Pension Shedding:
Retroactive Decapitalism

Selling your house without paying off your mortgage.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to sell you home without having to pay off the existing bank loan? That is what is happening in corporate America as Board of Directors sell companies by shedding pension obligations  ... all the while pocketing huge bonuses. Why? How can this be stopped? How can lost pensions be recaptured?

(Note: The following was written based on an example in Richmond, Virginia. The author's question about frequency was answered by a summary front-page article in the Wall Street Journal on December 27, 2000. It is happening everywhere. In the face of rising medical costs, retirees are being short-changed by corporate leaders wanting to fatten their meager compensation packages with hefty sales commissions.)

Decapitalism is the misuse of stocks, bonds, currency and real estate to decapitalize production and decapitate employment. As a gun itself does not make one a murderer or protector nor do these symbols of capitalism themselves make one a capitalist or decapitalist. In both cases it is how one uses the tools in hand.

Like murder, decapitalism happens in many ways. If one buys a profitable company and dismembers it for a quick gain of money, one has feloniously decapitalized production. If habitual politicians and tenured economists foster policies that cause benefit-rich companies to terminate employees and then hire benefitless temp workers, this is 2nd degree decapitalism. Workplace productivity in dollars increase but humanity overall has suffered reductivity. CEO's compensation skyrockets while workers' rewards nosedive.

Paracide is the killing of one's parents.  While the stockholders were the midwives that gave birth to Reynolds, Reynold's retirees parented this local company's growth. Now the child says it does not want to take care of its parents. Now the child says it is going to kill the promised medical benefits. Now the midwive wants to join the child in disowning the parents. Now the politicians and economists say it is ok for a company to increase its bottomline by breaking benefits' promises. Do we allow children to increase household balance sheets by abusing and starving a parent to death? Yeh.

Companies used to avoid payouts by bankruptcy protection. Now companies can use mergers to increase bottomlines by avoiding payouts to retirees. This decapitalizes the workers retroactively: They are being fired after they retired. They are fired without cause, fault or warning. They are the ultimate victims of age discrimination: Wrongfully terminated without recourse to due process. They are denied the opportunity of new employment to trade the sweat of their brow for needed life-supporting compensation. Reynolds is pulling the plug on its parents' lifesupport system.

Many Reynolds' people, with memories of retirement parties and still shining gold watches, stayed at Reynolds and passed up elsewhere opportunities. Why? The much ballyhooed, strong company benefits. Economically, and elsetime, they are being robbed and murdered by the greedy decapitalists, tenured economists and habitual politicians.

Who's next? Phillip Morris? Media General? Ask not for whom this hell trolls, it trolls for you and me. As its number of Fortune 500 companies continues to decline (15 to 7 in 20 years), Richmond can be known as the Capital of the Confederacy and Decapitalism!

Why? How can this be stopped? How can lost pensions be recaptured?

Why is this happening? Retirees get lip service from habitual politicians while corporations get flip service: Gain control of a corporation and sell it by walking away from existing obligations. You can't sell your home without paying off the existing mortgage, but corporations are doing it. You can't declare bankruptcy to cancel your debt obligations without a judge reviewing your assets but corporations are initiating partial or complete bankruptcy of pensions without judicial review.

How can this be stopped? Simply elect politicians who will stop it. No more habitual politicians in the pockets of the corporate money dictators.

How can lost pensionsbe recaptured? A class action suit against all the corporate executives and directors who voted the sale of their companies by walking away from the pension obligations. Penalities will be the compensation received times ten. The buying corporations will issue and sell stock--see tort reform --until the value of the reduced pension obligations is reached for establishing a trust fund controlled by the decapitalized pensioners.

If you have questions or comments, you can democratize them at On-Line Forum as well as review others' input.


Notes, addition


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