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Old 01-03-2011, 10:02 AM   #41
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Although nobodys 401k returns are guaranteed like a pension is, lets not forget that your 401k balance will be passed down to your heirs when you die. My pension benefits will not unless I take a greatly reduced benefit, which would be counterproductive as far as this arguement goes. I can only guarantee 100% passes to my heirs if I accept a benefit that is probably now smaller than if I had a 401k instead of the pension.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:15 AM   #42
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Double dipping is not generally allowed in the Federal Government but I don't see any unfairness about it.
Frankly, the way I see it, in an era of 17% real unemployment if someone wants to take a public pension, they should be creating a job opening for someone who needs it more. Double dipping like this may not directly cost the taxpayer more, but every extra unemployed person out there does cost us all in the form of unemployment benefits and other public assistance.

So from an overall public policy standpoint, I'd say if you want the pension, give your job to someone who needs it more and get one more person off the ranks of unemployment.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:15 AM   #43
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I don't resent the pensions, although I'm a little jealous. I don't even resent the double dipping, if it's based on putting in the time, retiring, then finding a new job. I dislike the immorality of an old boy network where you retire and come back doing the same thing (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?). That's greed and corruption, playing the system. I have the same feelings regarding spiking, where you are allowed to claim work massive overtime for a couple of years, then base the pension off the artificially inflated pay. Pensions should be based off base pay. Again, gaming the system is the part that bothers me. It's wrong, those who do it know it's wrong, and if they disallowed it a lot of the resentment would be gone. IMHO.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:19 AM   #44
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This is a prime example of the worst kind of pension rip off. Laws need to change and new people need to be elected. Have you ever thought of running for a local office Westie? You're a smart guy and could work to make sure this never happens again. I doubt you'd want to do this, but you and your neighbors should support local politicians who will be change agents.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:31 AM   #45
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Very interesting! Thanks for the responses.

My wives pension is a small part of our retirement plan. But the bulk of our retirement is on our individual 401k plans. We both contribute the max each year to those. Her pension like SS is not something I use in my calculations. If they both occur we will be on a pretty good retirement but even if they both get cut or reduced we should be fine. I was just curious as to the issue and you guys have laid it out pretty well here.

According to her, in her pension plan she can't do many of the things attributed here such as doing overtime, etc to increase her pension. But I can see where someone padding or gaming the system that would/could create resentment.

For me, I made so much more in the private sector then I would have in the public sector that I never worried about the lack of a pension. I just put away my money as I knew I had to plan for myself. I know at her job most people only put the 8% mandated away, but she has put that away and as I mentioned the max under her 401k too. Is it unusual for a government agency to also have a 401k in addition to their retirement plan? I think her program is called deferred compensation but it seems to function like a 401k program--again this is seperate from her pension.

Again, thanks to all of you for your thoughts and comments.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:00 AM   #46
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Frankly, the way I see it, in an era of 17% real unemployment if someone wants to take a public pension, they should be creating a job opening for someone who needs it more. Double dipping like this may not directly cost the taxpayer more, but every extra unemployed person out there does cost us all in the form of unemployment benefits and other public assistance.

So from an overall public policy standpoint, I'd say if you want the pension, give your job to someone who needs it more and get one more person off the ranks of unemployment.
Fair enough but shouldn't that apply to a megacorp pensioner as well? Or to the guy with a big 401K? If you retire - stay retired and free up a job for someone else. Why does where a retiree goes to work make such a big difference? I don't mean to endorse pension ripoffs or old boy sweetheart deals - they are wrong for other reasons. I am simply talking about someone earning a pension, taking it and then going to work somewhere else (including a different state or fed job).
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:02 AM   #47
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I'm just envious! I had a defined benefit plan and a 401k at several jobs, but the defined benefits did not add up to much. I took the money when I left (and rolled it into an IRA).

My last job - IT, I worked there 12 years, I got about $35K out of the defined benefit plan. Or I could have annuitized it and received ~$150 a month, maybe a bit more. I can't remember - anyhow not enough.

A lot of places have a system like my last job - the % they put in increases over time... so if you last 40 years for the same employer you do get more money. Most people these days don't stay with the same company that long.

Envy, not resentment, on my part!

OTOH I might not have learned as much about investing had I known there was a secure income stream coming.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:06 AM   #48
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Fair enough but shouldn't that apply to a megacorp pensioner as well? Or to the guy with a big 401K? If you retire - stay retired and free up a job for someone else. Why does where a retiree goes to work make such a big difference? I don't mean to endorse pension ripoffs or old boy sweetheart deals - they are wrong for other reasons. I am simply talking about someone earning a pension, taking it and then going to work somewhere else (including a different state or fed job).
Means testing for megacorp pensioner or the guy with a big 401K?

Agree with you regarding pension ripoffs or old boy sweetheart deals, but private sector jobs aren't being funded by taxpayers.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:10 AM   #49
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Fair enough but shouldn't that apply to a megacorp pensioner as well? Or to the guy with a big 401K? If you retire - stay retired and free up a job for someone else. Why does where a retiree goes to work make such a big difference? I don't mean to endorse pension ripoffs or old boy sweetheart deals - they are wrong for other reasons. I am simply talking about someone earning a pension, taking it and then going to work somewhere else (including a different state or fed job).
I'd say the difference is that the private sector has the fiduciary obligation to the shareholder or the owner of a privately held business (which is a big reason why private sector workers are being squeezed) whereas the government has the obligation to good public policy overall. Good public policy, IMO, would have as close to "full employment" as reasonably possible as one of its goals. And if someone is taking a pension, IMO they are saying they don't need the job any more and are willfully surrendering it. If the job is still necessary after someone retires from it, why not either fill it with someone who needs a job or promote people accordingly and create an entry level opening?

The same reasons many defenders of the "public sector deal" cite -- we don't exist for the profit motive but for the public good -- can also be applied here, and I think reducing unemployment is in the public good.

By the way -- I see nothing wrong with taking one pension and then moving on to a *different* job, public *or* private sector -- it's immediately turning around and keeping your old position as a consultant or contractor which fails the smell test. After all, most 40-year-olds with a military pension can't fully retire on it; certainly most of them will need to work for a few years somewhere else. In the private sector, if the shareholders and/or business owners are okay with it, it's their business. In the public sector, as a taxpayer it's partially my business as well.

It's really not a matter of taking public pensions away, but a matter of being smarter about how they are earned, how they are funded and protecting the taxpayers from excessive liability in case of pension shortfalls.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:17 AM   #50
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Fair enough but shouldn't that apply to a megacorp pensioner as well? Or to the guy with a big 401K? If you retire - stay retired and free up a job for someone else. Why does where a retiree goes to work make such a big difference? I don't mean to endorse pension ripoffs or old boy sweetheart deals - they are wrong for other reasons. I am simply talking about someone earning a pension, taking it and then going to work somewhere else (including a different state or fed job).

If I work at mega... and retire with a pension... I can not go back to work at mega... or they stop paying the pension... (at least this was the rule at mine before they closed down the pension)...

I think it is the same for a BIL that recently retired with a pension...


So, no problem if a public employee retires and then goes back to work at someplace that is not associated with the pension... that is difficult if you are being paid from a state pension plan... that means no job that pays into that system...

Most of the examples given are people who worked, retired and are then working at the same place with the same job...


PS... my sister knew a guy who tripled dipped... but from what she said he did it was OK... he was in the AF for 20 years... retired and got a completly different job in the Fed gvmt... worked there for years and then got a job working where she did at a University... I always wondered why this guy was still working....
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:21 AM   #51
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I think the basic resentment comes from the impression that in the private sector whenever Joe Sixpack is screwed over by employer or economy, the mantra is " Life is tough. Too bad. Get used to it." But the public employee never seems to get screwed over. That's the impression, anyway.

( In reality, Clinton laid off thousands of federal workers, so, yes, they did get screwed over, but that was once upon a time, in a land far away)

Another reality check : My city government is allowing some workers to retire early, and not restaffing their positions. Other workers are supposedly going to be adding those responsibilities to their roles, resulting in a cost savings, supposedly.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:22 AM   #52
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Very interesting! Thanks for the responses.

My wives pension..............
How many do you have?
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:24 AM   #53
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I don't think anyone is blaming the retiring road worker or a teacher for the mess we are in,
It's evident you're wrong about that. Just above, we see Ha writing: "So IMO, yes, it does make sense to blame the retiring workers." He reasons that the retiring workers threatened strikes to obtain higher wages, and that money was diverted from pension funds to pay the wage increases.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:26 AM   #54
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It's evident you're wrong about that. Just above, we see Ha writing: "So IMO, yes, it does make sense to blame the retiring workers." He reasons that the retiring workers threatened strikes to obtain higher wages, and that money was diverted from pension funds to pay the wage increases.
Even then, it's more on the union and its leadership than on the individual worker. Especially since in many cases, the worker doesn't have any choice not to accept union representation.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:36 AM   #55
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If I work at mega... and retire with a pension... I can not go back to work at mega... or they stop paying the pension... (at least this was the rule at mine before they closed down the pension)...

I think it is the same for a BIL that recently retired with a pension...


So, no problem if a public employee retires and then goes back to work at someplace that is not associated with the pension... that is difficult if you are being paid from a state pension plan... that means no job that pays into that system...

Most of the examples given are people who worked, retired and are then working at the same place with the same job...


PS... my sister knew a guy who tripled dipped... but from what she said he did it was OK... he was in the AF for 20 years... retired and got a completly different job in the Fed gvmt... worked there for years and then got a job working where she did at a University... I always wondered why this guy was still working....
For those of you with double dip pension envy, how about collecting unemployment benefits and a state pension for the same job?

Laid-off California state retirees double dip - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:39 AM   #56
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How many do you have?
well just the two--the one I am paying alimony to and the current one!
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:42 AM   #57
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I don't actually have a problem with the Federal policy that blocks "double dipping." It makes sense to me to hold down costs (early retirements that would not otherwise occur) and to prevent abuses (sweetheart deals and the like). What I don't agree with is the concept that double dipping is some sort of ripoff of the taxpayer verging on the immoral. In certain hard to fill jobs at times (e.g. Cobol programmers during Y2k) it is perfectly legal to double dip. No change in the morality of the action just a change in the needs of the government.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:47 AM   #58
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For those of you with double dip pension envy, how about collecting unemployment benefits and a state pension for the same job?

Laid-off California state retirees double dip - Sacramento Politics - California Politics | Sacramento Bee
I didn't read the article but the title seems to tell the story, "Laid off...retirees..." Sounds like they were fired and forced to take an early retirement. So they get unemployment if they can't find a job. So do private sector employees who get a big severance package. I have a good friend who got laid off in the recession with almost a year's severance. He was pretty happy until the year had passed and he still hadn't found another job.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #59
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I didn't read the article but the title seems to tell the story, "Laid off...retirees..." Sounds like they were fired and forced to take an early retirement. So they get unemployment if they can't find a job. So do private sector employees who get a big severance package. I have a good friend who got laid off in the recession with almost a year's severance. He was pretty happy until the year had passed and he still hadn't found another job.
Read the article. The perps in question retired, started collecting their pensions, were re-hired in the same job, laid off when budgets were cut, then collected unemployment benefits at the same time they were collecting their pensions- for the same position!
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:57 AM   #60
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I didn't read the article but the title seems to tell the story, "Laid off...retirees..." Sounds like they were fired and forced to take an early retirement. So they get unemployment if they can't find a job. So do private sector employees who get a big severance package. I have a good friend who got laid off in the recession with almost a year's severance. He was pretty happy until the year had passed and he still hadn't found another job.
Nope, the persons in question had voluntarily retired to collect pension benefits, went back to work in their former positions, got laid off due to budget cuts but were still able to collect both their pensions and unemployment benefit. So the taxpayer gets to pay twice for these guys.
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