Under the Radar: Supporting the Next Bailout

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) has once again introduced legislation in the House that would, in effect, backstop more private pension funds by expanding the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp to include "orphan pensions" -- those pension plans that have been abandoned by their parent companies ... who are no longer paying money into them. Taxpayer money could be used to shore up those pensions. Several big labor unions have orphan pensions, so Republicans are attacking the legislation as a bailout for labor, particularly the Teamsters. 

As Pomeroy and others see it, his bill would ensure that workers are given what they're owed, that people can retire without being destitute, and that the collapse of major pension funds doesn't spill over into the wider economy. Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) is a Senate sponsor. Here's betting that Republican candidates will try to force Democrats (who need union support) to answer the question: Do you support ANOTHER bailout?

And, of course, this could be a lame duck Battle Royale, along with the attempts to wind down Fannie and Freddie, a possible payroll tax holiday, and the Bush tax cut debate.