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05/11/2005 Archived Entry: "Another financial earthquake -- but party on"


A federal bankruptcy judge approved United Airlines' plan to terminate its employees' pension plans on Tuesday, clearing the way for the largest corporate-pension default in American history.

And as with yesterday's Senate passage of the Real ID act, the mainstream media barely notices.

The fedgov's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (yeah, another one of those strange government corporations) will assume about $5 billion of the $10 billion total liability. That is, tax slaves will assume the debt while United employees, especially the higher-paid ones, still get screwed. But the PBGC is, itself, fundamentally bankrupt. It's sitting on a load of cash, but has no more means of meeting its long-term obligations than GM or United has. So we'll all pay when the feds crank up the printing presses.

Something has been wrong with the U.S. economy (and U.S. sanity) for a very, very, very long time. But never in all my years of watching and waiting has so much vibrated with wrongness at the same time. Deficit. War. National ID. Slow collapse of major industries. Dot-com bubble followed immediately by housing bubble (signaling a mass-scale, pathological denial of reality). An economy running on debt, debt, debt. Galloping expansion of government in every direction -- accompanied by the rhetoric of "conservatism" and "freedom." Total apathy or disaffection in the populace. Everything is reeking of dangerous wrongness.

But in the meantime, we've got the Michael Jackson sex-sex-sex trial to entertain us and plenty of credit cards in our pockets. So party on, folks. Party on.

Posted by Claire @ 08:31 AM CST

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