imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The End of Retirement?

by Workers Action Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 at 2:55 PM

Unless things change fast, human history will show that the phenomenon of “retirement” was limited to one generation. After World War II, when European and Japanese economies stood in tatters, American capitalism could fulfill “the American dream,” since there was little foreign competition to speak of. For the first time ever, workers were promised that — after working thirty or so years — they would be able to securely retire. That was largely the case…for one generation.



The second generation is having a devastating reality check. 2008 was supposed to be a watershed year for retirement: it was the first year that the baby-boomers turned 62, and the retirement frenzy was to begin (since people could begin to draw on their social security benefits). Early in the year, however, a study was conducted that found one-fourth of these boomers were delaying retirement (only the baby-boomers who were actually able to plan for retirement were studied). The economy has since nosedived, and many more retirements are being delayed. The unfortunate reality is that many who planned on retiring will work until the grave, joining the millions of other baby-boomers who never had such dreams.

The experts are calling this the “perfect storm” for retirement. Everything that could go wrong is in fact going wrong. This storm, however, was not created by supernatural forces, but the coordinated effort of big-business and their puppet politicians.

The deliberate destruction of the pension and its replacement by the 401(k) was, of course, a giant step towards attacking retirement; but now that the economic crisis has emerged, we’re beginning to see just how ruinous the effects are.

At the end of September, just as the crisis was beginning to gain steam, it was discovered that in the previous year the value of stocks in 401(k) accounts had fallen by nearly trillion! Much more has been lost since then. This is especially devastating since almost one-third of 401(k) participants in their 60s had 80 percent of their money in stocks (pension funds have been similarly destroyed).

The 401(k) was the scheme of the century. Corporations offloaded their "burdensome" pensions and used the combined forces of the media and politicians to sell the ruse to the public, to the great benefit of Wall Street. Workers were told that the boom-slump cycle was over, and that stocks were a sure thing. There were additional factors to invest in stocks: interest rates were so low that investing in bonds and other less-risky instruments offered only tiny returns; and since employers stopped contributing to retirement funds, a bigger return was required.

More importantly, corporations have been driving down real wages since the seventies, allowing less money to be saved for retirement, creating a mood of desperation.

Every “safe bet” for investing has been proven unsafe; the recession has left nothing untouched. After the dotcom bubble burst — taking with it millions of people's 401(k) savings — the housing market became the place to invest. Now the safest possible investment, too, has turned sour. For millions of people, the home they lived in was their nest egg, which they had planned to sell and move into a smaller place. No more.

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), who chairs the House subcommittee on health, employment, labor and pensions, put it bluntly: “Some will have very little, some will have almost nothing, and some will have nothing when they retire”. Of course, people who “have nothing” do not retire.

This process is being accelerated by the newest trick of big business: declaring bankruptcy to destroy “pension obligations”. These obligations apply with equal weight to workers already retired, many of whom are seeing their pensions slashed in half, forcing them out of retirement.

Now even the threat of bankruptcy is constantly used in union contract negotiations to scare workers into concessions, since after achieving bankruptcy, labor agreements are torn up. The threat of closing the company’s doors is a very effective form of intimidation.

This phenomenon is at the center of the GM debate. The corporate politicians in congress cannot decide whether to appoint a “Car Tsar” to oversee the destruction of the autoworkers pensions, or use the proven method of bankruptcy. Not a day goes by that the corporate media doesn’t join hands to assail the pension and health care benefits of the “spoiled” GM workers. The hypocrisy is sickening.

This after the UAW had already agreed to the most shameful concessions in 2007. Although concessions are often made in the name of “job security,” the result is that corporations become emboldened by such acts. Eventually, every benefit of workers that contradicts company profit will be targeted. The demand for concessions never stops, and soon the point arrives when the benefits of having a union become questioned, since dues money is not paid with concessions in mind.

The autoworkers struggle is at the forefront of the pension battle nationwide, since their struggles in the 1930’s originally paved the way for pensions. Equally important is the pension struggles emerging with public employees, the last stronghold of workers who receive them. Public employees will find their pensions under immense attack as the economic crisis intensifies, and government budgets are depleted (see “State Budget Crisis Deepens” on this site).

Fighting the corporate strategy of bankruptcy and business closures is an immediate need of working people. This tactic will increase in number as the crisis deepens and companies strive to “restore profitability” by drastically lowering wages. If a company attempts such a criminal act, the workers should demand a bailout for themselves; the government should take over the plant so that the workers can keep their jobs, such as was done for the banks. Management must be sacked and instead of a government bureaucrat, the workers themselves should run the business.

To win this program, new levels of organizing and solidarity are needed, such as the example of the United Electrical Workers, who occupied their factory and organized in a brilliant fashion. They won a stunning victory by utilizing the methods of the original autoworkers struggles from the 1930’s. If a fight is to be waged, it must be done seriously and with determination, uniting both retired and active workers. The UEW workers have shown the way forward for the labor movement, which can no longer rely on union concessions or the promises of Democratic politicians, but only their own collective strength.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy