The Plan to Plunder Public Pensions

The truth is, public employee pensions overall are fiscally sound and subject to strict oversight. But this means nothing to right wing ideologues who want to gut Americans' retirement security.
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Despite this year's victories at the ballot box and against Social Security privatization, a recent article in The New York Times made clear that right wing attacks on Americans' retirement security continue.

The story itself was overly alarmist. It omitted key facts about a San Diego public pension case and failed to mention that, by and large, public pensions are well funded and backed by law. The truth is, public employee pensions overall are fiscally sound and subject to strict oversight.

But these inconvenient facts mean nothing to right wing ideologues who want to gut Americans' retirement security. And they think the public will go along if they gin up a false crisis about the state of public pensions today.

Sound familiar? It should. That's exactly the strategy that Social Security privateers pursued last year. They failed miserably. But now they're back with a new plan to gut retirement security: pick off public employee pensions, then raid pensions in the private sector.

Their ultimate goal, of course, is to make pensions altogether a thing of the past; to promote a society in which the wealthiest continue to horde huge resources while the American Dream is dismantled for everyone else. To real people, that means risking financial turmoil just by getting sick or growing old.

Progressives beat back the right wing's opening salvo on public pensions. In 2005, millions of Californians joined their local police, firefighters and nurses to scuttle Arnold Schwarzenegger's scheme to gut public pensions. But as the Times underscored, the assault of misinformation from opponents of retirement security continues.

Just as quality health insurance for every American is essential, so too is a retirement that guarantees Americans the dignity, respect and security we've earned. That's why we must fight the right wing's attacks on public pensions, just as we did on Social Security. Retirement security is too important.

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