The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That's Made the U.S. Less Secure
The way major U.S. companies provide for retiring workers has been shifting for about three decades, with more dropping traditional pensions every year. The first full generation of workers to retire since this turn offers a sobering preview of a labor force more and more dependent on their own savings for retirement.
Democrats and coal-country Republicans say miners are uniquely deserving because of an agreement in 1946, when the government seized mines and ended a strike by agreeing to provide health and pension benefits. Legislative leaders have agreed to the provisions as part of a $1 trillion government funding bill, and rank-and-file members are expected to approve it later this week.
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to make a decades-long bet that pension-fund returns will exceed current interest rates for taxable municipal bonds. “The use of pension bonds impugns an issuer more than a downgrade, because it shows they’re willing to saddle future generations with risk in order to make current budget discussions easier,” says Matt Fabian, a partner at Concord, MA-based research firm Municipal Market Analytics.
Arnold’s spokespeople bristle at the suggestion that the billionaire is out to cut pensions, insisting that he only wants a realistic accounting of the under-funding problem. But the similarities between what Raimondo did in Rhode Island and what the Arnold Foundation advocates nationwide are striking.
Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters based in Washington, said, "Going forward, this is as much about politics and the priorities of public officials as it is about bankruptcy and the court." Schaitberger said that elected officials in the United States are expected to continue to "push for austerity no matter the cost to the lives of workers and public safety."
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All across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers. Not only did these middle-class workers already lose huge chunks of retirement money to huckster financiers in the crash, and not only are they now being asked to take the long-term hit for those years of greed and speculative excess, but in many cases they're also being forced to sit by and watch helplessly as Gordon Gekko wanna-be's are put in charge of their retirement savings.