Republicans Claim Pensions Funds Are Robbing The Rich

In many countries on Earth, culture dictates the elderly deserve respect and care from younger generations out of reverence for their sacrifice throughout their lives. In most civilized countries, the government provides a pension out of an obligation that has as its basis, common decency and humanity to guarantee seniors are not homeless and starving. America owes a debt of gratitude to those people who, during their lifetimes, toiled and sacrificed to build a nation the entire population benefits from. Republicans do not agree and since the New Deal, have sought various ways to abolish Social Security that successfully prevents elderly Americans from living in destitution and poverty. To hear Republicans tell it, Social Security is welfare that deprives Wall Street from access to a worker’s life’s saving for their retirement income.

In many states, Republicans are making a concerted effort to demean public employee’s retirement systems by claiming they are the sole reason state budgets face shortfalls. The Republican solution is to gut retirement security millions of middle class workers pay into and take the stolen retirement savings and hand it over to Wall Street investors so they can squander the money in the next economic disaster. There is ample evidence the GOP seeks revisiting  rape of private sector employees and retirees’ pensions to include public employees until they finally, once and for all, end the notion of a secure retirement for all Americans.

When Wall Street investors and corporate banks collapsed the world economy in 2008-2009, most retirement savings were decimated. However, because public pension systems were fully-funded prior to investment bankers’ mismanagement and shady derivative scams, they remained solvent and in many cases earned higher returns in 2011. Without these pensions, millions of retired Americans who taught our children, fought fires, cared for the sick, and enforced the law would be left without the means to provide themselves with basic housing, food, and healthcare in their golden years. If corporate-backed pension opponents have their way, millions of Americans will be penniless so Wall Street can boost their profits. Republicans created a myth that public pension systems are failing and point to state governments’ demise because retired public employees receive on average $19,000 annually from their investment during their entire working lives.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the total shortfall for public pension funds is “less than 0.2% of projected state product during the next 30 years.” In states with the greatest shortfall, the gap is “less than 0.5% during the same period and because pensions are paid out over generations of workers, funding can remain steady over long periods.” Last week, two ultra-conservatives working for corporate-funded propaganda outlets, American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, argued that guaranteed retirement accounts must end and to force workers to forfeit their entire life savings for their retirement and hand over their pensions to Wall Street in another privatization scam most Americans know as 401(k)s.

The financial crash of 2008-2009 devoured tens-of-millions of Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts and during the past two weeks, this author conducted a non-scientific survey to determine the average amount private sector employees lost during Wall Street’s near-collapse. Twenty retired and near-retirement age individuals lost on average 63% of their retirement savings in the 2008-2009 crash. This author lost 79.8% of 38 years’ worth of retirement savings ending the possibility of retiring before age 92. Of the interviewees, only 2 out of 20 expressed confidence they will have an opportunity to retire and most plan on working until they die; or they will starve.

Republicans have made accusations that public employees refused to make concessions to accept reduced benefits or increased contributions, but that, like everything they say, is a blatant lie. Nearly every public employee group in the country has made concessions to enact reasonable pension reforms to ensure the retirement systems remain stable over the long haul. Private sector employees who were forced into the failed 401(k) system do not have the same outlook for stability of their retirement savings and after nearly three decades of data and experience, it is obvious the 401(k)s do not “meet the one true test of effectiveness; economic security in retirement.” Instead of correcting the failed systems, pension heretics and neo-conservatives intention is to destroy public pensions of Americans who still have a semblance of security in the retirement years.

The Republicans and their conservative think tanks are not content destroying retirement security for public employees, they all advocate a privatization scam to steal Americans’ Social Security retirement savings and give it to Wall Street in the form of more failed 401(k) scams. It is not an economic policy to help state and federal budget deficits, but a means of robbing the lifetime retirement savings of hard-working Americans to hand over to Wall Street to enrich investors and corporate banks and their CEOs. The benefit to workers who pay into Social Security and public retirement systems is non-existent and is an attempt to transfer more of Americans’ wealth to the top 1%; creating an elderly peasant class is recreation for Republicans.

Republicans have proffered the notion that American workers, the poor, and retired people are robbing wealth from the 1% that Republicans refer to as the “job creators.” The opposite is true and for the past ten years, Republicans attempted every scheme imaginable to steal the remaining wealth the 99% have and give it to the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans. Willard Romney claims that the 99% are conducting class warfare against the 1% out of envy, because as a member of the wealthy elite, he truly believes that all wealth in this country belongs to the rich; that includes Americans’ retirement savings.

Americans have learned over the past few years that Republicans hate every segment of the population that is not the top 1% of income earners. The past year has revealed the GOP as criminals who will not be content until they have stolen every last bit of wealth from 99% of the population to hand to their wealthy supporters. They have assaulted the poor, minorities, middle class, working poor, and now retired Americans regardless if their criminal malfeasance means a population of peasants barely subsisting in abject poverty.

In 2011, Republicans made a concerted propaganda campaign to demean public employees for the sole purpose of stealing their retirement savings the same way they want to steal Americans’ Social Security retirement savings. Their goal is two-fold; enrich Wall Street investors and eliminate retirement security for all Americans to drive them into poverty. There is no other explanation and it is why Republicans are thieves. In most parts of the world, stealing from the elderly is considered a despicable criminal activity and even in America, there are laws against robbery and elder abuse. Unfortunately, Americans are learning that Republicans have no regard for the law or common decency and if they can steal a life-savings to enrich Wall Street and the 1% as well as prevent a secure retirement for every American, then they will achieve their ultimate goal of undoing the New Deal that made America a decent country to live and grow old in.


27 Replies to “Republicans Claim Pensions Funds Are Robbing The Rich”

  1. Great gods, sometimes I hate waking up in the morning because I know there will be more madness to face.

  2. Reiterating: in the Midwest, fifty or sixty years back, “job” was a euphemism for “turd”. In this sense, the 1% are indeed “job creators”.

  3. It is not a figure of speech to say the Dissocialists “hate” the “little people”. Adorno, over 60 years ago, found hatred of “weakness” to be a flag of the authoritarian personality. Another factor was excessive concern with controlling the sexuality of non-dominant group members (racial and religious minorities, women, the poor). Though Dr. Altenmeyer has eliminated these as diagnostic factors of what he calls “right-wing authoritarianism”, I believe he was mistaken in doing so; these are very much recruiting factors in ensnaring the white lumpenproletariat into voting against their own interests.

    There is another reason for them to hate, fear, and punish the aging. This group includes the generation whose ideas were formed by Camelot, the Great Society, and the resistance to the Vietnam War. I have personally contradicted the indoctrination imposed on the young people of this day, “refudiating” everything from the idea that the ’60’s were nothing but a hotbed of degenerate nihilism to outright Holocaust denial. There are plenty more like me, and I suspect someone has decided we shouldn’t exist.

  4. WOW~this is so sad and so truthful – and Rey, thanks for your post above. I had not looked at it that way, but with the RePigs running the Klown Kar right now and their ages being what they are – it makes perfect sense. Revenge from the Sixties from the “uncool” kids.

  5. I’m sick of hearing that the pensions and Social Security funds that workers have contributed to all their lives are some kind of entitlement. Besides which–wasn’t Robin Hood considered a hero?

  6. degenerate nihilism… that one has been the stereotype of the period since the 80s, and I first heard it in 79. I think it might come from the way the news tried to portray people (trying to stir up anger in the “ordinary citizens”). They showed the naked people at Woodstock, but neglected the youth helping in soup kitchens and so on.

    According to a story told to me, my FIL paid into a pension fund for years… it was considered part of his pay and he paid taxes on it. When the company folded, the pension money vanished (and I think an early version of corporate raiding took place). Now he’s barely surviving, and his regular diet is simple sandwiches. (We took him out to eat yesterday, and he kept commenting about he wasn’t used to eating “something different”.)

    It’s the same with public employees… they get paid less because the pension is part of their package, and I’d bet that they pay at least some taxes on it. Now the Republicans want to eliminate it? The idiots supporting the Republican bastards don’t realize that they are advocating THEFT.

    The damned Republicans are always whining about “Government stealing money from people”, but that is exactly what they are doing!

  7. I am a recently retired California State employee. I have actually had people blame me for California’s financial calamity. In CA, we state employees rarely received a raise, we had to negotiate for better health care benefits.
    My monthly pension from CA is less than $1,200 a month. I had to move to Oregon (not that I really mind) after I retired because I couldn’t afford to live there.
    The Republican’s campaign to imply that ALL of the State of CA retiree’s receive MORE than their working salary for their monthly checks is of course, a lie.
    Reagan, when Governor of CA tried to raid the CALPERS retirement fund, as did Wilson and all other Republican Governors.
    Republicans, as usual, will keep telling the lie until it becomes the(ir) truth.

  8. Moongal,

    Teachers have taken big cuts in pay as insurance premiums grew last year by 23%. We now have less buying power than in our first year of teaching. We don’t think we will ever get to retire. I write for the local paper and hear daily how union workers (teachers, cops, firefighters, janitors) are the sole reason the state’s budget is short. The travesty is that corrections officers make way over six figures with high-school (or less) diplomas. Something is terribly wrong.

  9. Just when I think the Republican Party can’t descend any farther into the pit of insanity, they always manage to outdo themselves. The list of Americans that are and will be adversely affected if they regain the WH and the Senate, while keeping the House, keeps growing. Now, they want to kick the elderly to the curb in order to keep giving actual entitlements to folks who don’t need them. As one Republican saide in the 1980’s, they take from the truly needy to give to the truly greedy.

  10. See, we shouldn’t be jealous of rich people; we should be jealous of teachers’ pensions. There is your Republican class warfare in a nutty nutshell (nuttier’n’a pecan pistachio peanut-butter sammich).

  11. But Anne, in spite of all of this, i keep reading and hearing that the Mitten has a hither approval rating than Pres Obama among independents.

    With all of the damage the republicans have done, and plan to do, to the people of this country how is it possible that any one of them can have a high approval rating? Even some union members, who are under attack by republicans, plan to vote for Mitt.

    Who are these people?

    I truly don’t get it.

  12. Corrections officers, CHP and the like, DO make so much more than teachers. They also have enhanced retirement. It’s called Safety Retirement, as their lives are on the line everyday. But, indeed something is terribly wrong.
    I was a reading teacher in CA schools for years. I retired from the State of CA as a ICD-9 Medical coder at the largest Veteran’s Home in the U.S.
    It is shameful the little amount that educators earn, not to mention the lack of respect for all your contributions to make us a better society. Educators will always have my utmost respect for all they do.

  13. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for the 1%. I guess I’m lucky; we “only” took a 40% hit during the dot-com bust, gained a little, and lost it again in 2008. So since the dot com bust, our retirement savings have made zero net gain. We each have a small pension and social security so we’re ok. The group I really worry about is my daughter’s cohort. They have already lost pensions to the 401K scam. You can’t possibly save enough with the returns less than 1% a year. Salaries are lower, or non-existent so you can’t save anything extra. They simply have to have social security and all of us have to insist on it. The system isn’t broke unless the Congress keeps stealing from it. The shortfall could be managed by raising the maximum contribution. They keep telling us that current recipients are ok because they know we won’t stand for it. Well, we’ve all got to make it clear that We, The People, won’t stand for the destruction of Social Security just so the 1% can offshore a few more million bucks.

  14. I retired from the US Forest Service. Reagan changed the retirement system to FERS the year before I started work for the FS, breaking up the Civil Service retirement into three parts – pension, social security & thrift savings plan. I had already earned my SS so that portion bought me nothing & with the crash, I lost +40% of my savings. I’ve gone from being moderately comfortable, to barely making it. My Mom retired under the Civil Service plan & had earned her SS too so made more in her retirement than I do, even though her pay grade was 7-grades lower than mine.

  15. Could it be because they’re racist and hate having a minority person as the leader of the country?

  16. The folks who still rate Willard higher than the president are absolutely pathetic. There is no other word for folks whose hatred for this president causes them to ignore the stark reality of GOP nihilism that is staring all of us pointblank in our faces. There is also the fact that some of these very same people think their way of life is threatened by those of us they consider “others” (racial & religious minorities, the poor, the unemployed, and even women) when the threat is coming from the GOP just like you’ve stated. And of all the people who still think the GOP cares about them, union members are among the very LAST people who should be voting for Willard or any other Republican. They have all been quite clear about the fact that their policies are for the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.

  17. Rs and their followers refuse, no matter how often it is explained to them, to understand the concept of “total compensation” being both wages and benefits. The Rs have convinced them that pensions and health benefits are not part of the compensation packages and that they are “free” and not paid by workers. Nor do they believe that union worker’s total compensations are typically less than in the private sector. Once again, the Rs and 1% have successfully redirected the anger of their failed 401ks towards pensions that work as they should.

  18. Here in Wisconsin the public pensions are fully funded and healthy. What I would like somebody to explain is how can the public pensions be so well managed but individual 401ks be so poorly managed? Isnt there somewhere people can put their retirement funds that is more stable? I do understand that 401ks can be inherited while pensions are only good for the person and spouse so unlikely everyone would want that.

  19. DH is a teacher with public pension. We bought one rental property and inherited a house. This is where my money goes as I had no other pension being a teacher in a private system (18 years then dumped last year-no union). Ours and the rental mortgage will be paid off in time for retirement so there will be a pretty steady income. We are careful to upgrade the rentals so we can attract good renters and rents.

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