Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Public Pension Nonsense

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A couple of messages to the “capitalists” and “Law & Order” types out there: 1)entities need to honor contracts as agreed to & 2)it’s not the workers’ fault that politicians promise the moon without intent to deliver.

Public pensions were part of contracts that parties negotiated and signed in good faith in the past.  After American citizens worked in their careers for 30, 40 years and in some cases beyond in jobs that private sector folks chose not to pursue because there is no glory or fortunes in them, public sector workers deserve their earned and due benefits.

Meanwhile, private corporations off-loaded their pension plans by privatizing them and putting their management in the hands of respective workers.  You know, the “personal responsibility” and “freedom” mentality at work.  Wall St. turned itself into the biggest group of casinos in the world, betting on those privatized accounts (as well as others) while its lobbyists successfully deregulated the financial markets.  The result?  The 2007 financial collapse and subsequent economic disaster that has unfolded.

Also during this time period, one of the puppets of crony capitalists, Grover Norquist, successfully led a national campaign to ensure politicians cut taxes on the richest Americans.  As a result, local, state, and national governments find themselves in nearly perpetual debt.  Now, crony capitalist supporters are criticizing public workers (in just one more way) for their foresight to secure a solid retirement.  The capitalists’ method didn’t work out so well and the socialists’ were more successful (not completely, obviously).  Again, entities need to execute signed contracts in good faith – public workers more than deserve their pensions (they held up their end of the bargain for decades), they deserve the respect of the rest of us for their choice in life path and adherence to the rules during their careers.  Critics with sour grapes don’t have a legitimate complaint against those workers.

This is just a small part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  While financial titans have seen their tax rates decimated and their bonuses skyrocket, often at the expense of workers’ jobs by the way, public sector employees have continued to earn less in salary per year than their private sector counterparts for similar work.  It’s a classic example of the 99% vs. the 1%.  Polarizing rhetoric of the past 30 years continues: private sector workers are turning their ire from being duped and taken for the ride their lives on those same public sector workers instead of the 1% who engineered the entire situation.

If they fight among themselves, workers can’t and won’t hold the 1% accountable for their actions.  So much for “Law and Order”, personal responsibility and responsible capitalism.

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