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A $101K pension ???
Old 10-18-2010, 04:46 PM   #1
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A $101K pension ???

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....
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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I think everyone realizes that police and fire fighters are a special circumstance, but sometimes ya gotta wonder.

Locally, this:

Quote:
Among those enjoying the benefits: Taylor Police Cpl. Mike Denman, who never made sergeant in his 25-year career.
When he retired in 2003, his base pay was about $62,000. But his city retirement? About $92,000 a year, not counting medical benefits.
He did nothing but take advantage, like others have, of a system that offers opportunities to boost pensions. In the case of Denman, who didn't return calls from the Free Press, he cashed in unused sick and vacation days and worked many overtime "ticket shifts" in his final working years to boost his final years' pay, used to compute his pension.
Residents pay big for Taylor's big worker pensions | freep.com | Detroit Free Press




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Old 10-18-2010, 05:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
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.

This guy looked in great shape... and I think there are enough higher level jobs that are not the 'beat cops' for someone to keep working...

Maybe if we got 30 years out of them for a full pension when they retired it might be a better deal... I have not thought this through, so I can not comment much on if I would be for or against this...
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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Only in the Government

take a look at this guy (who posts on the FIRE forum) who went to work for the state at age 18, took some in-house training to get a "registered engineer" title and then retire at age 43 with a 75% engineers pension plus full medical.

So this is why you will be paying more for years on out and why schools and roads will get worse and worse.

Nearly there!
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/21/bu...21pension.html

Here's an idea - work 20 years as a policeman or fireman and then move onto another less physical city job until 62. That could be anything from a 911 operator to school janitor.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
take a look at this guy (who posts on the FIRE forum) who went to work for the state at age 18, took some in-house training to get a "registered engineer" title and then retire at age 43 with a 75% engineers pension plus full medical.

So this is why you will be paying more for years on out and why schools and roads will get worse and worse.

Nearly there!
That guy is me. I also made significantly less than my private sector counterparts. I contributed 10-11 percent of my salary over the years tto that pension totaling over $250,000. The state matched that and even with that match I made way less than my private sector counterparts or even my counterparts in local government. Ya, it's a sweet deal, but its not being stolen from the general fund. My contribution and the match are invested and kept separate from the general fund.

On top of that, your asinine assertion that somehow pensions are the cause of the poor infrastructure or education is ridiculous. Most money for highways comes from fuel taxes that are set aside for that specific purpose. The reason that money is dwindling is that they are not indexed to inflation. Education is largely funded by the federal government. Lack of money is not the problem. It is the top down policies from the federal government and unions.

Before you go spouting off about pensions, maybe you should learn a little about them. Furthermore, complaining about specific people that took advantage of a sweet deal offered by their employer, especially on a site dedicated to early retirement, is a little unfair. Blame the government for offering the plan if that's how you feel, not the people that took advantage of it. Just don't drive on my federally and state funded roads and be sure to home school your kids.

And what the heck is retirement age? I have to work 50 years to get the pension I EARNED just because I chose to work in the public sector, but you can open a 401k and retire whenever you want? I know it's popular to treat public sector workers like second class citizens, and I know their are a lot of pretty irresponsible plans out there, but I just got a job and then took advantage of what they offered. For the most part public employees work hard, are honest and are just regular folks.

As for all the other unsubstantiated drivel about police and firefighters all scamming the system, I will let them speak for themselves. I doubt most of them will agree with you assessment.

Have a nice day
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:18 PM   #8
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Flyfishnevada:

Nothing personal - you were just a great example of the problem. So take a step back and see it as everyone else does.

You got an extremely sweet deal. There is no other way to look at it. You wouldn't have come anywhere close in private industry. And it's not just you. cases like yours show up in every state and locality.

So the question is... Should people with much worse medical coverage and no pensions support stuff like this. Should we all pay more and get less..... For this kind of nonsense.

And, it is very clear that budgets have been favoring pensions and benefits to the detriment of everything else. Schools suffer, roads don't get expanded or maintained. It's like all that money we pay just gets spent for the people in the system.

Your oft-asserted notion that government types make less than those in private industry is just not supported by a number of studies.

All you government types think they you are entitled to this stuff.
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post

Your oft-asserted notion that government types make less than those in private industry is just not supported by a number of studies.
That is true.

Here has it has worked with government workers over time.

We get paid less than the private sector but have job security
We get paid less than the private sector so give us good benefits.
We get paid less than the private sector so increase our salaries.
So now government workers get paid well, have job security and, good benefits/pensions

While that is all happening the private sector loses jobs, salary, and benefits.

Don't blame the government workers so much; elected officials gave them all they got.

It would be nice if the government workers who are now doing so much better than the general public would at least keep it on the qt.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Flyfishnevada:

Nothing personal - you were just a great example of the problem. So take a step back and see it as everyone else does.

You got an extremely sweet deal. There is no other way to look at it. You wouldn't have come anywhere close in private industry. And it's not just you. cases like yours show up in every state and locality.

So the question is... Should people with much worse medical coverage and no pensions support stuff like this. Should we all pay more and get less..... For this kind of nonsense.

And, it is very clear that budgets have been favoring pensions and benefits to the detriment of everything else. Schools suffer, roads don't get expanded or maintained. It's like all that money we pay just gets spent for the people in the system.

Your oft-asserted notion that government types make less than those in private industry is just not supported by a number of studies.

All you government types think they you are entitled to this stuff.
I am entitled to it!!! I contributed $250,000 towards it. This isn't a bunch of money stolen from the school lunch program or something. I took less in pay during my career for the security of a pension. I could have taken a private sector job, made a lot more money and tried to invest to retire young, but there were risks. I decided to take this route.

As far as my pay being less, that is the case in Nevada. I made $84,000 a year as a project manager. I am a registered Professional Engineer. I knew consultants on the private side making nearly twice that. Local government project managers made 20-30% more and got better benefits. Ya, I get it. Some irresponsible governments have made a deal with the devil (unions) and are paying their people crazy salaries and giving them wild pensions. I wasn't one of those people. And even if I was, call out the State of Nevada, not me. You made this personal when you not only called attention to my specific situation, but then linked to it.

Why not rail against the massive pensions given to United Auto Worker members that helped sing GM and Chrysler? That actually did cost you money. Hundreds of billions of dollars. How about the military. They get a pension and medical after 20 years. Or do they get a pass? Several posts on in this thread called out police and firefighters. Why not call out the military too? Maybe seniors for daring to accept their SS checks?

You have bought into the sensationalism. California, New York, Illinois, among others have been in the news. I'm sure there are more people in public service like me than like them. I don't agree with the irresponsible practices of some states, counties and cities, either, so don't paint with to broad a brush.

And you are right, I never would have been able to duplicate this in the private sector. That's why so many folks on this forum have either retired early or are trying to. Many of them quite comfortably. Some people on this board talk about retiring in their 30's! Just as long as they don't do it on a pension, right?

You don't like it, change it. Change the system, but don't call out individuals for taking advantage of it. I was 18 years old when I started there, 23 when I became vested. It seemed like good plan. I stuck it out and retired young. I am not some criminal or second class citizen because I worked in the public sector. You wanna talk about the pension problems, talk about the politicians that created these plans and unions that so often cause them to become outrageous (we had no union) and the relatively few people that abuse the system. Leave the drive bys to the media.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:17 PM   #11
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dex View Post
That is true.

Here has it has worked with government workers over time.

We get paid less than the private sector but have job security
We get paid less than the private sector so give us good benefits.
We get paid less than the private sector so increase our salaries.
So now government workers get paid well, have job security and, good benefits/pensions

While that is all happening the private sector loses jobs, salary, and benefits.

Don't blame the government workers so much; elected officials gave them all they got.

It would be nice if the government workers who are now doing so much better than the general public would at least keep it on the qt.
Again, stop generalizing. In Nevada state workers are on furloughs. There will likely be more furloughs and probably layoffs. My health insurance premiums are going to go through the roof as the benefits are slashed. Many local governments are laying people off. Feel better?

Mining here is booming. Greedy SOB's taking advantage the increase in gold prices as other industries and people suffer. How dare they, right? I suppose its OK as long as they don't talk about it.

And since when were government employees not part of the general public?

Ya, maybe I'm a little touchy, but when I am called out as part of the problem, I get a little miffed. I am just a guy trying to get by. I don't have some Cadillac pension and health care package. It's nice, but I ain't getting rich. The government may be the problem, but I just worked there. Leave me and the other 90-95% of honest, hardworking people out of it!!
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I am entitled to it!!! I contributed $250,000 towards it. This isn't a bunch of money stolen from the school lunch program or something. I took less in pay during my career for the security of a pension. I could have taken a private sector job, made a lot more money and tried to invest to retire young, but there were risks. I decided to take this route.

As far as my pay being less, that is the case in Nevada. I made $84,000 a year as a project manager. I am a registered Professional Engineer. I knew consultants on the private side making nearly twice that. Local government project managers made 20-30% more and got better benefits. Ya, I get it. Some irresponsible governments have made a deal with the devil (unions) and are paying their people crazy salaries and giving them wild pensions. I wasn't one of those people. And even if I was, call out the State of Nevada, not me. You made this personal when you not only called attention to my specific situation, but then linked to it.

Why not rail against the massive pensions given to United Auto Worker members that helped sing GM and Chrysler? That actually did cost you money. Hundreds of billions of dollars. How about the military. They get a pension and medical after 20 years. Or do they get a pass? Several posts on in this thread called out police and firefighters. Why not call out the military too? Maybe seniors for daring to accept their SS checks?

You have bought into the sensationalism. California, New York, Illinois, among others have been in the news. I'm sure there are more people in public service like me than like them. I don't agree with the irresponsible practices of some states, counties and cities, either, so don't paint with to broad a brush.

And you are right, I never would have been able to duplicate this in the private sector. That's why so many folks on this forum have either retired early or are trying to. Many of them quite comfortably. Some people on this board talk about retiring in their 30's! Just as long as they don't do it on a pension, right?

You don't like it, change it. Change the system, but don't call out individuals for taking advantage of it. I was 18 years old when I started there, 23 when I became vested. It seemed like good plan. I stuck it out and retired young. I am not some criminal or second class citizen because I worked in the public sector. You wanna talk about the pension problems, talk about the politicians that created these plans and unions that so often cause them to become outrageous (we had no union) and the relatively few people that abuse the system. Leave the drive bys to the media.
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I began working at the State of Nevada at age 18. Then it was just a job in the mail room to pay the bills while I went to college for engineering at night. I then found out that NDOT had an in house engineering in training program and I was already thinking about the opportunity to retire from the state. So I transferred to NDOT, got into the program and because a registered professional engineer without all the expenses of school.

As for the pension, Nevada offers retirement at any age with 30 years service. They also allow you to buy five years. When that was first offered back when I started the formulas were based on age and present salary. I was 23 when I vested and making about $16,000 a year (1990). the formula worked out to $14,000 to buy my five years (not per year, all five). That formula has since been reworked and it would cost significantly more now.

With 30 years service you get 75% of you salary, and since you have been contributing to the retirement system about 11% of your salary you have never seen, your pension take home is really about 82% of your take home pay.

Obviously, that path isn't for everyone (or even available for everyone), but if that's your thing it works out well. Downside is you have the "golden handcuffs" on and can't leave the State or lose that benefit. It's not a bad place to work, but i could have made a lot more money in the private sector, but I'd probably work much longer to retire. But in July the hand cuffs are off and I can do what I want.
flyfishnevada,
This is not to focus on you. It is the idea that private industry total compensation - benefits, salary can come close to your package.

And I think your mention of consultants points to part of the issue. Consultants salary may have been higher than yours because their fee is assumed to include their salary and benefits - health ins, pension, social security, vacation etc.

Just that you could collect a pension at 43 (or after 30 years) is not usual in private industry. Workers usually have to wait until 55 or so and usually 60.

This is nothing negative about what you have done. As I said, elected officials approved it.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:39 PM   #14
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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.... 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... I mean, this guy worked 20 years and is likely to get 60 plus years of full salary out of the deal..

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....
Thank you for your opinion. As a gov't employee who also serves in the military, I can discern we have different opinions. Your original post seems to be an attempt to start a mud slinging contest. There is NO way I would have signed on for government employment outside the military without the lure of the cushy pension/benefits!

Carry on - sounds like you shoulda taken a different road...REWahoo has it correct!!
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:40 PM   #15
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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...
Well, as a veteran I feel obligated to speak up.

You're gonna either have to clarify your statement, support it with a link, or take that "military" word outta there.

When I retired at 20 years of service (which started as the day I graduated from USNA plus 20 years) I was given a "Final Pay" pension of 50% of my base pay. It wasn't based on sea pay, sub pay, nuclear bonus pay, specialty pay, hazard pay, combat pay, family separation allowance, basic allowance for subsistence, basic allowance for housing, variable allowance for housing, or anything else not containing both the words "base" and "pay".

Essentially (winging it here without digging out my leave & earnings statements) I retired on about 25% of my paycheck. You can check those numbers out here:
Military Pay Tables
and here:
https://staynavytools.bol.navy.mil/RetCalc/Default.aspx

A few years after I started active duty, the system was changed to "High Three". I don't know how it is for civilians but the military version is an average of the final 36 months' pay. The average works out to about 95% of the last paycheck, and the pension is based on that 95% amount.

When I retired I was a few months short of my 42nd birthday, although I've seen veterans retire on a 20-year pension at age 37. If I had elected to stick around for another 10 years (30 years of active duty) then I could've retired at 75% of my base pay.

It wasn't until about five years ago that the system was changed to allow veterans to retire at 100% of their base pay (again not including any other pays or allowances). To do so requires 40 years of base pay, and for the Navy that additionally requires the person to have achieved the rank of E-9 or admiral (you veterans please correct me for the other services).

The COLA part of the pension has pretty much kept up with the military pay raises. In other words a person retiring this month gets a check that's within a few hundred bucks of the check that their equivalent counterpart received for retiring 10-30 years ago. (Retired Pay Differences Rise) However it's been generally accepted for the last 20 years that military pay has not kept up with private sector pay and has only recently begun to achieve parity. During a decade of war. Luckily Congress appears to appreciate that issue more than DoD.

I wasn't able to claim any "extra" retirement bennies for midwatches, weekend duty, holiday duty, 24/7 on call, 90-day patrols, or six-month deployments. I didn't get any extra pay for telling families that their spouse/child had been killed in combat or a training accident or, even worse, after last weekend's party. I didn't get any extra pay for visiting my troops in the hospital (if I was lucky) or saying farewell to them at a memorial service. Today's sailors don't get any extra retirement bennies for deploying to the desert on their shore duty to help out the Army.

However the ammunition was free-- the ammunition that was shot at me as well as the ammo I was allowed to shoot back. Of course I didn't always get to decide when to shoot back.

But if you can find a better military veteran who's willing to work cheaper than me... then buy them.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:47 PM   #16
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+1. I think it is a mistake to start calling out individual forum members and implying that they somehow did something wrong.

Even in the example that I posted above, the police officer was working within the rules and the blame lies with those that made the rules.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:48 PM   #17
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:03 PM   #18
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flyfishnevada,
This is not to focus on you. It is the idea that private industry total compensation - benefits, salary can come close to your package.

And I think your mention of consultants points to part of the issue. Consultants salary may have been higher than yours because their fee is assumed to include their salary and benefits - health ins, pension, social security, vacation etc.

Just that you could collect a pension at 43 (or after 30 years) is not usual in private industry. Workers usually have to wait until 55 or so and usually 60.

This is nothing negative about what you have done. As I said, elected officials approved it.
I mentioned consultants because I negotiated consultant contracts as part of my job. I saw their actual hourly salaries and the overhead rates that included their benefits. I realize that this industry doesn't represent all industries. For instance, in Nevada clerical positions at the state are paid more than in the private sector on average.

I have not problem with a reasonable retirement age, Nevada didn't go that way. The legislature approved 30 years at any age in 1985. They may rescind it soon for new hires. But back then things were different.

And sure, you might have to wait until you're 55 at GM to retire, but they're making $85 an hour. Ya, that's not normal, but it happens.

I am a pretty conservative guy and I have heartburn over these wildly lavish pensions some states offer and the fact that many are horribly underfunded, like SS. But why are they like that? Its not the natural generosity of politicians that caused this. They may have approved it, but the unions pushed them there. Probably with big campaign contributions. Government is a dirty business.

Still, private industry isn't free of corruption and sweetheart deals. I don't care if a CEO gets a golden parachute when he is fired. Good for him. That's doesn't make the decision by the board of directors a good one for their stockholders.

What ticks me off (beyond the personalization) is the calling out of one industry or profession. You can't point to pensions as the cause of government funding shortfalls. They are one of the many reasons. If governments were spending our money responsibly and paying its employees a fair wage with a good pension, this wouldn't be an issue. But they are spending out money on all kinds of useless, inefficient, bloated programs. At least the pensions are given to people that worked for it, no matter how generous.

Bad decisions in the private sector are as much to blame for the problems we face as decisions in the government. Pensions are a tiny part of all of this.

As for that police officer that started all of this, good for him. He took advantage of a system he didn't create. Assuming he was ethical, he didn't do anything wrong and neither did I. We saw an opportunity and took it. Likely he was as young and dumb as I was when I did it. I might do it again today, I might not. I don't have control of my retirement money. I can't stuff it in a mattress or convert it to gold. If the markets tank, I have no control over how my money is invested and protected. I am counting on PERS to do it right and the politicians not to change the law and raid the fund.

It isn't all peaches and cream over here either. Lets not lose site of the fact that it was the politicians and a few corrupt, unethical employees that drove the hysteria over pensions.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:04 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I am entitled to it!!! I contributed $250,000 towards it. This isn't a bunch of money stolen from the school lunch program or something. I took less in pay during my career for the security of a pension. I could have taken a private sector job, made a lot more money and tried to invest to retire young, but there were risks. I decided to take this route.
It was your choice, and you took less risk, a lot of people do that......

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As far as my pay being less, that is the case in Nevada. I made $84,000 a year as a project manager. I am a registered Professional Engineer. I knew consultants on the private side making nearly twice that. Local government project managers made 20-30% more and got better benefits. Ya, I get it. Some irresponsible governments have made a deal with the devil (unions) and are paying their people crazy salaries and giving them wild pensions. I wasn't one of those people. And even if I was, call out the State of Nevada, not me.
Well, I don't blame you at all. However, the conflict that inevitably rises in threads like these is that although you do get paid more in the private sector, virtually NOTHING is guaranteed, from job security to pay to reduction of benefits, etc.

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Why not rail against the massive pensions given to United Auto Worker members that helped sing GM and Chrysler? That actually did cost you money. Hundreds of billions of dollars.
And will continue to cost us money for another generation........

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How about the military. They get a pension and medical after 20 years. Or do they get a pass? Several posts on in this thread called out police and firefighters. Why not call out the military too?
I think folks in those industries should make much more than they do, but that's only MY opinion. I would rather personally subsidize the pension of a 20-year vet or a police officer than the guy who cuts the grass and plows snow at the Nebraska state capitol who got a 85% pension of the average of the last 5 years of employment ($44,000) plus free medical and he retired at age 49....(true story)

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Maybe seniors for daring to accept their SS checks?
Now you are being facetious.........
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
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?
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