Monday, March 25, 2013

Someone's trying to screw you out of your pension

Not if Wall St. gets its
If you're lucky enough to have a pension, someone, somewhere, is trying to take it away from you. And let's face it, most Americans can't possibly afford to retire on their savings alone. Three out of four Americans nearing retirement in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts.

Edward Siedle at Forbes believes we're on the precipice of the biggest retirement crisis in the history of the world. He writes:
Corporate America and the financial wizards behind the past three decades of so-called retirement innovations, most notably titans of the pension benefits consulting and mutual fund 401(k) industries, are down-playing just how bad things are already and how much worse they are going to get.
It was 30 years ago that pensions were replaced by 401k plans. Siedle says that grand experiment is a disaster, and most Americans know it.
It is now apparent that 401ks will not provide the retirement security promised to workers. As a former mutual fund legal counsel, when I recall some of the outrageous sales materials the industry came up with to peddle funds to workers, particularly in the 1980s, it’s almost laughable—if the results weren’t so tragic. 
ALEC, the escort service for state lawmakers and corporations, is behind attacks on state employee pensions. In Florida, the state House of Representatives approved a bill to close the Florida Retirement System's traditional pension to new employees. Instead, they'd get a 401k. John Kennedy in The Palm Beach Post reports the attacks started two years ago in New Orleans...
...where dozens of Florida lawmakers gathered for a conference hosted by a controversial advocacy group that helps corporations and conservative interest groups write bills for legislatures across the country. 
Jonathan Williams, a policy director for the American Legislative Exchange Council, told The Palm Beach Post that the organization’s three days of meetings in August 2011 helped affirm the need among many legislators to take a hard look at public employee benefits... 
Nationally, the greedy billionaires at Fix the Debt are lobbying hard for cuts to Social Security. (It's always nice when plutocrats lecture the rest of us on the need to live with less.) If they succeed, Siedle predicts four waves of trouble:

First, retirees come back to work. Even those with pensions find the cost of unsubsidized health insurance is greater than they anticipated.

Second, workers will delay full retirement. This won't do much to help the staggering jobs crisis faced by young people today.

Third, workers will realize they have to work until they drop.

And fourth, for the overwhelming majority of Americans:
At some point, lack of savings, lack of employment possibilities and failing health will catch up with (them). 
Read the whole thing here and prepare to get depressed.