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Old 01-03-2011, 12:06 PM   #61
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I did some college recruiting for Federal jobs in the 70s and 80s. There was a strong sense on campus that the opportunities were too limiting on the pay side. The pension was sneered at back in those days (who would stay that long anyway -- there was money to be made in the private sector). The only selling point that actually worked was a Kennedy-esque appeal to public spirit. It is a little ironic that we are now considered to have been overcompensated all along.
You're right Don. The dummy gov't HR folks who came up with the compensation packages built around generous pensions instead of competitive wages really screwed up. If they had just set wages at a level which would attract (and retain as appropriate) the needed workers and offered only DC pensions, all the current issues would have been avoided. But noooooooo.....

They see an opportunity to compensate folks with future dollars that they don't need to provide now and jump on the chance to kick the can down the road in terms of paying gov't employees.

In hindsight, it does seem pathetically dumb. Did they really think they could trust our elected officials to effectively negotiate and fund compensation which isn't due while they are on watch? Their heads were truly up their butts.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:18 PM   #62
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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!
That is an issue with the Calif state unemployment compensation folks. Each state has different rules. In Illinois, these folks would have had their UI payments reduced by the amount of their pension, likely bringing them to zero. In Calif they do not. I also know, from helping a friend who is collecting UI, the NJ allows you to collect a pension from a past job and also collect UI benefits based on being laid off that same job.

That's what makes UI a joke. Fed tax dollars paid by all of us supplement the state systems, yet each state has wildly different rules. If you get laid off, you want to be in states like Calif or NJ.

I'm surprised to see that Illinois has fairly tough UI rules, given our politics. You'd think that we'd have loosey-goosey rules like Calif and NJ, but there're actually pretty strict in terms of payout amounts, requirements to actually be looking for work, pension and SS offsets, etc.

Edit: I should add, that is how it is "supposed to work" in Illinois. Because of widespread graft, corruption and the acceptance of bribes and payola in all dealings between citizens and the state gov't, what actually happens might be different depending on whose palm you greased.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:22 PM   #63
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You're right Don. The dummy gov't HR folks who came up with the compensation packages built around generous pensions instead of competitive wages really screwed up. If they had just set wages at a level which would attract (and retain as appropriate) the needed workers, all the current issues would have been avoided. But noooooooo.....
They see an opportunity to compensate folks with future dollars that they don't need to provide now and jump on the chance to kick the can down the road in terms of paying gov't employees.
it didn't seem to matter when a lot of these deals were struck because the economy was humming along and a lot of pension funds in the 70's were OVERFUNDED..........

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In hindsight, it does seem pathetically dumb. Did they really think they could trust our elected officials to effectively negotiate and fund compensation which isn't due while they are on watch?
Don't get me started, I live in Wisconsin, the highest per capita number of govt employees in the US............
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:41 PM   #64
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Don't get me started, I live in Wisconsin, the highest per capita number of govt employees in the US............
Yeah I know. One of my best friends and confidants is a retired college prof getting checks from the Wis retirement system. (He's why I'm fairly familar with how things work up there.) There seem to be pros and cons with the Wis system. Con = the cost of the state public pension system is high to the citizen tax payers. Pro = it is fully funded. You've paid a lot, but at least you have already done the paying, unlike Illinois where we have a crisis coming thanks to past taxes collected for the pension system being diverted to pay for prostitutes, booze, fancy junkets, homes, limo's, prison costs for the few that get caught....... Hey! Don't get ME started!
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:02 PM   #65
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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!
Some guys have all the luck. Yeah, that is not what I expected from the title. But, given the fact that double dipping is permitted in that state it really isn't much different than I what I assumed. If they couldn't double dip they would have either 1) stayed on the job, gotten laid off and gotten unemployment (along with their pension) or 2) retired and sought out another job. If they got laid off from job 2 they would get unemployment and keep the pension but nobody would make much of it. The real question here isn't whether the unemployment comp is unfair but whether double dipping should be permitted.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:09 PM   #66
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Public sector pensions may be high and expensive for taxpayors but we could have chosen to work for the public sector and receive these pensions? As somebody once said on this site- you make your choices and they have consequences. Try not to complain so much-sour grapes.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:15 PM   #67
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Don't get me started, I live in Wisconsin, the highest per capita number of govt employees in the US............

You could always move...

10 States Where An Absurd Percentage Of The Population Works For The Government
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:20 PM   #68
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Public sector pensions may be high and expensive for taxpayors but we could have chosen to work for the public sector and receive these pensions? As somebody once said on this site- you make your choices and they have consequences. Try not to complain so much-sour grapes.
Agreed to a point -- IF there was no pension plan or retiree health insurance deal when they hired in. They knew the rules going in and their acceptance of the job offer constitutes acceptance of the terms.

But it's easy to say when *your* deal wasn't taken away from you ("royal" you here and for the rest of this post). This is a hollow argument for those who took private sector jobs with pensions 20-30 years ago only to lose them. Why should people entering the work force in the 1970s and 1980s have assumed that public sector pensions would be sacrosanct while private sector pensions were doomed to be frozen and taken away in a decade or two? How could they have been reasonably expected to know that was going to happen? You are assuming an unfair amount of clairvoyance and ability to foresee the future here. You are assuming that a 22-year-old should be able to tell the future.

"You should have left and took a government job when your pension was frozen," is the inevitable next argument from people with your attitude. This ignores the fact that the real valuable pensions only come with a lifetime of service, not when you lose the first 10-15 years of your career to a frozen pension. It's not like we could hop on a time machine, go back to when we were 22 and choose a government job. This is not golf. There are no mulligans.

And IMO, your tone and attitude in this post is only going to increase the resentment. Do you think that's productive or will gain public sentiment to save your retirement deal if you just dismiss the concerns as 'sour grapes'? You aren't even trying to understand why the other side is feeling screwed; you just expect them to shut up, accept the increasingly bad deal they get while your deal is protected. So why should they try to understand where you are coming from? Respect, understanding and dialogue are a two way street. After all, if public sector pensions are frozen, would you "accept the consequences" like you are telling the private sector workers to do?
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:36 PM   #69
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Public sector pensions may be high and expensive for taxpayors but we could have chosen to work for the public sector and receive these pensions? As somebody once said on this site- you make your choices and they have consequences. Try not to complain so much-sour grapes.
I don't resent the person with the nice public pension who negotiated it along with their union 20 to 30 years ago. I do resent them coming to me to fund it now when it is broke. I will vote and campaign for it to be funded from some other source than the taxpayer.

It is not like the pension funds became underfunded last week. The public sector employees and unions should have monitored the pension fund all along and screamed hell and gone on strike whenever it was underfunded by more than 1% or some such figure.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:48 PM   #70
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I don't resent the person with the nice public pension who negotiated it along with their union 20 to 30 years ago. I do resent them coming to me to fund it now when it is broke.
Or when they marginalize and trivialize the concerns and angst of those of us who had this deal taken away from us by insinuating that we were too stupid or mercenary as 22-year-olds to see how the future would play out, and we should shut up, stop the "sour grapes," accept our fate and accept tax increases to protect the deal for others when none of them stepped up to protect ours.

That is not a good way to get me on their side.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:51 PM   #71
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Public sector pensions may be high and expensive for taxpayors but we could have chosen to work for the public sector and receive these pensions? As somebody once said on this site- you make your choices and they have consequences. Try not to complain so much-sour grapes.
I think the complaining should come in the form of votes. If you don't like the way your political representatives are handling the public pension system in your state, demand statements on the candidates' proposed policies for what to do with public pensions going forward and vote accordingly. Make public pensions a key issue in your voting decisions and let the politicians know how you feel.

Even in corrupt government and pubic employee union Illinois, the govenor and state legislature got the message and took a baby step forward by instituting some small public pension reforms which took effect 1/1/11. When the public gets riled up enough, even machine politicians take some note.

Just accepting poorly conceived and administrated gov't systems is dumb. Speaking up isn't "sour grapes" as you put it. It's smart political activism.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:05 PM   #72
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I don't resent the person with the nice public pension who negotiated it along with their union 20 to 30 years ago. I do resent them coming to me to fund it now when it is broke. I will vote and campaign for it to be funded from some other source than the taxpayer.

It is not like the pension funds became underfunded last week. The public sector employees and unions should have monitored the pension fund all along and screamed hell and gone on strike whenever it was underfunded by more than 1% or some such figure.

Stories of underfund public pension have been in the news for most of the last decade well before 2008 turned bad situation into a disaster. I am sympathetic to public employee who did their jobs (and lets face other than cops and firefighter public employees are much more frequently the subject of scorn than praise) expecting to get a good pension when they retired and now hear discussion about cuts.

On the other hand, I didn't get a opportunity to vote on the Union reps or tell them of my concerns when local newspaper ran stories about underfunded pension back in the last decade, you guys did. I realize that many forum members did get involved with keeping a tab on their pension, and to those who did you have my thanks. For the rest it isn't too late to start.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:18 PM   #73
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On the other hand, I didn't get a opportunity to vote on the Union reps or tell them of my concerns when local newspaper ran stories about underfunded pension back in the last decade, you guys did. I realize that many forum members did get involved with keeping a tab on their pension, and to those who did you have my thanks. For the rest it isn't too late to start.
Exactly. The people with the underfunded pensions that are now in trouble had the opportunity to vote, discuss, strike with their union to keep the pension healthy all along. If they blindly just accepted that they were given a deal almost too good to be true then they are not much different from Madoff investors who should have realized when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I check our 401K balance once a month to see if it is healthy. I don't just put the money in there and take the word of Fidelity that everything will be just peaches.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:27 PM   #74
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I have never worked for the public sector. When I was looking for my first job 40 years ago I certainly knew the public sector had low wages but good pensions. Decided to take my chances in the private world. Agree that the best form of comlaining is at the ballot box. This forum has gone over these points ad nauseum. Just a little bored with it I guess.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #75
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......... This forum has gone over these points ad nauseum. Just a little bored with it I guess.
+1. Nothing good comes out of this jealous griping. There is always gonna be someone that got a better deal in life than you. Look around and you'll see someone just as pi$$ed at you for what you must have stolen have.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:02 PM   #76
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+1. Nothing good comes out of this jealous griping. There is always gonna be someone that got a better deal in life than you. Look around and you'll see someone just as pi$$ed at you for what you must have stolen have.
I'm sure some of this chatter is jealous griping. But for me, it's bitterness at corrupt, machine politicians for creating a wonderful, but apparently unsustainable, system for themselves and their patronage armies at the expense of other gov't services and the tax payer. I think the public pension system (some public pension systems in any case) need to be cleaned up and administered right just like I think all tax revenue should be spent frugally, wisely and in the tax payers' best interest.

There's a lot more to it, at least for me, than griping about what someone else has. In fact, DW collects a teacher pension and I'm typing on a lap top she bought me right now. I'm a beneficiary of the system but I still want it run in a transparent, sustainable, efficient way that maximizes the efficient use of tax dollars.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:11 PM   #77
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+1. Nothing good comes out of this jealous griping. There is always gonna be someone that got a better deal in life than you. Look around and you'll see someone just as pi$$ed at you for what you must have stolen have.

Writing it off as jealous griping might be ok if you don't live in a state that has one of these huge underfunded pension liabilities. Our state does, and recently tried to raise taxes a huge amount to pay for current spending projects so they could divert general funds into the pension system. We voted a resounding NO to this. Now the state is negotiating with the union to try and reduce some expenses and is also cutting back on waste in the system. So I guess sometimes griping works.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:29 PM   #78
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Dang, this is an interesting list. Here I am within 25 miles of the White House and Virginia, DC and Maryland didn't even make the list.

Here are the top 10:

1. Wyoming
2. Alaska
3. New Mexico
4. Mississippi
5. North Dakota
6. West Virginia
7. Kansas
8. Idaho
9. New York
10. Nebraska
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:32 PM   #79
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Not jealous griping. I don't begrudge anyone with a state or federal pension. My griping is about the mismanagement....similar to the mismanagement of SSN and the other state and federal programs.
Besides those with state and federal pensions are also taxpayers so they will be paying their part as well. One would think they might be a little upset about the way it has been managed....since their taxes also will go up to fund the rest of the big pool...and it puts the funding of their retirement somewhat at risk going forward....
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:39 PM   #80
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Writing it off as jealous griping might be ok if you don't live in a state that has one of these huge underfunded pension liabilities. Our state does, and recently tried to raise taxes a huge amount to pay for current spending projects so they could divert general funds into the pension system. We voted a resounding NO to this. Now the state is negotiating with the union to try and reduce some expenses and is also cutting back on waste in the system. So I guess sometimes griping works.
Is it possible that your taxes were lower in the past years because they were not funding the pensions as was their responsibility? There is an analogous situation with Social Security - we got tax cuts and congress just "borrowed" from the SS fund to make up the difference.
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