Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Union Pensions, Democrats, & The Tree Of Liberty

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787

When Obama pushed through the stimulus, taking a vast portion of America's wealth and using the bulk of it to keep public sector union workers in their jobs, I was very upset.

When I saw Teachers Unions attempting to soak we the tax payers for all we were worth while the same unions were in large measure responsible for a public education system that was becoming ever more substandard, I was deeply troubled.

When I saw Obama, at the urging of the NEA, cancel a thriving voucher program of proven and substantial benefit to the inner city poor of Washington, D.C., I was appalled.

When I saw a teachers' union press forward an agenda to sexualize our children and normalize homosexuality in elementary school, I was horrified.

When I saw teacher's unions refuse to negotiate to reduce wages and benefits in our dismal economy because they were expecting a bailout from Obama, and then when I saw that Obama and Congress in fact pass that bailout, I was spitting blood.

When I saw our Democrats fund this bailout of the teachers' unions by raiding the Food Stamp Program at a time when a record number of Americans, over 40 million, are depending on food stamps to keep them from starvation, I was disgusted.

When I saw a union refuse to allow simple life saving measures to be used by teachers to protect an ill child, but instead demanded that more union members be hired to do the job, I was speechless.

When I saw Unions press forward on Card Check to take away the right to a secret ballot and open up the unionization process to intimidation and thuggery, I was outraged.

And now, with unions pressing Congress to pass a bill that would have all taxpayors assume the liability for their mishandled pension plans, I am furious beyond measure.

You can find the full story on this bill, S. 1357, The Create Jobs & Save Benefits Act of 2010, here. NCPA summarizes the issue:

Big Labor is going Code Red on the issue, in the face of a looming accounting change that would force companies to confront the Ponzi-style nature of multi-employer pension plans, says the Wall Street Journal.

Currently, there are some 1,500 union-run retirement vehicles which fall into this class, in which companies across an entire industry pay into a single pension pool. Hundreds of these multi-employer pools are badly underfunded, thanks to years of labor funneling money into new pay and benefits, rather than into the funds for retirees, says the Journal.

The big problem with these plans:

- When one company in the pool goes out of business, the other companies remain on the hook for the cost of the plan.

- These spiraling liabilities inspired Pennsylvania Senator and Big Labor favorite Bob Casey to introduce legislation to cordon off "orphaned" pensions -- those for which an employer has stopped contributing or withdrawn from the plan -- and drop them on the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

- The PBGC is already significantly underfunded and taxpayers are its ultimate backstop. Yet the Casey bailout could dump as much as $165 billion in new liabilities on the PBGC, while multi-employer plans would get a clean bill of health.

This cause has taken on new political urgency, and no less than Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin has endorsed the bill. The reason for the rush is new rules that may soon be issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Those proposed rules would expose the multi-employer time bomb, says the Journal.

Kevin Williamson, writing at NRO, further explains how this proposed legislation is a backdoor to nationalization of all of these mishandled, underfunded union pension plans. Moreover, see this excellent post on the issue from Yid With Lid.

Only seven percent of Americans work in private sector unions. These unions have been notrorious for corruption and mishandling of their dues and pension plans. Yet, were this legislation to pass, all Americans would become responsible for underwriting the irresponsible and corrupt acts of these unions. Why? The only saving grace of the unions, from a political standpoint, is that they rabidly support the Democrats. Passing S. 1357 would by outright theft. It would be taxation with distorted representation. No sane taxpayer not in a union or a Democratic official beholden to unions could possibly support this legislation.

The intersection between unions and Democrats has, in a world where the mainstream media is fully in the latter's pockets, distorted our government to the point that it is, seemingly, beyond the ability of our democracy to repair itself. The ultimate test of that will be if the legislation to backdoor taxpayor funding of union pensions passes. If it does, then we are indeed coming very close to the point when we need to heed the call of Thomas Jefferson and start watering the Tree of Liberty.

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