Dec 4, 2013

GOP Robs Detroit Workers; Scott Walker Backed off Last Year

Michigan's GOP governor, Rick Snyder along with his Party went after Detroit and they got it, the workers' earned pensions.

Scott Walker tried as well to destroy Wisconsin's pension system, lost, and now brags about how healthy Wisconsin's pension plan remains.

Robert Mentzer asks today how Wisconsin workers have a fully funded pension plan, the most successful fund in the country, that not even Scott Walker today will not dare rob.

Notes Mentzer, Walker is actually boasting about the workers' pension plan: "'Wisconsin’s pension system is the only one in the country that is fully funded,' boasts Gov. Scott Walker in his new book."

How did that happen?

Scott Walker backed down from jamming through legislation to force public workers into 401(k) plans that would have destroyed the public pension that incredibly Walker now crows about.

David Cay Johnston and Forbes' Tom Unger answered this question, in 2011: Wisconsin workers earned their retirement through collective bargaining agreements stipulating money taken out of their paychecks. They pooled their money and made something.

Today, Republicans have stripped away the right to organize and collectively bargain such deferred compensation and retirement agreements though Walker refuses to own up to this, what the GOP did in Act 10, passed after Republicans violated Wisconsin's Open Meeting law.

Walker backed off raiding the pension fund in 2012 after a pension report explained the obvious to Scott Walker: Raiding the Wisconsin Retirement System fund would cost retirees and other taxpayers.

So, even as Paul Ryan keeps his eyes set on destroying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, it is worth noting that when the political costs become too high to burn down the barn, Ryan will back down just as Scott Walker did.

But President Obama has to step up to the plate to defend earned pensions and social insurance.

Both Paul Ryan and Scott Walker all their adult lives have earned salaries, pensions and healthcare benefits that came courtesy of taxpayers whom both these charlatans claim to champion.

Nothing wrong with that in itself. But these two, as they attack others' pensions, are the most vile hypocrites in American politics, and that is one disgusting pool from which to lead.

Someone should ask Walker and Ryan to give back all their publicly funded salaries, healthcare and pension benefits, as they seek to destroy anything their paymasters don't control.

Wrote Dave Moberg in April 2011 (In These Times):

[M]any on the right want to eradicate or eviscerate unions to destroy the single most important source of financial and organizational support for the Democrats and what remains of liberalism--the weak American version of European social democracy. This is not just a partisan game, it is a strategy to wipe out or privatize (using public funds to underwrite profiteering) nearly every public service--education, Social Security, healthcare, and much more--and to further deregulate corporations.

Once upon a time, conservatives saw the value of public pension systems and U.S. businessmen favored public schools to prepare a workforce for their factories. Now the right wants to shift the cost of security in old age, health and education from the government to individuals, thereby exacerbating economic inequality that is already at record highs.

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