This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 29, 2012 8:33 AM. The previous post in this blog was Taxes are no match for corporate America. The next post in this blog is Go, Tracy!. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Government employee "pension" joke is on you

The "retired" go back to work for government, and collect two public checks at the same time. That includes Tom Hughes, Mr. Disappointment of the Century at Metro. Ted Sickinger, one of the few really good reporters left in Portland, tells the story here. If you don't think the next American revolution is going to be the government employee class vs. everyone else, you're not paying attention.

Comments (20)

I agree - especially in Oregon, Multnomah County, City of Portland - the "haves" are those who are or have been on the public payroll - the "have-nots" is just about everybody else.


What has been most telling for me is that the current crop of elected officials all the way up to the Gov, are doing absolutely nothing about this issue.

We see the hand wringing over the recent cuts in school budgets, but not a single person seems to be able to connect the dots. The politicians in the state don't have the courage to admit that PERS is broken and try to fix it.

Every year that it stays broken is another year of extra debt loaded onto future taxpayers. But Gov Do Nothing can't be bothered to take his cowboy boots off the desktop to actually work on the issue.

"the next American revolution is going to be the government employee class vs. everyone else"

Actually sums it up.

Andy, you are right about the politicians not having the courage to do anything about PERS. Even the very modest reforms that were implemented in 2003 cost people like Greg Macpherson dearly when it came time to go up against public employee union money in a general election. I have a feeling that any meaningful reform to the PERS system will have to come through a ballot measure that is supported by a highly organized and well funded entity of some sort. Kind of sad that we all just have to sit around watching the paint dry wishing and hoping that some day something will happen to fix this situation.

And if you are interested in getting into the fray, you might consider contributing to WI Governor Walker's campaign. A few politicians around the country are in the forefront of the battle against government employee union power and percs and need support from all of us who see the danger if they fail to tame this monster.

Very nice work with this post right behind:

Taxes are no match for corporate America

I'd clarify it a little, its more the people who net money from govt vs. those who give money to govt.

THis 2xdip is still so wrong:
1)SHouldn't PERS follow the FICA reules for working after retirement and reducning benefits.
2) So much for giving anyone with new ideas a chance as long as we have deadwood in place after retirement.

If you don't think the next American revolution is going to be the government employee class vs. everyone else, you're not paying attention.

I've been thinking along those lines for quite a while; you put it very well. I recall a time when we had a civil service. Now we get no service, and there's nothing civil about them.

"Snivel employees"....

As usual, people in government are their own worst enemy. They've handed the rest of us a big (with sincere apologies to Joe Biden) stick. Will we use it? It should be pretty simple, if the goal of a pension is to provide a reasonable level of income in retirement. That would mean having these rules at a minimum:

1. No pension until retirement. Earned income offsets pension benefits dollar for dollar.
2. Retirement at 65 for full pension payout.
3. Pension doesn't exceed a maximum percentage of base pay or salary (something less than 100%, for heaven's sake) and is not increased by overtime, bonuses, unused vacation pay or other compensation not in base pay.

I'm for people having a comfortable retirement at the end of their working career. But what Ted Sickinger reports goes far beyond that. I hope the Oregonian is able to continue to expose PERS excesses. This reporting is very much to its credit.

Two key things we need to do to improve the US economy: reduce the cost of health care and get government employee compensation and benefits back under control. These costs are exacerbating the decline in Americans' standard of living that is being caused by technology and the transfer of most manufacturing jobs to lower-wage countries.

Yes, it seems rather obvious that PERS should reduce benefits when a person hires back into another PERS job. But, the politicians are so eager to give money away to union members that they just can't be trusted to set up a logical pension system.

The same problem is being seen in multiple states. IL has big problems as does CA, RI, etc. In all cases it is due to liberal Democrats who have controlled the system for years. Those politicians discovered that if they hand money to unions the unions would deliver votes. It is as simple as that.

The taxpayers who aren't on the inside are the ones who will have to pay for this mess. And the mess keeps getting bigger every year since nobody seems willing to actually confront the problem.

Do you actually hear anyone in Salem saying anything about fixing the obvious issues with PERS? Come on, the football coach gets $40,000 per month in PERS and nobody can think of a solution??

That which can't go on forever, won't.

The government gravy train won't go on forever, but it will go on for while still. PERS has been in the news for over a decade, but still nothing major done to fix it.

But at least now people beyond "the vast right-wing" blah blah blah are starting to talk about it.

"said Mary Botkin, a lobbyist for The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, with 21,000 members in Oregon. "If you can't afford to retire, keep working. But if you're ready to retire, you ought to go and let them bring in new people."

Yeah, but LO Super Korach needs to keep working, since his tax bill is so high. Life is hard for the PERS bandits!

But it is not for efficiency sake, or fairness, etc...

It's to make room for more union workers!
"But if you're ready to retire, you ought to go and let them bring in new people."

Maybe she means new people from the privatized non-government related workers, like the mechanics in the state motor pool? Nah...

Another point that I've argued for years is that there is zero reason for us to even have a PERS system anymore.

Give everyone a 401K match and call it good. Why is there a big building in Tigard full of PERS employees who are running mutual fund investments? The whole thing is unnecessary overhead. There is an entire pension and retirement industry in the country. Zero reason for the state to still be doing this, especially since it is obvious that they are incapable of running a pension system. The conflict of interest is too great and obviously the public employees in OR have given into their greed. Time to shut the whole process down and move to individual accounts.

We are in the middle of elections now and no one is talking about this. The candidates in Portland boast of their civil service union support. That means they'll do nothing to get us out of this mess.

Federal government is actually a model on this. Re-employed annuitants continue to collect their annuity plus only the difference between the annuity and the position's salary, so there's no gain. Also, CSRS federal employees are subject to a windfall pension offset that substantially reduces eligibility for social security benefits. Of course, the Obama administration is busy making exceptions to help out favored employees, because, you know, it's so hard to find anyone who is willing to work for the federal governement..

According to CNBC, "The economy's biggest drag right now is government." http://www.cnbc.com/id/47205997

On PERS, specifically: I may be wrong, but I believe that state legislators and judges get PERS as well - so I wouldn't expect any changes.

The government gravy train won't go on forever True enough - in fact, "green" companies and the light rail mafia are already encountering doo-doo in this regard, as subsidies went from $110 billion in 2009-2001 to $40 billion in 2012-2014. Heck, that's hardly enough for a decent "green" CEO bonus. http://news.investors.com/article/609326/201204270802/green-energy-faces-big-drop-in-subsidies.htm?p=full

I suspect that not only will we see a sudden dropoff in Solyndras and Vestas, but the CRC - which absolutely, positively can't be built without light rail, and which has already eaten something like $150 million in "planning" - may not be built after all. It's certainly going to put a big crimp in the Metro/Tri-Met/CoPo plans to run light rail down highway 99w.

PERS is the perfect argument for why government employees should not be allowed to unionize.

Maybe the problem is that management negotiates the contracts with the unions and then matches that for non-union employees. If I make 100K and you make 50K--I give you a 5% raise. You get $2,500 and I get $5,000. I sure have an incentive to hold down the labor costs. Talk about a conflict of interest.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

Bastiat wrote about this very issue 150 years ago.
This is nothing new, it just takes people time to recognize it for what it is.

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