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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Every Teacher Pays 100% Of His Benefits!

David Cay Johnston, one of our best journalists, explains why:
The fact is that all of the money going into these plans belongs to the workers because it is part of the compensation of the state workers. The fact is that the state workers negotiate their total compensation, which they then divvy up between cash wages, paid vacations, health insurance and, yes, pensions. Since the Wisconsin government workers collectively bargained for their compensation, all of the compensation they have bargained for is part of their pay and thus only the workers contribute to the pension plan. This is an indisputable fact.

Not every news report gets it wrong, but the narrative of the journalistic herd has now been set and is slowly hardening into a concrete falsehood that will distort public understanding of the issue for years to come unless journalists en masse correct their mistakes. From the Associated Press and The New York Times to Wisconsin's biggest newspaper, and every broadcast report I have heard, reporters again and again and again have written as fact what is nonsense.

Compared to tax, this economic issue that reporters have been mishandling is simple. But if journalists cannot grasp the economics of this issue, then how can we hope to have an intelligent debate about tax policy?  [emphasis mine]
This is the fundamental problem with the entire debate: the media willingly swallows the frameworks the right-wing gives them.

Whenever someone says they want "public workers to contribute more toward their benefits," they are using Orwellian language to avoid saying what they really advocate: cutting public workers' pay.

Chris Christie wants every teacher in NJ to take a pay cut of 12% to 20%. He - and his acolytes in the press - may try to tell you it's all about "rich benefits" and "bringing things in line with the private sector" and "taking a pay freeze AND contributing more toward benefits," but that's just hogwash.

Christie wants to severely cut teacher pay. And the pay of cops and firefighters and all other public employees. Period.


Anonymous said...

No benefits are not wages or pay. Yes they are bargained for.. but not as wages. Yes are they part of the total employment package. Can you agree to call everything together employment packages. But you do not address the fact that the Employment Packages are just too nuts. That 13+ sick days and 17+ vacation days a year for 1st year workers is just too costly? The State Governments -NJ or Wisconsin are in debt. and Labor is the number one discretionary funding cut.

njunions said...

To anonymous; Benefits are factored in with wages. Less wages are taken because of the benefits given. So if benefits were not provided then future hirees would demand more in wages to compensate for the lack of benefits. So I guess we are splitting hairs but you can say that beenys are wages.