Category Archives: Privatization

Leading US Retirees ‘Like Lambs to the Slaughter,’ Trump Labor Dept. Quietly Offers Up 401k Plans to Private Equity Vultures

“Private equity firms will now be allowed to access—and skim fees off of—the $9 trillion in 100 million workers’ 401(k) plans and IRAs.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-16-2020

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone, at the Annual Meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo; World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

With the American public’s attention consumed by the Covid-19 pandemic and mass protests against police brutality, the U.S. Labor Department earlier this month quietly gave corporate sponsors of retirement plans something they’ve been agitating over for years: a government green light to invest workers’ savings into funds managed by notoriously predatory private equity firms.

The move, announced on June 3 by Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, allows large managers of 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to put workers’ retirement savings into private equity investments that offer the possibility of huge returns—and devastating losses. Continue reading

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Calling US Postal Service ‘A Joke,’ Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Such a move, say critics, “would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2020

Postal workers and critics of the Trump administration’s plans to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS) carried signs at a Los Angeles protest on Oct. 8, 2018. (Photo: Chloe Osmer/Twitter)

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future Covid-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices—a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.

After U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded a question about relief funding for USPS from a reporter at the White House during a bill signing ceremony Friday, Trump declared that “the Postal Service is a joke, because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it.” Continue reading

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Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Myron Ebell discusses withdrawing U.S.commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty on a panel on WUSA9 in 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”

The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker. Continue reading

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‘Their Secret Agenda Today Is Exposed’: Corbyn Says Leaked Trade Docs Show Tory Plan to Privatize NHS With Trump’s Help

The U.K. Labour leader said the move, if successful, “could lead to runaway privatization of our health service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2019

U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn holds redacted copies of the Department for International Trade’s U.K.-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group report following a speech about the National Health Service in Westminster, London. Photo: Devutopia/Twitter

U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday unveiled over 450 pages of leaked documents that he said expose British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s effort to open up the National Health Service to corporate exploitation in trade negotiations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

During a press conference, Corbyn said the Trump administration’s negotiators are “demanding” that the NHS be put “on the table” in talks over a possible post-Brexit trade pact between the U.S. and U.K. Continue reading

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200+ Groups Denounce UN-WEF Agreement That Entrenches Corporate Interests Driving Global ‘Social and Environmental Crises’

“It moves the world dangerously towards a privatized and undemocratic global governance.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-27-2019

Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), India, Alice Bunn, Director, International, UK Space Agency, United Kingdom, Frederick Kempe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Council, USA speaking during the Session “Future Frontiers of Technology Control ” in “Situation Room” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2018. Photo: Greg Beadle – World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

Over 200 civil society groups this week voiced their firm opposition to a recently-inked agreement between the United Nations and World Economic Forum that stands to further entrench transnational corporations and their interests in global governance.

“It moves the world dangerously towards a privatized and undemocratic global governance,” said Gonzalo Berrón of Transnational Institute. Continue reading

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Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

Republicans, Democrats and Independents, of all ages, races and genders, overwhelmingly agree. We understand that Social Security is more important than ever. We overwhelmingly reject any cuts to its modest benefits.

By Nancy J. Altman. Published 9-6-2019 by Common Dreams

Congress should address our nation’s looming retirement income crisis by increasing Social Security’s modest benefits. (Photo: Courtesy of AFGE, Flickr | CC 2.0)

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

At a recent town hall, Ernst stated that Congress needs to “sit down behind closed doors” to “address Social Security.” She vaguely asserted, “A lot of changes need to be made in this system going forward.” But, she complained, if these changes were proposed in public, she would be accused of pushing “granny over a cliff.” It is not hard to figure out what “changes” she has in mind. Continue reading

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As Rosselló Resigns, Renewed Protests Demand ‘Real and Radical Change’ Instead of Continued Austerity and Corruption

“We didn’t demand the resignation of a corrupted government, for having another equally corrupted. We are demanding a real alternative.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-3-2019

Stepping down after mass protests over alleged corruption and leaked messages in which he denigrated women and LGBTQ people, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello appointed his secretary of state to succeed him—but elation over the success of the recent protests gave way to more demonstrations against the new governor.

Hundreds of Puerto Ricans marched to the governor’s mansion Friday night, decrying the appointment of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi as an illegitimate continuation of Rossello’s policies. Continue reading

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At White House Gates, Hundreds of Religious Leaders Demand Trump and His Enablers “Repent of Their Sins”

“We must show up in person to deliver a prophetic indictment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2019

Religious leaders walk towards the White House on Wednesday as part of the “Moral Witness Wednesday” protest against the Trump administration. (Photo: AFSC via Twitter)

Hundreds of interfaith leaders stood ready to face arrest outside the White House on Wednesday where they delivered a “moral indictment to an immoral administration.”

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Senators Call for Disclosure of Perks and Fees Paid to Health Benefits Brokers

By Marshall Allen  Published 5-24-2019 by ProPublica

Health benefits brokers would have to reveal the fees and other enticements they’ve received from the insurance industry under bipartisan legislation proposed Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

The brokers are supposed to independently help employers select benefits for their workers. But a ProPublica investigation in February found that the insurance industry often uses undisclosed money and gifts to influence which plans the brokers favor. The payments and perks include healthy commissions, six-figure bonuses and exotic island vacations. Critics call the compensation a “classic conflict of interest” that drives up costs. Continue reading

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“Keep It, It’s Yours.” Postal Workers’ Message to Public Denounces Trump Privatization Plan

 “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service,” union says ahead of Tax Day events

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2019

The Tax Day message from the American Postal Workers Union. (Image: APWU with frame)

U.S. Postal Service workers will hold a day of action Monday to reject a Trump White House proposal to privatize the service.

“Our message to the public is quite simple. ‘The United States Postal Service—Keep it. It’s yours!'” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), in a statement. “Don’t sell this national treasure to private interests that will charge more for less service.” Continue reading

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