GOP Talking About Sex While Big Money Screws Pensioners

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
You wait. When this whole presidential election gets rolling in earnest, pensions are going to be a whole lot sexier issue than condoms. People just haven't figured it out yet.

Josh Gotbaum, director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., is quoted in a Q&A in The Dallas Morning News today saying the decision by American Airlines not to trash all its pension plans is a good thing because it's "a sign that American and the constituencies in this bankruptcy can reach agreements."

Um... sure. And the nice thing about stick-ups is that the two parties can agree on the handing over of the wallet and the watch.

gotbaum.jpg
PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum.
But don't blame Gotbaum. The most important thing in a Q&A is the Q, not the A. The PBGC is a federally created, privately funded agency charged with back-filling private pension plans that get dumped by the employers who were supposed to guarantee them. For a much better take on how Gotbaum feels about the pension issue, see his March 9 Newsday column.

He cites a 2011 Gallup poll that found more Americans were worried about retirement income than about any other financial issue, including healthcare.

With good reason. What does the scenario at American really tell us? What's the real news here? It's not news to us that big airlines are struggling. We knew that. It's not that companies in bankruptcy have to make tough choices. Please. We're not idiots. That's why they call it bankruptcy.

There were two big news pegs. The first news in the American story was that their very first impulse was to shaft their own employees by dumping their pension plans, even before they named a single other major creditor they were thinking about stiffing.

Second big news? They said they didn't have to do it after all. Sorry, Gramps, we were just hanging you out the fifth floor window of the nursing home as a bargaining position. And now, sir, we believe you should change your trousers.

Now all they're going to do is "freeze" the plans. I assume in days ahead we'll learn more about what that means. Maybe it's just Gramps goes out the third floor. We shall see.

The important thing is the first impulse. The very first strategy that comes to mind is to screw the little people. Why? Because they're just so damned little.

For all the calumny heaped on unions by people like Governor Rick Perry and the Koch Brothers, there are no unions that can match the sheer heft of Big Money. Unions hire lawyers. Big Money hires lobbyists. Unions might go to court to work the laws in their own favor. But Big Money doesn't go to court until after it already owns the laws.

When American threatened to use bankruptcy to screw its own employees, the American Airlines unions fought back fast and hard. Maybe it's a good sign that their resistance was a credible counter-threat. American must have spied some kind of political/commercial impact out on the horizon that the company did not want to chance.

But how many regular American citizens get what American Airlines employees now understand -- that the basic thrust of Republican Big Money politics is to shaft the working and middle classes that built this country?

It's Bain Capital, man. It's the whole How-dare-you? Wall Street and banking industry response to regulation. It's Mitt Romney saying he doesn't give a shit about the 500,000 jobs that would have been lost and multiple state economies that would have been tanked had Obama not bailed out the auto industry. Our own bankrupt airline company here in Dallas/Fort Worth may be the standard-bearer for Screw-America-First at the moment but it's by no means the author.

Sure, right now during the Republican primary, the Great Misdirection still works: People can be still be conned into thinking about condoms instead of their own survival. But wait until this stuff starts getting out there for real and full force, out beyond the Big Money filter. Big Money wants to keep everybody thinking about how everybody else has sex. And you can do that for a while, or we wouldn't have Hollywood.

But nobody thinks about sex when he finds himself dangling by the heels out the fifth floor window. I defy you to think sex when you're ... oh, wait a minute. Maybe I don't defy you, human nature being the marvelously complex thing it is.

No, I'm just saying wait for this thing to get going in earnest. Wait until America finds out it's not just American Airline's idea but the real Republican mantra. Screw America First. Don't Use a Condom.

My Voice Nation Help
30 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Dalguy
Dalguy

Just for the record, far and away, the biggest problem for countless businesses, towns and cities is that their pension commitments are clearly not sustainable.  It was a giveaway in boom times and now it is time to pay the piper.  If pensions are not addressed, the walls will come tumbling down.

Alfredo
Alfredo

Selective memory, the auto bailout started under JS's great satan Bush 43.  The only thing I can determine from JS's rants about AA is that he doesn't believe they are really bankrupt and the bankruptcy filing is nothing more than a move to break the unions.

JimS
JimS

Bankruptcy is not a free pass for molestation.

Jay
Jay

First, your exulted Democrats had a wide majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate during the President's first year in office and they did nothing to roll back the draconian bankruptcy reforms the Republicans passed under GW Bush. The fact that Joe Biden was/is one of the largest recipients of Bank of America campaign contributions (and a job for his kid) probably explains why the WHite House declined to follow through with their campaign pledge to repeal the Republican reforms.

Secondly, equating a financial promise broken by your a employer to its employees seems to me to be a matter for civil courts. Molestation is a criminal matter, as the Catholic Church and Penn State have learned. Your comment deserves the same condemnation you and other liberals would heap on some conservative uttering the infamous "if rape is inevitable, just lay back and enjoy it" line.

American Airlines is availing themselves of the laws of the United States through their bankruptcy, and I have no problem with how they go about reorganizing. Their unionized employees certainly never displayed any loyalty to their employer when they constantly strike, picket, sick-out and protest to force above market pay and working conditions (which is also their right) which, among AA management blunders, lead this airline to CH-11.

Weezwas2001
Weezwas2001

 Always remember, promises to financial brokers who F'ed the economy in the first place are promises which should never be broken. Pensions, on the other hand, are merely unsustainable commitments that can be flushed down the memory hole as needed - inless it's mine, of course.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

The purpose of Bankruptcy is to allow a company to reorganize.  Part of that is a mulligan on certain previous unsustainable decisions.  

It's not optimal, but it is better than the company just going away.

Anon
Anon

but thinking that there is only one way to do it is sort of American arrogance. in certain other countries, employees are considered ahead of other creditor classes because they are assumed to have little fault in the bankruptcy (because management is paid better in the thinking that they actually know how to manage) and that there is no reason for them to be subordinated to other creditors. 

Clancey
Clancey

" Everybody had a job when we were slaves"J.W. Price

Albert
Albert

"Got to hell, you're all republicans"

JWP

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

I don't know about everybody else, but I learn something new every time I read one of Jim's rants.

This time, I learned that all rich people are Republicans.

I am glad to welcome George Soros and Warren Buffett to the Republican party.

Jay
Jay

Got it.Republican.....BAD Democrat.......GOOD

Personally, I think they're all corrupt. Politicians seek and hold public office merely for the purpose of enriching themselves, their families and their benefactors, whether corporate, union, lobbyist or contributors. Jim pillories Republicans and insists Democrats have saved the country from these raging capitalists. Jim must also believe its possible to pick up a trud by the clean end.

Wes Scott
Wes Scott

Uh, excuse me for butting in on your rant about Jim's rant, but for the sake of clarity could you please elaborate on exactly what IS a trud?

Weezwas2001
Weezwas2001

 ALWAYS pick up a TRUD by the clean end. That goes without saying.

Phelps
Phelps

Yeah, it's the GOP that is pushing this, which is why Obama is making mass mailings about contraception and the GOP candidates are asking, "can we talk about jobs now?"

The only difference between the two parties is which side of the cervix they want to regulate.

Mike
Mike

This story has nothing to do with Republicans. It is about protecting what is most likely other pension funds that bought the debt that now AA cannot meet its payments. The employees, in the creditors' eyes and court's eyes are not a high level creditors. They are really an expense. Less money to employees means more money goes to the senior creditors, the proxies for our pension funds and mutual funds.

As is now become common in your poorly documented rants, you evidently still believe in some wonderland where only billionaires's and Arab emirs' money is at risk. The real story is that everybody else's pensions are tied up in extracting the best deal at AA. Those bricklayers, clerical workers, and plumbers are not shedding any tears over highly paid pilots complaining about their pensions.

It is a zero sum game. Every dollar the employees keep is less money that goes back to the pension funds of non-employees, pensions that have their own funding issues. It is a tough world. They should have done a better job with their company.

JimS
JimS

Mike, there's a big difference between a zero-sum game and a hairball, which is what you have delivered here.

Marks Powers
Marks Powers

Just wait a few years.  All pension plans will be required to invest 25%-50% of their assets into very low yielding US Treasury Bonds while US inflation rate is over 5%.  It will be the US plan to balance the budget and screw the rich, i.e. anyone with a pension or 401-K plan is rich, which you will likely love...

Albert
Albert

I wish the Republicans would stop all this stuff, whatever it is, and give us our money back.

jfpo
jfpo

I would like the money that was stolen from my 401k back. Yes, my money was stolen.

Anon
Anon

Freezing a pension plan typically just means that people stop accruing benefits and it is closed to new employees. Benefits accrued are preserved as is. As for who benefits or loses disproportionately, there is disagreement and it depends on your perspective on the situation. The people very close to retirement but not yet retired do seem to get a raw deal though.But really, even for you, this entire article seems like a leap. If you want to cry about Republicans, go for it. Do you feel the need to connect it to Dallas in some way by mentioning AMR? Does every post in Unfair Park require a Dallas connection? As for regulation, companies like it, as long as it insulates them from competition, rather than adding a cost to their business. Republicans and Democrats both like the regulation as insulation because it keeps campaign donations flowing. And whether you like it or not, there are a lot of people for whom morality is THE decisive campaign issue. My friend's grandparents in East Texas have said they will vote against any candidate who supports gay marriage as long as it doesn't compromise their stance on gun rights (luckily, the two move in lockstep for the most part). Is that wrong? I would say it's foolish, but it's not my vote to cast.

JimS
JimS

All good points. But business only likes regulation it can own and control, which, interestingly, used to be called corruption.

Anon
Anon

It's only called corruption if you are a public school teacher.

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

Got it. Vote Democrat, because Big Money is Republican. Poor Mr. Obama will be lucky to raise a nickel for his presidential campaign from his poor Union members, pensioners, and Occupy constituents. Tell me this story again after President Obama destroys his Republican opponent in the next election. Without Big Money, nobody gets to be president, so drop the righteous indignation, Mr. Schutze. Your man is just as bought as theirs is. He's just bought by different money.

Weezwas2001
Weezwas2001

 Yeah, because, "there' no difference between the Ds and the Rs", yada, yada, yada. Nice try R-holes, but there really IS a difference. Subtle perhaps, but still enough to notice, and vote for, for the non-koolaid drinkers in the audience.

Bo Peep
Bo Peep

Its also my little money that elects to fly AMR' s competitors that have managed to reduce labor costs thru bankruptcy restructuring and also reduce AMR's fares in order to compete. Don't forget little old me, there JimS, when I head to Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, etc. as part of your 'Screw-America-First' rant.

JimS
JimS

Sure. And we could all have cars for free if the autoworketrs were slaves.

Bo Peep
Bo Peep

And we could get our yards done cheaper if we give all illegals amnesty like our favorite Dems want to do. No illegals working for airlines? Some jobs protected from competition but not others? Draw me a line there JimS so I can figure all this head tired out.

Slave labor? What, JWP turned away Delta and United because they were gonna bring slave labor to town?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Of course Willard and his Bain Boys wanted to let the car cos fail. Then they could have swooped in and bought everything for pennies and had themselves a huge business, sans those bothersome unions, with which to make even more billions.Those guys have no morals, which is why the whole put an aspirin twixt your knees or else we're gonna film you and sells the dvds act is even more repulsive.They care about one thing only, money. So long as its all for them.

Anon
Anon

No, they would have just let them go away. Chrysler had already proven that this wasn't the right market for private equity.

Ed D.
Ed D.

 Plus the insane hourly "consulting fees" they would charge to strip the carcass clean before any pesky creditors could get the money owed to them. American Airlines is pouring untold amounts of money down the consulting hole right now.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...