A License To Steal

Amazing. A judge has allowed United Airlines to shift its pension fund obligation to the government. For those of you playing at home, this means you and I will pick up the $3.2 billion tab. That various administrations have been allowing companies to underfund and abandon their pension obligations for years is a complete disgrace. Whatever your thoughts on private pensions, the fact remains that they are legally binding contractual obligations that companies should be required to keep. Now that judges continually let these companies off of the hook you can expect more and more to go hat in hand to Congress and be let off of the hook.
And we get to pay for it. Great.

8 Responses to “A License To Steal”

  1. As soon as I saw this last night, I told Major Dad the UAW better be watchin’ dey ass, ’cause I’m sure GM’s watching this court.
    The ripple effect might well be ugly, especially if this starts cascading through the rest of the airlines and into industry. One of the flight attendent’s quoted said this takes her pension from almost two grand to $800 month. Hard to make that up being a greeter at the WalMart.

  2. John says:

    401(k) is the only way to go, except that Joisey wants to tax them, too. Honestly, as Boomers retire, the pension load is just going to get more onerous for employers with large payrolls.
    The new prescription drug benefit is another way to shift risk and responsibility from the private sector to the government. Every senior is covered, regardless of private insurance status. Why should insurers of retirees contine to fund an Rx drug benefit when the government will pick up the tab? Written into the bill is a provision for subsidizing private insurance for staying in the game. Why not means test?

  3. It also prompted a renewed warning from some members of Congress that taxpayers may someday have to bail out the deficit-riddled government pension agency, which now will assume an additional $5 billion in pension obligations from United.
    “Taxpayers had better buckle up because we will be in for a bumpy ride of bailout after bailout, as more and more corporations dump their pension plan obligations on the PBGC*,” said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., referring to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that already is operating at a more than $23 billion deficit.
    *emphasis mine
    Oh, you can bet they’re already working on it.

  4. Dave J says:

    Oh, fuck this shit. If United couldn’t continue to fund its pensions, the bankruptcy court should dissolve and liquidate the company. Now THAT would be a real lesson to anyone asking for a taxpayer handout.

  5. Nightfly says:

    Astonishing. Let the government handle the private pensions of poorly-run companies, because they’ve done SUCH a bang-up job staying on budget themselves… Just look at Social Security! A model program!
    I’m with you Dave – with the liquidated assets going to the pensioners as primary creditors. That handles the bailout. The government should spend our money on fraud prosecutions for those responsible for squandering monies that were not theirs. “And not just some resort, either – federal ‘pound-you-in-the-ass’ prison!”

  6. Touched a nerve, Fly? I mean, like, ouch imagery there.
    And Dave a potty mouth. Oh, the humanity!

  7. Nightfly says:

    A bit of a nerve, Ms. Sister. In effect these dishonest CEOs and CFOs are stealing money from their own employees once they’re too old to rebuild the nest (or lay replacement eggs). To paraphrase the earlier movie, “It’s like knocking down an old dude and taking his monthly check; except WE do it a hundred times a minute, from every old dude in the neighborhood.” So, yes, I would rather that those responsible become Guests of the State, than the victims become Wards of the State.

  8. Nightfly says:

    PS – between Office Space and King of the Hill, Mike Judge rocks.

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