Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The CRomnibus fiasco, or how the many end up giving to the few

The hideous CRomnibus bill is now awaiting President Obama's signature over the Teamsters' strident opposition. 

The CRomnibus bill would allow already-earned pension benefits to be cut, extend the hours a truck driver may work to 82 a week, lets Wall Street gamble with taxpayer-insured funds and lets rich people spend more money on political campaigns.

If you want to tell President Obama to veto the CRomnibus, you can email him at www.whitehouse.gov/contact.  (The White House comments line has been shut down.)

David Cay Johnston points out how the CRomnibus is yet another example of Congress taking from the many and giving to the few. Unlike most journalists, Johnston focuses on the possible pension cuts rather than the Wall Street giveaway. Writes Johnston in National Memo.
In what could have been a scene in the Hunger Games movies, the big banks and our elected leaders joined together to steal from blue-collar workers. 
For the first time in 40 years, since the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was adopted in 1974 to ensure workers would collect pay they deferred into pension plans for their old age, Congress decided that benefits already earned can be taken away.
Johnston calls out the elitism of the mainstream media in ignoring the pension debacle:
This historic shift got one sentence in The New York Times: “It allows certain multi-employer pension plans to shore up their finances by cutting retirees’ benefits.”...
That this provision got almost no news coverage shows just how much our leading news organizations cater to economic elites favored by advertisers, and how the current generation of reporters at the best news organizations comes heavily from the upper economic tiers of American society. 
Reporters and editors whose parents were coal miners, truck drivers and clerks have given way to those with degrees from elite schools, some with trust funds that insulate them from the realities of American life for the vast majority. With that shift comes a predicable change in perspective, from “there is plenty that needs fixing” to “the world generally seems quite just.” 
In the late 1990s I suggested a story about how a family gets by on two grand a month. A prosperous colleague at The Times said, “No one in New York City lives on $25,000.” When I offered to take my colleague to the subway stop at 74th St. and Roosevelt Ave. in Queens, saying we could easily find such people on the streets, the reply shifted to this: “Oh, those people. Nobody cares about those people.” 
 Please remember to send that email and ask President Obama to veto the CRomnibus.