As the Obama economy continues to tank and unions become more desperate, socialism seems more attractive
Well, sorta. Union leadership apparently isn’t as comfortable with the Sanders brand of socialism as it is with the Clinton brand. Richard Trumpka, President of the AFL-CIO, sent out a memo this week:
His message wasn’t anything new for the federation’s state leaders: They know that endorsement decisions belong to the national leadership. Still, it was unusual for Trumka to call them out in a memo. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one before like this,” said Jeff Johnson, the president of the AFL-CIO’s Washington state labor council.
Johnson agreed that it was important for the AFL-CIO to speak with a single voice. But “there’s a lot of anxiety out there in the labor movement,” he said, “and we’re desperately searching for a candidate that actually speaks to working-class values. The Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders camp is very, very attractive to many of our members and to many of us as leaders, because they’re talking about the things that need to happen in this country.”
Things like making sure unions regain their pre-eminent and privileged spot they used to hold. Oh, and free stuff! And then there’s the pension mess … something a Sanders or Warren would likely be willing to help bail out so what’s going on in Chicago won’t go on later on a larger scale in more unions:
About 1,400 Chicago public school teachers and staff are expected to lose their jobs in order to finance a pension debt of $634 million, the city announced Wednesday.
The layoffs are part of an aggressive $200 million budget cut to help finance the pension payment, which is required of Chicago Public Schools by Illinois law. The rest of the pension payment is coming from heavy borrowing, as the district already has a massive $1.1 billion budget deficit.
Rahm Emanuel is pretty sure this is everyone else’s fault for not pitching in more. Most people, other than union members and lefty politicians, know better:
Thousands of retired Illinois teachers receive a six-figure pension, and the typical teacher received more in pension payments than they personally paid in within 20 months of retirement. Most teachers retire at age 59 or younger, and the lifetime pension cost per teacher in the state is estimated to exceed $2 million. Not helping things for the state is an annual 3 percent cost of living adjustment that is fully guaranteed and totally untethered from actual inflation rates.
Or, as usual, an over-promised, underfunded benefit which the union and politicians now want to shift onto everyone else. You see, they promised it, your job is to shut up and pay up. The left only ever has one answer to this – higher taxes, fees, whatever, to fund their promises. The fact that you weren’t consulted, nor did they at all care what you might think, when this nonsense was “negotiated” never weighs into the equation.
But they’re for the middle class – or so they claim.
It is going to be fun to watch the left this year as they try to reconcile the mess this country is in with what they demand. As usual, the blame game will be in full effect as the left tries to point to everyone else as the fault even as it becomes more and more obvious, even to low information voters, that the blue model of just about everything is a failure.
But … racism! Confederate flag! Christian bakeries!
Despite denials, it appears the Obama administration had a hand in cutting the pensions of non-union GM workers. Another “unexpected” event from the transparent administration:
New emails obtained by The Daily Caller contradict claims by the Obama administration that the Treasury Department would avoid “intervening in the day-to-day management” of General Motors post-auto bailout.
These messages reveal that Treasury officials were involved in decision-making that led to more than 20,000 non-union workers losing their pensions.
Remember, this is the same administration that perverted the bankruptcy system to favor unions and essentially screw investors. This is more evidence of the administrations concerted effort to save their prime constituency by treating non-union workers differently and using their benefits as a means of cutting costs while mostly preserving union benefits.
This came to light in Congressional hearings yesterday:
At a Wednesday hearing, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending started pushing the Treasury Department for answers on the effects of the bailout and on how much of a role the department played in picking winners and losers.
The key point of the Wednesday hearing was to show that the Obama administration advised GM on how to eliminate the Delphi workers’ pensions. The evidence suggests Geithner’s team played a significant role in that process, despite claims to the contrary.
This despite administration testimony previously claimed no involvement:
In 2009 congressional testimony, senior Obama administration official Ron Bloom said the president told the Treasury Department to stay out of the management of these companies and downplayed any administration intervention.
“From the beginning of this process, the President gave the Auto Task Force two clear directions regarding its approach to the auto restructurings,” Bloom said then. “The first was to behave in a commercial manner by ensuring that all stakeholders were treated fairly and received neither more nor less than they would have simply because the government was involved. The second was to refrain from intervening in the day-to-day management of these companies.”
But the emails TheDC obtained show high-ranking Treasury Department officials, including Matthew Feldman of Treasury’s Auto Task Force, corresponding with senior GM officials on how to make certain decisions regarding who was going to win and who was going to lose.
You can’t put it any clearer than the Daily Caller does – this is government picking winners and losers. Not only that, it is clear that the administration has favorites and no qualms whatsoever about throwing unfavored constituencies under the bus to ensure their constituency benefits.
Is that the purpose of government?
If you loved TARP, were enamored with the government bailout of banks and financial institutions and orgasmic at the government takeover of GM and Chrysler, you’ll love this as well:
Legislation introduced last week could shift costs of union pension plans to taxpayers in an attempt to stave off organized labor’s pension funding crisis.
Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat, introduced the Create Jobs & Save Benefits Act of 2010 to address the funding problems faced by union-administered multi-employer pension plans.
Multi-employer pension plans have to cover the benefits of members, even if their companies are defunct. Currently the costs are shared among the companies that remain in the pool, but Casey’s bill proposes offloading them to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), a federal corporation, which backs the pensions of 44 million workers, more than 75 percent of which are nonunion.
“Multi-employer plans face unique challenges that are overburdening pension plans and the bottom lines of companies,” Casey said. “My legislation would help correct these problems to protect the pensions of workers and unburden companies stuck paying a crippling expense that threatens its existence and the jobs of its employees.”
Casey said his bill would cost the federal government taxpayer [there, fixed it for him – ed.] $8 to 10 billion.