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View Diary: Hostess took workers' pension money to fund itself (158 comments)

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  •  That's right (1+ / 0-)
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    My dad was a union guy FEA / ALPA for National Airlines when it was taken over by Pan Am.  

    He was pretty close to retirement when that happened and he just had a bad feeling about all the deregulation going on with the Airlines back then (1983-84).  So he took earlier retirement at 60.  He was given a choice of how he got each of his 3 pensions (Eastern, National and Pan Am).  

    Eastern was already down the drain and their pension was handled by the PBGC, but his National and Pan Am he had a choice of lump sum or payout over his life time.  He took the lump sum and put it in an IRA.  We were glad he did, because within a couple of years Pan Am was bankrupt and the pension was turned over to the PBGC.   Some of his friends took the lump sum and others elected to get the life time payout.  All of those guys ended up with half the benefits they were expecting.  

    My dad has been gone for 5 years - there were no survivor's benefits for my mom, but that $112,000 that he got back in 1984 is still in the IRA, earning enough to supplement her SSA.  Obviously, it's not $112k any more - they took out their RMD for over 25 years and he did move some to some little bond investments before he was 70.  But between the two accounts, the IRA and the investment account, that original $112k is still pretty much intact and earning enough for mom to pay for car insurance, groceries, homeowners insurance, supplemental health care over her Medicare, etc.  We took some out to replace the crappy windows in the house and replace the HVAC / heat pump because as she's gotten older, she really feels the cold and I wanted her to be comfortable and not have sky-high power bills.  If they had a mortgage, it would be tough, but he made a point of paying that off by the time he was 65, just so they wouldn't have to worry if something happened to him.  

    He hated all the deregulation of the airlines - ranted for the rest of his life about it - safety, stealing from the unions, screwing up pension plans, running good companies into the ground... the whole Enron thing made him crazy, too - still can't figure out why he was a Republican - maybe if he was still alive, he'd be voting Democrat now - he certainly would be unhappy about hedge funds, Bain Capital, what's happening to Hostess and Sensata....

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:56:03 AM PST

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