March 14, 2014
When Dallas Protests A.L.E.C., Retirees Will be There!
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) expects to hold its convention in Dallas July 30-August 1. The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans will join the protests. Watch this site for more information on the protests as soon as coalitions plans are made. ALEC is famous for trying to undermine and privatize people’s pensions as well as their public schools — both goals that are shared with John Arnold, the Houston billionaire financing the attempt to privatize the entire Dallas Independent School District. The information on ALEC below was quickly put together by the national Alliance for Retired Americans. –Gene Lantz
ALEC: the New and Improved Political Corruption
Protect Our Communities, Expose ALEC
ALEC: Hating on Today’s Workers and Tomorrow’s Retirees
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) may be coming to Dallas this summer for their 41st annual convention but it has a strong presence every day of the year in our state legislature.
ALEC is a corporate-funded, “pay-to-play” lobbying group that brings corporations and state legislators together to craft “model” legislation.. Unfortunately the “model bills” they craft put corporate profits before the public interest.
The list of Texas legislators with ties to ALEC is long (link), and on ALEC’s Board of Directors are Rep. Phil King of Weatherford, 2nd Vice Chair, and Rep. Tom Craddick of Midland, Chairman Emeritus.
From 2001 – 2011, Texas politicians received over $16.2 million from ALEC corporations – the 2nd highest total among states. Rick Perry is the largest single recipient of ALEC-related funds – he received more than $2 million from ALEC corporate members from 2004-2011. [Source]
In addition to weakening workers’ rights and environmental protections, model ALEC legislation weakens any assurances the middle class has for a secure retirement. It promotes retirement plans that benefit big banks and financial institutions, not middle class families.
ALEC’s plan for your retirement is simple: let Wall Street bankers manage your retirement security so their members can increase their bottom line. ALEC has been a leader in transferring public pension plans into risky, high-fee plans that enrich Wall Street. The Guardian recently showed that in 2014, affiliates of ALEC’s sister organization, the State Policy Network, are seeking funding for a variety of campaigns, litigation strategies and even lobbying efforts to challenge state and local public pension systems in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, ALEC has also led efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare, essentially ending the programs as we know them.
ALEC’s goal is to wipe out public pension systems in favor of private 401(k) type plans. In a Wall Street-managed, individual 401(k) world, workers lose their ability to save, invest and take action collectively. But don’t look for this information in ALEC’s 2013 pension report, which stresses the problem of unfunded pension obligations, proposes privatization as the only cure, and fails to examine how states like Wisconsin have maintained a fully-funded public pension system in good times and in bad.
ALEC legislators turn our democratic system on its head. That’s a problem.
If wealth inequality is the defining issue of our time, ALEC has helped make it so, and it is accelerating the inequality as we speak by promoting anti-democratic legislation backed by corporations, not people.
As a retiree, I’ve witnessed the mass exodus of jobs overseas. I’ve seen the decline of workers’ rights and wage stagnation, while corporations enjoy larger and larger handouts and giveaways. It’s too much.
Protecting corporations’ bottom lines at taxpayer expense has gone too far. It’s time to expose ALEC.
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