30 And Out – The Retirement Plan We Never Had

May 15th 2019 – By: William Larsen – Civilians News – “News For All Views”

– “30 And Out” – 

In 2009, General Motors was actively lobbying…. for 16.6 billion dollars in government subsidies. That year, the automaker requested government funds… in order to insure their retiree’s pensions, as well as produce more eco-friendly electric cars.

This is a 2009 report, summarizing GM’s request.

Furthermore, at that time… this request for government funds drew wide-spread skepticism… predominately over the issue of government spending. In fact, this issue was given plenty of media coverage at that time, so much so, that The Wall Street Journal remarked, “the government could alternatively buy hundreds of thousands of new cars and simply give them to deserving citizens, for that amount of money.”

Now, 10 years later… I ask the question, “was that skepticism fair?” Particularly, when knowing today… that I almost never see a Chevy Volt out on the road, which was one of GM’s main selling points, when lobbying for those funds. Nevertheless, let’s re-examine this debate… from 10 years ago.

In particular, what stands out to me isn’t the vast sum of money that GM requested….. or that GM has yet to deliver on it’s promises, particularly pertaining to providing customers more, “eco friendly,” electric cars….. but instead what stands out to me, is the retirement plans, for which GM sought to subsidize……

Specifically, when’s the last time America heard the words, “30 and out?”

I fuzzily recall, during George W. Bush Jr.’s tenure, there was talk of, “30 and out retirement plans,” for a short period of time. That was back in 2003, when, “30 and out,” was briefly mentioned as a political buzz word, used to encourage the Bush tax cuts. Now, I can’t say with any certainty how that debate ended… mostly because I was in high school at that time, however, I do recall the tax cuts did not pass. Nevertheless, in retrospect…… how has that debate concerning, “30 and out retirement plans,” not re-surfaced in the American media?

“30 and out?”

What is that?

“30 and out?” You mean to say that people used to be able to retire, after 30 years on the job? So, I dug a little deeper….. and as it turns out…..  the U.A.W. (United Auto Workers) did in fact offer, “30 and out retirement plans,” back in 1971…..

So, today I wonder.. why hasn’t this topic been discussed more recently, in the American mainstream media?

Now, being a philosophical thinker…. I can only assume… as to why this concept gets so little media attention today.

Also, to be clear, I don’t know the answer…… I can’t with any sure mindedness claim to understand why… that this concept has seemingly vanished from the public eye……. Regardless, with that being said, I can make some assumptions.

I believe that pension programs today…. have given leverage to large corporations… particularly companies with large numbers of retirees, who are dependent upon these monthly pension programs. Furthermore, I believe in the past, many of these companies have leveraged their own worker’s pensions, when asking for government backed subsidies. This goes back to government bailouts… particularly for companies that were once considered, “too big to fail.” That is to say, I believe some of these companies, with large numbers of retirees, have in the past threatened to stop paying retiree’s pensions, unless they obtain government backed subsidies. This style of business… has in turn, basically twisted the government’s arm for corporate bailouts and things of that nature, in the past………That is why, I believe there has been an unspoken disappearance of American pension programs, over the past 2 decades.

Because to me…. the concept of, “30 and out,” seems awfully fair…… however… these days, rarely do you see anyone work for the same company, for that amount of time….

Which then leads me to wonder, “what if that program was turned into a government backed program itself, perhaps based on W2’s and tax records, instead of corporate retirement plans?” IE Social Security.

Imagine if 30 years of W2’s… made all American’s eligible for Social Security? Yet again, the issue there…. then becomes the bloated nature of the current Social Security system. Furthermore, many skeptics of, “modern day Social Security,” also point out that the current Social Security system, has already ventured too close… to all out, “socialism,” over the past 2 decades….

Socialism…. ‘O that rotten, “S word,” for which the Baby Boomer’s deemed, such an awful idea….. might I add, while deficit spending exponentially, since 1965.

But ultimately, does retirement planning such as this, justify corporate monopolies? Because at the root of this issue, is the leverage that these companies gain, by leveraging the pensions of large numbers of retirees. This I assume, was the old argument for supporting the American auto industry, back in the 1980’s…….

So… what do you think? Does, “30 and out retirement,” undermine competition within the free market today? Did GM deserve those government subsidies, 10 years ago? And what if companies with large work-forces, such as Mcdonalds and Walmart, offered, “30 and out retirement plans,” today? Or…. would these types of retirement programs, just become another example of leverage, destined to be used for arguing in favor of corporate bailouts, once again? Or worse yet, would these pension programs fall victim to corporate bankruptcy, 10-20 years down the line, perhaps forcing retirees to forfeit their pensions altogether?

Which then begs the question, what companies should be giving out pensions anymore? Retailers….? Tech companies? Tech companies fold literally everyday, where’s the security in that? So ultimately……what type of a society, what type of, “occupational evolution,” do we want to invest our lives in….? Where is our retirement safe anymore? What company can even say, they are sure to pay out a retirement program, 30 years from today? This concept then leads me to ask, are pension programs even an option anymore, or simply a military thing?

In conclusion, I have a sneaking suspicion that with the way this economy is setup, combined with a growing dependency on Social Security, Republicans are starting to realize………… maybe this, “free market,” is kind of like NASA…..

-William Larsen, Civilians News