It Ain't Fair

Corporate America is shutting average Americans' voices out, while they help themselves to taxpayer dollars. The economic playing field is tilted against the middle class — and we have the power to change that.

congress Federal Taxes

Black Lung Disability Trust Fund

$15 to $26 billion by 2050; If Congress doesn’t put a stop to this, that’s what it could cost the American taxpayer.

Bankrupt mining firms are draining disability fund

As a result of so many miners getting sick from breathing in coal dust, a disease called pneumoconiosis, the government, in 1977, started charging an excise tax on each ton of coal mined for the disability payments and health care of afflicted miners.

The disability payments to disabled miners with no dependents are $660.00 a month and as much as $1330.00 a month for a miner with three dependents. Medical benefits are provided separately.

When the (Fund) does not have enough money to make the payments, it must borrow from the U.S. Treasury, so the burden is then transferred to the U.S. taxpayer. The (Fund) has already borrowed $4.5 billion from the U.S. Treasury. This borrowing is due to underpayments and the bankruptcy of some mining firms.

Murray Energy, three other coal companies bankrupt

Three coal companies who recently filed bankruptcy posted $27.4 million of collateral and were able to push $865 million of liabilities onto the government, making it a taxpayer expense. 

Murray Energy, once the U.S.’s biggest private coal producer, filed for bankruptcy in 2019. They asked the court to release it from the medical care for retirees; the cost is $6 to $8 million a month. The court allowed them to transfer the liabilities to the government. While they were doing that, Bob Murray, the CEO, asked the bankruptcy judge for a $1 million salary a month while they reorganized.

Black lung disease is caused by inhaling dust in the lungs and has no cure. It has killed about 78,000 miners since 1968. If we don’t make Congress put a stop to this, more people will continue getting hurt; miners and American taxpayers.

View our video, “Black Lung Disability Trust Fund” here.

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