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Probing the politics of pensions

Kevin Williamson of National Review Online highlights congressional Democrats’ pension bailout efforts.

The so-called American Rescue Plan, which would be more accurately called the Democrats Looting the National Fisc to Pay Off Demanding Constituencies and Grease Every Squeaky Wheel to the Left of Mitt Romney (DLNFPODCGESWLMR) Act, contains a few nickels and dimes for coronavirus vaccinations and billions upon billions of dollars to bail sundry labor bosses and financial managers out of the most recent episode of financial trouble associated with union pension plans, a decades-long parade of organized crime and disorganized incompetence brought to you by the Teamsters, the mafia, Wall Street, and the most ruthless mob of them all: the U.S. government.

This is straight-up piracy, but it is also more than that. Like their public-sector counterparts, these union-run multi-employer plans are in trouble not because of the coronavirus epidemic or some other unforeseeable circumstance but simply because they have promised extraordinarily generous benefits and failed to put aside money to pay for them. Under pressure from previous underfunding, the managers of these pensions (a committee that has over the years included everyone from Goldman Sachs to Labor Department regulators) have sought out riskier and riskier investments, hoping to achieve higher returns and help them close the gap. That has — contain your jactitations of shock and alarm! — not always worked out as intended. (The thing about risk is, it’s risky.) In effect, they took their money to the casino, came up short, and now are using their political clout with the Biden administration and congressional Democrats to demand that somebody else — you taxpaying suckers — make good on their losses.

Democrats in Congress — and, especially, those who hope to one day become president — take their orders from the union goons because while the American labor movement represents relatively few private-sector workers, it can end any given Democrat’s career in elected office pretty easily.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...