By Diane Ravitch
Educators know that their pensions are under attack. Some policymakers and pundits opine that the fabulous pensions paid to public employees are going to cause our economic system to collapse. You won’t hear them say much about the yawning income inequality gap, the growing share of the nation’s wealth now flowing up to the top 1%, or the disappearance of the middle class, as good jobs are outsourced to low-wage nations by corporations moaning that they can’t find qualified workers. What they really mean is that they can’t find engineers willing to work for sub-minimum wages.
So who is fueling the attack on your pension?
It may surprise you to learn that there is an “unholy alliance” between the far-rightArnold Foundation, created by former Enron trader John Arnold, and the respected Pew Charitable Trust.
When a new law was passed in Kentucky, critics were upset.
“Critics, who include pension-fund experts, lawmakers and AARP Kentucky, claim the new law will hurt workers, taxpayers and retirees. What’s more, they say the law was largely crafted behind the scenes by an unusual alliance between two out-of-state organizations: the Pew Center on the States and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Some detractors go further and assert that the Arnold Foundation is using Pew’s sterling reputation for academic integrity as a fig leaf to hide its own free-market agenda.”
And the article adds:
“Pew may be mostly known for its financial support of PBS programs, which has given the foundation the kind of publicity that reflects the self-described “non-partisan and non-ideological” nature of Pew’s work.
“Yet Pew has become a key player in one of America’s most partisan issues as cities and states tackle the complex problems involving public worker pensions. Pension reformers present their cause as a bipartisan good-government crusade, but a visitor landing on the website of nearly any one of this movement’s myriad organizations quickly falls down a rabbit hole of interlocking conservative organizations — whose unifying theme seems to be reflexive hostility toward workplace protections and the union contracts that guarantee them.”
Copyright © 2013, Diane Ravitch