Multiemployer Pension Bailout Activity

Mary Williams Walsh had an article that chronicled how multiemployer pension plans deteriorated to the point that a federal bailout of the Union Mine Workers Pension was their only solution which touched on a real problem:

But that lack of oversight created a host of problems. Unions and employers negotiated pension-funding commitments as part of their labor contracts, with little regard for the actual funding needs of the plan. In some cases, even the funding needs aren’t clear: In 1993, the Securities and Exchange Commission began pushing single-employer plans to use new and improved calculations, but it had no power over multiemployer plans, which generally still use the old math.

The Congressional soluton for other multiemployer plans took another step forward as H.R.397 – Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act of 2019 – has changes in Text. Here are the various iterations:

Bailout language is still in the bill for now though a senior advisor on the Senate Finance Committee told me:

The Butch Lewis Act will not come up for debate.  We are working on a bipartisan compromise that will be ready next year. (Anyone who tells you otherwise on this is not accurate).

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by aka chicken little on December 24, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Not completely off topic. At Realclearmarkets.com John Tamny writes that there is no retirement crisis despite that retirement savings are quite low. Tamny argues that it is just that workers are happy doing what they are doing and not planning to retire. Usually, I can more or less agree with Tamny and while there probably some who don’t want to retire I find this claim rather astonishing. The Constable is looking forward to retirement, I think that is correct.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    LeBron James genius is a one off, virtually. There always have been exceptions to the typical retiree.

    But Andrew Biggs has been saying for years there is no retirement crisis in America. It seems to defy common sense, maybe because we hear from the other side so often.

    Who to believe?

    https://www.crfb.org/blogs/are-todays-seniors-facing-retirement-crisis-not-really

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! 🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴 on December 25, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      But Andrew Biggs has been saying for years there is no retirement crisis in America.
      Well, if Biggs said it then it MUST BE TRUE! Cherry picking is Dougies favorite past time….

      .

      Reply

  3. Those who got pension benefits others will never see got those benefits retroactively increased.

    Who will be made worse off to ensure they get everything they promised themselves, and in what way? If they don’t say, it will surely be people who are worse off and less powerful than the beneficiaries.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Tough Love on December 26, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Larry,

    Even WITHOUT the retroactive increases, due to the MUCH richer formulas and earlier retirement ages, Public Sector pensions are ROUTINELY many multiples greater in value upon retirement than the retirement security (now primarily via 401K Plans) granted Private Sector workers by their employers.

    And today, who but Public Sector workers get free or heavily subsidized employer-provided retiree healthcare benefits? Certainly NOT Private Sector workers.

    It’s WAY past time for very major reductions …… and for ALL current Public Sector workers, not just new (or as-yet-unvested) workers.

    Reply

    • That’s the difference between us, or rather between me and everyone else.

      You are from NJ, where taxpayers put in on average just 6.7% of payroll over the decades, one of the least among states for public employee pensions, with the employers themselves putting in among the most.

      I am from NYC, where taxpayers put in 17.0% of payroll over the decades, second most (and if you include FICA by far the most), while employees put in among the least.

      I want a discussion of how this happened and who benefitted. Everyone else seems to be in on a deal not to discuss it.

      Because where taxpayers or public employee unions are the most to blame, it is PAST taxpayers and RETIRED and soon to retire public employees who did the damage. Not screwed, poorer, later-born generations. And those who grabbed in the past are still grabbing in the present. And it is all under Omertà.

      https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2019/12/14/the-executive-financial-class-the-political-union-class-generation-greed-and-the-serfs-wherever-you-look-its-getting-worse/

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 27, 2019 at 8:25 pm

        Quoting ……………

        “I am from NYC, where taxpayers put in 17.0% of payroll over the decades, second most (and if you include FICA by far the most), while employees put in among the least. I want a discussion of how this happened and who benefited. Everyone else seems to be in on a deal not to discuss it.”

        Everyone who doesn’t have their head in the sand knows exactly how “it” (meaning how these ludicrously excessive pensions were granted with the workers paying for a small pittance of the true total cost) happened.

        The Unions BOUGHT the favorable votes (on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits) of your Elected Officials with (a) threats to work against their re-election if they oppose the Union agenda, and with (b) BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions.

        The real issue is not how it happened, but how to put end to it and materially reduce these ludicrously excessive pensions & benefits for the future service of all CURRENT (not just NEW) workers.

        Reply

        • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! 🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴 on December 28, 2019 at 3:53 am

          Everyone who doesn’t have their head in the sand knows exactly how “it” (meaning how these ludicrously excessive pensions were granted with the workers paying for a small pittance of the true total cost) happened.
          I was about to ram my head into a brick wall when I read Larry’s comment on”how did it happen”. Give me a fucking break, EVERYONE knows how it happened. Collusion and fraud. Massive FRAUD, as in SB400 retroactive pension increases of 50% that “won’t cost a die”. All those Ass Clowns belong in PRISON.

          Reply

    • Posted by Joe on December 29, 2019 at 9:10 am

      How would you feel if that meant you?

      Reply

  5. Posted by Joe on December 29, 2019 at 9:12 am

    You’ll never do it

    Reply

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