Friday, June 15, 2012

Stand By for the Big Lies


The next big target in Governor Scott Walker’s crosshairs is the Wisconsin Retirement System, and the lies have already begun.  At stake: literally billions of dollars.

Governor Walker and his minions – ALEC, The Heritage Foundation, and their ilk – and their radio mouthpieces, like Charlie Sykes, Vicki McKenna, Jerry Bader, and their ilk – are already busy spreading the lie that the Wisconsin State Retirement System is a “drag on the economy.”  You’ll hear that phrase a lot.

Outfits like the crypto-conservative Heritage Foundation will gin up some bogus numbers that will indicate participants in the state retirement system have a Cadillac setup, far better than any pension plan available in the private sector.  They’ll create the fiction that the taxpayers are funding lavish retirements for lazy, unproductive state workers.

And Charlie and Vicki and Jerry will shout these lies at the top of their lungs until enough people are taken in by the lies, paving the way for “reform” to the system.

In this case, that unnecessary “reform” means taking control of the money away from the state investment board and converting the system from a pension plan to a 401(k) system, all to be “managed” by private banks and investment houses.

You know: the folks who brought us wonderful innovations like mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps.  The folks like Jamie Dimon, who have a multi-billion dollar “oops!” every so often.

Those with short memories may not recall the early drumbeat to “privatize” Social Security that President George W. Bush began in the summer of 2001.  He was laying the foundation to move Social Security from the government to Wall Street.  The Dow was booming; the rich were getting fantastically richer; and then something happened that ended President Bush’s plan to move trillions of dollars to his investment banker buddies.   9-11 happened, and the dialog about privatizing Social Security suddenly disappeared.

Anyone who’s participated in a 401(k) plan knows exactly what happened to their retirement money when the economy came tumbling down in 2008.  In a matter of months, half their life savings – or more – disappeared.  Oops.

Here is the truth: the Wisconsin Retirement System is extremely strong, is one of the best-managed retirement systems in the nation, is not a “drag on the economy”, and doesn’t need fixing.

But Governor Walker will fight hard to privatize it, to move those billions of dollars over to the Wall Street crowd. Because if he can pull this rabbit out of the hat, he will be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, and his family and heirs will live in comfort forever.  Even if he’s drummed out of office, if he can do this gigantic favor for the Wall Street gang, they’ll reward him with board memberships, honoraria, and perks that would make Donald Trump blush.

The battle is already on, but the war isn’t over.  Be afraid; be very afraid.  Your pocket is about to be picked again.

9 comments:

  1. Tim...any way to run this scenario by Eric Hovde?....this guy, even though running as a Republican seems to have Populist Ideas...he also has a grasp of finance....I would be curious to hear his take on the WI Retirement System, merits and faults...with your vast resources is there any way that this could be accomplished?

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    1. Hovde will join the republican lockstep we've seen before once elected. No matter what they campaigned on once republicans stepped foot into Fitzwalkerstan any indications of representing constituents went out the window.

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    2. Gary J, unfortunately I have to agree with The Wall (above). And, to be honest, given Hovde's roots in Wall Street, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he would come out in favor of "reviewing and revising" the state retirement system. Even though he's running for "national" office, as a member of the Wisconsin delegation, his voice would carry some weight with the other pols in the state. I gave up on trusting politicians to do what they say they're going to do, years ago. The only thing that matters to them is votes and getting re-elected, so the only way to stop this crap is to make our voices loud and clear to the pols that our state retirement system does not need reform or revision.

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    3. Morrissey, you're part of the useful idiot populace which continually elects the spenders, and not the savers. The WRS is already broke, with unfunded liabilities, and will go the way of CA, IL, NJ and NY since these too are all bastions of liberalness, and commit monies they DON'T HAVE. At least when the Revolution 2.0 finally gets underway, there'll be plenty of lampposts to string idiots like you upon.

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  2. Plenty of Eric Hovde on Twitter. Maybe send him the link to this blog entry and make your request.

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  3. I would care no more for Mr. Hovde's thoughts than for the thoughts of any random fellow at the next barstool. Mr. Morrissey has this completely 100% correct.

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  4. Oh...you mean the WRS which is vastly under-funded?

    "But use standard market valuations — change the expected rate of return from a sky-high 7.2 percent to a more conservative Treasury bill rate — and suddenly Wisconsin’s pension system is underfunded by $70 billion.

    Using that assumption, the state pension plan is just 60 percent funded." (See: http://www.wisconsinreporter.com/wi-lauded-pension-system-not-so-strong-under-market-test)

    So exactly WHOSE "pocket will be picked"?

    My bet: the taxpayer's.

    Of course, State/local employees could actually step up their contributions instead, like private-sector folks do. But that wouldn't be in your interests, would it?

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  5. Dad29 is validating your point,Tim.

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  6. Morrissey, you're part of the useful idiot populace which continually elects the spenders, and not the savers. The WRS is already broke, with unfunded liabilities, and will go the way of CA, IL, NJ and NY since these too are all bastions of liberalness, and commit monies they DON'T HAVE. At least when the Revolution 2.0 finally gets underway, there'll be plenty of lampposts to string idiots like you upon.

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