Are They Not Taxpayers?

Two Republican Senators have responded to the Butch Lewis Act (H.R. 397) that passed through the House in July with their own retirement proposal.  I’m so glad that I haven’t been holding my breath in anticipation that the counter proposal would be supportive of the loan program that is the backbone of the BLA’s legislation and implementation.  I will comment much more on the specifics of the Grassley and Alexander legislative proposal (Multiemployer Pension Recapitalization and Reform Plan) in a future post, but the comment that gets my blood flowing is the following:

“The reforms are designed in a balanced way to avoid tipping more plans into a poorer funded condition, and also to avoid exposing taxpayers to the full risks associated with the largely underfunded multiemployer system and pushing the PBGC into insolvency.”

Are the participants in these plans NOT taxpayers? Do the benefits that they receive not generate tax revenue directly and significantly more revenue through their participation in our economy? Why are we not concerned that the 1.4 million workers in Critical and Declining multiemployer plans may lose a substantial percentage of their promised benefit? Given the critical elements in the Grassley and Alexander bill there is a very good chance that a significant percentage of the 10+ million union employees in the multiemployer retirement program may witness a significant reduction in their promises, too.  Lastly, did we not ask the American taxpayer to support the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program to “rescue” the financial industry following the GFC? The TARP program that authorized the rescue of up to $700 billion. Why is this much smaller request creating all of this concern for the taxpayer now? There seems to be a double standard in play, and it stinks!

11 thoughts on “Are They Not Taxpayers?

  1. I totally agree my friend. They are acting like the money will not be paid back for hte $30 billion loan program and are not looking at the amount of money union retirees contribute back to the economy.

    • I will be providing some commentary on the Republican proposal, but they are out to crucify multiemployer plans – higher PBGC premiums, lower discount rates, partitioning of participants, changes to the withdrawal liability calculation, etc.

  2. I have to agree with you on this one Mr Kamp. With the exception of the revision to the the MPRA voting rule nothing is in here that was insinuated would be.Composite plans,partitions,cuts to retirees and the crooks like the IBT, Nyhan and the Feds who created this crisis walk away free to continue their assault on retirees. What retirees are left with is two piles of horse…. Grassleys and the IBTS. It appears the IBT pile of horse… is the better and only choice on the table now…You asked”Why is this much smaller request creating all of this concern for the taxpayer now?” Seriously.You are asking for a bailout of Union criminal syndicates. How can you not think there would be opposition? All you ever had to do was expose the Unions complicity in this crisis as well as their looting and mismanagement of these funds, demand accountability and keep the IBT well documented crooks name as far away from your legislation as possible. Something Brown tried to do.Then your legislation would have been much more palatable and received much more support despite it obvious flaws.Flaws that could have been remedied had they not played party politics ..In the words of those rats who who conspired to get the Multi Employer Reform Act into law..

    “Look, we have a bad choice, we have a much worse choice, and we’ve got total calamity”

    Tell me. Who is responsible for this situation???Those who will not agree to a Union bailout that you knew they would not agree to or those who tattooed the IBT logo to their ass??

    • Good morning, Richard, and thank you for reaching out to me, again. First, I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Second, not having been involved in unions at all during my professional life, I am ignorant of the politics to which you refer. Shame on me, I guess. I got involved in the BLA legislation because I wanted to help preserve and protect the participants who were given a promise only to see that promise mishandled. I believe that the BLA works. The numbers make sense to me, as well as the process. Alternative legislation being proposed will drive many of the healthy systems into ruin.

  3. Yes we are taxpayers! But if my husband looses the pension he was promised after working 30 years, he and millions of others who will lose their pension will no longer be taxpayers if they only receive Social Security. Many, including us, will probably end up losing everything they have worked for.

    • Good morning, Catherine. It is unconscionable that our government is sanctioning the reduction of benefits for American workers who were promised this benefit! The only proposal before Congress that offers a lifeline to the critical and declining plans is HR 397. I will continue to fight for that legislation and for the pensioners.

  4. This plan attempts to save the PBGC by funding it with premiums and pension cuts and suck all failing funds into it like a black hole with 20% or more reductions and more if needed instead of trying to save the retirees and pensions which in turn saves the PBGC by funds not falling on the PBGC for assistance.
    The BLA fixes the funds and restores the retirees so they don’t need the PBGC and as a result it also survives the PBGC.
    This plan vs the BLA is like trying to fix a wagon in the desert while your horses are dying of thirst instead of just unhooking and heading for a known waterhole.

    • So true, Ed. It is awful. Please see my recent post titled K.I.S.S.

    • May I respectfully ask. Is this “in turn saves the PBGC by funds not falling on the PBGC for assistance” not a false statement. The Central States fund will not qualify for a loan under HR397(Hoffa Act) and will require a total bailout from the PGBC using the IBT legislation language.As in free money from the PGBC never to be paid back.Is this is false please fell free to correct me Mr Kamp..We also seem to have a bit of a discrepancy as to how many funds will require additional PGBC funds but both agendas admit funds will be “falling on the PBGC for assistance”

      • Good morning, Richard. Thanks for continuing the conversation. I am not aware of any funds other than the original three that will need additional assistance from the PBGC, as Cheiron has not updated their analysis to reflect the roughly 10-11 additional plans that are now classified as C&D. Furthermore, in our presentations before House and Senate staff, there was never any mention that CS couldn’t apply for a loan despite needing additional support from the PBGC. Where in the legislation does it say that? How many funds do you believe will need additional support from the PBGC and whose numbers are you using? As mentioned above, the Cheiron analysis determined that three of the original 114 tested would need PBGC assistance. Thanks.

  5. Russ, did you ever get in contact with Rachel Greszler, Joshua Rauh, or actuaries from the GAO, so you could compare analysis of BLA? I’m sure that you realize that the IBT, under direction of John Murphy hired Cheiron. There seems to be quite a disparity in the numbers. BLA will not pass with this current Senate. John Murphy personally told me that if the Democtats gain control of the Senate in 2020 (and keep control of the House) BLA has more potentiall to pass. This is more can kicking while funds such as Central States march towards insolvency. Personally, I believe BLA is flawed, although it would help the pensions in the short term. We’ll see what is “negotiated” in the Senate by years end.

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