Pension System Insanity

When exactly did the concept of a pension plan switch from solid retirement program to corrupt entitlement?  The majority of Americans not collecting these insane retirement benefits need to stand and be heard.  States such as California are digging holes they will not climb out of easily.  Warren Buffet refers to public sector retirees as a “time bomb”.  But that’s putting the cart before the horse.  The first question that needs to be addressed is why exactly do teachers, for example, receive such incredible retirement benefits?  Is it because they work 9 months a year?  Or maybe it’s the 8:00 to 2:00 workdays.  Having attended NYC public schools grade 1 through 12, I can vouch for the fact that I had exactly 5 teachers in all of those years that were academicians.  The rest were reading the textbook a week ahead of the class.   Police and firemen do play a very important role; they are certainly brave and risk their lives every time they leave for work, but can retire after 20 years, many in their 40s and then move on to other positions.  How exactly are states supposed to pay someone for thirty or more years of not working?  There are public servants receiving two or even three pensions.  Aggressive changes need to be made.    I suppose the argument the other side might make is since public employees earn less than their private sector counterparts, it’s an incentive for people considering the public domain.  The only problem with this argument is that it is no longer true.  Teachers on maximum in NYC public schools earn over 100K.  NY State troopers easily earn over 100K with overtime.  Make no mistake, we should not begrudge them their salaries it’s their pensions that are being questioned.  The debt keeps rising and the tax base decreases as the challenging environment remains, if not officially in recession.  What can be done to reverse the spiraling state debts?  There are two possible solutions, 1) public sector employees must contribute more to their retirement plans, making up the difference in the shortfall.  2) the elimination and replacement with a modern-day equivalent i.e. 401K with generous match.  Whatever the alternative, it must fund itself.  Lawmakers have been averse to addressing the pension issue because the unions wield such influence.  But sooner or later they will have no choice and tough decisions will need to be made.  The only thing that will make it easier is the wave of adverse public sentiment is growing steadily.

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