Pension Tsunami

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A humungous national debt. Growing state federal government budget deficits. Social Security and Medicare, running out of funds. All very frightening. But look out: The costs of public employee pensions are walloping city and state budgets — pushing a number of California cities into bankruptcy.

Though the stock market tumble hasn’t helped, the basic problem lies squarely with politicians. They like to increase future benefits to gain political support from public employee unions; they then underfund their lavish promises, the better to hide the fiscal reality from today’s taxpayers.

Politicians keep running from the problem, but a website called PensionTsunami.com won’t let them hide. The site, run by Californian Jack Dean, offers a steady stream of horror stories:

  • A new report calls the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System “bankrupt.”
  • A Rye, New York, city manager makes $198,000 a year while still collecting a pension for the same job.
  • The chief actuary for the California Public Employees Retirement System admits that current pension costs are “unsustainable.”

All across the country, politicians consistently fail to act. Californians are lucky: They have the voter initiative. The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a group whose board includes Mr. Dean, is planning a statewide initiative to prevent their approaching tsunami.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct
    9
    11:26
    AM
    Mary Bodily

    I live in California and have listened to city, county, and state employees tell about their wonderful retirement benefits for years and have watched people retire early and then get another job so they can get the retirement AND have another good income to pay for the huge homes and lovely cars and trips they now can afford while their kids attend expensive universities. I haven’t begruded them their good fortune but now realize that all this good stuff was only “fluff and puff” and now the state and communities are panicing.

  2. Oct
    9
    12:05
    PM
    Rubicon

    Once again, the public will have to pay for the greed of others. While average Americans deal w/ average salaries, average benefits & average just about everything else, unionized public employees have been living high on the hog, Or more accurately, high on the backs of ‘average American taxpayers.’
    Unions did good things. Today, as “public” unions, all they do is obtain guaranteed benefits for life, at the expense of everyone else. No ‘public’ plan will ever be allowed to fail, while private plans will collapse around all of us. Why do “our” plans fail, while unionized public employee plans get bailed out by taxpayers?
    If any plan or company is to be allowed to fail, then all plans or companies should be alowed to fail, as a matter of fairness.

  3. Oct
    9
    12:13
    PM
    Jim Hornaday

    Hey, add Springfield Missouri to your list of cities trying to go bankrupt.

    Springfield has about 145,000 residents, and a $200,000,000 police/firemen pension deficit, and a long-term debt obligation of $450,000,000.

    It turns out, our benevolent administrators gave out pension benefits right and left without adjusting the payroll deductions AND simultaneously chose to NOT make any in-kind contributions to the pension fund for 4 years straight in flush times. Oh well, we do have some beautiful parks.

    What’s the city’s response to this crisis? “We need another sales tax!” We had one failed tax vote in April, and are faced with a second tax proposal early in November. The city hasn’t got the message to “Stop Spending!”

    Check it out. The situation stinks.

  4. Oct
    9
    4:47
    PM
    John Dill

    Illinois teachers are getting rich! Check this out:

    http://www.championnews.net/article.php?sid=2104

  5. Oct
    9
    8:20
    PM
    Tough Love

    Quoting …”All across the country, politicians consistently fail to act. Californians are lucky: They have the voter initiative. The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a group whose board includes Mr. Dean, is planning a statewide initiative to prevent their approaching tsunami.”

    I’d hardly call California “lucky”, as they’ve got one heck of a financial problem due to overly generous Civil Servant Pensions & Benefits. As for the The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, they are caving-in to ONLY trying to reduce pensions for NEW employees.

    Reductions are DESPERATELY needed for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees or California will be broke LONG before any savings materialize.

    It doesn’t matter exactly WHAT needs to be changed to acomplish this … Laws, Regs., the State Constitution … it MUST be done … and NOW !

  6. Oct
    10
    5:49
    PM
    GanjaBoy60

    Apple pie, home made with a really larded up pie crust and crushed up cinammon graham crackers covering the top of the bottom crust with the apple filling on top dotted with butter and sprinkled with cinammon and then the top crust. ,

  7. Mar
    3
    5:20
    AM
    John Taggart

    I think the UK is in a worse state that America. Our debts are now the same as Greece.

  8. Mar
    3
    5:22
    AM
    Steve Cunningham

    I thought that Obama would be better than the others but haven’t seen any impovement

  9. Sep
    30
    12:32
    PM
    Joe Gianforte

    1 Attached files|426KB
    20101108114607.pdf

  10. Sep
    30
    12:34
    PM
    Joe Gianforte

    1 Attached files|169KB
    20110203121613.pdfDownload

  11. Sep
    30
    12:38
    PM
    Joe Gianforte

    I would like an opportunity Frank to share this, and related, information and supporting documentation with the proper media source. Thank you.–Joe

    I would like an opportunity to share with you my experience with the corrupted, if it may be said, interwoven, and business incestuous relationship between the Pacific Maritime Association, the so-called “progressive” ILWU, and other elements of the “system” if you would. As a graduate of the politically intent, make NO SMALL light of this fact, Jesuit University of San Francisco(USF), I was duped, conned, manipulated, and lacking enough political savvy, naively became ensconced with major participants thereof.

    The use of forms of “legal” blackmail and economic deprivation to force someone to fulfill a political errand is not something to which anyone would want to be exposed. The matter has been sent to all of the proper avenues of recourse within the bureaucracy-the NLRB, the Department of Justice, the EEOC, Department of Labor and the FBI, etc. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee had asked me for relevant information after I had been falsely arrested in San Francisco while attempting to promulgate my experience. It was then referred to the Washington, D.C. and San Francisco offices of the FBI. Former United States Attorney and Archdiocese of San Francisco and Archbishop, now Cardinal Levada advisor, Joseph Russoniello, has been aware of this matter for a long time.
    An example here, of which I write, could it be of the age-old business incestuous relationship of the Corporate/government and Military seeking influence within a prominent and economically critical Union? Please recall the former General and, then, President Eisenhower speech just before he left office. The ILWU founded by the controversial Harry Bridges, is an economically critical Union whose hierarchy is cozier with the employer than those who work for a living, and those who believe in the ILWU’s reputation, according to my information and experience, are willing to admit. The “last great rust belt union” and an “injury to one is an injury to all” have long been a couple of descriptions of the ILWU. It really is “I got mine, you get yours.” So-called fat cats do not catch mice!

    When a person is used as a pawn it can become too damaging and revealing to be brought to light. These political players have carved years out of my life to protect their names. If the cast of characters, players if you will, is exposed the picture is very clear. There are many corrupted participants here from many directions. Disgusting. I would think that anyone purporting to be an “honest” politician, or socio-politically conscienceable or responsible person, would be interested in this matter.

    I have, as a whistleblower, been blacklisted, falsely arrested, and harassed for a long period of time. I do have corroborating evidence, particularly paperwork relative to my being registered as a longshoreman under the ILWU-PMA “permissive rule” Coast Labor Relations Committee(CLRC) Item 21-62 Item 2J for sons, and now of course daughters, of deceased longshoreman almost twenty years after my Father’s death, and after years of being repeatedly denied, in writing, as untimely under the same rule. My Father passed away in 1968, his plug number in Local 10 was 4075. To my knowledge an UNPRECEDENTED situation of which few or none will speak or comment. An embarrassment to all parties concerned. If am able to communicate with someone who is reputedly objectively honest then I would look forward to the opportunity. There has been a long term commitment here by several socio-political entities to continually violate the civil rights of someone to keep a matter quiet. There is much between the lines here. My name is Joe Gianforte, formerly A book #8724 ILWU Local 10. This local is in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area. My telephone number is (510) 614-2763 and my E-mail is joegianforte@yahoo.com. Thank you.

  12. Dec
    29
    8:50
    PM
    Boston

    I’m quite pleased with the infromaiton in this one. TY!

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