Congress’s role has been pivotal. Lawmakers wrote bankruptcy regulations to allow corporations to scrap the health insurance they promised employees who retired earlyâ€”sometimes voluntarily, quite often not. They wrote pension rules that encouraged corporations to underfund their retirement plans or switch to plans less favorable to employees. They denied workers the right to sue to enforce retirement promises. They have refused to overhaul America’s health-care system, which has created the world’s most expensive medical care without any comparable benefit. One by one, lawmakers have undermined or destroyed policies that once afforded at least the possibility of a livable existence to many seniors, while at the same time encouraging corporations to repudiate lifetime-benefit agreements. All this under the guise of ensuring workers that they are in charge of their own destinyâ€”such as it is.
. . . Sunday October 23, 2005