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Monday, December 15, 2014

TRANQUILITY -- UNTIL. . . .


I spent my weekend reading, writing and (and no not arithmetic) cleaning up my blog a bit. I read many blogs that were new to me and many that I have followed for some times. Such pleasure I receive when I take the time to read blogs that cover many topics and are from many parts of the world. Hurrah for the internet -- it enables us to discover the rest of the world as well as our own. I discovered subjects that are important (at least to me) that I don't find being addressed by news services such as MSNBC and CNN to name a few.

Tranquility was the tone of my day.

Until I decided to read the major news sites.

I found some disturbing news to me personally. It  was that American worker's pensions are under attack by Congress. They want pensions to be reduced. There is a law in place that pensions cannot be touched by law yet Congress apparently has found a way around it hoping that U.S. citizens will not notice it until they get a notice in the mail saying -- sorry we just can't have you receiving the money that you paid into your pension plan. 

I know this will mean reductions for over a million folks especially older ones that worked and paid into retirement plans for many years, feeling secure it would be there at the end of their employment.

I feel there is a Congressional dark side to this whole reduction fiasco. Click here to read how this all came about also, how it will be carried out. 



20 comments:

  1. Hi Barbara! Your post today really struck a chord with me. i listened to the Diane Rhem Show this morning and the first segment was about how the big banks were essentially rolling back the Dodd-Frank law leaving the tax payers once again liable to bail out the banks when they implode from too many risky, complicated financial deals. the second part of the program was about the move to cut pensions severely to those under 70 (I think it was 70 but could have been 65). We are talking 30% cuts. It is hard to fathom why we will have money to bail out banks but will be too broke to fund promised pensions. (And then there is all the money to fund wars and all that entails...)
    I am feeling rather hopeless on the political and environmental fronts these days. :(

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    1. Florence -- Diane Rhem has the best radio talk show. I didn't hear this segment this morning -- I think I can find it online though. I was aghast yesterday when I read that Congress is after pension plans. Why? Is this an easier target than going after the banks! Everything in our political system is out of sync right now. Yes, we have had problems with politicians in the past but now it almost seems like a war between the middle class and the upper class with the upper holding all the power snuggling as bedfellows with our government. thanks -- barbara

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  2. Kentucky borrowed from the teacher's retirement fund and now so many things seem up in the air. We also get lectured about not using sick days. Even sick days we have saved over the years. They say is costs them more money. It is all so ridiculous these days.

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    1. Michelle -- So many fingers dip into retirement funds -- hope they provide an accounting of the finger dipping to all the teachers. So why do they give you sick days if you are told not to use them? Are you unionized? I agree with you -- ridiculous. thanks -- barbara

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  3. I cannot believe pension cuts will stand the test of law, as pensions are private contracts and contract law is the sacred understanding of what reasonable men will do. Oh, wait..... I see the catch 22.

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    1. Joanne -- I agree with you but what is the catch 22 situation you mention at the end of your comment? I do believe it will be a difficult path for the politicians to ram this pension idea through any time soon. Too many lives will suffer if this happens. thanks -- barbara

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  4. I liked your photo - it stands for the simplicity that should govern more of our lives. pension cut seems to be in the air all over the world and has been implemented in several countries in Europe. We got a new conservative/right-wing government a year ago who in their first own budget cuts the taxes for the extremely rich and tries to cut support for people in need. Luckily they are a minority government, so the worst did get past our parliament. But the disease is spreading.

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    1. From my understanding of this U.S.spending bill of 600 pages, it had the cuts in pensions plan added just before it went up for vote. Sneaky I would say. From what you are saying in your comment I feel that the economic powerful are running economys in many countries to their benefit. Our pension cuts in this recent spending bill is ruthless. The extremely rich in this country pay very little if at all in taxes. They influence our state and federal politicians through peddling lots of money to their campaigns. They also buy-off popular media news sites through the hundreds of ads pushing propaganda about oil and gas. Yes, the disease is spreading. thanks! -- barbara

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  5. Will you be personally affected by this, Barbara? This isn't SS, is it? I have been remiss lately about following the news, so I honestly don't know.

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    1. Hattie -- Yes, I might be personally affected by this in the long run as public pensions are hit. Millions right now will be affected as multiemployee pension (private) plans. Cuts for many will be 30 to 60 percent. This is pension plans not SS. The federal law under ERISA, the 1974 law governing pensions in the private sector, benefits already earned by a worker can’t be cut. Somehow the politicians got around this law. Congress is mainly after construction, trucking and mining pensions right now but the door is open to go after public pensions too like teachers, state and municipal retirees. Read the Naked Capitalism blog and AARP for more info plus I am sure you can find more info today. It seems that MSNSC doesn't know about this -- yet. Or could they have been told to keep quiet -- don't rattle the natives. Why you probably missed this event was that the pension cut was slipped in the spending bill two days or less before the vote. sneaky! Also, I hear Obama will sign the bill!!! thanks -- barbara

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    1. Barbara -- Yes it is sobering that politicians would cut retirees 30 to 60 percent. Congress was politically motivated in that they went against the federal ERISA retirement law. -- thanks barbara

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  7. A so called "Democrats" are behind this too. People can't get it. They are not Drmocrats when they assist in right wing schemes but something other and do not deserve the title.

    Remember when bush Jr. shortly before leaving office and the Repugs damn near got their hands on Social Sercurity. They still want it and dims will help them get what is ours eventually.

    I'm sick of it.

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    1. One Fly -- Yes, the so called Democrats are behind this too as some voted to include in the spending bill the poisonous derivatives financial game again for the banks that used derivatives before to bring on the Great Recession. Scary!

      I read that SS is still being considered for cuts by many politicians.

      thanks -- barbara

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  8. They have touched Social Security and now move to pensions. The insurance companies do not like having to keep such large amounts set aside for payments in claims and soon they will get around that which Obama has passed and pay their CEOs bonuses instead. Banks can make us pay for their gambling now. People get what they vote for and this last election has shown that.

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    1. Tabor -- Yes people get what they vote for. The passing of the spending bill included both Republicans and Democrats. So where do we go from here when both parties are willing to favor banks and punish retirees? Also, the pres is willing to sign the spending bill which will greatly increase banks risky spending and greatly decrease retirement pensions. thanks -- barbara

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  9. My point is to everyone here that when "Democrats" assist in right wing scams that benefit the !% they are NOT Democrats. It's just that simple. They are now something other now and have been for some time.

    This country is wealthy enough to provide for all.

    The WAR MACHINE is never mentioned. Half or more of our tax dollars go for that.

    It's not going to get better but worse.

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    1. One Fly -- It does seem that our country is undergoing a change -- one of decline that is. My hope is that it will all turn around some how, some way. Perhaps that is a pipe dream but it is the only way I can feel there is some sanity to what is happening. I guess it's a flip of the coin if we can go forward as a sane country. But in the mean time be prepared and aware.

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  10. Dear Barbara, Your photo speaks of simplicity & tranquility, & a softness that makes me think of old age, so lovely. I too love the blog world of the Internet & I'm sorry that I haven't had time lately to visit my favorites, including yours...As for the pension reduction, that is very sad. The political climate these days favors a wealthy minority, doesn't it?

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    1. Rita, thanks for the nice words about my photo. And yes the mix of politics and money has created a new caste of overseers. I have reduced the number of posts that I put on but I so enjoy the vast field of posts that others put on that I can't see not staying involved with the blogging world. And, viewing your art brings a lot of joy to me as I troll through the large variety of blogs. -- barbara

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