-By Warner Todd Huston
When will Obama’s gifts to unions (at the expense of the taxpayers) ever end? On the heels of a $26.1 billion teacher union bailout, now Democrats are attempting to get Congress to give $34 billion of the taxpayer’s money to the Teamsters because that union has mishandled its pension funds.
Senators Robert Casey (D., Pa.) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.) are now pushing the bill that will bailout the Teamsters pension fund by altering the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. which currently charges insurance rates to the funds it helps to solvency. Under new rules the help the PBGC offers troubled pension funds will now just end up coming out of federal funds. As Kevin D. Williamson of National Review informs us, as the PBGC law stands now the obligations that PBGC takes on to help “orphan pensions” are not obligations of the U.S. government. “Casey-Pomeroy would reverse that,” Williamson tells us, “mandating that “‘obligations of the corporation that are financed by the [fifth fund] shall be obligations of the United States.'” Yep, another gigantic bailout.
This new plan will make it easier to take further steps to directly begin bailing out both private unions and public employees unions which, combined, are trillions in the red.
And that is the truly worrisome part: Casey’s bill would allow for the transfer of money from the “fifth fund” to other PBGC funds. In other words, we could end up paying for the whole thing. “It takes a couple of leaps,” Vernuccio says, “but, long term, you can see this being a backdoor bailout of PBGC.” There is no statutory limit on the amount of taxpayer money that could be committed to bailing out union pensions under the Casey bill. Taxpayers already have an unlimited commitment to bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — do we really want to offer a bottomless well of public money to the Teamsters, too?
This is all of a piece with Obama’s constant payoffs to unions. Not only has the president been at the fore of handing unions billions in bailout money, he has also been a leading advocate for rolling back rules that were passed in order to bring transparency to union finances.