Thursday, October 21, 2010

Have you heard the one about "debt?"

Of course you have.

You have heard plenty -- banks, auto companies, government, consumer.

Can there be anyone else in deep debt trouble?

Not surprisingly, "yes."

Corporate America.

Especially companies in Corporate America whose employees are represented by unions and who are in what are known as "multi-employer pension plans."

The long, but mostly short of participating in one of these plans is this: If 10 employers are contributing to one of these plans and 9 go bankrupt, the 10th company is odd man out and is liable for the entire unfunded pension liabilities of the other 9 employers.

That's nothing new, but this this: The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FSAB) is about to issue new rules that will require employers to identify these contingent liabilities on their balance sheets. For heavily unionized employers, their books are going to look a lot different to Wall Street and their shareholders.

Which leaves the only real question in these days and times -- will this be the next bailout using money hot off the presses?

We shall see soon enough.


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