City of Detroit retirees’ healthcare slashed

Demonstrators protest the Detroit bankruptcy at the Federal courthouse in the city. PHOTO/DAYMONHARTLEY.COM

Demonstrators protest the Detroit bankruptcy at the Federal courthouse in the city.
PHOTO/DAYMONHARTLEY.COM

DETROIT — ‘When severe cuts to retiree health care are included, former city workers are likely to recover no more than about 30% of what the city says they are owed. The city proposed paying less than one-third of its retiree health-care liabilities to a newly created trust fund over 20 years.’  (Wall Street Journal 2/21/14).
No Jobs, No City
The healthcare of all of us, not just auto retirees is being separated from production to increase corporate profits. We are in a period of economic transformation. Machines that made us more productive are being replaced by machines that can produce for our needs with little or no human labor involved.

In 1950 the population of Detroit was 1,849,568 and there were 296,500 people working in manufacturing with an average income of $33,962 in today’ dollars.  In 2010 the population of Detroit was 713,777 and there were 27,901 people working in manufacturing with an average income of $27,808 in today’s dollars.

The population fell by 61%, manufacturing jobs fell by 91% and income from manufacturing wages fell from $10 billion to $775 million (a drop of 92%) and the unemployment rate increased by 349%.

In 1947 there were 3272 manufacturing firms in Detroit.  By 2002, there were only 647 manufacturing firms in the city.  That is a drop of 80% in manufacturing firms.

Without manufacturing jobs, retail fails.

In 1948, there were 18,242 retail stores employing 114,038 people earning $3.9 billion in wages.  In 2002, there were 2179 retail stores employing 14760 people earning $576.9 million.  This is a decline in stores of 88%, a decline in employees of 87%, and a decline in wages of 85%.

Without retail jobs, wholesale fails.

In 1948, there were 3606 wholesale warehouses employing 45,079 people earning $1.5 billion in wages.  In 2002, there were 611 wholesale warehouses employing 10,153 people earning $400 million in wages.  This is a decline in warehouses of 83%, a decline in employees of 78%, and a decline in wages of 73%.
Corporate Solution
The basis of our social relationship—a job, and the benefits related to it—are disappearing.
Medicare For All was rejected by Congress and the Administration in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
About 23,000 City of Detroit retirees, with pensions averaging about $19,000 a year, will have their healthcare slashed by 85%.  This is what the state government, in the person of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, is proposing to the federal bankruptcy court.

Just as in the case of the UAW Voluntary Employee Beneficiaries Association (VEBA) the city is using an accounting rule to calculate an imaginary liability of $6 billion to create a $500 million underfunded VEBA isolated from city revenues leaving retiree healthcare dependent on penny stocks and junk bonds.

Another way
We must support a new independent political direction for a new social relationship based on human needs. We need a social relationship based on the production and distribution of healthcare, housing, education, food, clothing, transportation and the general wellbeing of everyone and not for the select few owners of the new means of production.

The People’s Tribune brings you articles written by individuals or organizations, along with our own reporting. Bylined articles reflect the views of the authors. Unsigned articles reflect the views of the editorial board. Please credit the source when sharing: ©2020 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org/ and http://www.peoplestribune.org/latest-news/ Donate at http://peoplestribune.org/pt-news/subscribe/

2 thoughts on “City of Detroit retirees’ healthcare slashed

  1. When the heck are the middle class and working class Americans going to stand up and fight back!!!! This is OUR country……not corporate AMERICAS!!!

  2. If you start helping pass improved medicare for all, you won’t have to worry about your retiree health benefits. It’s time to focus on political campaigns that will get the Republicans out of our business and elect people who will represent the PEOPLE, not the corporations.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *