San Francisco, CA - While millions of retired Americans are struggling to make ends meet and millions more working people who have been laid off donâ€™t know how or if they can ever afford to retire, laid-off corporate executives are living in another world. Take General Electric Vice-Chairman John Krenicki, who is 50 years old and retiring at the end of 2012 because of GEâ€™s restructuring plans. GE will be paying him $89,000 a month for the next ten years (about a million dollars a year, or $10 million total), after which he can receive GEâ€™s executive pension. In addition, Krenicki is getting stock options and stock valued at almost $15 million, and a bonus of almost $3 million, for a total golden parachute worth almost $28 million. In exchange, Krenicki promised GE that he wouldnâ€™t work for a competitor for three years.
While the right wing demonizes mothers and children who are struggling to make ends meet on $150 per month per person (the average benefit for Temporary Aid to Needy Family or TANF, widely known as welfare), corporate executives are literally being paid millions not to work.
But of course Krenicki is not even the worst offender. Take a look at Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney has released one year of tax returns which show that he has $100 million in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). Now, how he was able to amass $100 million when the yearly limit is $5000 and Romney is 65 years old, we donâ€™t know. We do know that three-quarters of working age adults donâ€™t have an IRA at all and that the typical person with an IRA has only $25,000 in the account, or 1/40 of 1% of what Mitt Romney has.
In addition to his IRA, Romney has another $100 million (or more) in personal wealth and perhaps another $100 million in trust for his children. While his own retirement is more than secure (we would call it lavish), Romney is proposing to cut Social Security, either by limiting inflation protection, by raising the retirement age even more (it is already going up from age 65 to 67), or by replacing Social Security with individual investment accounts. Romney opposes raising the cap on Social Security taxes, which right now doesnâ€™t tax any wages or salary above $110,100, and all investment income is not taxed either!
If you have had enough of the likes of John Krenicki and Mitt Romney getting more while the rest of us get less, join the protest at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 27-30. For more information, go to marchonthernc.com.