Friday, February 03, 2006

Real Corruption Part II

Not a bad spread: 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms, a 164-seat theater, two bowling alleys, a restaurant-size kitchen, a 2.5 million-B.T.U. furnace, and a parking garage that could hold 200 cars. That's for one person: Ira Rennert.

But, Rennert may have to give up his palace in the Hamptons, as Mary Williams Walsh reports in today's New York Times. You see, while Rennert has been padding around his "home," the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp has been saddled with a mess Rennert left when he dumped the pensions for 2,000 steelworkers who worked for his now-bankrupt WCI Steel. Too often, the PBGC has to shell out money--taxpayers money--to cover dumped pensions because there are not enough assets to recover in a bankrupt enterprise. But, luckily for the PBGC, the value of Rennert's "home" just about equals the pensions of the 2,000 workers--startling as that may be.

Unfortunately, according to Walsh's piece, "Mr. Rennert is not likely to lose his estate in Sagaponack, the biggest, most expensive home in the Hamptons. But it is a particularly tempting target because of its personal value to Mr. Rennert. To prevent the government from placing a lien on it, he could be forced to hand over as much as $189 million — somewhat more than the value of his property — to cover the government's cost of paying the pensions that he promised to the steelworkers."

Well, why not take the house? Does one person need 29 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms--particularly when the thousands of people he left high and dry likely get by with a couple of bedrooms? It should be taken simply as a signal that such disgusting excess coming at the expense of hard-working people is not acceptable in our society. Make him an example.

If his home is accessible, it would be a wonderful thing to throw up a picket line and set up one of those big, inflatable rats that unions use to highlight strikes and non-union employers. Or, at the very least, make Rennert a poster-boy for what is wrong and corrupt with American business.
A tip o' the hat to Working Life

1 Comments:

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