Friday, December 19, 2014

The Matrix of Plunder - 3

Pensions down the Plunder hole
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog, for years, has been observing and reporting on the plundering of the American People.

Plunder by the epigovernment, through the actions of their lackeys in federal and state governments (The Elections of Pontius Pilots).

Yes, Dredd Blog has been doing so for years (e.g. The Graphs Of The Age Of Plunder, 2, 3; Riders On The Storm ... Of Plunder, 2; Banker Jekyll Will Hyde Your Money, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

In today's post Dredd Blog is warning Americans that plunder is still happening to them (see the video at the bottom of the post for more info).

Basically, pensions of retired people can now be cut by as much as 60% under new laws passed in the "new budget."

If pension overlords think that the pension funds are encumbered (by their bad investments on Wall Street), then they change your life:
The legislation permits deep pension cuts to retirees in certain financially-troubled multiemployer plans. Financially-troubled plans are plans expected to not have enough money to pay 100% of benefits within 15 and, in some cases, 20 years. There are instances where the cuts could be more than 60% of a participant’s benefits. To find out how much your benefits could be cut use this calculator.

The decision to cut benefits is made by plan trustees, who are typically more aligned with active workers and employers than with retirees.

Retirees who are age 80 or over, or who are receiving a disability pension, are not subject to benefit cuts. Retirees ages 75-79 are subject to smaller cuts than retirees under age 75.

How big or small the cuts are for those under age 75 is determined by the trustees. The cuts are subject to certain legal limits, the most important of which is that benefits cannot be cut below 110% of the amounts that the federal pension insurance agency guarantees.

Plan trustees decide how to allocate the cuts. For example, they can cut retirees’ benefits more than those of active workers, and they can decide whether and how much to reduce survivors’ benefits.

Plan trustees are required to reduce the benefits of participants whose employers went out of business (or withdrew from the plan for other reasons without paying all of their obligations) first, before they reduce the benefits of any other plan participants. This will mean that those retirees whose companies went bankrupt will have greater reductions than other retirees.

UPS retirees in the Central States Teamsters plan are given special protection: their benefits are last in line to be cut. This provision is reportedly the result of a last-minute deal that will save UPS an estimated $2 billion that it would otherwise have been contractually be required to pay to its retirees.

There is no provision for automatic restoration of lost benefits if a plan’s funding status improves.

A trustees’ decision to cut benefits can only be reversed by the Department of Treasury, and then only if the Treasury concludes that the decision is based on a determination that is “clearly erroneous.”

Before cutting benefits, the trustees must provide information to all plan members about the cuts, and plans with 10,000 or more participants must appoint a retired plan participant to represent the interests of pensioners. The trustees appoint this representative and can even appoint a trustee or former trustee of the plan.

Plan trustees must allow all participants to vote on cuts before they are
Pirate Blackbeard
implemented. However, this right is largely illusory. First, a majority of all workers and retirees in a plan – not just a majority of the ones who vote – is required to block cuts. Thus, a vote to block cuts fails even if 100% of those voting oppose the cuts, if only 49% of participants actually vote. Moreover, ballots can be distributed by e-mail, which means that retirees who don’t use the Internet might not vote.

Even if all participants vote against cuts, the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC, the federal pension insurance program) can override the vote and uphold the trustees’ decision to make cuts if it concludes that the plan’s insolvency would increase the PBGC’s projected liabilities by $1 billion or more.

The insurance premiums that multiemployer plans pay to the PBGC are increased from $13 to $26 per participant per year. In contrast, premiums paid to the single-employer plan program are between $57 and $475 per participant per year.

Retirees, widows, and widowers whose benefits are reduced cannot bring a lawsuit under the federal private pension law, ERISA, to challenge the legality of the reductions.
(Pension Rights Center, emphasis added). If you "[r]etirees, widows, and widowers" don't like the pain you feel when your pension is cut, you can't sue for redress (You Are Here).

And if you get mavericky and begin to do the marching in the streets thingy, first think about what they spent your plundered pension money on, and be careful (Will The Military Become The Police? - 10).

All we citizen journalists can do is inform you, as Dredd Blog has done for free for years (you are welcome).

You have even been warned that psychopaths are running the show, and that they are dangerous to your freedom:
... the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy – an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption.
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy). The ones who are directly plundering pensions are also psychopaths:
One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath, the CFA Institute (an investment and financial analysis organization) reports in the latest issue of CFA Magazine. That makes psychopathy 10 times more prevalent among New York’s financial elite than among us plebeians, for which the accepted statistic is a more palatable one in 100.
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths, 2, 3, 4). That is all we citizen journalists can do is warn you.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Video clip link.


  1. Turd World president Don de Drain was quoted as saying "there is always enough money to make war, but not so for your pensions."

  2. good one Randy!