Check out the story below about a lawsuit that puts every public pension plan at risk. I might be out on a limb here but I think this is how the financial industry and their willing servants in congress & states are going to get their greedy hands into public pensions- by changing the bankruptcy laws, one challenge at a time. More below the pretty squiggle.
The financial industry is adept at challenging arcane legalities in their favor. The Enron case and subsequent bankruptcy "reforms"is the template for this scheme. Remember what happened to all those workers when they sued the bankrupt Enron for just a part of their pensions? They got 0 from the court. Every corporate bankruptcy since then, without a union labor force, has stolen their workers pensions after a bankruptcy and the workers have no legal recourse for any recovery in court. The only individuals who recover anything are the investors. This is why we need strong unions.
Is it any coincidence the case is being heard in the Northern Marianas -home of Jack Abramoff & Tom Delay's criminal activities?
In 1959 Jimmy Hoffa was indicted by the Eisenhower Justice Dept for "borrowing" from the Teamsters pension funds. He invested the money in a failed scheme and had planned to pay it back but couldn't. This is exactly what Christine Todd Whitmann did to the NJ pension fund when she was gov. Billionaire tax cuts, capital gains cuts and federal govt austerity assures pension shortfalls. What is common practice by today's business standards will soon become common practice if states and localities declare bankruptcy. Consider poor cities who are coerced to replace elected mayors with corporate managers as just occurred in Detroit. Such a 'CEO's' can drain the pension funds and be long gone before public workers learn they have no more pension.
It's amazing how easily congress, their financial owners and the courts have re-defined fraud.
"The case is in front of a judge right now, and a central question in the case has ramifications for states and state employees all across the mainland: Is a pension fund separate from the government or part of it?Imagine what Scott Walker, John Kaisch, Rick Scott, Rahm Emanuel, Rick Snyder, Chris Christie, et al. (including every right winger, neoliberal mayor or gov in the country), will do to public servants if this law rules against public pensions?
Under U.S bankruptcy law, commonwealths and states cannot file for bankruptcy, according to David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
The pension fund is arguing that it works for the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana islands but it is not part of it.
'They need to show separateness," says Skeel. 'They need to show they are not just a branch of the commonwealth but they really are a separate entity."
On Wisconsin and beyond!