Tomorrow is Halloween. Children across the country will be going door-to-door asking “trick or treat” to their neighbors. Public workers, however, are getting more tricks than treats from the pension ghouls haunting the debate over retirement security for working families. In honor of this most spooky of nights, we’re going to enter the haunted house of pension horrors and meet some of the pension ghouls playing tricks on hard-working Americans.
Frankenstein’s monster: John Arnold – like Frankenstein’s monster, John Arnold’s effort to gut public pensions is made up of many parts. As we’ve discussed before, he funds biased think tank research, invests in failed anti-pension ballot measures, and promotes shoddy research. His anti-pension rhetoric should be set adrift on a block of ice so it doesn’t threaten public workers anymore.
The vampire: Rex Sinquefield – like Count Dracula in Transylvania, Rex Sinquefield lurks in the shadows in Missouri, using his wealth to fund right-wing efforts through the Show-Me Institute. Sinquefield has been a leading proponent of gutting public pensions there, despite the success of PSRS/PEERS at providing retirement security to working families. Rather than allowing Wall Street financial interests to drain the life out of Missouri’s pensions, legislators there should stand up for the working families who rely on their pensions in retirement.
The ghosts: Carl DeMaio and Chuck Reed – DeMaio and Reed continue to haunt California with their anti-pension ballot measures. Like ghostly ghouls, they jump out of the shadows yelling “Boo!” at California’s public employees, who are simply trying to earn a dignified retirement. Despite their repeated failures, DeMaio and Reed still haunt the Golden State and it may take an exorcist to finally remove the ghastly spirit of their anti-pension efforts.
The werewolves: Chris Christie and Bruce Rauner – like the full moon to a werewolf, the appearance of a public pension turns these governors into snarling beasts, intent on gutting the retirement security of teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other public employees in their states. Christie’s howling about pensions is particularly frightening, since he violated the terms of his own pension law, skipped payments, and made New Jersey’s pensions the most underfunded in the country. It may take more than a piece of silver to stop these governors from threatening the retirement security of working families in their states.
After that frightening trip through the haunted house of pension horrors, it’s clear that many threats are lurking in the shadows to menace the retirement security of hard-working Americans. If you’ve encountered a pension ghoul, share your story with us. In the meantime, enjoy some candy corn and don’t ask Carly Fiorina to borrow her witch’s hat.