A blistering examination of corporate greed and avarice. Essential reading for anyone who works for a living.”
“A fascinating, troubling exposé and a sobering call to arms”
“Retirement Heist is a concise and alarming look at how—in the span of a generation—the 1 percent has looted the futures of the 99 percent.”
—Kelly Johnson, The Washington Post
“Ms. Schultz herds all her journalistic cattle into a single corral, laying out by what any measure is a damning indictment of the broken pension promises too many American corporations have made to their workers . . . This book should be required reading."
—Bryan Burrough, The New York Times
“I’ve thought a lot about this financial crisis and I did not think there was another piece of information I could learn that could still make me angry…. Thank you.”
—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
“Journalist Ellen Schultz has been writing about such shameful behavior for a long time, mostly in The Wall Street Journal. Now she has pulled together the copious, irrefutable evidence between the covers of a book. It is shocking, and demoralizing. … In most cases documented by Schultz, the perpetrators have escaped widespread blame — except in her investigative pieces and now in this book.”
—Steve Weinberg, USA Today
''Meticulously researched and as gripping as a crime novel, this is essential reading for anyone who has, had, or hopes to have a job.''
—Nell Minow, cofounder of The Corporate Library and author of Watching the Watchers: Corporate Governance for the 21st Century
''Americans have long been burdened by the overwhelming challenge of saving for retirement, as tax deductions for retirement savings favor the highest income earners and pension coverage erodes. But as an economist investigating the retirement crises I was shocked at Ellen Schultz's exposure of outright lies, manipulations, and pure greed of the employers trusted with our retirement funds.''
—Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and author of When I'm Sixty-Four: The Plot against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them
''Retirement Heist uncovers one of the most significant threats to the American worker of our time. Ellen Schultz's reporting is expansive, smart, and will have you shouting for someone to be held accountable. Anybody who works and is worried about their future should read this book.''
—Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute and author of Can They Do That? Retaking Our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace
“Ellen Schultz has been bravely uncovering crimes of the corporate state since well before it was en vogue. Retirement Heist is like an acclaimed artist’s most profound masterpiece—or, more accurately, a horror auteur’s most frightening film of all.”
—David Sirota, syndicated columnist, radio host, and bestselling author of The Uprising and Back to Our Future
''The retirement security of millions of Americans hasn't been lost to the recession or the demographics of an aging workforce, it's been stolen-by corporate executives and their consultants, lobbyists, accountants, and lawyers. Retirement Heist is an important book for workers and policymakers that documents how corporate profits and executives' salaries have been inflated at the expense of the middle class.''
—Jay Feinman, distinguished professor, Rutgers University School of Law, Camden and author of Delay, Deny, Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don't Pay Claims and What You Can Do about It
The retirement crisis is no accident, claims Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Schultz; large companies have played a significant role in its creation to protect the wealth of its top executives. When GE, IBM, Verizon, and others slashed pensions and medical benefits for millions of American retirees, they pointed fingers everywhere but at themselves—but who was really at fault? Pension funds were not bleeding the companies of cash. GE hadn't contributed a cent to the workers' pension plans since 1987, but still had enough money to cover all current and future retirees. Executive pensions at GE, with a billion obligation, are a drag on earnings. These are largely hidden, however, lumped in with the figures for regular pensions. Schultz's methodical cataloguing of these abuses paints a highly unflattering picture of companies that cut benefits to boost earnings, lay off older workers who are entering the years in which their pensions will spike, inflate retiree health benefits to boost profits, lobby for laws that keep the system inequitable, hoard death benefits, and fire whistle-blowers. Heartbreaking stories of destitute seniors are juxtaposed with the obscene surpluses in pension funds for executives ( billion at GE; billion at Verizon; billion at AT&T)—and unless the global retirement industry is reined in, Schultz points out, it will continue to capture retirement wealth earned by many to enrich a relative few, and within our lifetimes, "retirement" will inevitably revert to what it was in the 1930s and before. A fascinating, troubling exposé and a sobering call to arms. (Sept.)
A blistering examination of corporate greed and avarice.
Readers are no stranger to the grumblings of their corporate overlords: Pensions are untenable; health-care costs too high; retiree benefits hurt competitiveness. But according to Pulitzer Prize–winning Wall Street Journal reporter Schultz, employee pensions actually make money for corporations, and the funds diverted from them help feather the beds of multi-millionaire executives. She exposes all this and more in a rapid-fire narrative. Individual stories of retired men and women (some with more than 40 years of service) robbed of their nest eggs put a human face on the proceedings. The extent of corporate obfuscation is nearly incalculable, but the author does a stellar job breaking it all down, succeeding where regulators, lawyers and members of Congress have failed. Schultz's debut is a significant call to action, and ignoring her findings would be inadvisable. Her story of a minivan full of diabetic and cancer patients forced to travel more than 100 miles just to have their day in court should alone be enough to spur new reforms. Schultz unleashes an undeniably powerful and penetrating look into corporate money-making machinations and the havoc inflicted on rank-and-file employees.
Essential reading for anyone who works for a living.