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The Theft of The American Pension

A striking example was Lucent, which inherited about 100,000 retirees when it was spun off from AT&T. From the beginning, Lucent kept saying, "We are crippled by these retirees," but the truth is, they also received more than enough actual money from AT&T to pay every dime of benefits for all the current and future retirees. Bit by bit, they cannibalized these benefits. They eliminated a death benefit, which is a very simple thing that says, if you work for us for 25 or 30 years, and you die, your widow will get $50,000 dollars or whatever per year. Lucent said they couldn't afford that. So they took it away and saved $400 million that had been set aside physically in the pension plan for these folks. At the same time, they awarded more than $400 million in bonuses to executives.Download article by THOMAS ROGERS. • Thomas Rogers is Salon's Deputy Arts Editor.

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