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Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

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GreenGoo
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:32 pm

What amazes me is that pensions are seen as the company's assets. They are not, and doubly so if employees have paid into them. Until the law changes to protect the employees assets being managed by the company, this will continue to be the case.

The exact same thing happens with government pensions, with politicians raiding them until they are no longer financially viable, then declaring a crisis of their own making because the pension is no longer adequately funded, and somehow that's because greedy employees expect to receive the compensation their were promised.

It's such a scam. Pensions need to go away, not because they are not viable, but because they are used for malfeasance far too often at the employees expense.

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Grifman
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Grifman » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:20 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:32 pm
What amazes me is that pensions are seen as the company's assets. They are not, and doubly so if employees have paid into them. Until the law changes to protect the employees assets being managed by the company, this will continue to be the case.

The exact same thing happens with government pensions, with politicians raiding them until they are no longer financially viable, then declaring a crisis of their own making because the pension is no longer adequately funded, and somehow that's because greedy employees expect to receive the compensation their were promised.

It's such a scam. Pensions need to go away, not because they are not viable, but because they are used for malfeasance far too often at the employees expense.
I'm not sure where you are getting this from, but pensions are NOT company assets. The problem is not with companies/govt taking money from pensions, but with them not being funded adequately to begin with - companies/govt are not contributing adequate money to meet pension obligations.

There is only one instance where money can be taken from pensions and that is when they are overfunded -in other words the company has contributed more than required to meet their legal obligations. In that case, they can reduce their future funding or take some of the pension excess out - because they only owe what what the law says they legally owe, not more.

So, no, pensions are not seen as company assets.
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GreenGoo
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:28 am

Grifman wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:20 pm

I'm not sure where you are getting this from, but pensions are NOT company assets. The problem is not with companies/govt taking money from pensions, but with them not being funded adequately to begin with - companies/govt are not contributing adequate money to meet pension obligations.

There is only one instance where money can be taken from pensions and that is when they are overfunded -in other words the company has contributed more than required to meet their legal obligations. In that case, they can reduce their future funding or take some of the pension excess out - because they only owe what what the law says they legally owe, not more.

So, no, pensions are not seen as company assets.
Perhaps my basic assumption that pensions are company assets is wrong, but feel free to explain to me why when a company goes down in flames, it takes the pension with it? I'm not talking about future payouts . I'm talking about taking the pension including the employee contributions down with them. In the US pensions are supposed to be insured. Yet that never seems to be the reality.

And inadequately funded pensions are a myth. That is absolutely NOT the problem, and even if it were, it would be illegal and there is supposed to be insurance. Robbing Peter to pay Paul seems to be the basic tenet of pension ownership, but not because there isn't any money. Usually it's accounting fraud.

Examples of malfeasance and misrepresentation:
Private: Enron, Nortel
Public: Michigan Teacher Pension, Federal Employee Pension.

Social Security is another one that is a hot topic of fearmongering and misrepresentation of the numbers to support the narrative of either side.
Last edited by GreenGoo on Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GreenGoo
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:32 am

Here's what's supposed to happen in the US.
Pension

In general, ERISA requires that pension benefits be maintained separate from the company's other assets, either held in trust or invested in an insurance contract. ERISA requires that any earned pension benefits be vested 100% if the company is liquidated. Many traditional pension benefits are also insured by the Federal Government.

In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor company can ask the bankruptcy court for permission to terminate or modify your pension plan. If your plan is fully funded, your former employer will use the plan assets to purchase an annuity to pay your benefits. If your pension plan is terminated as a part of the bankruptcy or by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the PBGC will take over the plan's assets and liabilities and will pay your benefits, subject to certain dollar limits.
Yet employees are constantly getting screwed. Why is that? I'm willing to be educated. Is *every* case a special case somehow? How many pensions are even left in the US? Can't be many, not private ones anyway.

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Zarathud
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Zarathud » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:55 am

The pension operates on the assumption that the company will continue to be around to keep making contributions, much like the assumption that the employee will continue to work and make their own contributions. A company in bankruptcy will seek court approval to stop contributing. The government guarantees what is already contributed -- up to a limit.

There was a perverse economic incentive behind allowing companies to convert pensions from a defined benefit to a defined contribution. That limits the government's exposure, and controls the cost of businesses which promised benefits to private sector employees when labor had more market power. By putting pressure on labor and collective bargaining, there's no real ability for employees to demand a share of profits in the good markets.

The political incentive is clear -- it helps Republicans undermine a typical Democratic working class base. The political perversity is that these people were Trump supporters who blame the Democrats for not stopping Republicans from undermining the middle class.
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Drazzil » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:43 pm

Man. Fuck both parties in this country, but especially fuck the Republicans. How can people go out there and vote against their own economic interests, over and over again?
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Drazzil » Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:47 pm

Pyperkub wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:15 pm
This could get me ready to go pitchfork if it were me
The anger arises because although the sell-off allowed Sun Capital and its investors to recover their money and then some, the company entered bankruptcy leaving unpaid more than $80 million in debts to workers’ severance and pensions.

For Sun Capital, this process of buying companies, seeking profits and leaving pensions unpaid is a familiar one. Over the past 10 years, it has taken five companies into bankruptcy while leaving behind debts of about $280 million owed to employee pensions.
Sun Capital fucked me on a student loan btw.
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Grifman
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Grifman » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:08 am

Employee pensions should be protected first. There should be a "look back" period where if the company withdrew money, either as a dividend or management fee or stock buy back, that money should be paid back into the pension plan. The idea that companies can loot money and leave the pensioners holding the bag is unethical.
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by Pyperkub » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:46 am

I think what happens is kind of like how companies took money out of Hong Kong infrastructure before the reversion to China.

Stop making payments /short them with rosy investment statements and move the money elsewhere. Obviously there's a method/loophole, or they couldn't have managed it five times.

Regardless, it should be criminal (at least, after the first time).
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by noxiousdog » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:46 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:28 am
Examples of malfeasance and misrepresentation:
Private: Enron, Nortel
Public: Michigan Teacher Pension, Federal Employee Pension.
Enron didn't have pensions as far as I know. Perhaps maybe in one of the pipelines they owned, but as a general employee (90% of the company), no pensions were available.

The popular story line about employees being left penniless were those that invested their paychecks either in Enron stock or in stock options (in lieu of bonuses). While I sympathize, because I was one of those people, investing is always risky and it's a classic example of why you shouldn't invest in the same company that gives you your paycheck.
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Re: Why haven't the pitchforks come out yet?

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:13 pm

Pyperkub wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:15 pm
This could get me ready to go pitchfork if it were me
The anger arises because although the sell-off allowed Sun Capital and its investors to recover their money and then some, the company entered bankruptcy leaving unpaid more than $80 million in debts to workers’ severance and pensions.

For Sun Capital, this process of buying companies, seeking profits and leaving pensions unpaid is a familiar one. Over the past 10 years, it has taken five companies into bankruptcy while leaving behind debts of about $280 million owed to employee pensions.
They get the feds to take some of the sting out and keep the pitchforks in the barn:
The unpaid pension debts mean that some retirees will get smaller checks. Much of the tab will be picked up by the government’s pension insurer, a federal agency facing its own budget shortfalls.
Once again, public money used to enrich private individuals.

You know, so they can be like this:

Enlarge Image

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