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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our Failed Media

I really do think NJ Spotlight is one of the best news sources in the state - but this is massively stupid:

Headed for Bankruptcy

In his remarks to lawmakers in the Assembly chambers yesterday, Christie said fixing the state’s pension and health benefit systems in order to save them is one of his top three priorities of the new year. "Benefits are too rich, and contributions are too small, and the system is on a path to bankruptcy," the governor said during his speech.
Christie’s proposals for reforming the system includes raising the retirement age of public employees, curbing cost-of-living adjustments in times of low inflation and requiring contributions from employees toward their own retirement system. 
The governor has proposed changes that include rolling back a 9 percent pension increase the legislature granted a decade ago when the economy was vibrant. He's also proposed raising the retirement age to 65, from 62, and making all workers contribute 8.5 percent of their salaries to their pensions, a greater percentage than most do now. [emphasis mine]
So, we need to start to require employees to contribute to the pensions. Which they already do.

We will never, ever, have a serious discussion about pensions until the media takes the time to actually understand the issues involved.


Lisa said...

["Benefits are too rich, and contributions are too small, and the system is on a path to bankruptcy," the governor said during his speech.]

Contributions are too small. Let's see...employees haven't miss a cent of their contributions (which were increased about 2 years ago), but the state hasn't made its contribution in 12 of the last 15 years--or is it 13 of the last 16 now.

The pension problem couldn't possibly be due to the state not making any contributions AND the fact that the assumed annual rate of return of the underlying investments in the fund is 8.25 percent but the fund lost over 14 percent in 2009.

So instead of reporting that the pension's problems are due to the lack of state contributions and the downturn in the economy and Wall Street, the governor blames the state of the pension on the employees, and the media drinks the Koolaid--or just doesn't THINK.

Yah. If the public conversation doesn't change in tone and tenor, which needs to start changing at the top, and FACTS aren't included, I'm now concerned that the a NJ Loughner will--god forbid--target a teacher. Very, very scarey.

Lisa said...

Scary. (Sorry, fingers flew too fast. I'm too frightened to type well :). sheesh.)