HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Texas (Group) » Houston Billionaire Attac...

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 08:22 PM

Houston Billionaire Attacks Public Pensions like the Texas Teacher Retirement System, a Guaranteed-

Benefit Plan Run by the State of Texas.


TEXAS AFT LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

Houston Billionaire Uses Two “Philanthropic” Foundations to Attack Public Pensions

A new report by author David Sirota confirms that a concerted, state-by-state campaign is under way to undermine Americans’ retirement security, with a Houston billionaire and former Enron trader at the helm. What Sirota calls “The Plot Against Pensions” would kill off public pensions like the guaranteed-benefit plan run by the Texas Teacher Retirement System, would actually cost taxpayers more money, and would enrich private fund managers.

The Houston billionaire in question is John Arnold, whose Laura and John Arnold Foundation has forged a destructive partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Sector Retirement Systems Project. (Arnold also happens to be one of the leading corporate backers of efforts to hand over the operation of Texas public schools to private management.)

As described by Sirota, the Pew/Arnold modus operandi is first to have Pew come into a state with studies and legislative briefings to promote the idea of an imminent crisis, claiming there’s a pension shortfall that the state cannot afford to cover. Then Pew and Arnold put forward a package of proposals to address the claimed crisis by cutting pension benefits. And then Arnold funds the political/lobbying campaign to enact these benefit-cut proposals.

In a conference call to unveil the new study of the “plot against pensions,” a state legislator from Kentucky described how the Pew/Arnold combine stampeded lawmakers there into enacting a scheme that promised to reduce the state’s pension liabilities and enhance retirement security but actually will result in higher costs to taxpayers while degrading benefits.

A key part to the Pew/Arnold strategy of sowing panic is the use of big, scary numbers without putting them in any meaningful context. Thus, Pew has issued reports decrying the $1.38 trillion in pension shortfalls facing U.S. states—without clarifying that this is a 30-year cumulative total equaling less than three-tenths of 1 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product. The annual figure for the pension shortfall is $46 billion—far less, Sirota points out, than the $80 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks that the states dole out to corporations. Yet somehow Pew and Arnold do not cite these corporate subsidies as the cause of any budget “crisis” for the states.

Pew and Arnold plainly are engaged in a misleading advocacy campaign designed to undercut public pensions. In contrast to the individual retirement accounts they advocate, like the 401(k) accounts that were devastated by the Great Recession, public-sector pensions continue to provide retirement security with guaranteed benefits to millions of Americans. What’s more, many state and local employees, including the vast majority of Texas school employees, are not covered by Social Security and thus depend on these state and local pensions for their only secure benefit. Instead of responding to a ginned-up “crisis” and enacting harmful “reforms” that tear down retirement security in the public sector, legislatures across the nation ought to be looking for ways to build up guaranteed benefits and extend this successful model to more Americans.

You will find a summary of David Sirota’s study in his report on the issue here.




Texas AFT represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.5-million-member American Federation of Teachers.



11 replies, 5190 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Houston Billionaire Attacks Public Pensions like the Texas Teacher Retirement System, a Guaranteed- (Original post)
DhhD Sep 2013 OP
Wilms Sep 2013 #1
DhhD Sep 2013 #2
Dark n Stormy Knight Oct 2013 #10
Dawson Leery Sep 2013 #3
DhhD Sep 2013 #4
Scuba Sep 2013 #5
awoke_in_2003 Sep 2013 #6
DhhD Sep 2013 #7
DhhD Oct 2013 #8
Dark n Stormy Knight Oct 2013 #9
dem in texas Jun 2014 #11

Response to DhhD (Original post)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 08:25 PM

1. Here's the link.

 


http://texasaftblog.com/hotline/?p=3247


Thanks for posting.

BTW, the Pew Charitable Trust is a major NPR donor.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Wilms (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 08:29 PM

2. Thanks Wilms. The link was needed quickly and you were right there. Thanks again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Wilms (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 7, 2013, 03:44 AM

10. So, we can count on NPR to report on this?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to Dawson Leery (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 09:11 PM

4. Dawson Leery, my thanks to you again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Original post)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:07 PM

5. "... and would enrich private fund managers." No one could have predicted that.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 05:11 PM

6. One day...

 

the wealthy will need to be dealt with.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 05:31 PM

7. Remember how Enron Executives and Gramm destroyed the pensions of Enron workers?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Reply #7)

Tue Oct 1, 2013, 10:02 AM

8. Dark and Disturbing Senator and Enron Board Member

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Original post)

Mon Oct 7, 2013, 03:43 AM

9. Is there no end to the greedy scumbaggery of RWers??!!

They belong in prison.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DhhD (Original post)

Wed Jun 11, 2014, 10:59 PM

11. The rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer

The name "job creators" was probably invented by Frank Luntz. There are no job creators, they earn big money but do not use it to create jobs, instead they invest in hedge funds and keep it all in the family. In the 1970's, there was a best selling book that warned that what has happened in the US would happen, the rich would get richer and everyone else would get poorer. But this book predicted that the richest people would put all their money in tax exempt bonds, they did not have hedge funds then. So what was predicted did happen, except the rich put their money in hedge funds and off shore investments.

Also I read that here in Texas, where Rick Perry is giving tax breaks to companies who move to Texas, that this is causing individual tax payers to bear a great part of the state tax burden as the business tax share is shrinking. Just another way to give to the rich and take from the poor. I wonder if this is happening in other states?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread