By Jon Cassidy | Ohio Watchdog
Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Wright State University in Dayton today, and was greeted by protestors — not members of the tea party movement but retirees who blame the Obama administration for the disappearance of their pensions.
More than 20,000 retirees from Delphi, a supplier of General Motors based in Dayton, lost part of their pensions as part of the government-directed GM bankruptcy.
Those non-union Delphi employees saw their pensions – which were 85 percent funded – seized as part of the GM bankruptcy negotiations. They were left with pensions cut by 30-70 percent, while union Delphi employees saw their pensions topped off by GM and paid in full.
The issue of who decided to cut the Delphi pensions has been boiling for three years. Rep. Mike Turner, R – Ohio, has held repeated hearings on the issue. A special audit was stalled for more than a year by three Obama administration officials who refused to cooperate with the inquiry.
Special inspector Christy Romero told Congress that three administration officials involved in the decision – Ron Bloom, Harry Wilson, and Matt Feldman – had hindered her audit by refusing to talk, although the officials finally agreed to speak with her in July.
Emails published by The Daily Caller last month traced the decision back to the Treasury Department, despite earlier administration claims that the decision had been made by the independent Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Dayton resident Patti Wayne, who retired from Delphi in 2003 after 30 years, told Ohio Watchdog that she was outraged that Democrats were so proud of an auto bailout that robbed her and her colleagues of their retirement. She found an ad by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D – Ohio, touting the bailout and the Chevrolet Cruze particularly galling.
“What he said made me nauseated,” Wayne wrote. “He said, ‘I support President Obama. He helped save the auto industry. I’m Sherrod Brown and I approved this crap.’ He did not mention the thousands of Delphi salaried retirees losing everything. He did not tell how the thousands of jobs were lost in Moraine and Dayton and surrounding burgs. He did not talk about the illegal bailout of the auto industry and the topping-up of union (United Auto Workers) membership and cronies. He did not talk about how the American people, taxpayers like you and me, are still paying for this bailout. We salaried retirees are getting a double whammy. Not only are we taxpayers, we have had our pensions robbed from us… by the same people that tries to act like they are saving the industry.”
Several of the Delphi retirees were featured in a recent ad by Let Freedom Ring.
“Let Freedom Ring’s advertisements empower the victims of the auto bailout to tell their stories on camera and how they’re not ‘doing just fine’ as Vice President Biden claims they are. Their stories are the dark side of the auto-bailout that you’re not hearing from the Obama campaign,” said Alex Cortes, the group’s executive director.
Cortes was referring to this statement by Biden during a visit to Youngstown: “We were able to protect the hourly workers. Some salaried workers got hurt, particularly the younger ones. Most got their full pensions. Most did very well.”
The Delphi Salaried Retiree Association disputed that, maintaining that the average pension loss was closer to 50 percent.