Corporatism, Detroit — June 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Detroit creditor wants personal info about the “financial position” of pensioners


I was tempted to use all six facepalm images we have in our portfolio for this piece because it’s one of those “one facepalm isn’t adequate to convey my utter disgust” sort of moments.

One of the big insurers that stands to lose money if its clients are forced to take a financial “haircut” in Detroit’s bankruptcy is Syncora. This is the same group that’s been eyeing the Detroit Institute of Arts’ priceless art collection as means to make sure the big banks it represents don’t lose a dime in the crappy investments they’ve made in the Motor City over the past few decades.

This time, they want to know personal information about the “financial position” of the retired Detroit city workers who have pensions. Because, you know, they have to make sure they’re REALLY poor, I suppose. Keep in mind that these pensioners receive, on average, only $19,000 a year. The police and firefighters average around $32,000 a year because actually gave up their social security in exchange for their pension. So, for them, there simply isn’t a safety net.

The City of Detroit is trying to block a creditor from obtaining information on the personal finances of Detroit retirees.

Lawyers for the city filed an objection to bond insurer Syncora’s request for statistics showing the total assets and income of individual city pensioners.

Syncora — which has repeatedly taken steps to undercut the city’s bankruptcy because it could lose hundreds of millions of dollars — said it would accept individual financial information without names attached. The creditor could present the information as evidence during a massive bankruptcy trial in August that will determine the fate of the Detroit’s restructuring plan. […]

“The only possible explanation for this outrageous request is that Syncora is attempting to gain a litigation advantage by harassing, oppressing and embarrassing the City and its retirees,” lawyers for the city said in a court filing.

Ya think?

It’s pretty easy, in general, to hate on big banks and the companies who insure them because they have nearly unlimited resources to ensure that they win every financial battle they wage. The pensioners, on the other hand, have virtually nothing with which to fight except for the help of the AFSCME union and some civil rights groups. But, when the banks and insurers pull a ludicrous stunt like this, it goes beyond hating on them to despising and wishing ill upon them. They are trying to protect their wealthy clients at the expense of vulnerable, living-on-the-edge senior citizens who make barely enough to sustain themselves on from their modest pensions.

It verges on being evil personified. At the very least it conjures up a creature that’s an amalgam of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, and Henry F. Potter, all rolled into one goblinesque heap of greed.

Here, have another:

[CC photo credits: First facepalm: jc-pics | Flickr, second facepalm: Alex Proimos | Flickr]