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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:24 PM
Original message
Pension Funds Beg Congress to Suspend Billions in Contributions
Source: Bloomberg

By Brian Faler

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Pension funds at Pfizer Inc., International Business Machines Corp., United Parcel Service Inc. and dozens of other companies have joined the parade of businesses seeking relief from Congress amid this years economic meltdown.

Instead of money, they want legislation to suspend a federal law that would make them pump billions of dollars into retirement plans to offset stock-market losses as many struggle to find enough cash just to stay in business. Theyre pressing Congress to consider the issue this week before this years session adjourns.

The companies are not out there with their hand out for a bailout, says Mark Ugoretz, head of the ERISA Industry Committee, a Washington advocacy group representing big businesses on benefit issues under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This is not about money; this is about time.

About 800 companies in the Standard & Poors 1500 Index have pension funds, and they were collectively $280 billion short of the sums needed to pay projected benefits as of Nov. 30, according to a study by New York-based benefits consulting firm Mercer LLC. Those 800 funds started the year with a $60 billion surplus, Mercer estimated.

To gain help from Congress, the companies will have to overcome skeptics who say they are using the market plunge to undermine retirement-funding provisions in a 2006 law they didnt like in the first place.

Theyre trying to stampede Congress, says Jeremy Gold, founder of Jeremy Gold Pensions, a New York-based actuarial consulting firm. Funds with prudent investment strategies were able to moderate market losses, he says.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aBA...
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. If they don't want to pump the money into pension reserves,
are they willing to pay an equal amount directly to the employees for whom the reserves are held? This goes back to the old issue regarding whether pensions are deferred pay that the employees have earned and have a right to receive, or simply a gift from the employer or a reward from the employer, some sort of bonus. I believe that pensions are deferred pay. In my view, the employers owe this money. I personally would like to see a law that would provide that employee pension benefits are the first priority in bankruptcy and that any company merging with or buying another company has to honor fully all pension commitments of the company with which they are merging or that they are buying. Raiding companies for their pension fund reserves has to end.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. You are right. "Raiding companies for their pension fund reserves...
...has to end."
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. They continue to overpay execs with huge bonuses but expect to get out of
paying legally contracted amounts due to employees who did the actual work.

Sounds like a class warfare move to me.
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Tandalayo_Scheisskopf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Those rich bastards who fire shots...
In class warfare, deserve to get whithering return fire. Start the fight and expect your adversaries to fly the black flag.
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Gin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. this is the trial balloon before the pensions go to the PBGC ( us)
the plan is they send out a threat....and the end result is the same anyway. IMO
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russspeakeasy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
6. If you have an IQ over 70
you know this is just the beginning and it should be shut
down... NOW!
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