Investigative reporter David Sirota has a new home at International Business Times. Today he reports on a trend in city and state government: cut worker pensions while giving aid to billionaires who own sports franchises. Sirota quotes the Emergency Manager [Dictator] Kevyn Orr who calls money put toward the stadium “economic development.” Orr did not address how a reduction in pensions would hurt the economy. Somebody has to sacrifice. It might as well be working people. Their used to doing with less. Billionaires need our help.
David Sirota of Pando Daily has written an excellent article on Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and his plan to “reform” pensions for public workers. According to Sirota, the city has not made its share of contributions to pension funds for the last 14 years. At the same time it has built up TIF (Sirota calls them “slush”) funds that could have covered a good part or all of the missing pension contributions. I urge you to read this article because, as Sirota says, this is not a problem unique to Chicago. Across the U.S., political leaders of both parties are claiming pension funds are in crisis. What they almost never discuss is how the crisis came to be and who should be responsible. The rule of our time seems to be: Workers must pay, so the rich and their government representatives can play.
David Sirota of Pando has written a fascinating article outlining some funny business at PBS. One of PBS’s funders, John Arnold, has backed a series that is critically of public pensions. Is this reporting or advertorial? Sirota reports that PBS denies any conflict of interest. However, they refuse to release any documents that would verify their claim. Sirota also cites an expert who points out that grant payments could be made over time, which means that PBS needs to play ball with Arnold if they want him to pay the full grant. So much for PBS being the voice of the “liberal media.”
What really bothers me about this story is that we have in Arnold another “poor” billionaire who wants to strip working people of their retirement security. Why can’t billionaires be happy with their money and leave the little people alone? Maybe they’re chess addicts who see the working and middle class as pawns that must be sacrificed. Thanks to David Sirota and others who have reported on this story, we have the chance to see the game they are playing and understand its consequences.
Think twice before you give to PBS or NPR. They have billionaire friends and well-endowed foundations who can pay to keep the propaganda coming.
P.S. Sirota updated his story with one from the New York Times that PBS will return the $3.5 million given by Arnold’s foundation. Will they keep spreading his message? That’s the real question.