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Thread: Wolf urges Congress to fund health benefits for coal miners

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    The union got caught in the Great Recession just like lots of smart people, and lost money just like a lot of smart people
    "A lot of smart people" aren't entitled to have taxpayers pay for everything to be all better as if it never happened.

    The miners did nothing wrong,
    They took a chance that a union administered pension was the way to go, and the bet turned out wrong. Not entitled to public bailout money.

    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    If we bail out bankers who took stupid risks with other people's money, we damn well can bail out miners who did nothing wrong.
    Hence why I point out the moral hazard. This is one union. They deserve no special favors.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    The country benefited from the work miners risked their lives to do
    And yet this bill does jack squat for any and all the people who have worked in mines who don't happen to be in this union's pension plan. Creating a generality that "everyone benefits from" whoever's work doesn't justify the treasury just sending them and only them extra money. Have you no fiscal principles whatsoever?

    if the country can't see its way clear to return the favor
    It wasn't a "favor," it was work, and when it comes to long-term investments, there aren't really any guarantees. They took a chance and it didn't pay off in this case. My heart goes out to them. But my heart goes out to a lot of people who are struggling. But my heart going out to them doesn't rationalize selective special favors for some of them but not others. Whatever programs we have to support poor people and sick people in general, that is the support they should be offered.

    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    It is attitudes like yours that make me feel like I don't want to be part of where this country is headed.
    Tens of millions of Americans don't get extra money from taxpayers by virtue of the fact their retirement and investment strategy failed to achieve its goal. They simply lose money and are poor. This is one union (of hundreds) whose pension plan has basically failed and is dead in the water, and they want special treatment from taxpayers as if it weren't true. They should get exactly the same special bailout treatment as everyone else in the country who ends up poor. Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare, Social Security. Not this special union favor.
    Last edited by Neomalthusian; 20th April 2017 at 08:57 PM.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    if the country can't see its way clear to return the favor now when miners need help, then we will destroy ourselves with our own shortsighted selfishness.
    And ya know, I am glad you bring up the issue of shortsighted selfishness.

    In 2012, the UMWA negotiated a "Bonus Plan" for eligible current retirees only whereby they would get "bonuses" in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They knew they'd be insolvent somewhere between 2020 and 2025, and thus there won't be money for their own future retirees, but because of shortsighted selfishness, they didn't care, they negotiated to be able to let current retirees dip their hands into the cookie jar and raid the fund. This sort of behavior should not be rewarded with taxpayer bailouts.

    Even from the beginning, the UMWA insisted on paying benefits to retirees that had never contributed to the plan. They mismanaged the pension fund terribly, over-promising benefits and under-funding them, and now think they can just shift responsibility onto the taxpayers to pay for their damages.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    And ya know, I am glad you bring up the issue of shortsighted selfishness.

    In 2012, the UMWA negotiated a "Bonus Plan" for eligible current retirees only whereby they would get "bonuses" in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They knew they'd be insolvent somewhere between 2020 and 2025, and thus there won't be money for their own future retirees, but because of shortsighted selfishness, they didn't care, they negotiated to be able to let current retirees dip their hands into the cookie jar and raid the fund. This sort of behavior should not be rewarded with taxpayer bailouts.

    Even from the beginning, the UMWA insisted on paying benefits to retirees that had never contributed to the plan. They mismanaged the pension fund terribly, over-promising benefits and under-funding them, and now think they can just shift responsibility onto the taxpayers to pay for their damages.
    This seems to contradict your point of view:

    "Bost claims mining companies intentionally created other businesses and shifted union members to those companies before declaring bankruptcy.

    "In bankruptcy they can walk away from that union obligation," Bost says. "That was never the intent of the law."

    The Miners Protection Act of 2017 would take interest generated from the Mine Reclamation Fund and use that money to fund health care for retired workers whose benefits are set to expire.

    "What we propose to do," Bost explains, "is take that interest and use that to pay out the pensions of the United Mine Workers that have fell by the wayside, and like I said, it's a minimal amount."

    Bost says by using that interest, there will be no added financial burden on tax payers.

    There is opposition to the plan from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who argue the government should not be bailing out companies over bad business decisions.

    Still, Congressman Bost says he has the assurance of Speaker Paul Ryan that something will be done by the end of the month to protect those miners."

    Bost urges passage of Miners Protection Act - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

  5. #55
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    Wolf urges Congress to fund health benefits for coal miners

    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    This seems to contradict your point of view:

    "Bost claims mining companies intentionally created other businesses and shifted union members to those companies before declaring bankruptcy.

    "In bankruptcy they can walk away from that union obligation," Bost says. "That was never the intent of the law."
    What "union obligation?" It's not clear what he is stating or how bankruptcy law is pertinent to the condition of this pension fund. The pension fund was administered by the union, and if it were appropriately managed, it very likely wouldn't be broke now.

    The Miners Protection Act of 2017 would take interest generated from the Mine Reclamation Fund and use that money to fund health care for retired workers whose benefits are set to expire.

    "What we propose to do," Bost explains, "is take that interest and use that to pay out the pensions of the United Mine Workers that have fell by the wayside, and like I said, it's a minimal amount."
    Bullshit. If it were a "minimal amount," it wouldn't need a bailout, and UMWA could just raise its dues to cover the shortfalls. Oh, but they can't do that! "No way, that "minimal amount" is waaaay too much money to actually ask our participants to fund. We just want the benefits, not the costs."

    Bost says by using that interest, there will be no added financial burden on tax payers.
    The interest on reclamation funds should wrap back into the reclamation funds and be used for the intended purpose of those funds. That's how fund accounting works. If the money to bail out this pension would be coming from something other than the pension fund's own contributions and earnings (which in any case it would, given the fund is broke), the burden of that money going into that pension fund to bail it out is additional burden on taxpayers.

    There is opposition to the plan from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who argue the government should not be bailing out companies over bad business decisions.
    Where does this guy get off blaming this pension fund's failure on the company? The fund was administered by the union, and the union has historically negotiated to try to swipe money out of it to benefit current beneficiaries only. There is no wonder this fund is toast. We shouldn't reward financial mismanagement.
    Last edited by Neomalthusian; 21st April 2017 at 08:55 AM.

  6. #56
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    As long as the miners were victims of corporate malfeasance, it is ok to fuck them over. Corporate Malfeasance is a God Given Right in this country.
    Thanks from labrea

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGaffer View Post
    As long as the miners were victims of corporate malfeasance, it is ok to fuck them over.
    Who administered this pension? Who actively negotiated to pay out benefits to people who hadn't contributed to the pension? Who fought to be able to pay out "bonuses" from these funds to current retirees only, despite knowing and having already acknowledged the plan would be insolvent by 2020-2025? Who did that? Whose malfeasance was that?

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    Who administered this pension? Who actively negotiated to pay out benefits to people who hadn't contributed to the pension? Who fought to be able to pay out "bonuses" from these funds to current retirees only, despite knowing and having already acknowledged the plan would be insolvent by 2020-2025? Who did that? Whose malfeasance was that?
    Just ignore that the coal companies filed bankruptcy to avoid paying in their contracted amounts, like you always do, Corporations always get a pass in your books, always.

    More than 22,000 retired coal miners could lose their health care and pension soon unless Congress takes action. The loss would be devastating for families and the towns they live in. Reporter Margaret J. Krauss of Keystone Crossroads reports.
    Yankovich is a district vice president for the United Mine Workers. He says over years of contract negotiations, miners accepted smaller salaries in exchange for peace of mind.
    ED YANKOVICH: We could have a lot more money in the mines, but we were worried about lifetime health care. So we negotiated lower wages so we could have lifetime health care. Now, for that not to be honored is wrong.
    KRAUSS: Coal companies normally fund miners' health care and pension benefits, but some have gone bankrupt. While President Donald Trump has promised to revive coal, that wouldn't bring back companies that have already closed up shop. Without congressional action, 61-year-old Dave Vansickle could lose his health care benefits and most of a pension that reflects the 40 years he worked underground.
    DAVE VANSICKLE: It's just a hard pill to swallow. I mean, all those years, it was promise, promise, promise, and through bankruptcy, everything's thrown away.
    Benefits In Jeopardy For Retired Coal Miners : NPR

    I always have to shake my head at the Social Darwinists that just say fuck em, let em die.
    Thanks from labrea

  9. #59
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    A Social Darwinist favorite:

    The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the Asch Building, on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, in Manhattan. It was a true sweatshop, employing young immigrant women who worked in a cramped space at lines of sewing machines. Nearly all the workers were teenaged girls who did not speak English and made only about $15 per week working 12 hours a day, every day. In 1911, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and the workers had to file down a long, narrow corridor in order to reach it. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent stealing and the other only opened inward. The fire escape was so narrow that it would have taken hours for all the workers to use it, even in the best of circumstances.
    The danger of fire in factories like the Triangle Shirtwaist was well-known, but high levels of corruption in both the garment industry and city government generally ensured that no useful precautions were taken to prevent fires. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory’s owners were known to be particularly anti-worker in their policies and had played a critical role in breaking a large strike by workers the previous year.
    Despite a good deal of evidence that the owners and management had been horribly negligent in the fire, a grand jury failed to indict them on manslaughter charges.
    Fire kills 145 at Triangle Shirtwaist factory - Mar 25, 1911 - HISTORY.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    Who administered this pension? Who actively negotiated to pay out benefits to people who hadn't contributed to the pension? Who fought to be able to pay out "bonuses" from these funds to current retirees only, despite knowing and having already acknowledged the plan would be insolvent by 2020-2025? Who did that? Whose malfeasance was that?
    Maybe you would be so kind as to provide a link that supports your claim that the union mismanaged funds?

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