Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Pension Reform
2004 PLATFORM ON PENSION REFORM
Working people – who own over $3 trillion in pension monies (deferred wages in effect) – should have financial options in where their money is invested apart from the current near-monopoly exerted by a handful of managers, banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. Pension funds should not be used for corporate mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts, corporate decisions that undercut workers rights, employment, and retirement while generously rewarding non-productive speculation. The current system has allowed vast amounts of American workers’ hard-earned money to be squandered on job-ending, plant-moving, corporate downsizing.
Pension funds are gigantic capital pools that can, with government support, be used to meet community needs and benefit workers and their families directly.
1. Corporate-sponsored pension funds (the biggest category of funds) should be jointly controlled by management and workers, not exclusively by management.
2. Federal law must be changed so that pension funds need simply to seek a reasonable rate of return, not the prevailing market rate which greatly restricts where investments can be made.
3. A secondary pension market established by the government to insure pension investments made in socially beneficial programs must be considered as one method that could greatly expand the impact of this capital market, as demonstrated in the case of federally insured / subsidized mortgage lending.
4. Prudent pension fund investing should both make money and do good work. Creating jobs and supporting employment programs in public / private partnerships can become a priority as we seek to expand towards opportunities where new jobs are created – small business, not transnational business. We could target the under- and un-employed. We believe there are myriad opportunities for a profound shift in how the capital of America’s workers is best put to use.