culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Nine cents for a dollar. One of the chief public rationales for the 401(k) retirement savings system is that it enables employees to "take control" of their own retirement investments and have some discretion over how the money is invested.

Unless, of course, you were an Enron employee and were stuck with a boatload of company stock that your CEO was simultaneously touting in public and dumping in private (while lavishly contributing to a certain campaign in 2000 that did not win the popular vote). If you're unlucky enough to have been part of the Enron 401(k) experiment, you know that you have been screwed out of your retirement savings. Remember, this was your own money you were screwed out of, money you actually contributed to your savings by having it deducted from your paychecks.

But now it appears there may be a glint of light at the end of the tunnel for Enron employees. From the
Houston Chronicle, "Up to 20,000 could split $69 million" by Mary Flood and David Kaplan:
Enron workers who saw their stock-based retirement plans vaporize in the wake of the company's collapse could recoup some of their losses with the partial settlement of two lawsuits announced Wednesday.

The lawsuits stem from complaints that Enron executives and others breached their duty owed to employees under pension laws.

Should U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon give her blessing to the deals, current and former employees would receive $69.2 million of the $86.5 million settlement sometime in the late summer or fall.
Wow! $69.2 million! That sounds great!

Except for the problem of dividing it among 20,000 employees, which parcels out to $3,450 each.

When you consider that the average account balance in a 401(k) plan in 2002 was $39,885, and there is no reason to think that Enron's 401(k) plan was anything less than average, then each employee's settlement would effectively provide them with a return on their life savings of – 91 percent. Yes, that's a negative number. Nine cents on the dollar is all they will get of their own money. All thanks to Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay, and their beneficiaries in the White House whose campaign was partially funded with Enron's skimmed and imaginary profits.

The employees of Enron are a symbol of what has happened to Americans since the turn of the millennium. From surplus to deficit, from plus to minus, from productive to disgraced. All because of the consistent incompetence or outright fraudulence of those running the show.

Nine cents on the dollar is what's left after you pay for the crimes of management, as we will see again when the crimes of Kenny Boy's friends at George & Co. are finally tallied long after they're gone.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

. . .