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« Stirfry

WARNING: Bailout of public pensions looms

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published March 8, 2009

It was a story that didn't get much play, but it certainly should be of interest to all workers in the private sector — those whose pensions have been frozen or even ended, and whose 401K plans have lost more than 30 percent of their value in the past year.

The piece appeared last week on the website Bloomberg.com and was written by reporter David Evans. It carried the headline, "Hidden Pension Fiasco May Foment Another $1 Trillion Bailout."

The following paragraphs sum up what's going on:

"With stock market losses this year, public pensions in the U.S. are now underfunded by more than $1 trillion.

"That lack of funds explains why dozens of retirement plans in the U.S. have issued more than $50 billion in pension obligation bonds during the past 25 years — more than half of them since 1997 — public records show.

"The quick fix for pension funds becomes a future albatross for taxpayers."

Here's a question that every private sector taxpayer should ask: Why should I, whose pensions and retirement plans and even Social Security earnings are in jeopardy, baliout out the pension plans for public employees? 

Until the federal government steps forward and agrees to make every private sector pension and retirement plan whole, the public employees can go pound salt. Let them settle for less than they anticipated. That's the nature of today's economy.

And, given that most of the retirement benefits paid to public retirees are unjustified considering the service they have rendered while on the job, these folks have been living high off the hog for too long.

It's time they faced reality.



1TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Just roll the "failed" public pension plans into the Social Security Fund and give the public sector what SS recipients would be receiving. At retirement age I'd rather have half of something (a SS check), than nothing at all.

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2apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

It's inevitable that a joke system like the public sector has that rapes the taxpayers will eventually need to be fixed. Rolling it into the SS should be the fix. But the public employees will make a fuss about losing that golden trough benefit. Boardman's employees will most likely complain the loudest!

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3VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Public employees can retire early, receive their pension and go to work elsewhere without any penalties. Meanwhile, if you are on S.S., and you retire early, you are limited on the amount you can earn if you take another job.

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4Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Beware of a man with a gleam in his eye. It may just be the sun shining through the hole in his head.

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5cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"And, given that most of the retirement benefits paid to public retirees are unjustified considering the service they have rendered while on the job, these folks have been living high off the hog for too long."

Wow, generalize much Bert? Were you denied a public service job somewhere along the line?

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6Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The Bloomberg article on public pensions falls into some of the same traps as many other pension-related critiques: ignoring important countervailing evidence; failing to place the size and scope of public pension issues into their proper context; and mistakenly applying a few bad examples to the entire public pension community.

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7NoBS(1957 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

No, Bert, it's time YOU faced reality. Why don't you give back your pay, and give back your benefits? You're very vocal in your complaints against public employees, yet you're remarkably quiet about your own wages, perks and benefits. The Vindy is a union shop, no? It's well known that you're a scab, and crossed the picket lines during the Vindy's last strike. So rather than be exposed as a hypocrite, you do routinely refuse any and all raises the bad old union generates, and you refuse to take any benefits negotiated by the union, don't you?

The Vindy is losing money, because the print media in general is dying, and here in the Mahoning Valley it's almost dead. Here's your chance to practice what you preach. If anyone's wages, benefits, and retirement are unjustified, it's yours. What good do you do? What service do you provide, or how do you better the world around you?

Yes, let's face reality. You dislike public employees, and despise their unions. Everyone gets that. Yet when your own union negotiates a raise, you step up and take yours, don't you?

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8ROBERT(138 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Little bertie strikes again! He can't abide that the public pension plans are better run than the horrific social security fund. PERS funds are in far vetter shape than social security because they are run by the employees who stand to collect them, not the politicos. Did anyone ever wonder how Little bertie has managed to never advance beyond the Brown family rag in over 30 years?

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9apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I suggest Robert you go to Google and type in PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEM and click on the NEWS tab and then come back and tell us how great of shape public retirement systems are in!

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10ROBERT(138 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe Apollo needs to compare PERS with the Social Security System. Obviously PERS has lost money as have all investment plans but I would still rather be in PERS than Social Security or a GM pension type plan.

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11apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Robert, the tsunami coming to the various government pension plans is only starting. You can't allow people to retire in their 50's and expect the taxpayers to fund their ridiculous pensions and health care for 30-40 years. Sometimes funding it for more time than they actually worked! The taxpayers simply will not fund it.

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12ROBERT(138 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

If you are correct then the PERS fund will become like the Social Security fund. My point is, and maybe not too artfully expressed, that PERS rules are set by participants who will plan on collecting under them while Social Security is run by politicians who are not covered by this plan. Given a choice, I would elect to be a participant in a plan in which participants govern. I have paid a ton of money into Social Security over the years and the only way I will get a benefit is if taxpayers continue to fund a Ponzi scheme.

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