In One Eye

Thursday, May 12, 2005
A busy day and the first signs of a cold made blogging difficult yesterday. Today isn't quite so busy and I'm using Cold-Eeze to minimize the effects of the cold, so here we go.

I wanted to blog yesterday about the horrid decision to renege on United Airlines employees' pensions. I really think it's among the saddest things I've heard in some time. Juxtapose it with the just as heinous bankruptcy law, and it's among the most egregious examples of the destruction of America's middle class.

Today the Courant opines that we haven't seen the last of this type of financial evisceration.
[W]orkers at United aren't the first to feel betrayed. First in steel, now in airlines, tens of thousands of workers and retirees counting on promised pension checks have watched troubled companies turn over the responsibility for underfunded benefit plans to the federal government.

The dilemma now confronting United workers after a ruling late Tuesday by a federal bankruptcy judge could eventually be repeated at other airlines, and there are growing worries about underfunded retirement plans maintained by auto and auto parts makers.

But for most other workers, the more likely threat is that their healthy companies with relatively sound pension plans will end them and freeze benefits - often as part of a switch to a 401(k) plan - a route taken by IBM Corp., Avaya Inc. and hundreds of other employers.

That change, long in the making and increasingly widespread, is chipping away at long-standing expectations about retirement, even as lawmakers debate what to do about Social Security.
Ah yes. The third rail of American politics. With the United debacle upon us, it looks like it'll be more difficult than ever to have people buy into a particular Harvard MBA's ridiculous plan to cut into retirement funding even more.