Nathan on Republican resistance to labor’s strategic investment of workers’ pensions in firms invested in protecting workers’ retirement:
The GOP talks about an “ownership society” but when unions actually demand that they be allowed to invest their pension funds with companies not hostile to workers, then the GOP wants the government to control their investment decisions. This rightwing attempt to use ERISA and labor law to restrict worker control of their own pension funds should be a signal of what “private accounts” really mean. While people might nominally “own” their money, decisions on how to use that money will be under the sole control of corporate financial firms. Policy wonks want to frame this debate about financial returns to investment, but conservatives and unions know this is about power, the power to control capital in our society. Right now, workers through their unions control a chunk of capital that they have been using aggressively to demand corporate accountability. This attack by the House leadership, like Schwartzenneger’s attempt to liquidate the California state pension system, CALPERS, with its heavy union involvement, is all about eliminating any power by workers collectively to control how capital is managed in our society.