Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Left Masthead
July 25, 2016
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

American Amnesia
Neither Snow Nor Rain

Truthdig Bazaar
Caspian Rain

Caspian Rain

By Gina Nahai

more items

Ear to the Ground
Print this item

Corporate America’s New Golden Goose

Posted on Oct 2, 2011
Penguin Group

Last month, award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Ellen E. Schultz published a book-length expose on how corporate employers, consultants and financial firms retooled retirement plans to increase profit and enrich executives at the expense of employees and retirees.

For example, thanks to rules put in place decades ago, by the end of the 1990s pension funds at many large companies swelled, enabling employers to fully pay their current and future retirees’ pensions well into the employees’ 90s without having to add another cent. But with an eye to profits—and a little statistical sleight of hand—companies used surplus assets to finance staff reductions, giving departing employees additional pension payouts rather than severance pay.

Then they cut benefits. This replenished the pension surplus and gave a boost to company earnings, turning “retiree benefits plans into cookie jars of potential earnings enhancements” and converting a “trillion dollars in pensions and retiree benefits into an immediate, dollar-for-dollar benefit for the company.”

Read an excerpt from Schultz’s new book below and hear her discuss her findings on NPR here. —ARK


Retirement Heist explains what really happened to GE’s pensions as well as to the retirement benefits of millions of Americans at thousands of companies. No one disputes that there’s a retirement crisis, but the crisis was no demographic accident. It was manufactured by an alliance of two groups: top executives and their facilitators in the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks—all of whom played a huge and hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits.

Yet, unlike the banking industry, which was rightly blamed for the subprime mortgage crisis, the masterminds responsible for the retirement crisis have walked away blame-free. And, unlike the pension raiders of the 1980s, who killed pensions to extract the surplus assets, they face no censure. If anything they are viewed as beleaguered captains valiantly trying to keep their overloaded ships from being sunk in a perfect storm. In reality, they’re the silent pirates who looted the ships and left them to sink, along with the retirees, as they sailed away safely in their lifeboats.

Read more

More Below the Ad


Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By gerard, October 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

How schizoid can this country get?  A Wall Street Journal reporter writes a book disclosing a gigantic
Wall Street operation, cheating hundreds of people out of their retirement savings and nobody bats a legal eye?  She has “access” to the “halls of power.”
Means people working the Wall Street racket know of the book—maybe even read it—and still nothing happens to right this wrong?  Must be a missing link in there somewhere?

Report this
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network

Like Truthdig on Facebook