Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Now We Learn the Pension Trust Fund is Going Under Too!


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Nearly everything important is now running in the red, deep in the red. Today, we learn the Government program to guarantee pensions of companies that fold or relocate to China is now over $22 billion in the red. Worse to come, of course.

From the Washington Post:
The federal agency that insures the private pensions of 44 million workers said Tuesday that its deficit was $22.8 billion in 2005, as big airlines in bankruptcy dumped their pension liabilities.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. disclosed in its annual financial report that as of Sept. 30, it had $56.5 billion in assets to cover $79.2 billion in pension liabilities.
So the pension fund that is supposed to be funded by the corporations using it is now going bankrupt, too! What a hoot. Too bad, lots of workers will be tossed into this sea of red ink to drown! Of course, they can stretch their dollars by going back to work at, say, Walmart, or selling apples on street corners, buddy, can you spare a dime?

Everything is heading into red ink territory. Might as well rename the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, "the Red Sea" to express exactly how bad this sea of red ink has become! Some people play with numbers to make it look as if this is no problemo. Well,
wishful thinking won't float anyone's boat!
There has been an explosion in recent years in the number of big, ailing companies _ especially in labor-heavy industries like airlines and steel _ transferring their pension liabilities to the PBGC. With billions of dollars flying out of the agency's door, concern has been mounting in Congress and elsewhere over its financial footing.

"Unfortunately, the financial health of the PBGC is not improving," the agency's executive director, Bradley D. Belt, said in a statement. "The money available to pay benefits is eventually going to run out unless Congress enacts comprehensive pension reform to get plans better funded and provide the insurance program with additional resources."
Well, our kids won't have any pensions like their elders so that will solve the problem, eh? Put your money in...Banks! Yes, like in the 1920s! That will be there when...Ask Argentinians what happens to bank accounts! What if a do-nothing Fed chief refuses to raise interest rates because the Japanese won't let him, and money in bank accounts accrue only 2% or 4% a year in interest and investment funds go negative and the money in those 401k accounts become worthless because it won't buy a tank of gasoline for the car in ten years?

Yes, there are many merry ways to part people from hard earned cash. Ask the Germans! They can tell you how fast money can be stripped from accounts!
Traditional employer-paid pension plans, giving retirees a fixed monthly amount based on salary and years of employment, are now estimated to be underfunded by as much as $450 billion. That could jeopardize the retirement security of millions of Americans, lawmakers have warned.
OK, if this is happening, why are executives getting gigantic bonuses? Hmmm? Why are they rewarding themselves to the tune of trillions? The missing money is right in front of us!

Congress knows this. These same people who are "underfunding" pensions are certainly pouring money into someone's pockets! Ask DeLay! Frist! Anyone in Congress! The money is gushing to them!

And so, like with other currency or trade or war issues, Congress huffs and puffs for the media and then turn the taps on even higher! For this is a comedy to keep Americans quiet, to make it look as if these clowns are doing something instead of increasing the red ink flows.

At this point, since nearly everything Congress has say in is now running deep in the red EXCEPT for Social Security (which they tried to convert into a red ink enterprise, too) it is time for us to do something like clean out DC, a dreadful task. Will take more than a mop and bucket.

More like a giant vacuum.

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