The Koch Wall Street Crusade To Rob Pensions Is Underway

Koch Pension theft
If anyone in America was unsure what unmitigated greed entails, or to what extent the Koch brothers and Wall Street will go to enrich themselves at the expense of others, two events this week should clarify how they have transcended the normal definition of greed. This abnormal greed goes far beyond a dangerous lust to possess wealth; it derives from a philosophical bent that no-one in America except the wealthy elite should have anything. Now that the Kochs and Wall Street have successfully acquired many state legislatures and the United States Congress, the national campaign they launched last year to impoverish the entire population is nearing fruition as they are a step closer to eliminating public and private sector pensions to enrich the wealthy.

First, despite sending his state into an economic tailspin after squandering a budget surplus and cutting services to provide unimaginable tax cuts for the rich, Kansas governor Sam Brownback is robbing employee pensions to cover the state’s devastating budget shortfalls. Brownback defended his decision to cut employee’s pensions to help fill ongoing budget shortfalls since he gave the wealthy unfunded tax cuts; like the tax cuts, Brownback is being heavily criticized by leaders in his own party. He said “It’s kind of, uh, well where are you going to go for the funds? It’s kind of what’s your other option?”

The other option would be rescinding the outrageous tax cuts for the rich, but that is something the Koch brothers will not allow when retirees’ pensions are available to rob. Brownback would take more from education, but the Kansas Supreme Court already forced him to stop stealing from schools to fund the tax cuts for the rich. There is no provision to stop Brownback from stealing from retirees to fund the one-percent’s tax cuts that has been a well-planned scheme courtesy of the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Wall Street, and the State Policy Network (SPN).

Last year this column reported that The State Policy Network (SPN), a Koch-funded sister organization of ALEC, boasts itself as a group of “free-market think tanks” that would initially target six different states to eliminate public sector pensions; Kansas was one of those states.  The group’s primary objective was to achieve its stated goals founded on the Kochs’  “commitment to free enterprise including reforming (robbing) public employee pensions.” It is what Brownback is doing in Kansas and now that the Kochs control Congress, Republicans are implementing “pension reform” earlier than expected with a “rider” in the so-called “CRomnibus” appropriations bill.

The CRomnibus is supposed to be about annual appropriations for government agencies, not gutting campaign finance laws or allowing Wall Street to unilaterally cut private employee’s pensions; Wall Street already decimated the private pension accounts in the 2008 financial collapse, but apparently it was not enough to satiate their greed. So the House inserted an esoteric ‘rider’ in the bill meant to fund the government along with one to abolish campaign reform law and deregulate Wall Street for the next financial collapse. The “gut private pensions” initiative will not create one job, will not grow the economy, or reduce the nation’s debt and deficit. It is a giant bailout gift to Wall Street for sending the nation’s economy over the cliff in 2008 and authority to rob retirees’ pension accounts. The rider’s language gives Wall Street unlimited and unilateral power to cut retirement benefits to millions of current retirees whose pension accounts are tied up in the same private plans Wall Street nearly wiped out just six years ago.

Experts say if the initiative is enacted, it would be the most consequential change to retirement policy in the United States since the landmark pension legislation passed 40 years ago. Wall Street and the Koch brothers have had their sights set on abolishing the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) with the same intent as seizing control of the Social Security Trust Fund. The goal is empowering the rich to cut retirees’ formerly guaranteed benefits to extinction, and this CRomnibus abomination will enable them to see the Kochs’  “commitment reforming (robbing) public employee pensions” to fruition earlier than they expected.   The 40-year old ERISA was enacted to protect the lifelong pension investments of millions of retirees the Koch-Wall Street criminals insist belongs to them. Republicans agree with the Kochs and Wall Street that retired people cannot have their retirement savings because it belongs to the rich.

This idea that Americans’ pensions belong to the rich was best elucidated by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfien in 2012 when he said that people expecting their Social Security “are not going to get it.” He said regardless what people think, their lifelong investments are something that “we can’t afford.” Those retirement accounts, whether invested in Social Security or private retirement plans do not belong to “we” (the rich), they belong to the people who paid into them throughout their working lives. However, according to Blankfein who speaks for the Koch brothers, “things have to change” because “we can’t afford them;” whether it is Social Security or private retirement accounts. Accounts Republicans intend giving Wall Street the power to cut because Wall Street “can’t afford them” either.

What Brownback is doing in Kansas, cutting employee pensions to pay for tax cuts for the rich is tantamount to Congress giving Wall Street power to cut pensions to satisfy their greed. Those pension accounts belong to the people who paid into them; not Wall Street or Kansas millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers. Republicans have dutifully served the Kochs by decimating the middle class and sending more of them into poverty to enrich the wealthy over the past 20 years, and now they are pursuing what was at one time an untapped and federally protected resource; retired Americans’ pensions they saved and paid into over their working lives.

This is the class war billionaire Warren Buffet admitted his class was winning, and if any American doubted that the Kochs or Wall Street would stop at robbing retired people’s incomes to satisfy their absolute greed, they are fools. Obviously, America is flush with fools because besides giving the Koch brothers and Wall Street the United States Congress, they gave them authority to steal their pensions and condemn them to poverty in their old age.

42 Replies to “The Koch Wall Street Crusade To Rob Pensions Is Underway”

  1. Perhaps the govt has no business being in the pension business. Perhaps they should use 401’s like industry does.

    That way it will at least take the 1% another minute or two to take everything you have

  2. Thanks once again to all you non voters out there who decided to sit this election out and shirk your responsibility to vote. Those of you who did this and those who voted against their own best interests out of hate for the black President or brainwashing by Faux News, are responsible for decimating the middle class and further enriching the Koch brothers and Wall Street. You disgust me.

  3. As I understand it
    Obama and Pelosi were OK with this.
    Pelosi pushed back only when Warren shamed her.
    Obama, meanwhile, shamelessly glad-hands the deal.

    Please, someone,
    tell me if I am wrong about this.

  4. Does anyone remember a lil thing called “THE FRENCH REVOLUTION”?????? Looks like its time again to get some killing done.

  5. Its so obvious the take over of this country is in full swing, and our President and the democratic party have climbed into the clown car driven by the koch party of no, unless they show some balls I will never stand with them again, this budget deal hurt just as bad as the nov 4th election.

  6. Right now, well since I woke up I am still trying to process this clusterfuk and to be honest I have nothing to say but we are F*CKED. I think I will have a stiff drink then I have something more to say

  7. Democrats who did not vote in the midterms are responsible for helping along this mess we find ourselves in. Although I wish the President had not indicated he would sign this, I suspect the thought of what kind of bill we would get after January made him pick his battles. President Obama is one man, he needs the back up of having votes in both the Senate and House. He did not get them. I do not agree with people on this site who now want to run from Obama because of this bill. We share in the blame with apathy, now more than ever we need to stick with the President
    and help guide his decisions.

  8. When the TeaPartiers and the gun nuts lose everything, and they finally realize they’ve been played for suckers, the subsequent uprising will make the French Revolution look like a children’s party.

  9. Last night the local news I was watching had the 30 second spot on the pension raid and then had a more extensive piece on the local baseball team (actually the owners, but it wasn’t phrased that way) spending $35 million to get a new pitcher.

    I have no idea if anyone at the station noticed that this was a juxtaposition. I have no idea how many people watching noticed.

    I’m thinking too few.

  10. The Koch brothers have bought the republican party and have a game plan to use law to shrink the middle class. But, it is becoming extremely apparent that the democratic party has no game plan whatsoever. The democrats seem to be just treading water waiting for the next wave to drown them. This country needs a revolution to put it back on the right path.

  11. Kansas is a red state all the way. When the people who voted this state Gov in begin to lose their pensions. Are forced to work way beyond the age of 72. Fall ill for some reason.( at that age many things start to go wrong) I will not have much patience for their trouble. No one would have any retirement or pensions if it were not for the DEM”S. They would not have a day off, weekends, Holidays or decent pay!
    Read the book “What’s wrong with Kansas” Apparently many things……first and foremost, non thinking humans!! Kansas, you asked for it!!!

  12. 401Ks?? You mean like the ones they destroyed in 2008. The same guys that lost over $440K of my retirement? No thanks. I’ll fight to the death for my public pension. It’s all I have left.

  13. Sure but most of those 401’s have rebuilt their value.

    What will you do when the governor starts raiding your pension? Me? Its far safer in the market then in the state

  14. Pelosi was pissed when she got the call from President Obama to let the bill pass as is, and she didn’t go along with it. At least that’s what I have been reading in various articles on the whole fiasco.

  15. I’d have a few stiff drinks but I don’t have much left of my liver.

    I am losing faith in Obama. This is not the only issue I have with him. I am now waiting to hear what happens with the TTP and T-TIP treaties. If these go through, we are really screwed.

    I never thought that Obama was a Republican-lite. Except for the social issues, he has been more right than left. When I voted for Obama, I thought I was voting for a true Progressive.

    I gave the President some slack on the ACA and other issues because I knew he was battling some pretty strong headwinds, but it seems that he is just a little to quick to give in these days.

    I don’t know what is going to happen, but I’m not feeling very positive at this point in time.

  16. I don’t share in any blame for apathy. I donated money, signed petitions, shared posts, voted and pushed everyone I knew to get out and vote so I have a right to be pissed. I still am going to hope for the best, and I know Obama has to compromise on some things, but this one was a winner and he caved. He is also pushing two very bad trade deals, deals that Republican pols love.

    The trade deals will piss off the RW base, but they’ll just blame Obama the same way they did Clinton when he signed NAFTA. Republicans want it, but they won’t take the heat when people realize what happened.

  17. Market based pensions make stocks more important than people.

    My military retirement check hasn’t gone up a nickel in 20 years. ‘Chained CPI’ means screwed.

  18. They gutted the part of financial reform that got control of derivatives that wiped out my, and everyone else’s, retirement. Now Wall Street gets another shot at finishing them off. California has a Dem governor and supermajority in the legislature.

  19. Why is the press, the politicians and everyone else down playing the fact the Republicans have opened the door for another crash of the economy by allowing Wall Street to do the exact same things they did in 2008. No regulations. Which leaves us, the tax payers, yet again, in the position of bailing them out. No ones talking about that. People should be in the streets protesting that one simple fact……..But no, the nation is silent.

  20. And this bill allows Wall Street to play their games again and forces the American people to bail them out again. These days, I don’t know who’s the craziest, Republicans, Democrats or the people who refused to come out and vote.
    We’ve entered the Twilight Zone and there’s no way out……………

  21. Too late. They’ve armed the police to the hilt with military tanks and guns. And lets not forget the drones. We’re pretty much screwed.

  22. WHEN I became a citizen of the US I had to pledge that I would defend the US from the ennemies being foreign or domestic, and at this point I consider the Koch brothers and the likes as well as a great number of our elected representatives to be exactly that ennemies and this would be a great times to wipe out those bastards out of existence. Sign me up.

  23. They are all on the same payroll. They are paid by the top tier international banksters through their minions the Koch Brothers and others.

  24. We can’t stop them through normal means, so we must prepare our selves to do the unthinkable to stop these tyrants! What would the German people have done to stop Hitler, if they knew his plans??? Well, we know what the 1% plans are, we just need to do what must be done! We didn’t start this class war, but we must end it.

  25. Obama sold us out!!!
    For the last 6 years I’ve been warning fellow progressives that Obama was in it for Obama. Now that the proof is undeniable, the damage has been done, they can blame themselves for believing in him.

  26. If you really wanted to be disgusted, please realize that the Democrats are not your friends. Or, the unions. Read “US Congress to vote on union-backed plan to cut workers’ pension” by Jerry White December 12, 2014. Trying to shame people for not participating in this sham election is useless. Around 97% of the time the candidate that spent the most money won. Maybe spend your energy on something else.

  27. I think that the wealthy 1 percent have been running this country from the word go. The only reason they do not already own it lock stock and barrel, is the publics right to vote and do the same politicking they do. Sadly not enough of us take our voices to or beyond our vote. I know there money would still out weigh ours and us but at least we can slow them down.

  28. Wow! I could just feel my blood pressure rise while reading this article. What in the world are people who depend on SS or SSD going to do to survive should they manage to push their plan through? We really need to start getting people to pay attention to what our government is doing for WE the People. I’m going to start today by sharing this article all over the place, and write to the President and my Congressmen and Senators. Of course I know we have to do a lot more than that, we have to make our voices HEARD loud and clear. I’m just not sure how we are going to do that, and there’s not a lot I can personally do, due to my being severely disabled. I can barely get myself to the grocery store and after I pay my bills and all my medications, my money is pretty much gone.

  29. If you dig deep enough, you will find the American Revolution was done because the bank of America wanted it. It was very much to its advantage

  30. The Dems screwed all of us, and I say this because I am a Dem, they failed our President. Dems always get walked on and now are in chaos, and mad at The President. I’m thinking that he did this bill to save the ACA, and Immigration, and I also say let Warren and Pelosi and Bernie fight it out with The Repubs on the banks. Again The Pepubs played dirty and in the dead of night with minutes to spare pushed this through. I don’t know how anyone sits back and complain if they didn’t scream at the beginning of the Repubs dishonesty. Everybody got screwed on this one. The ACA is at least funded. The Dems are so placated they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. The Dems allowed this and now they’re screaming, but they allowed the laws to be changed for voting no one said anything, even here in Illinois, The Repubs played with the machines and bought people off. If you want things to change you’ve got to fight. I did vote ..a lot that that did…

  31. I keep hearing that elections have consequences.
    Evidently not. I have voted the straight Dem ticket all my life hoping that the Dems would have our backs. Instead they knifed us in the back. Our pension is due to be gutted. It didn’t have to be this way.A less drastic work around could have been done had we had anyone on our side. The pensions were weakened after 2008 and have been an ongoing slow motion train wreck ever since.
    I hear 401s are a way to control your own money – we know how that worked out, don’t we? Back in the day, Savings and Loans were a way to control our money. Neil Bush and his cronies gutted them, right?
    We did the responsible thing – saved the most we were allowed during times when we could have really used the extra money in hopes of having a secure retirement. The 1%’s don’t yet have all the money and are aiming for what little bit we have been allotted.
    This yellow dog will vote for Warren or I won’t vote at all.

  32. The problem here is the Governor has been put in a bad spot. If he rescinds the tax cuts, there are potential unintended consequences in my opinion where the spouses of children or grandchildren of the Koch’s would head for Divorce Court to try to take down the Koch fortune.

    The Kochs know what Jamie McCourt nearly did three years ago in her divorce proceedings from now-ex Frank when she almost took down the Los Angeles Dodgers by herself. Especially if the spouses ganged up, knowing what the now-former Mrs. McCourt almost did, they could attempt to do the same thing. The Kochs are not stupid.

    Jamie McCourt exposed this issue that long pre-dated her and all it takes is a judge who throws out a prenup and has an agenda to attempt to ruin the Kochs. That is the something I suspect the Kochs are well aware is possible.

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