. It is drowning now, not just forecast to drown as more retirees join the payout line.

                  I think we are back to the starting point. It is a union problem that the Congressional plan is trying to help, whereas your criticism of that effort leaves only the option of the funds total failure. $0 for the pensioners.


                  1. rhamson profile image71
                    rhamsonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    I can't connect the dots for you if you haven't the vision to see. If the problem were one thing then we could fix it. And that is where you wish to continue this conversation. Bad unions and bad government is part of the problem but until there can be a systemic look at all the things that contributed to this band aid on failed policy, both private and governmental, we with be fixated on a finite problem with no solution.

    2. GA Anderson profile image89
      GA Andersonposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Did you read your own link Stacie L?

      Did you read the part that it was Union Pension Plans that were involved? Not SS or other Federally supported pensions/programs?

      Did you read that the primary fund driving this action, the Central States Union Pension Plan, was so mobbed-up in the 1970s & 80s, (per your linked article), that the Feds had to step in and monitor its operations? Did you read the part about the fund being forced to use professional managers since that same period - and even they couldn't save a fund that was constructed so poorly, and paid the highest pension amounts of any union plan. (again, per your linked article),

      What I read was that it was union plans that were union promises and responsibilities that are affected. I read that if nothing were done the fund(s) being discussed would collapse - leaving pensioners with $0, not just reduced amounts.

      It appears that you think the involved Congressional plan for pension rule changes is wrong and should not be allowed to happen - leaving the affected plan(s) with no choice except bankruptcy. And maybe you are right. It is a Union problem affecting union pensioners - so maybe the Feds should just butt out and let the Unions handle it. If the article is correct, and the Unions can't fix it, and the plan will go bankrupt in 10-15 years, would you feel that too would be an attack on Unions and union retirees?

      How is trying to avert sure collapse an attack on unions? Surely you are not advocating that the rest of non-Union Americans should shoulder the responsibility of funding bad union pension plans.


  2. ecogranny profile image83
    ecogrannyposted 8 years ago

    This is just the beginning. The newly elected "Screw The People Congress" plans to decimate Social Security, Medicare and eliminate Obamacare. Oh and this new budget? It also just cut $100 million from the U.S. Military Commissary budget, which helps to feed our troops and their families.


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