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Old 11-25-2011, 10:21 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
This is the argument made by the unions citing that the average is only $22K (which is below poverty level).

The rebuttal:
Article | Public-Sector Pensions Are Anything But Modest

Who is telling the truth?
As far as I can tell, they BOTH are telling the truth.

They are using a different group, so it isn't a direct comparison, so it isn't a conflict. The union uses averages, and as the rebuttal points out, that includes the people who just barely qualified (worked just over 5 years), and are receiving very small benefits. That pulls the averages down. And presents the story the Union would rather have you hear.

The rebuttal is using the averages of those who retired with full benefits. I didn't see where they defined what that was, I'd be interested. But I think that is the group that people would really want to hear about, so I think it is a more relevant story. Including short-timers as the Union does skews the data in all sorts of un-meaningful ways.

And if those are COLAd, they are 'worth' about 2x a non-COLA pension. If that amount is available at age 55, that doubles the value again, relative to most private pensions (my mega-corp cuts your benefit in half to take it at 55 versus 65). A 4x difference in value is nothing to sneeze at (imagine a 16% 'SWR'!).

Quote:
This article concentrates on New York and California. Were those states selected at random, or selected to skew their "data"?
I'm guessing that was done because they had some specific quotes from people regarding those states. As long as they call it out, and don't try to use a specific case to represent averages, it's OK with me.


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Old 11-25-2011, 10:23 AM   #122
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[QUOTE=beowulf;1134005]Huston55 - I agree with the ages you stated, but anyone in the military who serves 20 years on active duty retires with 50% of their high three average pay. That's how the retirement benefit is calculated. 33% of the 3 year total pay may or may not be the same, but the law reads 50% of the high 36 month average (monthly pay added up for 36 months, divided by 3 and then divided by 2). There are actually a few retirement systems for the military in effect now depending on when you entered service and how you opted for certain retention bonuses. You get 2.5% per year of active service.

For all the critics, the reason the retirement ages are young is that young men fight wars, old men send them to war. I went into the Army at 21, right out of college, and would have retired in my early 40s had I stayed active. After several changes of station in 6 years and one overseas deployment, I had enough. It's hard work and you are on call 24/7. And nasty people shoot at you. Anyone who believes the military benefits should be reduced would really benefit from a few years of active service, and if they are too old, then their children should serve. If you want to criticize our military, then you need to have some skin in the game other than a few bucks from your wallet. Fewer and fewer of our elected representatives have served in the military and almost none of their children do.

Actually, I am all for a return to the draft with a very small professional military running things rather than a large standing military. Retirement issues then take care of themselves as few draftees stay more than their initial tour of duty.

I did end up serving 23 years total with the last 17 being in the Army Reserve. I receive 40% of a 50% retirement - no where near a princely sum. And, in case you are unaware, the 50% or whatever the earned percentage is (it can be up to 100% of salary if you stay in for more than 40 years), it does NOT include housing and other allowances, which can make up 25% or more of a soldier's annual income.[/QUOTE]

Beowulf-

Thank you for your service. It is similar to mine; 6 yrs active duty followed by 17 yrs of Reserve duty.

I wanted to emphasize what you clarified at the end of your post, which is that military retired pay is calculated against "basic pay" only. This is why the "full" 20 yr active duty military retirement equates to approximately 33% of the total pay used in most salary comparisons.

BTW, although it's probably the subject of a separate thread, I agree with you regarding the draft. I believe we should have national service, mandatory for all (male and female), and one can choose service other than the military (Peace Corps, Vista, etc.), 2 yrs service before the age of 30. There are significant social and fiscal benefits IMO.
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:00 PM   #123
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I stand corrected. It is in Illinois where 80% are not covered by SS. I can't speak to the rest of the country. But again if a public employee is eligible for SS, his or her benefit will be reduced by GPO (Government Pension Offset). Go to the social security website and look it up. Also being a retiree of the City of Chicago they started paying into Medicare after 1984 so those employees when they retire will be eligible for a Medicare benefit only at 65. Anyone that started before 1984 was not eligible to participate.
Actually, that's not correct. GPO reduces or eliminates the spousal benefit that a gov't pension recipient (who worked in a job excluded from SS) receives. It's WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) that reduces the amount of SS, based on his/her own SS earnings that a got'v pension recipient (who worked in a job excluded from SS) receives.

You can find this information on the gov SS web site. I also had some misunderstanding regarding WEP and GPO, but, amazingly, the gov SS site is pretty straight forward and a few minutes spent studying the info there will be very helpful. If you worked in a gov job not covered by SS and also earned some SS credits in another job, or if your spouse qualifies for SS, it's important to understand GPO and WEP and not confuse them.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:22 PM   #124
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Actually, that's not correct. GPO reduces or eliminates the spousal benefit that a gov't pension recipient (who worked in a job excluded from SS) receives. It's WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) that reduces the amount of SS, based on his/her own SS earnings that a got'v pension recipient (who worked in a job excluded from SS) receives.

You can find this information on the gov SS web site. I also had some misunderstanding regarding WEP and GPO, but, amazingly, the gov SS site is pretty straight forward and a few minutes spent studying the info there will be very helpful. If you worked in a gov job not covered by SS and also earned some SS credits in another job, or if your spouse qualifies for SS, it's important to understand GPO and WEP and not confuse them.
You are probably correct. I have to go back and look at the site again. I will not get SS but I believe my wife based on her private work record only will get her full benefit.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:11 PM   #125
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For all the critics, the reason the retirement ages are young is that young men fight wars, old men send them to war.
And people who leave the military in the 40s can get a job, right? If they want to ER, they can "bridge the gap" themselves until a pension kicks in at 55. As Admiral Mullen and SoD Gates noted, benefits are increasingly taking larger and larger chunks out of the military budget. That leaves less money for active soldiers.

Mullen Says Pay, Benefit Cuts 'On the Table'

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said health care costs are "eating the Department of Defense alive" -- with nearly 10 percent of the budget going to health benefits for active and retired servicemembers."

Simply put, our health care crisis is affecting everyone and everything.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:44 PM   #126
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The issue I have is that you seem to project what you think 'people believe' on others. I feel you are generally wrong in thinking that when most people hear about the big pensions/abuses in the news, that they believe that applies to the average public worker. I get the sense that you want to use that as a kind of 'shield' against any critique of public pensions. Kind of a 'red herring' approach.

And if your pension is less generous than the average public pension, that does nothing to change how we should view the average.
-ERD50
ERD, My concerns are based upon what I read and what other's tell me. Many of my friends and acquaintances actually are surprised to find out that my pension does not include medical coverage. They assume it does. They also assume I will get a COLA that equals inflation, not matter what the inflation rate is. And some do believe public employees don't pay into SS. (Until, of course, I inform them differently.) They read about lifeguards in So. California and extrapolate that to teachers in another state. So, yes, I guess my comments do reflect these mistaken beliefs since that is what I am exposed to.

My point is that pensions and benefits vary for all of us - private and public. So, comparisons are difficult at best.

The devil, as they say, is in the details!l

My guess is if we all sat down over a cup of coffee, most of us would be in agreement on major items of concern.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:55 PM   #127
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3. From reading the link in an early post regarding the WA State employees "rights", it's clear to me that some confuse 'benefits' with 'rights'. We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the right to free speech; not the right to a sweet retirement package.
I would agree with you up to a point. I do think that if a person has faithfully worked for many years with the understanding of certain benefits, then those benefits have been earned and, like the wages, the worker has a right to them. I am assuming that the benefits are, of course, at a reasonable level. How one defines reasonable is a matter of discussion. Back to that Devil who lingers in the Details.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:02 PM   #128
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Now, here is an example of the gravy train that most of us missed!

A $108 000 pension for lifeguards?- MSN Money
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:07 PM   #129
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Now, here is an example of the gravy train that most of us missed!

A $108 000 pension for lifeguards?- MSN Money
You obviously missed the rant on this subject from six months ago... They pay how much to a lifeguard?
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:16 PM   #130
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REWAHOO, Six months ago I thought I was still going to work to 66!
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:22 PM   #131
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REWAHOO, Six months ago I thought I was still going to work to 66!
If you'd seen it then you would have really been p!ssed.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:48 PM   #132
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Thanks, everyone.

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