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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:26 PM
Original message
San Jose's $100,000 pension club is rapidly growing
Source: San Jose Mercury News

With San Jose leaders locked in a heated debate over how to curb retirement costs, an analysis by this newspaper shows a startling jump in six-figure pensions for retired cops, firefighters and top City Hall bureaucrats.

Nearly 1 in 3 retired San Jose police officers and firefighters now receive annual pensions of $100,000 or more -- up from 1 in 5 just two years ago, according to newly released records.

An increasing number of city workers are calling it quits to take advantage of a sweet retirement deal -- a guaranteed pension and automatic 3 percent annual cost-of-living raises that exceed the inflation rate -- while the city slashes everything from library hours to police jobs to cover the ballooning retirement benefits.

And in what critics of public pensions call a perverse phenomenon, some former city employees who retired a few years ago are now paid more than they were on the job, while remaining workers have taken 10 percent salary cuts to help pay the pension tab.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/rss/ci_19465443
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. And how much of this is THEIR money?
Remember last winter when Scott Walker claimed public workers' pensions were going to break the state? That was a lie. The money for those pensions was contributed by the workers. 100% by the workers.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. If the workers were contributing at that rate
they wouldn't be taking home any paychecks at all after a few decades.

So no, they are not comparable.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. The contributions are invested
And yes, pension funds do grow.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #5
19. At 3%? In this market?
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 01:16 AM by AtheistCrusader
'Risk free'?

Edit: For comparison Shiller PE is HOPING to gain 2.6% over the next ten years. 3% per year is just not going to fucking happen in this market. To say nothing of landmines of 'whoops, we put 20% of our holdings in real estate' or 'whoops, we held 10% of our assets in cash, which not only doesn't return anything, but LOSES money right now'.

I don't know the specifics of what happened in Wisconsin. You may be totally right that crocodile tears were shed over funding that didn't come out of the state anyway. But that, is THAT issue, and THIS pension issue is screaming 'OFF SCALE', based on the information so far presented here.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #19
39. In this market? In fairness, when someone who is now retired was negotiating
retirement benefits, 3% was probably a pitiful annual cost of living increase.

The fact that the global economy collapsed in 2008 is not the fault of the retirees.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
26. They go down too.
That is the problem many retirement systems are dealing with now, for example CALPERS.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
34. The numbers really don't make sense. Pension plans are designed
to pay out somewhat less than people were making while they worked, not more.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:28 AM
Response to Reply #34
47. Pension plans can be designed any way the parties agree on.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:27 AM
Response to Reply #3
46. At what rate?
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freshwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. What did they invest in to earn $100.000 in pension payments? This is weird.
I doubt they made that much money a year while working, and people usually retire on a fraction of their pay. I think the story has the facts wrong, trying to demonize these people.

:shrug:

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
48. For one thing, in many locales, cops work a lot of overtime.
And one of the reasons for that is that the employer wants to cut down on the number of retirees.

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
52. Self delete.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 05:00 AM by No Elephants
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. Not true, not 100%
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:22 AM
Response to Reply #18
56. The story does not give us sufficient information to say, one way or another.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
33. Only some fraction. Few people have pensions paying more than their
last salary, no matter what their contribution is.

$100K does seem high for that many people to have. That means that a third of the salaries are about $100K -- probably well above.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. That can't be right
They'll go flat broke in no time. The city that is.

Well, it was either bail out the banksters or the coppers.
Can't do both. or can we?
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. My dad was an FBI agent. Many times he told me he earned more
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 12:22 AM by snappyturtle
retired than he ever did when he was working...+ cost of living and SAMBA (Special Agents Mutual Benefit Association) insurance (top drawer) while I'm thankful he had it, there's something not 'right'....that we don't all have the same opportunities at a decent retirement and health insurance.
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PSPS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yes, how dare anyone have a dignified retirement!11!!1
Once again, we pillory those who have a decent job or retirement while we should be clamoring over the lack of these things for everyone else.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Amen
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Agree for the most part.
However, I don't know if a dignified retirement requires making more per year than you made while employed, after accounting for changes in cost of living.

If it is all their money, though, they deserve every penny--and probably more, given the risks first responders take with their lives and health.

Unfortunately, public sector employees often negotiated away salary increases for benefits, like good health care coverage and good pensions. And, now that it is time to cash in, cities, towns and states are saying "We're broke."

The fruits of the "starve the beast" doctrines and the refusal of people to accept that goods and services cost money and costs increase.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:40 AM
Response to Reply #4
23. If $100k is a decent retirement, then most people will have to be satisfied
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 03:24 AM by avaistheone1
to be getting by on scraps as most will have far less to work with.


Wow. People are losing perspective and a grasp on reality.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:21 AM
Response to Reply #23
36. +1. n/t
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
35. A dignified retirement is one thing; making more while retired
than while working is pretty unusual. Retired people also have the benefit of Medicare, which brings health care costs a lot lower than for under 65's.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:13 AM
Response to Reply #35
54. Cops probably had a good health plan before Medicare. And they probably worked a lot of overtime,
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 05:17 AM by No Elephants
too, so they may be receiving less in retirement than they actually received while working.

but, bottom line, they made a deal with the government and they fully performed their end of the deal. The story doesn't tell us enough. For example, how much did they contribute to their plans over their careers? Did they trade salary and more immediate benefits for a better retirment, as is often the case with government employees? Were their salaries adequate to compemnsate them for risking their lives as part of their jobs, or was the pension very much compensation for that? How well did the city steward and invest their contributions? And so on,

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:42 AM
Response to Reply #4
44. Does this really make sense to you?
"And in what critics of public pensions call a perverse phenomenon, some former city employees who retired a few years ago are now paid more than they were on the job, while remaining workers have taken 10 percent salary cuts to help pay the pension tab."
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-03-11 11:43 PM
Response to Original message
7. Strange. People who earn that much are called plutocrats and the gilded rich here
But apparently it's OK if you get six figures for not doing anything at all.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:52 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Working all your life as a cop is NOT doing nothing at all. And this may be all their own money.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 12:53 AM by No Elephants
anyway.


BTW, I never called anyone making $100,000 a year a "plutocrat."

And I'd love to see a link to a post that actually did that.


"Plutocracy" applies to a combination of wealth and political power gained by wealth, which political power and wealth are then used to gain more political power and wealth.

Appling the term to a cop retiring after a lifetime of service, even on #100,000 a year, totally misses the point.

Edited to correct spelling and insert quotation marks.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #12
20. Working 25 years as a cop is not "all your life." Retire at age 50 with
90+% of you salary. This is in the Bay Area. Some retire earlier and go and double-dip for another police dept and collect a partial pension, too. Come on, cry me a river, won't ya.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. It is clear it is not all their own money
if city jobs and services have to be cut to meet the cost of the $100k pensions.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:48 AM
Response to Reply #24
27. I don't know if that is necessarily so. You can put money into a system, but it can be spent for
other purposes, or poorly invested.

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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:53 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. According to the OP's article that is precisely what is going on in San Jose.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 02:54 AM by avaistheone1
"An increasing number of city workers are calling it quits to take advantage of a sweet retirement deal -- a guaranteed pension and automatic 3 percent annual cost-of-living raises that exceed the inflation rate -- while the city slashes everything from library hours to police jobs to cover the ballooning retirement benefits."

http://www.mercurynews.com/rss/ci_19465443




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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. Either you did not read my post or you did not understand it.
None of what you quoted eliminates the possiblity that they did contribute all the money necessary to have funded their pensions.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:12 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. I am not saying they did not contribute money into their pension.
What I am saying is that they did not contribute enough to sustain the $100k+ pensions they expect plus their 3% annual increases.

BTW some public employees do not contribute to their pensions at all, for example in San Francisco their are number of employees who make no contributions whatsoever.




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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:42 AM
Response to Reply #32
50. I said ALL. For the third time, nothing you quoted supports your assertion about insufficiency.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 05:08 AM by No Elephants
Let's say I bought an annuity 40 years ago from a private insurance company at a price that the company deemed adequate to pay me, given all actuarial information, plus give the company a profit.

However, the company misspent the money and/or invested it poorly; plus life expectancies rose considerably since since I bought the policy. Plus, the company was counting on other income to pay out my benefits that has dried up or been reduced(in the case of cities and towns, that would be federal money and real estate taxes calculated on the basis of property values, now deflated).

Long story short, now there is a shortfall, even though I paid in more than enough to pay my annuity (by insurance standards, which includes such things as life expectancies).

IOW, the mere presence of a shortfall does not, ipso facto, mean I did not contribute enough, or even more than enough.

You been insisting that the mere existence of a shortfall now roves they did not contribute enough. You cannot reason backward from the mere existence of a shortfall, having zero information about the contributions or anything else. ou and not recognizing that you simply do not have enough information about anything to reach a sound conclusion. And, as this my third attempt, I respectfully decline to make a fourth response on this point.


As for San Fransisco, public employees in other places contributed the full amount. In both cases, so what? The only facts before us, are about San Jose and we do not even have enough information about San Jose. So, bringing in other areas seems pointless.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
66. Chances are it's all tax payers money invested in their pensions. thats a
misconception that most people have. Many cops and firemen haven't paid a cent into their pension until just recently with many municipalities going broke because many cities pay 70% of their revenue towards police and fireman's pay and pension
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:45 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. Early retirement and double dipping are separate issues. They exist in the military as well.
However, in both categories, you are talking people who risk their lives as part of their job, so one has to balance.

Nothing I've posted is especially maudlin, so maybe you should cry yourself a river, if you want one.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:24 AM
Response to Reply #25
57. Being a cop is by no means the most dangerous job in America..
Indeed, it's not even in the top ten..

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/03/01/top-10-most-dan...
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #25
67. Average pay for a policeman in the Bay Area is about 110,000 a year. Ever hear of
an infantryman in Afghanistan making that much? Now, who's life is more at risk... the cop walking a beat on San Francisco's Market street or the Army Grunt living in a fox hole type trench for weeks on end?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
38. All their own money? Do policeman manage to save a couple million over their careers?
That's how much they'd need to pay out $100K a year in this economy.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:55 AM
Response to Reply #38
51. That is not how pension plans or annuities, public or private work.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 04:58 AM by No Elephants
For just one of many things, you don't know how long any retiree will live, so you cannot possibly know how much is needed to pay that retiree's pension.

Call a private insurance company and ask about paying for an annuities over a thirty year period.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #51
60. Here's an annuity calculator.
http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/insurance/annuity-c...

When you plug in the numbers for a 30 year payout of $100K annually, assuming 3% interest,
it says you would need to invest over $2 million.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:31 AM
Response to Reply #12
40. The median (single) income in that county is $71,000.
http://www.sjhousing.org/data/eligible.html

If I were a typical worker in that county making $71,000, I'd wonder why I was paying taxes so that retired people could be making almost 50% more than I was.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:09 AM
Response to Reply #40
53. Maybe, if you were in that county, you should have been alert way before now.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 05:11 AM by No Elephants
And maybe this story does not give enough facts for us to do a lot more than knee jerk anyway.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #53
61. Oh, right. Everyone who lives in a county has been there for decades.
Or maybe, everyone had overly optimistic expectations when these plans were designed.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #53
77. And maybe the story is one in a long string of hit pieces on public employee unions.
Actually, strike "maybe".
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #40
76. I'm a worker in that county making considerably less than $71,000
the situation is more complicated than you think. For starters, thanks to Prop 13, local governments have had very little incentive for tough bargaining, because the state raised most of the money and distributed it ("backfilled") back to the cities and counties. Meanwhile, especially around here, local government has had to compete with the dot-com industry and its inflated salaries to keep key employees. Now that the state is broke, too, again because of Prop 13 (repukes can and do block the two-thirds supermajority it requires to raise any taxes), what we have is everyone fighting over the few crumbs that are left.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. A lifelong career is now doing nothing at all?
Good grief.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #21
72. A completed in the past lifelong career means you are no longer doing it, by definition.
Edited on Mon Dec-05-11 01:44 PM by dmallind
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
11. Goes to show you how magical the combination of "public worker" and "pension" is
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 12:51 AM by Dreamer Tatum
Because (a) cops are now routinely called PIGS on DU, and (b) anytime a six-figure salary gets mentioned, that person is declared RICH and is in serious need of having at least half of that money taken away.

But when that $100K is in a PENSION, and when that pensioner is a PUBLIC SERVANT...well, nothing to see here!

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. That mischaracterizes even the few posts on this thread so far.
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. So you're denying that cops are called pigs a lot, and people don't sneer at $100K+ salaries?
Um, OK. Whateeeeever you say.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Reading comprehension much? I am denying that you characterizing this thread fairly.
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 01:01 AM by No Elephants
ETA: Scratch "fairly" and replace it with "accurately."

I don't expect fairness.
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Dreamer Tatum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:00 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. A $100K pension for a public servant is exorbitant, especially when current servants
have to take a pay cut in order to help pay it.

Period.

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. That is your opinion, period, and you know what they say about opinions.
But that is not what your original post said, so you are now changing the subject.

Your original post mischaracterized both this thread specifically, and DU in general, where I have seen some of the most liberal posters say people making $250,000 a year should not receive tax increases.

Then again, someone who has racked up as few posts as you have since 2007 probably is not sufficiently familiar with DU to make accurate statements about it.

I would have thought you could have managed to assess the few posts on this thread accurately, though. Then again, I tend to be overly optimistic sometimes.

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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:37 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. Well it obviously is not sustainable because city jobs and services are being cut to
support these $100k pensions.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 02:54 AM
Response to Reply #22
29. Sustainability is also a separate issue. What do you suggest? An ex post facto law
cutting pensions for people who already put years into the system based on contracts between them and the governments involved?

BTW, why do you hide your profile?
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. Like or not I believe sustainability is part and parcel of this issue.
Due to the concept of financial sustainability not being built into these pension plans from the outset we have the current mess.

Yes. I do everything should be on the table in this case, even dealing with these issues ex post facto.
I think what is the greater good is being forgotten here.

(Regarding profiles. I have been here for years. I don't really know what a profile entails. I have never created one as far as I know, nor have I ever looked at anyone else's.)
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:25 AM
Response to Reply #31
37. Ex post facto laws volate the Constitution of the United States, so I disagree with you.
They would also violate basic contract laws and basic concepts of fairness.

What about the responsiblity of government, who negotiated those contracts, too, often insisting the public employees trade salary increases (or larger salary increases) for fringe benefits like health insurance and pensions? (Anything to defer the expense until they were not planning on running for re-election, perhaps.). And citizens who allowed that?

How would you like it if you and your employer had agreed on a total compensation package, weighed heavily toward fringes, but, after you reached retirement, your employer changed the retirement benefit? Or, like Jersey's Christie, made it seem as though having health insurance was tantamount to a crime?

As to profiles:

We ALL created a profile when we registered. Apparently, you chose to hide yours for some reason, an option given all of us. You can choose to "unhide" it and also to hide it again whenever you wish.

I invite you to look at my profile because it demonstrates very clearly that you make your profile public without hiding anything except your join date and actual number of posts.

I don't really care how long you have been here. I am not of the view that a new poster must be a troll. That happened to me the very first time I started a thread and I would never give anyone else that same "pleasure."

I never understand why people want to conceal information like that and so often ask.

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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:05 AM
Response to Reply #37
45. Its late
so I am going to respond briefly.

Contracts are frequently renegotiated for a variety of reasons. Sometimes contracts are unfair and unreasonable to one or more sides.

I think the politicians who worked these original contracts should be tarred and feathered.
Maybe where I live is anomaly. The public employees here are both paid very well and have great benefit packages which is all good. The problem is that their salaries, perks and pensions have gone into the unreasonable zone so much so that the public can no longer afford them.

REgarding profiles, as I stated earlier I have no idea how to look up your profile or anyone elses for that matter. I think you are insinuating I am trying to conceal something. Not really. I never setup a profile because I just dont see the value in them that you do.

I'll try to pick up this discussion with you tomorrow if you like.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 04:37 AM
Response to Reply #45
49. You are correct that contracts are the way they are for a variety of reasons.
All the more reason it may be unfair to pull one thread out of the tapestry decades later.

While you say that whoever negotiated those contracts should be tarred and feathered, those are relatively empty words. ou know that, in reality, that will never happen and the only ones you are really asking for any consequences at all from are the retirees.

And you still have not lumped the people of the town--the ones who elected those politicians and who were napping all these years apparently, in with the culpable parties--assuming there are culpable parties.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #31
64. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #29
69. In Rhode Island the solution for sustainability has been municipal bankruptcy.
If there is no money there is no money. This is a problem you can't tax yourself out of.
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Sancho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:33 AM
Response to Original message
41. Maybe that's not so difficult to understand...
I don't know the system in San Jose...and maybe there is something different or crazy there,

but take my wife's job as a teacher in Florida. In the mid-70's when she started teaching an annual contract was less than $9000 a year. Even today with five college degrees and 35 years experience, her salary is about the same as most college graduates just starting out, BUT her contract puts up 7% a year for retirement. She has put up more as an option in various retirement funds in addition to the state minimum. The state fund has made much more than 3% for decades. Even in bad years like now, the fund generates that much. Some years, the optional funds have made much more than 3%. The biggest problem with the state funds have been with Jeb, Rick Scott, and other politicians manipulating or skimming the dollars, otherwise it is a healthy pile of dough.

The unions have not been able to secure competitive salaries compared to most college graduates, and my wife has earned more money outside of teaching when she needed it...but the unions have fought hard here to protect the health insurance and keep the state from raiding the retirement fund. There are attempts just about every year to reduce benefits or make the public employees pay more...

....still; if she quits at 66 after 4 decades of putting up approximately 7%-10%, her retirement might equal or exceed her salary. Public employees here have taken 3% cuts lately and haven't seen raises in several years. The retirement that my wife put up though still grows every year. The teachers put up their money and their retirement is negotiated year after year.

No one cries foul all the years that teachers work for salaries that are about half what they deserve if they worked in private businesses. No one gave the teachers here million dollar bonuses even if their school and students did well. If every student paid 1% that they earned back to the teachers who taught them so that they got the education necessary to live better lives, some of those career teachers would be rolling in the dough. No one from Bill Gates down got where they did without those teachers.

Just like Elizabeth Warren points out - the public pays for the education, safety, transportation, and protection that make private business possible...so when public employees have legitimate earned health care and retirement, no one should begrudge them a penny! The vast majority of those people are not gaming the system...they just do a good job their whole life.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:39 AM
Response to Reply #41
43. Her retirement might equal or exceed her salary. But will it exceed $100 K?
I've never heard of a school teacher making that much money, but maybe I'm out of the loop on this.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:19 AM
Response to Reply #43
55. Exceeding the salary is the apples to apples measure, not whether someone who
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 05:20 AM by No Elephants
started out earning $7000 a year will get over $100,000 a year in retirement. That's apples and oranges.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #55
59. It's hard to believe that 1/3 of the workers in that city were making
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 06:36 AM by pnwmom
over $100 K before they retired. And most pensions are designed to pay less than the salaries.

The current median worker's salary in that county is $71,000. Does it really make sense to you that so many lower paying workers should be supporting so many high end pensions?

Or does this:

"And in what critics of public pensions call a perverse phenomenon, some former city employees who retired a few years ago are now paid more than they were on the job, while remaining workers have taken 10 percent salary cuts to help pay the pension tab."
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 03:34 AM
Response to Original message
42. So the typical worker in that county, making $71,000,
Edited on Sun Dec-04-11 03:45 AM by pnwmom
is helping to support all those $100K retired people.


I can't imagine why the current workers would object.

:sarcasm:
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:28 AM
Response to Original message
58. Pensions envy!
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madville Donating Member (743 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
62. You see it happen all the time
In pension plans where benefits are determined by the highest earning year, many people close to retirement will pour on tens of thousands of dollars in overtime that last year in order to start their pension off higher, maybe in some cases higher than their old base salary. It's not sustainable in this current economic climate because the projected market and real estate gains these funds depend on probably won't materialize.

Another thing that bites states and municipalities in the butt with pensions, the retiree lives somewhere with a high COL so they make $100,000 a year. They retire, haul ass to a rural or low-cost state/area and take that money out of the local economy that is paying them.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #62
74. That's called "spiking"
and there are plans out here to get rid of it.

Then there's double-dipping, like the ex-police chief who's collecting over $200K/yr. from San Jose while serving as the chief in San Diego for an additional $200K/yr!! :wow:

Get rid of the abuses, not the pensions for the great majority of hard-working public servants, many of whom could have jumped to a dot-com firm for twice the pay.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
63. The retirees were promised this level of compensation.
The only reason public pensions are a hot button is because defined benefit pensions aren't as available to younger workers. They're not available to younger workers because of the weaker defined contribution plans.

IOW, the problem isn't THESE pensions. It's the failure to provide this benefit to current workers that's the problem. The current workers aren't being forced to take a pay cut to pay for the pensions. The city is choosing to frame it that way.
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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-04-11 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
65. Governments, local, state, and federal hire Employees at market reduced wages
In return, they give out good benefits like a pension and health insurance. Without those benefits, governments would not attract good employees. No one is going to be a police officer nor a fire fighter for $25,000 a year in a city like San Jose.

Get rid of the benefits and you will get sub par employees.
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Gringostan Donating Member (19 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 05:47 AM
Response to Original message
68. If its their money...
If its their money - sign me up. If its taxpayer money we may have a problem.
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hack89 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 06:45 AM
Response to Original message
70. Here is the last audit of the San Jose pension system - not a pretty picture.
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closeupready Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
71. Police are union, so no, I am not going to criticize this arrangement.
Further, don't blame THEM for negotiating a good retirement pension plan.
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La Lioness Priyanka Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #71
75. me either. nt
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
73. They took these pension enhancements over the years instead
of pay raises. Now, after 25 years, the 1% want to renege on a contract that has benefited them for these years. And there are Dems here who agree with the robbers. How sad.
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