Letters: Who’s looking out for us?
December 27, 2012 9:20PM
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:17AM
In 2012, corporations are being permitted to simply discard the legal rights of America’s retirees and simply ignore federal ERISA laws meant to protect our pensioners. This is creating a dangerous and potentially devastating trend.
This summer, GM disposed of $26 billion of its retirees’ pensions by purchasing insurance company annuities or offering others buyouts. Then in late October, Verizon announced it is forcing 41,000 of its management retirees into Prudential insurance annuities, with no choice or voice in the decision.
What this means is that these retirees will lose both federal ERISA pension law protections and the safety net that the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) provides. Corporate pensions are protected by the PBGC, but annuity policies are not, so if an annuity issuer goes bankrupt or suffers an asset shortfall, retirees are up a creek without a paddle.
Are we all forgetting the financial meltdown of 2008, when many too-big-to-fail insurers and financial firms sought out the Federal Government as their financial safety net? Who in Washington is looking out for America’s retirees?
Our nation’s leaders need to wake up and stop corporations from pulling these pension bait and switches on older Americans.
We must all cooperate
I agree with George Gaspar (Fiscal Republicans, Tea Party in disguise, Dec. 11) that Republicans and their tea party allies are primarily responsible for our large and growing national debt. The Democrats’ role has largely been that of cleaning up the mess.
It was the Republicans who lavished a trillion-dollar tax cut on the already rich. It was the Republicans who repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, which removed almost all restraints on our banking system. This freed hot-shot bank traders to turn Wall Street into a gambling den.
Taxpayers wound up bailing out the bankers and Wall Street to the tune of yet more trillions of dollars — and fighting two wars on credit, instead of raising taxes, was unforgivably stupid.
And to think that the same party that was largely responsible for this mess, has been demanding tax cuts, trying to dismantle social programs and maintaining a constant flow of criticism of President Obama, is disgusting.
As regards Gaspar’s belief that the tea party movement was based on racism, I cannot agree.
I believe that the tea party is the result of a few billionaires bankrolling a plan to prey on the fears of middle-class people, who see themselves losing their places in America’s socioeconomic lineup.
Tea party members simply fail to realize who their real enemy is. It isn’t the great mass of their fellow Americans. It is a small group of plutocrats and corporations struggling to gain political and economic control of our nation.
Tea party members need to understand that entitlement programs and a fair tax system is not a threat to them. A society can only work when all its citizens cooperate with each other.