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 publicly lobbied politicians…. for a 16.6 billion dollar government subsidy. That year, the automaker requested government funds in order to insure their retiree’s pensions, as well as produce eco-friendly electric cars.

This 2009 report, summarizes GM’s request.

Furthermore, at the time this request drew wide-spread media skepticism, predominately over the issue of government spending. In fact, this request by GM was so hotly debated in the media, 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.”

But now, 10 years later… I ask the question, “was that skepticism fair?” Especially in the wake of how automakers have conducted business since that time… For example, I almost never see a Chevy Volt out on the road today, 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.

Now 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 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 anyone in America heard the words, “30 and out?”

I faintly recall, sometime 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 support for Bush Jr’s proposed 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 that the tax cuts didn’t pass. Nevertheless, in retrospect…… how has this 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?

And being a philosophical thinker…. I can only assume… as to why this idea gets so little 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. However, with that being said, I can make some assumptions.

I believe that pension programs today, have created leverage for large corporations… particularly companies with large numbers of retirees, who are dependent upon monthly pension programs. Furthermore, I believe that in the past many of these companies have leveraged their own worker’s pensions, when asking for government backed subsidies. This idea goes back to government bailouts… particularly for companies that were once considered, “too big to fail.” That is to say, I believe that some of these companies, with large numbers of retirees, have in the past threatened to stop paying retiree’s pensions unless they obtained government backed subsidies. This style of business… in turn, basically twists the government’s arm for corporate bailouts and things of that nature… Which is why I believe that there’s been an unspoken disappearance of pension programs, over the past 4 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? However, the issue then becomes Social Security itself. Furthermore, many skeptics of, “modern day Social Security,” will already point out that the current system, has already become, “pseudo socialism,” over the past 2 decades….

Socialism…. the rotten, “S word,” that the Baby Boomer’s deemed, such an awful idea….. the same group of people who chose to deficit spend trillions of dollars since 1960, I might add.

But ultimately, does the abuse of retirement pensions, justify corporate monopolies? Because at the root of this issue is the leverage that these companies gain, by threatening the pensions of large numbers of American workers. Which I assume was the argument for supporting the American auto industry, back in the 1980’s…….

But 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, companies such as Mcdonalds and Walmart, offered, “30 and out retirement plans,” of their own? Would that work 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, or corrupt market share, once again? Furthermore, worse yet, would similar pension programs fall victim to corporate bankruptcy, 10-20 years down the line, if implemented today? And if so, would the government subsidize pensions, in the event that a company like GM, filed bankruptcy?

And those questions, beg another question, what companies should be giving out pensions in the first place? Retailers….? Tech companies? Tech companies fold and go bankrupt, 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 today? And what company can even say, that they are sure to pay out a retirement program, 30 years from today? And this concept makes me think, 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, that Republicans are starting to realize………… maybe this, “free market economy,” is kind of like NASA…..

-William Larsen, Civilians News