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In a recent piece for the Washington Post titled “One governor bucking the bipartisan tradition of passing the buck,” Fred Hiatt lied through his teeth about the alleged glories of Rhode Island’s current Governor, Gina Raimondo. I will give Mr. Hiatt credit, it takes certain talent to turn a story written by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone titled “Looting the Pension Funds” and featuring a pig illustration into good press, but then again Washington is full of people who try to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
Mr. Hiatt, who obviously talked to Gov. Raimondo’s PR people and no one else, makes the Governor sound like a “responsible” politician who is doing good by the taxpayers and the future generations by having the state “adopt a reform plan that protected benefits already earned but scaled back future ones, at least until the woefully underfunded pension grew healthier.” This editorial has been carried now in syndication by several outlets besides the Post, such as South Carolina’s Post and Courier.
This is totally devoid of reality. Rhode Island’s pension fund, while needing a tune-up, did not need to be raided. The state employees, a sizable demographic of the workforce of the Ocean State, pay into the pension fund, a segregated one held in trust by the State, much in the fashion that a parent will have joint control over their child’s savings account until they reach adulthood, or here, retirement.
But following the 2008 Wall Street crash, then-Treasurer Raimondo saw that her colleagues on Wall Street from her venture capitalist days were in need of a quick cash bail-out. As all corporate Democrats that rely on the financial sector for campaign donations are wont to do (according to Taibbi, “Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina’s Mason Capital got $64 million and $70 million went to Paul Singer’s Elliott Management”), she dutifully acceded and turned the Rhode Island state worker payroll into a subsidy for the Welfare of Wall Street.
The reason Gov. Raimondo, a pledged Clinton super-delegate, is now getting this type of praise is simple, she wants more. When the local Pawtucket Red Sox minor league baseball team came knocking and asked for a handout, she was happy to play ball and still may agree to the demands of corporate swindler and team owner Larry Lucchino, a regular Democratic Party donor. When the public broke out into a rage unseen since Bill Buckner lost the World Series, she hedged and went mum while simultaneously telling Larry there was still a deal to be cut.
This is because she has her eyes on the seat of veteran Sen. Jack Reed, who is looking forward to retirement and will dutifully bow out on command from the local Democratic Party, a group that has functioned as nothing but the legitimate face of the Providence-area mafia for decades.
Once Sen. Raimondo gets to Washington D.C., the looting will continue on such a scale to keep the fat cats in business, this time executed on federal employee pensions.