Negotiating high benefits means gambling with future finances - and when the farm gets sold out from underneath major corporations or public institutions, it affects all of us, and in ways we might not imagine. With his trademark narrative panache, Lowenstein unravels the truth about how pensions work in America and illuminates the impending crisis.
©2008 Roger Lowenstein; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America
I listened to this book in order to better understand pensions, since I am (apparently) part of a shrinking number of working Americans still accruing a one. The book goes into a little more detail than I had hoped for, particularly in regards to the San Diego pension crisis and the NY city workers pension fiasco. The reader is not the best, either. So, while you get the general concepts behind why pensions are being phased out, you may feel bogged down a bit by the minutia.
This is an outstanding condensation of the the history of US labor relations as they unfolded within the Auto industry. Lowenstien paints a grim, but I fear all too accurate, picture of the futility of taxpayer recent bailout of an already comatose industry. He is even handed in his citing of causes: inept management and a culture of expediency matched by an ever over reaching UAW. Even more sobering is his treatment of New York City and State, the culture of cronyism and pandering that lead to disastrous and irrevocable concessions given to the unions over the years. Lowenstien names names, and cites specific salaries and pension obligations and points out those who stand to earn more in retirement at the age of 55 or younger, than they did while they were working. Astonishing.
Read this book before the next strike is threatened.
Roger Lowenstein lays out a complicated topic in an accessible story form. Well worth the time to educate yourself on this topic. I will be paying attention to the politics and police/firefighters union negotiations from now on.
Good coverage of combined misuse of trust by retirees in the system. The attempts to maintain an "unbiased position" leave the implication that the workers are equally to blame as the owners. If that is so, how do we explain the massive shift in wealth distribution -- the autoworker who retires at 50 years old does not have a comparable portion to the CEO who is let go with a REAL golden parachute.
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