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Old 09-24-2008, 09:19 AM   #121
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Certain applications of government are unsuitable for private sector employment.

Police, fire departments, air traffic control and government workers where there is a need for strict regulation of work are not conducive to for profit organizations. They require a certain amount of oversight and public scrutiny which would hinder a private company’s freedom and limit profit opportunities from cost cutting. Can you imagine a police force that seeks to cut costs to earn profit? What calls become profitable....how about fire departments...what response times are acceptable and how many stations should be built.

These jobs are money losers by their nature of providing more for less. Would you be confident flying into an airport knowing the air traffic controllers were also seeking to earn a profit for their employer?


Pure capitalism does not rule the day, and if it was not for unions in the public service people would be paid half their salaries because the public would demand they have lower wages to keep taxes low. Unions themselves are part of capitalist nature since people choose to work within union structure or leave for the private sector. The key factor is choice. Don't confuse unions with socialism.

That being said there are plenty of problems with the union structure but they do provide a service for employees to seek higher compensation for their work.
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:24 AM   #122
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We can take our pensions with us right now. If I work 13 years and then at age 36 decide to go sell insurance, I still get my 13 years worth of pension benefits. As long as I dont draw it before Im 50, I dont get penalized at all.

If a guy starts his law enforcement career at 37 and retires at 50, he has the same 13 years of service and gets the exact same amount of pension that I do.
You're fortunate then. In the private sector, DBP pension benefits generally accrue at a higher rate late in career than at the beginning of a career. Thus, someone who spends 10 yrs each at three different companies (all with similar plans) receives much less pension in total than an individual who spends 30 years at one company. Yeah, they can technically take their pension with them, but wind up with much less than if they had accepted the golden handcuffs and stayed with the first company.

I suppose in the public sector it might be done differently, as you say. Is it true you could be a police officer for Chicago for 10 years, then a police officer for Sacramento for 10 years and then a police officer for the federal government for 10 years and recieve the same pension as if you had stayed with Chicago for 30 years? (Assume the pension plans are similar but not transferable one to the other.)
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:56 AM   #123
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I assume that Chicago, Sacramento and the Fed govt all have different pension requirements so if you did 10 years in each department it wouldnt equal exactly to 30 years in Chicago but it might be pretty similar.

In fact, most of the smaller cities in Texas all belong to one large pension fund (forget the name) since they are too small to have their own individual ones. If you did 10 years each in Plano, Waco and Mesquite, your final pension would be exactly the same as if you did 30 years in Waco.....although in police work there are alot of other benefits that come with seniority that you would lose by moving around.

I agree that Im fortunate to have great retirement benefits, but as has been discussed at length, I have to forego having a higher income thru-out my working life to get there. Its a trade-off.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:10 AM   #124
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Pure capitalism does not rule the day, and if it was not for unions in the public service people would be paid half their salaries because the public would demand they have lower wages to keep taxes low. Unions themselves are part of capitalist nature since people choose to work within union structure or leave for the private sector. The key factor is choice. Don't confuse unions with socialism.
Unions themselves are a free market construct when employers have a choice as to whether to deal with a union or not and when workers are to free to choose whether or not to join the union.

Socialism only enters into it when governments force employers (including government employers) to employ union labor, such as the Davis-Bacon Act.
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:13 AM   #125
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In fact, most of the smaller cities in Texas all belong to one large pension fund (forget the name) since they are too small to have their own individual ones. If you did 10 years each in Plano, Waco and Mesquite, your final pension would be exactly the same as if you did 30 years in Waco.....although in police work there are alot of other benefits that come with seniority that you would lose by moving around.
My wife was going for one of these jobs earlier in the year in Texas. Unfortunately, she didn't get it.

But get this: I believe the pension plan required the employee to put in 7% of their pay. The employer then matches something like 160% (!) of the employee contributions (i.e. the employee contributes $100 and the employer kicks in $160). And the current law guarantees a safe 7% return on pension assets for the workers! How would you like to be earning a safe 7% right now in your retirement savings?

Your tax dollars at work. I dare say any private enterprise making these deals would likely be out of business due to cost pressures.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 09-24-2008, 10:36 AM   #126
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Certain applications of government are unsuitable for private sector employment.

Police, fire departments, air traffic control and government workers where there is a need for strict regulation of work are not conducive to for profit organizations.
What about the earlier example of Rural Metro? They provide ambulance/rescue/fire to hundreds of communities while remaining profitable.

What about the highly trained private security force around Palo Verde nuclear plant, or guarding diplomats in Iraq?
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:57 AM   #127
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What about the highly trained private security force around Palo Verde nuclear plant, or guarding diplomats in Iraq?
I don't know anything about Palo Verde, but I think DynCorp and some of the other "security" companies aren't really saving the US any money in Iraq. They are making certain corporations tons of money and there are some behind the scenes politics there. If DynCorp could take over all the police forces they would love it. They could make a ton of money.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:07 AM   #128
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What about the earlier example of Rural Metro? They provide ambulance/rescue/fire to hundreds of communities while remaining profitable.

What about the highly trained private security force around Palo Verde nuclear plant, or guarding diplomats in Iraq?


Don't confuse security with police forces or the armed forces.

I can guarantee you the government won't privatize the armed forces or they would be ceding the nations security to private corporations. Don't they have science fiction movies about what would happen in the long run?
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:33 AM   #129
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My wife was going for one of these jobs earlier in the year in Texas. Unfortunately, she didn't get it.

But get this: I believe the pension plan required the employee to put in 7% of their pay. The employer then matches something like 160% (!) of the employee contributions (i.e. the employee contributes $100 and the employer kicks in $160). And the current law guarantees a safe 7% return on pension assets for the workers! How would you like to be earning a safe 7% right now in your retirement savings?

Your tax dollars at work. I dare say any private enterprise making these deals would likely be out of business due to cost pressures.
We've already determined that govt pensions are good deals for the employee. Nobody is arguing or denying that.

I contribute 8.5% and the city contributes 24%.

We're just saying thats the total package when salary is figured in is more or less the same and if its not, then anyone who can meet the qualifications is welcome to come join us. If you dont, or didnt choose to then dont complain. I dont complain that I didnt become a doctor and make $200K per year. That was my choice.

Lets not forget that govt hiring requirements are quite a bit stricter than most private companies and at least in my line or work, you are held to a much higher standard on and off duty. My lifestyle is alot more restrictive than most peoples is.
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:55 PM   #130
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So they are saying us gov't workers are better off due solely to our pensions? As far as I know, my pension isn't guaranteed NOT change in the 14-18 years I'll still be working.

Isn't that like saying I'll be rich based on my 12% projected market returns? Its not real money.
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