In a news conference last week, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders advocated for the repeal of an amendment in the nation’s already passed 2016 budget that grants the authority for multi-employer corporations to cut the pensions and benefits of retired workers by up to 30 percent.
At the conference on June 18, the Vermont senator unveiled his own legislation that would repeal the provision approved by members of Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December 2014.
“Hard-working retirees should not ever have to doubt their retirement security. We made a commitment 40 years ago to workers in this country that companies will never renege on a pension promise. We need to restore that commitment,” the self-described Democratic-Socialist said.
Many multi-employer pensions are facing billions of dollars in budget shortfalls and with more Americans retiring over the next decade, the financial problems will only increase. To alleviate the problem, Congress and the president worked together to allow cuts to pensions for corporations that cannot afford to pay the costly six-figure sums and benefits.
“If we do not repeal this disastrous law, retirees all over this country could see their pensions cut by 30 percent or more. We cannot let that happen. Instead of asking retirees to take a massive cut in their pension benefits, we can make these plans solvent by closing egregious loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans in this country to avoid paying their fair share of taxes,” Sanders said, once again attacking rich Americans and the nation’s income tax rate.
According to The New York Times, members of the Teamsters Union and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers were some of the senator’s most loyal and vocal supporters during the conference. Many of those members held up signs that read “Keep Pension Promise.”
In the public sector, public pension systems in many states have caused local governments to file for bankruptcy. For example, after decades of mismanagement and fraud, California is now nearly $300 billion in debt to the pension system. In 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, attempted to create some reforms to alleviate the problem, but many Democratic legislators opposed his efforts.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons