Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Throw it On the Pile

Yep, the mountain of debt caused by government idiocy just keeps getting bigger. This time its the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC).

I like how they named this agency "Corp." so it looks like its being run by responsible folks rather than by the government. The PBGC was set up to guarantee pensions for retired employees of companies who have promised to take care of retirees, but somehow fell out of business and are unable to pay. I don't know the mechanics of the whole thing, but I suppose the pension plans pay some sort of insurance premium to help cover the ones in the group that go belly up. Leave it to the government actuaries and oversight committees to have miscalculated the premiums needed - the fund is swelling up to some $22 Billion in shortfalls. The article mentions that the "Company's" acting director, a certain Vince Snowbarger, reassures people receiving cash currently that the fund has plenty of money for current payments. Wooooo, thank goodness for that! We can leave the unfunded portion to our spoiled children and grandchildren. Way to go Vince!

Hard Medicine from Citizen Zane:
I hate to say this, but we have one of two choices: 1) We take a piece out of everyone whose pensions are guaranteed under the PBGC to fund this problem and current pension holders get by on less; or 2) The rest of us who are funding our own pensions have to pay the difference. Neither of these prospects is going to make many people happy, but it is a hard decision that has to be made (hence, Congress is pushing it off to the future when they don't have to take the heat for it). I propose that the people getting the pensions take the hit. But Citizen Zane, those people don't deserve to lose their pensions, many will say. I say tough - I don't deserve to pay for their retirement since I am paying for my own and funding someone else's Social Security payments too.

And this leads us to crux of the problem. Defined benefit pension plans (the kind where you are promised certain payouts and health care for life) have become obsolete. Think I'm wrong? Here are the following examples: The airlines, the auto makers, and the employees of every state in the Union. Pension costs are dragging these venerable institutions into the pit of no return. Back in the days when we manufactured our own goods and actually exported a lot of them, and lots more people smoked and died earlier, maybe we could afford these outdated plans. Now, we have to save and invest as we go. Its time for government to realize that their modus operendi is bankrupting all of us and adjust with the times. The problem is, it would take real courage and commitment for somebody to step forward and tell the truth and take the heat for it all. Who in Congress has shown any courage since Davy Crockett climbed the walls of the Alamo? Somebody let me know - I'm sure that its happened somewhere.

Anyway, back to the PBGC. Well fair reader...who do you think is going to end up picking up the tab for this nonsense? Hmmmm.....let's see......could it be......might it be.....YOU??? Damn straight! That's right folks - while your own personal 401(k) shrinks 30% and your social security goes up in smoke. Those lucky folks already collecting social security are getting pensions paid by this very fund that YOU will have to pay for too!

I suppose that Congress is jumping all over this injustice. Some right-minded Representative has got to be standing up and pulling the fire alarm. Right? Do ya think????? Remember that part about courage and commitment? I'd settle for some plain, old-fashioned representation - Citizen Zane

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