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Friday, May 20th, 2005

Date:2005-05-20 14:38
Subject:More economic tragicomedy: "The Cram-Down Decade"
Security:Public
Mood: amused

In reporting on how the manager/capitalist/board-member class has (in some cases possibly intentionally) engineered a situation in which there is no funding for promised retirement benefits, Daniel Gross tosses out a contender for Funniest Use of the Word "Congress" in a Serious Article. (It's a very prestigious award. str)

There's another troubled old institution where loyal workers are getting crammed down, thanks to mismanagement. On May 12, the New York Times reported that "the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is proposing cuts in its pension benefits for priests." Why? The pension fund has notched poor returns, and it's had to spend money settling sexual-abuse litigation. The archdiocese wants to freeze pension benefits at the current level ad infinitum and slash medical benefits and other measures. Here's the kicker: The archdiocese apparently failed to make any contributions to the pension plan between 1986 and 2002, even though it held fund-raising drives to fund priests' retirements twice annually. As the Times notes, "[F]or many years the archdiocese has used that money to fill other needs."

Using money dedicated for retirement savings for other needs? What does the Boston archdiocese think it is, Congress?

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