I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pension Headache

Quickly, because it's late - this SL editorial about pensions is an incredibly lazy piece of work:
While scraping together money to put into the funds, and adjusting benefits for those yet to enter the system, the state also must bring unions and actuaries to the bargaining table to work out a fair solution for those already in the system. Because the sad fact is, promises were made that can’t be kept. Taxpayers need give-backs.
Love that passive voice: "promises were made." No, political hacks made promises based on protecting a tax system that screws the middle class and protects the wealthy. And now people who entered public service professions in good faith have to give up what they were promised even as the media perpetuates lies about their jobs.
It’s time for an adult conversation: How much will it cost over, say, the next 20 years to get New Jersey on the road to pension health? What’s a rational expectation for a return on that money? What benefits are reasonable? Which aren’t? How much should workers pay into the fund? How much should taxpayers? 
Here's a crazy idea - why don't you guys find this out? I thought that's what newspapers did; well, they used to. Now they slap off editorials way after something should have been done about this pension crisis about how we now have to have a "conversation."
Both sides have a beef. The workers say the state and municipalities should be making their payments. But taxpayers weren’t at the bargaining table, and the clueless politicians representing them never computed the stratospheric cost of irresponsible promises.
Maybe if we had an engaged and responsible press, those clueless politicians wouldn't have gotten away with that.

NJ Spotlight said the pensions need $3.5 billion a year to get back to sustainability. We gave up $600 mil at least on the millionaire's tax. We give up billions more in corporate tax breaks with little to show for it.

Do the math, SL.

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