Skip to comments.Class War How public servants became our masters (EXCELLENT READ!)
Posted on 01/29/2010 8:28:59 AM PST by milwguy
The average federal salary (including benefits) is set to grow from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 in 2010, CBS reported. But the real action isnt in what government employees are being paid today; its in what theyre being promised for tomorrow. Public pensions have swollen to unrecognizable proportions during the last decade. In June 2005, BusinessWeek reported that more than 14 million public servants and 6 million retirees are owed $2.37 trillion by more than 2,000 different states, cities and agencies, numbers that have risen since then. State and local pension payouts, the magazine found, had increased 50 percent in just five years.
These huge pension increases have eaten away at public finances, most spectacularly in California, where a bipartisan bill that passed virtually without debate unleashed the odious 3 percent at 50 retirement plan in 1999. Under this plan, at age 50 many categories of public employees are eligible for 3 percent of their final years pay multiplied by the number of years theyve worked. So if a police officer starts working at age 20, he can retire at 50 with 90 percent of his final salary until he dies, and then his spouse receives that money for the rest of her life. Even during the economic crisis, 3 percent at 50 and the forces behind it have only become more entrenched.
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
I have acquaintances in the gov't sector who are gaming the system by collaborating with their fellow workers to put in lots of overtime in the last three years before retirement in order to inflate the base rate which their pension is based upon.
While private sector employees will have to work to 65,66, or 67 before they retire, many of my acquaintances will be retiring in their 50's with pensions and health care benefits which are nothing short of outrageous.
As the article states, the costs of these benefits are going up exponentially and swamping the ability of gov't to pay them. Something has to give, and when the few people who actually pay taxes to pay these benefits realize how we have been screwed by the new 'royalty', it will not be pretty.
In California unfunded pension and health care liabilities for state workers top $100 billion, and the annual pension contribution has shot up from $320 million to $7.3 billion in less than a decade.
THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT! The State itself said this on Nov 30th.........The budget problem consists of a $6.3 billion projected deficit for 200910 and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 201011.....
If you examine those numbers you see the INCREASE in pension costs if responsible for 2/3rd of the budget deicit for the next two years....
Truly shocking stats, but illustrative of how quickly things have spun out of control/.
Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation (Paperback)
~ Steven Greenhut (Author)
Also, if you understand the premise (collapse the system from within, Cloward-Pivens, “In Praise of Barbarians”, “Unjust Desserts”, etc) the economy HAS to be collapsed for Obama to implement his new ‘Foundation” for the economy.
We are in dangerous times. Some people don’t want to admit it.
Remember, it never is...pretty...
public “servants” my ass.
Job Growth Lacking in the Private Sector (over the last decade)
Despite budget cuts and layoff warnings, California still hiring and workforce still growing
The Sacramento Bee
Aug. 9, 2009
The job growth for state workers contrasts with the loss of 759,000
jobs in Californias private industry in the past 12 months
not to mention gubermint employees and their pensions:
Reform advocates are spotlighting those with extravagant pensions
$100,000 or more as a way to get the publics attention and
emphasize that the current system is unsustainable.
CHART OF THE DAY: How The Government Payroll Replaced Goods-Producing Jobs
Beyond reckless / Sacramento, Washington pile up the debt
House votes 218-214 for short-term debt ceiling increase
CHART OF THE DAY: Bureaucrats Have Way Better Benefits Than You
These chicks make some good points.
“the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments”
Look at any state's budget and government education is the budget elephant sleeping in the living room.
A solution would be to move to tax credits, vouchers, and charters provided they would be given the option to hire non-government teachers.
No kidding. It’s difficult for older workers to find any job. In many cases, they end up working for much less pay than they received in their previous jobs. Time to look for that government job!
The first thing our new Congress should do is to correct this. The private sector is much more valuable than the government and unions who lie and use their members.
It’s important to differentiate between state/local employees and federal employees.
Benefits for federal employees and retirees are funded out of the Treasury. If more money is needed to fund those obligations, more money can be printed.
States and localities can’t print money, so obligations for their employees have to come out of state/local taxes.
I was a paramedic in 1980 making about 21k. I was hired into law enforcement at 15k. The reason I took the 25% hit was due to the possibility of retiring at an age where I could enjoy retirement, better job security, and better opportunities. Plus I always wanted to be a cop. Point: there are still a couple of people working for my former employee, my age or older.
Over the years we obtained certain benefits in lieu of raises and one was improvement of pensions. In reality, from 1980 to 2005 when I retired, pensions were improved very little. However, we were able to maintain other benefits. Many years we took 1/2 the raises that were being offered by the private sector to maintain our benefits.
I have worked all but the last 12 months since retirement. The biggest block is jobs. As a Chief, I was less involved in routine patrol but did have my share of arrests.
Law enforcement is an interesting position in that you could have 60 year old officers dealing with 20 year old violent offenders. Not a good combination. I had a 60 year old officer working for me and he basically did nothing. I tried to remove him but his wifeon the council orchestrated a move in which I was the one who left!
I am also a trained fire fighter. I can see many positions in the fire department that can be managed by older firefighters. In fact, I had 70 year old guys who either ran the pumpers or shuttled air packs. A job that needs to be done. The younger guys were the hose draggers who fought the fires.
I concur that the current pension system is out of control. But the reality is that many of us entered the job when the pay was poor and we entered it for a variety of reasons. I can speak from both sides of the negotiation table that a lot of fault lies with municipal management.
Funding of pensions is based on actuarial tables which were establised in the 1960’s. In theory only a small amount has to be paid in order to ‘fully fund’ the pension system. The average police or fire retiree lived on 3 years after retirement in the 1960’s. Now they live 2 decades or more. This is in thanks to better health awareness and a stronger focus on fitness.
Municipal managers did not and would not fund one penny more than absolutely necessary. Fortunately new management took over a few years ago and the funding was increased above what the actuarial tables recommended.
My former agency (the one I retired from) just took a 0% raise, a change in health care for a two year contract. I applaud their action in recognizing current economic trends. I suspect that we will see roll backs if not continued wage freezes when their contract expired in 2011.
I do not support holding the line or demanding pay increases. As usual, it seems that poor decisions were made in the past that are driving a lot of the current problems. Again I mentioned that I have sat on both sides of the table and I know the issues. It will get a lot worse before it gets better.
Of course, I in in Middle America and not east or west coast where the issues are very combative in this arena. We are funded locally and not on a state wide system. This allows better flexibility.
Yes, these pensions look bad but consider the nature of the jobs some of these public employees do. Most of these early retirements are public safety. Other municipal employees do have to work until they are late 50’s or 60 years of age.
The idiots in Oregon voted this week to raise their personal income tax rate to one of the highest in the nation, and raise taxes on businesses, so as to give public employees a nice big raise. Of course, public employees already make 1/3 more than private sector workers and have better benefits - but hey, I’m sure they really deserved it.
We need to keep the pressure on all our politicos and have them cancel or not renew the union contracts , contract most all Gov. services to private co.
No gubMint employees = No overpaid power hungry gubMint workers, No golden retirement pensions ...........
Explain too me how exempting all gubMint employees from the law, that all the other citizens are subjected too, is not a violation of the 14th Amend. , The Equal Protection Under the Law Clause ?
If that does not work we need too put a referendum on the ballot too implement these polices
No matter how well intentioned, Government agency’s/programs turn into a cesspool of graft & corruption
Are govt employees, including every branch of law enforcement, education, infrastructure, and bureaucracy, guaranteed jobs, pensions, overtime, and retirement at an age less than 70?
"On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants."
“Bigger government means more government employees. Those employees then become a permanent lobby for continual government growth. The nation may have reached critical mass...”
Yes, there is a huge conflict of interest here. It would have been helpful if the Constitution had stated that government could not vote for its own growth without at least a 2/3 vote of both the House and the Senate. No new government programs with federal workers unless agreed upon with that type of majority.
Can these “promises” be broken on the Federal or state levels or is the taxpayer stuck?
You’re not going to get any sympathy from me. You’re complaining about having a job that paid $21,000 per year plus benefits in 1980? That was a pretty good deal in 1980, given that in 1980 the average income was $19,000.
Another important thing to spell out -
In 1982-1983 - the Federal retirement system was modified, and it is no where near as generous as some State or local government retirement systems, and it can’t be “gamed” as much either. (And I am speaking of generic Fed program, not one for special employees like Air Traffic Controllers, certain federal police, etc.)
The new federal retirement system provides 1% per year credit - after working 30 years, the retirement is 30% of the average of the last 3 years BASE pay. Overtime can’t be used as a part of that computation. Retirement age is being increased above 55.... There are other factors too - but the FERS program is no where as lucrative as what some cities in California provide!
LEOs are the worst offenders for this kind of pension abuse. File clerks and maintenance workers aren’t getting 3% at 50; they usually see 2% at 55. LEOs and fire, which includes at least five close family members and a dozen more close friends, work the system like no others. They play up the dangers of the job, ignoring the fact that there are many jobs as dangerous if not more so. I have a friend who is a babysitter, I mean prison guard, who gets paid over $100K with overtime, etc. What the prison guard union did to California, with the help of Gov Gray Davis, was highway robbery.
This also distorted by the number of “public servants” who go on disability. In Montgomery County Maryland an incredible number of police just so happen to develop back problems in their last several years of “service”. They sometimes draw more than their pensions for disability. Many times they leave the area to take other “public service” positions and double dip. What a scam on the tax payer.
The ironic thing is that a lot of government agencies won’t take you if you’re past a certain age. The FBI won’t hire anyone over the age of 36, even for office positions. They can discriminate openly and get away with it.
Public servants...have become the perpetual mandarin class...which ran China India Russai etc. into the ground.
First step in reform: bust up their unions
Wasn’t it JFK that allowed them to become unionized?
FWIW my wife (a school principal) is 12 year younger than I, and we will retire in the same year....assuming that a) I live that long and b) if there’s anything left of my private pensions and 401k’s in 2027. Our salaries are within a few dollars of each other....for now She will pass me this year because her raises are 4-5%. Hell, last year the company didn’t give out raises and this year I’m going to assume more of the same. She will retire on a pretty fat pension at 55.
We remark upon the prescience of the late C. Northcote Parkinson, who predicted in his very witty way that this would be our downfall.
The teachers health insurance at retirement is still at the district level, they are part of the district's group, and is paid for by the individuals-not the state or the district.
The teachers pay into a retirement system with an employee match that is managed by trustees who hire several money managers to invest the dollars which includes stocks, bonds, and other investments. It is reviewed each year to make sure it is actuarially sound. I do not see this as a big drain.
I actually taught until my children were old enough to go to school, and then I left to work in banking at a much larger salary and way more fringe benefits. Many of the people who I taught with were hardworking and dedicated with traditional conservative values.
I just can not paint them with the same brush as the urban teachers who belong to the NEA.
If the government guts medicare, I may go back to teaching long enough to qualify for their insurance at retirement, even though it will cost more than medicare.
Good points. I don’t like the scapegoating that sometimes occurs on these threads. There is a big difference between the local and state employees and the members of the public employee unions.
Conservative government teacher is an oxymoron.
How can a conservative work in a socialist system that teaches socialism to children simply by existing? The simple act of attending teaches children that the government has the power to take money from their neighbor to pay for a service their parents want tuition-free? Well?...If it Ok for the government to use police threat to take money from their neighbor for schooling why not a thousand other socialist wants?
To compound the problem the children are taught that it is their **”right”** to have the government to threaten their neighbor with police action to collect money from their neighbor for tuition-free schooling.
Having politically “conservative” government teachers ( an oxymoron) in government schools also lulls other parents into thinking that their children will not be taught socialism in the schools because..Hey!...some of the teachers are “conservative”.
Well, doesn’t that figure! Why do I get the feeling that the government wants everyone over the age of 55 to jump off a bridge... except for our illustrious leaders, of course.
You are entitled to your opinion. Considering that the “government” schools are what the majority of Americans are using, I believe that all conservatives should be very involved in their schools.
Get on the local school board, and make changes. Force the local school boards to include those concepts you believe are important in the curriculmn.
I certainly never taught any socialism in my classes. In fact, the first few years, I taught elementary at a small country school. We said the pledge of allegiance, and said our prayers at snack time. No one reported us to the ACLU, so we got away with it.
Later I taught math, and there were plenty of ways that I was able to work public and personal fiscal responsibility into my lessons.
As to taxes for public schools, I have never begrudged them even though I haven’t had any children in school for almost 20 years. Besides everyone gets to vote on the county taxes for schools. I think federal funding for schools is unconstitutional, but that is unlikely to change at present.
Instead of scape-goating our institutions, maybe it is time to do what the socialists have been doing for the last century. Infiltrate, adn take back the schools, take back the news outlets, take back the entertainment industry that its spewing out unAmerican messages, and take back the political parties. Plenty of grassroots opportunity everywhere.
If your children are still in govt schools, pay attention to what is going on and get involved. Just my 2 cents. Take it or leave it.
Teachers are the greediest. For example, the relatively small state of New Jersey has 567 municipalities contained in 21 counties.
But NJ has 610 school districts and 900 high paid superintendents and assistant superintendents. Even in places with only one school.
There is no accountability, no oversight and no protection for taxpayers.
The NJSC ordered statewide taxpayers to fund poorer school districts........they receive billions in state funding.
In one poorer district, the Supt of Schools sucked up a $173,389 annual salary plus perks ....and wrote herself a $740,000 exit package upon retirement-—(which does not include her several state pensions of about $125,000 per year, bonuses and lifetime family health benefits).
Her BASE SEVERANCE PACKAGE: $556,290 (to be paid in five yearly installments so that she can evade taxes). She gamed the system, contriving that she had UNUSED SICK DAYS: $170,137 (paid out in three yearly installments to evade taxes) and supposedly had UNUSED VACATION DAYS totaling $14,449.
A superintendent’s contract also includes payments for travel, meals, lodging, life insurance, cars, free maintenance and auto insurance, payment for personal days, etc, etc, etc. Other Supt contracts include annuities and six-figure bonuses. All payouts structured to evade taxes.
One state report showed these school thieves routinely filed fraudulent state documents to hide stratospheric pay deals from taxpayers. This is prosecutable and incurs felony charges for first-degree tampering with public records, first-degree offering of a false instrument for filing, fourth-degree grand larceny, and first-degree falsifying of official records.
When you think about it, there is no Constitutional authority for the very existence a vast number of Federal jobs, in fact, whole departments.
Eliminate those, and the savings would be tremendous.
Let those duties, where deemed necessary, fall upon the States and Local Governments to employ and fund at the discretion of the voters, local governments, and State Legislatures.
***THAT IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF SOCIALISM!***
No amount of school board participation can change this, or change the lessons that children learn about government power when they attend government schools.
And,...Yes, government schools are **government** schools! They are owned by the government. They are run by the government. They are funded through taxes collected by the threat of police action than only the government can call into action.
Neither are government schools “public”. Mc Donalds is public. If anyone in the public can get there and can put down 89 cents for a hamburger, they are welcome to use Mc Donalds. Our parks are public. **Anyone** willing to pay the entrance fee can use them.
Government schools are highly, highly restricted by neighborhood boundary ( for the most part) or by other government regulation in regard to which children have government permission to use them. This results in the most racially, economically, socially, and class segregated institutions in America.
There is absolutely nothing in the private sector that matches the segregation found in government schools. It takes government to impose and enforce this type of segregation. ( For example Jim Crow laws.) People normally wouldn't sustain this on their own.
20 years from now, if the Marxists get their way with our health care system, there will be idiots claiming to be “conservatives”. They will say they don't mind paying taxes for Department of Motor Vehicle style health care system. Hey! Doesn't the voting mob get to vote for it? Instead of trying to privatize medical care, they will say, we must work with the health “board” ( when we are not busy with the school board) to bring in concepts we feel are important.
Government schools must be destroyed not infiltrated.
We must begin the process. We must demand charters, vouchers, and tax credits to help build the private infrastructure. Then we must gradually demand that parents take over the financial responsibility for paying for or providing their own children's education. ( With taxes being reduced on everyone.) Eventually, all education would be privately delivered with charity paying for the poor.
Legislatures are sovereign. They can zero any of this out in five seconds, all it takes is a vote, all that takes is representatives willing to do so.
That does not mean stop trying to get vouchers etc-just realize that we are a long way from there, and not likely to get there, unless we break it down into smaller steps.
The biggest mistake that Obama has made toward achieving his goals(IGNORING THE STUPIDITY OF HIS PROPOSALS) is trying to go too far too fast, generating blowback. People in general, do not like drastic change to come too fast. Even if the ideas are good ones.(sometimes because they don't feel like they can really understand unintended consequences of the changes).
There is also a very big difference between the small rural school district and the large NEA schools found in urban locations, and I don't think it serves well to lump them all in together and demagogue the issue.
If a community wants to pool their money and provide education, more power to them. It's the outside influences I dislike-especially the feds.
With respect to charity providing education for the poor- That depends on the charity. When you look at some of the charitable foundations out there, I really am not sure I want to hand over education of poor people to their socialistic ideology. But again we will no doubt just have to agree to disagree on some of these things. Have a good day.