John Cole's got more on United's liquidation of its pensions. The story, amazingly, gets worse. While the Bankruptcy Bill was steamrolling through Congress, Dick Durbin offered an amendment that would've "protect[ed] employees and retirees from the common corporate practice of discharging liability for retirement plans, retained earnings and matching funds when businesses file Chapter 11." This is really, if you think about it, quite amazing. The Bankruptcy Bill made it harder for individuals to declare and survive bankruptcy. Durbin offered an amendment that would've forced corporations, when they were declaring bankruptcy, to fulfill their stated financial obligations to their employees. These financial obligations are retirement plans, matching funds, and so forth. They are, in other words, the exact same long-term assets that are supposed to keep hard-working Americans out of bankruptcy court!
If you want to know who our government is working for, you need look no further than this. Republicans rammed through a bill that made declaring bankruptcy harder on individuals while rejecting amendments that would've helped ensure Americans employed by struggling firms don't lose their financial base and thus have to declare bankruptcy. So the bill made it harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy, but easier for corporations to drive them to that point. Brilliant.