5 responses to “Pension report: facts are right, big picture is wrong”

  1. tom_hoffman

    If we accept your premises that government cannot be held to promises and contracts are not binding, then what possible basis to we have for resolving any dispute?

  2. cailin rua

    This argument might seem persuasive if one looks at the situation myopically, pretend that what goes on in Rhode Island does not occur elsewhere and if you frame the issues involved in such a way that makes it seem  the fate of the pension fund is unrelated to other trends in the national economy.  Comparisons are continually made to how the so called private sector workforce has been treated.  Those in he “private sector” have had their pockets picked by cost cutting MBA’s for years in order to benefit the people who are able to buy into the stock market at the expense of everyone else. So, it is decided that this should be the ideal for everyone.  Now, even other countries who seemed to have little trouble providing for the social welfare of its citizens have been tempted by U S style neo-liberal policies that leave a very top heavy economy with not enough to provide for those in the middle or the bottom.  

    There are many who have been in politics for years and others who are policy makers who are responsible for this state of affairs.  This is not simply water under the bridge.  There are people with names who are responsible  for the shortfalls in funding the state’s obligation to the pension fund. This state of affairs goes way beyond unions and pensions.  The unions have been a good foil.  I don’t think this is going to last very long.  It is wrong to pretend that this boil which has burst like so many other boils across the country is watery puss under the bridge.  It isn’t.  There are people responsible for the state of affairs we are all in.  Using unions to distract away from the structural problems that exist across the board, throughout the country and many other places in the world may give the elite some comfort in their ability to turn those getting short shrifted in the “private sector” against those whose commitment as employees of the state offered them a reciprocal commitment but how long will that last once people realize the only benefit to reducing other peoples benefits is that they are brought down into the same hole as everyone else leaving no one able to lift them out of it? 

    What is the student loan debt doing to our economy?  Who gets a break from that obligation?  Who?  I have read that there is going to be a march in Detroit tomorrow in response to the austerity measures in place there.  The big problem is that all the wealth being sucked out of the bottom and the middle is migrating in a very top heavy way towards the top.  The pension crises across the country are only symptoms of much broader neo liberal policies.  

  3. Craig OConnor

    How much of the “shortfall” that led to the change were the result of the 2008 economic collapse? I recall hearing that I lost around $2 Billion in value of its pension fund in the crash. I imagine that loss has been recovered, but do we know how much more money would be in the system if the crash never happened?
     
    Since the crash is the result of clear malfeasance by the banks and titans of finance, not to mention the complicity of government in lax oversight and Clinton-era deregulation, I wonder if there is any way to reclaim some of the losses via suit against the banks? I doubt it, as it would probably have been tried, but it seems there should be a way.
     
    It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the immoral works of the financial sector are being paid for by working people who face pension cuts (public sector like RI but also across private industry), in addition to those who lost their houses their life savings, children whose parents may not now be able to afford their college tuition, or are stuck underwater with house worth less than what is owed on loans

  4. leftyrite

    The stock market just fell 560 points in two days.
    Is that at all relevant to this 401K retirement discussion?
    (Probably not.)

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