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Old 10-19-2010, 04:32 PM   #41
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If these changes happened, would the pension problem be solved? I don't think so. There are many other factors at play here for people much smarter than me to figure out. By the time they do, I'll be too old to care or even understand
It might solve the "pension problem" but it might make other aspects of the coming "retirement crisis" worse. And there will be a retirement crisis as we will shortly have Boomers reaching their 70s with no pension and little savings, financially unable to retire, and thus either leaving them unemployed and destitute (SS alone ain't gonna cut it) or preventing the next generation from having employment opportunities. That and perhaps a large increase in "extended family" housing units.

The less people are able to retire, the worse unemployment will get. So it will be a mess either way. So I'd say we find a way to share the pain as equitably as possible, because there will be plenty of it.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:44 PM   #42
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This is a slow motion avalanche. First a column by David Brooks a couple of days ago, then an article in The Economist this week. Both use Police as the example of young age early retirement at full pay with spiked average incomes, then accuse unions of enabling this. Brooks goes on to say the union problems are enabled the Democratic party.

No mention of:
- The mayors, governors, state treasurers, and other elected officials that granted such generous pay and retirement terms but did not include them in projected expenses.
- State bond issuers that did not count future pension costs among state liabilities.
- Contributions these individuals are making to their own pension.
- Retirement plan that requires longer service and provides less benefit.
- Any union retirement plan that is fully funded.

There is certainly no recommendation for a framework for how to approach, analyze or remedy. This is a problem – and it is made much worse by lousy journalism. My surprise is to see this written by folks that have much better reputations.

The reason we’re seeing it now in the media is a new public sector accounting standard – GASB 45 – that requires
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The GASB accounting standard 45 requires an employer to accrue the costs of other post-employment benefits (OPEB)1 over the career of an employee and to disclose the amount of any unfunded liability.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:51 PM   #43
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The reason we’re seeing it now in the media is a new public sector accounting standard – GASB 45 – that requires
If it wasn't for that (The accounting standard) then our collective head would still be in the sand.

Isn't it just amazing what shinning a little light on a problem can do.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:51 PM   #44
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Another item to throw in the discussion... and I am not trying to make out like there is pension envy...

I have a BIL who worked for 3M and got laid off a few months ago... one of the benefits promissed was paid health care until he gets to medicare.. but what was really promised was 'you get the same benefit that we give all early retirees'... and they took that away.... (or will be when it ends)... he can complain all he wants that it was part of his pay package, but it is gone...


I had a pension in a company a LONG time ago... they decided to get rid of it and issued me a check for a whopping $750... because I was young and my benefits were only a year or two of work at 1% a year (also taking into account SS)...

They opened another plan... but the company went under and the plan went under also... (bank, FDIC etc. etc., but got nothing)...

Went to another bank and had a pension... again, 1% for every year worked.. payable when you reach '85', age plus YOS... so if you started work when you were 20, you got full pension at 52.5... or say 32 years... but it was only 32% of your final pay... but they also had a cash balance account where they put a percent of your salary aside for you... Well, they got rid of that pension... converted into a cash balance at rates that benefited them... and then they whittled away at the percent they would contribute... from a high of 18% to where the high was 8% (I think they reduced it to 6% now)....

Mega also had the same health care benefit that 3M had... if you worked 20 years etc. and retired you could get health care benefits (you paid for them) at the rate employees paid... but they decided that was to much so they gut it... but grandfathered in anybody over 50.... I was 49...


So, I have had my pension closed, go under, converted... my rate decreased, and my medical benefits that I had hoped to have eliminated... Sure, it is a kick in the nuts that this happened... and I do NOT suggest that this be done to others... what I am suggesting is that the benefits paid do not seem to be in line with the rest of the working people out there... and the costs are going up at a rate that will cause a lot of HURT to services... I would like to see adjustments made that would bring the outliers more in line and make it more 'fair' to the citizens who pay the bills.... somehow, the people who have benefited from this think this is a radical idea... that just MAYBE a promise can be broken for the benefit of all...

As an example... do you think that paying out 50% (using this from an earlier post) of a budget for pension expenses is a good idea Should we lay off half of the police staff or the teaching staff so we can continue to pay these pensions and health care benefits with NO change Sure, not every place has these problems... but there is enough inequity between the civil servents and the citizens now that something will be done...
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:59 PM   #45
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On the note, here is how it's done in "capitalistic" real way:
my wife worked for a big corp for 20 years, they had a defined pension plan and the way it was set up that after 20 years of service she could get $300-350 a month! The big corp sold the part of the business my wife was working for, took $1B in cash, newly minted corp canceled the pension plan and outsourced 95% of people. 500 people lost their jobs and pensions - no complains!
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:02 PM   #46
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Recommended reading (not sure if registration required)

David Brooks column "The Paralysis of the State" http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/opinion

Referenced by Brooks: "The Trouble with Public Sector Unions" The Trouble with Public Sector Unions > Publications > National Affairs

The Economist "A gold-plated burden" American states' pension funds: A gold-plated burden | The Economist

The Economist "Three-trillion-dollar hole" Public-sector pensions: Three-trillion-dollar hole | The Economist
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #47
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When DH started working in county social services (MR/DD) at age 20 in 1975 all I knew about the pension was that they took a huge hunk out of his paycheck, more than SS would have been. The deduction went up several times until it was 10% of his pay. It wasn't until years later that I understood and appreciated what it would mean later in life. He was at that job 5.25 years and when he left for graduate school we cashed out his pension years to pay for his Masters degree. After college he worked in a private sector job for 6 years before switching to another public agency (also MR/DD) which luckily was in the same pension system. In our 20's and early 30's we never expected him to stay in the same job for over 21 years, until 55, let alone be able to retire with a pension. As we reached our 50's we wanted that 5.25 YOS back and paid back what we had taken out plus 26 years of interest.

His pension is not huge like some we read about, but for us it's enough. He paid plenty into it, he earned it. He followed the rules and stayed longer than many would have. His career meant more than working toward a pension, he was doing what he wanted to do and what he had trained for. The pension plan was there because he was in public service.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:31 PM   #48
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Pension and health benefits are just part of the compensation package that attracts people to government jobs. The rational course is to set them at a level sufficient to hire the talent we need to fill those jobs. It's a market. I would understand an argument to the effect that governments pay more than the market rate for the personnel they need, but I'm rather puzzled, because that does not seem to be what is being argued. What is being argued, anyway? Is there any coherent thought behind this feeling that government pensions are too generous?
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:31 PM   #49
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I get tired of these conversations about pensions that always repeat the same things and try to justify some scheme of what's fair. And I have been resisting making my usual comment of "who gives a rat's butt what you think is fair?" Because it is all about hiring qualified people to do the job. This new guy made it for me, and I just want to point it out because this is what it comes down to:
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Pension and health benefits are just part of the compensation package that attracts people to government jobs. The rational course is to set them at a level sufficient to hire the talent we need to fill those jobs. It's a market. I would understand an argument to the effect that governments pay more than the market rate for the personnel they need, but I'm rather puzzled, because that does not seem to be what is being argued. What is being argued, anyway? Is there any coherent thought behind this feeling that government pensions are too generous?
My pension didn't start out to be such a great deal, but it became one because I became nearly irreplaceable. Rather, it's more accurate to say I became irreplaceable at a reasonable price. Remember back then? When the private sector was hiring people left and right and public sector employers like mine were offering huge hiring bonuses because they were desperate to get qualified applicants? They did something similar when they sweetened my pension but made the deal contingent on me staying just a few more years. To their minds it was just a retention bonus/incentive.

Funny thing - back then all the screaming was, "find the money put more cops on the street and keep the ones we already have." Wait five-ten years and it will be that way again.
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:34 PM   #50
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With a union involved it's not so much a market as it is a cartel
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:49 PM   #51
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If it wasn't for that (The accounting standard) then our collective head would still be in the sand.

Isn't it just amazing what shinning a little light on a problem can do.
I agree that that accounting standard shows that many pensions are underfunded, but that system or at least others like it have some strange requirements. I know that my pension is showed to be under funded using whatever accounting methods they are required too, but that the accounting method will not allow future contributions to to be counted while future pay outs are. In other words, the future payouts are a known quantity, but the contributions are not so the aren't counted. That may be a rather simplistic description, but the fact remains that these newer accounting methods can skew the financial picture of pensions.

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Pension and health benefits are just part of the compensation package that attracts people to government jobs. The rational course is to set them at a level sufficient to hire the talent we need to fill those jobs. It's a market. I would understand an argument to the effect that governments pay more than the market rate for the personnel they need, but I'm rather puzzled, because that does not seem to be what is being argued. What is being argued, anyway? Is there any coherent thought behind this feeling that government pensions are too generous?
I wonder that too. What really is the beef here? What is considered too generous and what isn't? How many years should a person work before they can take a pension? Who gets to decide? I say let the market decide. If government can't hire qualified people then they need to raise pay or benefits. If they can then they can keep things steady or even reduce pay and benefits. Unfortunately, unions often mask the market demands. Still, can you completely blame unions? They are fighting for the best they can get for their members. Politicians? Well, they need to run for office and can't just throw people under the bus left and right.

It is a complex issue. You can't very well take away benefits from retirees or near retirees. They have been planning on these benefits, lavish or not. Making people work longer has repercussions on the job market. Telling a guy like me that I will have earned my full pension at 43, but need to work until I am 55 or 60 to get won't fly either. Who wants to work another 10-15 years with no ability to gain anything? What about the idea that without these pensions and high wages in government a lot of people would never get to retire or end up on SS or welfare? Additionally, there are benefits to pensions. The info in the link may be slanted in support, but the effect can't be discounted:

The Economic Impact of Nevada PERS

This is not science. Input doesn't necessarily equal output, you know? There is no rule book. A lot of states, counties and municipalities tried to attract quality people and and gave into union demands hoping to see a return. Now, in some cases, its coming back to bite them. You could say the same about a lot of government programs. Maybe defined contribution plans are the ticket. Maybe no plans. Do any of you that are anti-pension know?

And for the record, I am the exception in Nevada. From the PERS website:

"The average teacher or state employee retires at age 61 and receives an average benefit of $2428.00, without a Social Security benefit."

Not to mention out health insurance has been eroding for several years and it never was all that great anyway. The retiree premium is over $100 a month. Family coverage ads another $300 or so dollars to that, but due the actuarial tables assuming retirees plus a spouse are older, it will cost me over $700 a month to cover myself and my wife and that is slated to maybe double this year to cover state shortfalls due to the economy!!!! Imagine paying over a thousand dollars of your $2400 pension check (although mine is more) to cover your health coverage assuming, like me, your spouse has no other coverage. We may have to dump her and buy her a catastrophic plan just to be able to afford it. She is medicare eligible, but not for like 25 years.

Also:

"The retirement system is particularly important because Nevada’s public
workers are not eligible for Social Security. The system is pre‐funded and
employees regularly contribute a portion of their wages to PERS. This
shared responsibility and advanced funding model mean investment
earnings and employees do much of the work to finance the benefits
rather than Nevada taxpayers. In 2007, investments and employee
contributions accounted for more than 80% of system revenues."

Not exactly a tax payer funded gravy train.
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:14 AM   #52
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Not to much info... and it corrects an error that I had big time... One of the things I do not like about the military is the 20 year cliff... if you don't make it to that 20 you get nothing (again, from what I read)... kind of a silver handcuff on someone who already has 15 years in service...
Maybe that's another good reason to pay it out immediately to 37-year-olds who have put in the 20 years.

Many veterans who have less than 20 will join the Reserves/NG explicitly to retain credit for time served and get to that 20. Others will take a civil service job or one of the few private-sector jobs that will allow them to "buy" their military time in a pension plan.

I was "lucky" to not get an XO job and fail selection to O-5. When I got to 15 years of service and arrived at my next duty station, the assignment officers were more than happy to let me rot in place at a training command for five years. I gave full value for time spent there, but they wasted a heckuva good carrier battlegroup ops officer, submarine liaison officer, and all-around master training specialist. I coulda easily spent five more years on sea duty with the battlegroup staffs but they only wanted "career potential" types.

All things considered in retrospective, I should have moved to the Reserves as soon as the fun stopped... around the 12-13 year point.

Spouse had also been warned that she wouldn't make O-5 so she happily arranged her own rot-in-place job with her community. Then she unexpectedly made O-5, which surprised her assignment officer even more than her, and got the offer she couldn't refuse. They "negotiated" for almost two years but in the end she refused. The Reserves turned out to be absolutely the right move.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:32 AM   #53
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OK... I am sure this will get a bit heated as there are two camps... but this came up during the weekend on a new segment...

They were talking about the upcoming pension crisis and how many states have a lot of trouble coming and how this is going to pit people against people.... then they talked to a NY policeman who retired at age 44(?, not sure) with 20 years of service... his pension is $101,000 plus for the rest of his life... I would bet is is COLA...

I am sorry, but I don't think someone should get full pension of 100% the day they leave either the military or a civil service job... especially when they can spike their pay... I mean, this guy worked 20 years and is likely to get 60 plus years of full salary out of the deal.. (they didn't say, but I bet they also pay for his health insurance)


Now, I do not have any problem giving a full pension with 20 years service when they get to 'retirement age'... but if you want it early, you should have it reduced... just my opinion....
This whole posting shows such a double standard. Last weekend there was a thread about how a certain individual on this forum was scoping out whether a particular set of regulations would allow him not to repay his student loan, even though he could very well afford to. I objected to his lining his pockets in this fashion, and every reply I got (before I put the thread on ignore) was "Don't get mad at him, he's just going by the rules that somebody else made". Well, what is this cop with the gold-plated pension doing? Going by the rules somebody else made. Don't get mad at him, he didn't invent the NYPD pension system.

What are you so ticked off about anyway? Unless you live in NY, you've got no justifiable beef over this cop's pension. It's not costing you a plugged nickel. How is it any of your business what kind of a pension he gets?

Anyway, you don't know that his benefit is 100% of his salary. You exaggerate how long the pension will likely be paid—by your own admission, you don't know he's only 44, and if you're right, how likely is it he will actually live to age 104? You don't know that health care is included, and you don't know the pension is COLA'd. You've just made a bunch of assumptions that make this one situation look as extreme as possible, then taken a specific case as if it were the general rule, and are using the whole thing as a club to beat up on other public employees.

Why don't you give it a rest?
Let's go to the end of your post first... I did not say he would live to 104.. what I tried to say was he was likely to be paid for 60 years (20 working and 40 retirement... which for someone in their early 40s is likely) for only 20 years of real work..
Well, that was my misunderstanding, but even taken the way you meant it, it is an exaggeration. Chances are he will not be drawing that pension for 40 years, let alone more than that, in addition to the 20 as an active employee. According to this, a 44 year-old man has only a 42% chance of living to age 84.

Quote:
With the post of the article, we now know that he is getting over 115% of his final salary... I did not know he did not have to pay state or local taxes on this income... makes it even better..
What article? You didn't provide any link in your original post. As it now stands this is nothing but an unsupported anecdote.

Quote:
I am not mad at him... I am mad at the systems that allow this to happen... I am mad at the laws that were passed saying that if something is given it can not be taken away...

You say I don't have to worry about this because I do not live in NY... but we have the same problem here in Texas... AND, the federal gvmt is sending a lot of money to the various states to pay for teachers and police in this crisis... which does include my money... so I actually might have a nickel in it...
Well if you're mad about problems in Texas, why don't you think of something constructive to do about it, instead of venting your spleen on the people here, who did not create the problem, are not profiting from the problem, and for those of us who don't live in Texas, can't do anything to solve the problem? Couple of ideas in case you're drawing a blank:
  1. Volunteer or run to serve on the Board of the pension system. I don't know about yours, but the one here is required to have one board member who is neither an employee nor a retiree. Even if you can't be on the board, go to the meetings and advocate for whatever you think would be better than how they're doing it now.
  2. If the pension system allows spiking and other abuses, become a gadfly. Make a stink about it to the people who write the rules. Make a stink about it to the other employees. People who abuse the system ruin it for the rest of us.
  3. Find out whether there have been financial shenanigans. For at least some public pension systems, they are underfunded not because the benefits are unreasonably generous, but because the employer has withheld some or all of the funding they were supposed to have been putting in to match employee contributions, or offering increased benefits with no funding source to back them up. If this is the case for the system where you are, find out who the guilty parties are and help make sure they don't get re-elected.
Quote:
BTW, I do not think they should change the student loan laws to allow it either... I just did not put down into words the way you did... and I also did not put down into words any negative comments on any of the forum members... I am NOT attacking the people... I am attacking the SYSTEM.. it is the people who are reading into my posts that seem to think I am attacking them.. It appears that they think the system should continue as it did when they got theirs... I don't... I also don't say we should stop paying them what they earned.... (now, there does seem to be attacks going on... I do not wisht this to happen... but I can not stop it).....
When you come up with an extreme example, make it look even worse by assuming the pension is COLA'd and there are health benefits on top of it, without presenting one iota of supporting evidence, and then present this as support for a broad claim that public employees' benefits should be cut—which is what your suggestion that the benefit should be reduced or delayed amounts to—what on earth did you expect us to think? You think maybe if someone suggested your retirement benefits should be cut, you'd see it as an attack?
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:38 AM   #54
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Most of my family, father - city manager, uncles - police/fire, were public servants. At least when they started out they were "servants" (below market wage), over time, at least here in California, their salaries escalated to a point past private sector equivalents (city manager salary> director/sr director in a private firm supervising the same # of employees/same size budget), while their retirement/benefits for life didn't change.

All are very grateful of course but they also scratch their collective heads: how did it come to pass that their pay eventually far out stripped the pay of their private sector colleagues, and why, in the face of such serious budget issues here in CA were contributions and benefits never adjusted.

Sadly they all live in fear that like the airlines one day their benefits will get cut (a City here in CA went bankrupt, many more to follow, and they are worried about what happens to the pension obligations).

Now I am able to contribute up to 25% of my salary to my 401k (which I do up to the 15.5k max) and the co kicks in about 4K annually. I will need to pay for my own bene's but the bottom line - I am in control, I don't need to fret about whether or not my city or county or water district will go belly up.

To a person they would all gladly give back $$$ and bene's if all the unions in CA would participate and if every cent went to pay down debt - they are finding it very hard to "enjoy" retirement when they live fear.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:02 AM   #55
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Policemen and firemen can't work a 'field' job until they are 65. We want the young and strong to chase those pesky teenagers over fences and to carry victims out of burning buildings. Therefore police and firemen usually get a better pension than many to retire after a 20-year working career.

I believe that is what we owe them.

However the abuse of using overtime and double-dipping on other jobs to spike the pensions is inexcusable. i also read that somewhere around 90 % of fire and police officers retire as "disabled" to spike the pension even more. I am sure that a small percentage of those people are truly disabled but clearly 90% are not.

This is just abuse.
i'm a little late to the party. i agree that most police officers can't work until 65. you can see my sister in law's father's (wife's brother's wife's father) treatment in his "later" years. not to mention that being a cop in a northern suburb of salt lake would most likely be the least amount of danger one could face (my opinion, debatable as I have never been a cop anywhere). maybe a southern suburb of salt lake would face a little less danger.

as i glossed over 3 pages of ramblings, I understand not to target the individuals, but the system. as i use to pay income taxes in two states, it's hard not to get upset at something like this. especially when you personally know one of them and feel they are gaming the system and when you pay to a corrupt state as well (Louisiana).
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:55 AM   #56
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Maybe that's another good reason to pay it out immediately to 37-year-olds who have put in the 20 years.

Many veterans who have less than 20 will join the Reserves/NG explicitly to retain credit for time served and get to that 20. Others will take a civil service job or one of the few private-sector jobs that will allow them to "buy" their military time in a pension plan.

I was "lucky" to not get an XO job and fail selection to O-5. When I got to 15 years of service and arrived at my next duty station, the assignment officers were more than happy to let me rot in place at a training command for five years. I gave full value for time spent there, but they wasted a heckuva good carrier battlegroup ops officer, submarine liaison officer, and all-around master training specialist. I coulda easily spent five more years on sea duty with the battlegroup staffs but they only wanted "career potential" types.

All things considered in retrospective, I should have moved to the Reserves as soon as the fun stopped... around the 12-13 year point.

Spouse had also been warned that she wouldn't make O-5 so she happily arranged her own rot-in-place job with her community. Then she unexpectedly made O-5, which surprised her assignment officer even more than her, and got the offer she couldn't refuse. They "negotiated" for almost two years but in the end she refused. The Reserves turned out to be absolutely the right move.
I think the writing is on the wall that the federal government will revamp civil service retirement plans as well as military. IMO, TSP matching will reduce the defined benefit pension earned after 20yrs military
service/xx yrs of civil service. Don't think its gonna happen overnight, but it will happen.

While government employee compensation is hardly an issue in any political race at any level of government, deficits are. Tax payer funded pension benefits will be on the chopping block, because politicians will be looking for budget cuts that impact current government operations the least, and impact the fewest number of voters.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:25 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
Well, that was my misunderstanding, but even taken the way you meant it, it is an exaggeration. Chances are he will not be drawing that pension for 40 years, let alone more than that, in addition to the 20 as an active employee. According to this, a 44 year-old man has only a 42% chance of living to age 84.

What article? You didn't provide any link in your original post. As it now stands this is nothing but an unsupported anecdote.

Well if you're mad about problems in Texas, why don't you think of something constructive to do about it, instead of venting your spleen on the people here, who did not create the problem, are not profiting from the problem, and for those of us who don't live in Texas, can't do anything to solve the problem? Couple of ideas in case you're drawing a blank:
  1. Volunteer or run to serve on the Board of the pension system. I don't know about yours, but the one here is required to have one board member who is neither an employee nor a retiree. Even if you can't be on the board, go to the meetings and advocate for whatever you think would be better than how they're doing it now.
  2. If the pension system allows spiking and other abuses, become a gadfly. Make a stink about it to the people who write the rules. Make a stink about it to the other employees. People who abuse the system ruin it for the rest of us.
  3. Find out whether there have been financial shenanigans. For at least some public pension systems, they are underfunded not because the benefits are unreasonably generous, but because the employer has withheld some or all of the funding they were supposed to have been putting in to match employee contributions, or offering increased benefits with no funding source to back them up. If this is the case for the system where you are, find out who the guilty parties are and help make sure they don't get re-elected.
When you come up with an extreme example, make it look even worse by assuming the pension is COLA'd and there are health benefits on top of it, without presenting one iota of supporting evidence, and then present this as support for a broad claim that public employees' benefits should be cut—which is what your suggestion that the benefit should be reduced or delayed amounts to—what on earth did you expect us to think? You think maybe if someone suggested your retirement benefits should be cut, you'd see it as an attack?

This seem to get your blood pressure up for some reason....


Dex had a link to an article that talked about this guy... now I can not get it unless I sign up for NY something or other.... but the article said the guy has a $101,000 something pension and his final years salary was $87,000... except that he spiked it so he could get a good pension... if you don't believe me, sign up and read the article... or, just ignore what I post... Do you think I am pulling this stuff out my ass


If you are concerned that my 60 year number is wrong.... heck, go for 50 then... 20 years working and 30 years on pension for 20 years work still does not sound like a great deal for the citizens...


The pensions for most civil servents in Texas are not way out of line... they are better than some that are putting down 1% in your poll as they are 2.2%... but there is no COLA and the people contribute to their pensions...

You can not make any difference when it comes to the police or firefighters... they are negotiated with the unions... and like most politicians they want to kick the can down the road so they try and pay less today and pay more later... I would much rather them pay more today and less later...
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:28 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
We've all seen the stories of outlandish pension deals. To assume this is the case for every public worker is wrong. What's even worse is to single out one person who honestly earned his pension. I can understand discussing how public pensions should be changed, but to point an accusatory finger at all those who've received a public pension is illogical since the retirees didn’t create the pension system they worked under.

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er.org is a community and I think it is unacceptable to call out a fellow member when he hasn't done anything illegal or unethical.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:39 AM   #59
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Because those that do are mostly very large employers, about 21 percent of all private-sector employees are covered by a defined-benefit pension. On the other hand, 53 percent of private-sector workers had access to defined-contribution retirement plans, and 42 percent participated. On the public side, about 90 percent of 16 million local and state workers are covered by a defined-benefit pension, levels that have changed little of late. For all the media hype about private firms terminating pension plans and adopting 401(k)s, only a few public pensions have taken that step—most notably in Michigan.


++++++

Local and state pension plans also incur more retirement expenses due to annual, upward adjustments in pension annuities. For example, about two-thirds of public pensions offer automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), according to Keith Brainard of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. Such adjustments can tack on as much as 3 percent every year to public pensions. Most also add adjustments based on investment returns, which typically padded annuities by anywhere from 2 percent to 8 percent in many plans during the roaring 1990s.
Such benefits are rare in the private sector, said Dimitry Mindlin, a managing director with Wilshire Associates, a global investment consulting firm. "I don't believe a single client of ours has [a COLA]."
It appears that most local and state employees can also depend on at least a small health care subsidy in retirement (see related article on GASB 45). That's becoming rare in the private sector. According to a 2005 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the share of large private employers (those with 200 or more employees) offering retiree health coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 33 percent last year.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:51 AM   #60
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Our local teacher's union is getting 3% COLA adds to their pensions and pay, and 3.5% added next year, based on their last union contract, and some of them are still not happy about it. Plus, full coverage, no matter how many people are in the plan, is $25 a month............I guess some folks are never happy..........
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