What They Are Saying About “The Plot Against Pensions”

For Immediate Release | September 27, 2013
Contact: Rachel Wolf, wolf@newpartners.com

What They Are Saying About “The Plot Against Pensions: Pew & The Arnold Foundation’s Plan to Gut Public Pensions”

Salon: “Rather than acknowledge that truth, Pew and Arnold have successfully manufactured the perception of crisis – which has prompted demands for dramatic action. Pew and Arnold have consequently helped shape those general demands into specific efforts to cut guaranteed retirement income – all while downplaying (or altogether omitting) any discussion of the possibility of raising revenue through, for instance, ending taxpayer-funded corporate subsidies and so-called tax expenditures.” “In bequeathing its brand to an Enron billionaire and embracing this campaign, Pew is being steered back toward its ultraconservative roots. In the process, the retirement security of millions of Americans is being jeopardized.” (David Sirota, “Exposed: Enron billionaire’s diabolical plot to loot worker pensions”, Salon, 9/26/2013)

Rolling Stone: “In 2011, Arnold and Pew found each other. As detailed in a new study by progressive think tank Institute for America’s Future, Arnold and Pew struck up a relationship – and both have since been proselytizing pension reform all over America, including California, Florida, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky and Montana. Few knew that Pew had a relationship with a right-wing, anti-pension zealot like Arnold. ‘The centrist reputation of Pew was a key in selling a lot of these ideas,’ says Jordan Marks of the National Public Pension Coalition.” (Matt Taibbi, “Looting the Pension Funds”, Rolling Stone, 9/26/2013)

Philadelphia Inquirer: “ThePhiladelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts and the right-wing Laura and John Arnold Foundation are working together in multiple states to “manufacture the perception of crisis” in pension funding and to press for lawmakers and governors to cut retiree benefits, concludes the Institute for America’s Future report.”

“Arnold’s foundation has partnered with the Pew Public Sector Retirement Systems Project to campaign for pension cuts in states such as California, Rhode Island and Florida.” (Tom Fitzgerald, “Report blames Pew-Enron for manufacturing public-pension ‘crisis’”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/26/2013)

Pensions & Investments: “Pension researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts are coming under attack from public pension advocates for their role in promoting public pension reforms around the country through their partnership with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in Houston.” (Hazel Bradford, “Pew-Arnold partnership scrutinized by union-backed group”, Pensions & Investments, 9/26/2013)

Frying Pan News: “Pew has become a key player in one of America’s most partisan issues as cities and states tackle the complex problems involving public worker pensions. Pension reformers present their cause as a bipartisan good-government crusade, but a visitor landing on the website of nearly any one of this movement’s myriad organizations quickly falls down a rabbit hole of interlocking conservative organizations — whose unifying theme seems to be reflexive hostility toward workplace protections and the union contracts that guarantee them.” (Gary Cohn, “Promise Breakers: How Pew Trusts Is Helping to Gut Public Employee Pensions”, Frying Pan News, 9/24/2013)

Philadelphia Daily News: This is important stuff for us, and not just because a large Philadelphia-based non-profit is involved. The article notes that the Pew-Arnold collaboration has lent out its “expertise” to a number of states and that Pennsylvania, where Gov. Corbett is eager to do something about public-sector pensions, is in the next wave. Sirota’s point is right on target — that states (and cities) don’t see their out-of-control spending on subsidies for wealthy corporations as a “crisis” in the same way that a sanitation worker or, heaven forbid, a schoolteacher getting to live his or her retirement in the middle class is a “crisis.” (Will Bunch, P-ew! Why is a huge Philly charity going after your pension? Philadelphia Daily News, 9/26/13)

Raw Story: Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi appeared on Democracy, Now! Thursday to talk about how Wall Street hedge funds are set on sacking the pension funds of public employees. Those funds are the “last great, unguarded piles of money in this country,” he said, and naturally the top tiers of the private sector are going to battle amongst themselves to see who can seize the most. (Matt Taibbi: Wall Street hedge funds are stealing public workers’ pensions, Raw Story, 9/26/13)

NCPERS: Public pensions have become a convenient but wholly undeserving scapegoat – in no small measure because of the gravitas of the Pew Charitable Trust….It comes as no surprise to us at [the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems] that Pew’s associations and motivations are being called into question in a major investigation by a prominent and credible journalist. David Sirota’s reporting will certainly spark a much-needed discussion about Pew.” (Hank Kim, Esq., Executive Director and Counsel of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, via Marketwatch, 9/26/13)

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