Companies spun off to get rid of pensions
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here are some facts people should know about Patriot Coal and their filing for bankruptcy. In 2007, Peabody Energy spun off a company called Patriot. All lower-producing, non-union coal subsidiaries were put into Patriot. They also took every one of their UMW retirees and put them in this company. They top-loaded this company with more debt than it could handle.
At the same time, Arch did the same thing. Is it strange those two large coal-producing companies took identical steps? Arch started a company called Magnum. They put all of their UMW retirees into Magnum. Patriot purchased Magnum about three years ago.
There's no doubt that this was a calculated effort to allow these companies to get rid of their pension and medical liabilities. Patriot was made to fail.
If Patriot thought it had a legitimate shot in West Virginia, it wouldn't have filed for bankruptcy in New York State. Only two of the 99 Patriot subsidiaries seeking Chapter 11 protection are in New York, and both of those units -- Patriot Beaver Dam Holdings LLC and PCX Enterprises Inc. -- were created just weeks before the bankruptcy was filed.
The UMW requested a change of venue to West Virginia. In an unusual move, the U.S. trustee for New York filed a motion in August asking that the case be moved "in the interest of justice." All parties are awaiting word from Judge Shelley Chapman in Manhattan about whether Patriot Coal's filing should be moved to Charleston.
If Peabody Energy and Arch Coal aka Patriot are allowed to get away with this atrocity, no pension or medical liability will be safe in the United States.
Wealthy have obligation to all
During the election campaign, we seemed to have a number of candidates running for "job creator in chief." Obviously, most did not have an inkling of how and why jobs are created.
According to Samuelson's "Economics," an economic unit consists of land, labor, management and capital. It provides production, distribution and exchange. However it will not exist and it will not do anything unless there is demand for goods and services. Demand is what creates jobs.
One of the reasons government exists is to allow us collectively to provide things we cannot provide individually -- transportation systems and basic infrastructure that allow us to support and expand our economic system. Unfortunately, many who use our system to accumulate great wealth feel they have no obligation to repay us collectively for the use of that privilege.