A Bird in the Hand...

I remember some years back a friend of mine who worked at AT&T was getting nervous about the wave after wave of layoffs there. It was turning his stomach inside out.

Finally one day he decided to roll the dice and took the company up on a voluntary retirement plan. I think he got a year's salary, some scaled down benefits — but benefits just the same — and he was out the door.

He took it, he said, because, "better this deal now, than a worse one later."

Today General Motors and Delphi workers are facing the same choice.

Some, who've been on the job for more than 10 years, stand to collect $140,000 on the spot, if — and it's a big "if" — they agree to forsake their retiree health care coverage.

Other benefits remain, but not that one. Because that's a costly one and, the way the company figures it, it's better to pay up a little now than a lot later.

So, workers decide: Do I want the dough now or roll the dice and "hope" I have dough later?

I think they'll opt for the dough now. Just like instant lottery winners opt to take all their winnings upfront, rather than take their chances on payouts over 20 or 30 years.

The money now, you know. The future, you don't.

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