HUCTW: Pension matters.

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In the late 60’s most large corporations* changed their pension plans from defined benefit – the employer guarantees a specified level of retirement benefits – to defined contribution – the employer guarantees a specified level of money applied to investment funds. Harvard, despite a substantially different business model, followed suit.*  In the heady days ending in 2001, this seemed like a win-win for management and labor. Subsequent events have shown the down side – a massive transfer of risk to the retirees. As the attack on pensions continues in the ‘private sector’, I think we should wonder if Harvard will adopt some the business practices du jour. I propose we ask Dr. Beeferman.

If elected, I promise that he will get a good hearing with the negotiating committee.

*This is a whole nuther can of worms. Large corporations are “private” in the sense that the “owners” – the stockholders – get to keep the profits**. They do pay taxes. Havard on the other hand is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution of the Commonwealth and does not pay appreciable taxes***.
**after a hefty slice of ‘executive compensation’ is chopped off.

***The so called Payment in Lieu of Taxes [PILOT], compared to a ‘private’ business is pennies on the dollar of assessed value. The taxpayers of Cambridge pay a substantial opportunity cost, yet Harvard, when administration finds it convenient, regards itself as ‘private’.

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