Special Series: Local Governments Face Bankruptcy Quandary

March 16, 2012 - By admin

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a CalWatchDog.com Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.

MARCH 16, 2012

By JOHN SEILER

Bankruptcy is the boogeyman haunting governments across America. It’s not a question of if more cities will file for bankruptcy, but how many.

The culprit is a decade of over-spending by governments, especially on pension guarantees, and an economic slowdown that refused to flip into a robust recovery. The money just isn’t there. And it’s not going to be there even if local governments raise taxes while cutting employees and services to the bone.

Chriss Street was the treasurer of Orange County, Calif., from 2006-2010. And back in 1994, he warned that Orange County was headed for what would become, in November that year, America’s worst municipal bankruptcy. People didn’t listen then. They’re not listening now.

He told me that, today, things are just going to get worse for municipal finance. “State and local government revenues are taxes and fees on the private sector and housing,” he said. “The bulk of this tax collection is subject by law to an approximately 18-month lag in collection. The recovery in real estate peaked out in November 2010 and economic activity peaked around April 2011. Both real estate and the economy are in substantial decline.” Therefore, tax collection will be falling all through the first half of 2013.

“Most states, counties, cities and school districts have spent their cash reserves down to the legal minimum,” Street said. “When I speak at national conferences on municipal finance, I ask the question: ‘How many of you have made contingency plans for another 15 percent decline in revenue in the next year?’ I have never gotten a hand raised. Consequently, it is my belief that there is the potential for thousands of defaults in the 50,000 municipal bond issuers in the United States.  Most cities can cut spending, but they cannot cut principal and interest payments without default and bankruptcy.”

The Way to San Jose Bankruptcy

An example of where so many cities are going is San Jose, Calif. Unlike some small cities facing bankruptcy, such as Central Falls in Rhode Island, San Jose remains highly prosperous. It’s not a dead-end rust-belt town. San Jose enjoyed the dot-com prosperity of the late 1990s, then the real-estate boom of the mid-2000s. The ensuing real-estate bust was milder there than in most places. It still prospers from being part of Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the world computer revolution that’s booming again, despite the global economic slowdown. Apple’s HQ is a stone’s throw away in Cupertino. Facebook is just a little further north in Palo Alto.

But San Jose officials have discussed bankruptcy as a possible option.

Its prosperity turned out to be its undoing. In the November 2011Vanity Fair, financial writer Michael Lewis wrote, “[T]he city owes so much more money to its employees than it can afford to pay that it could cut its debts in half and still wind up broke.”

The problem for America’s 10th-largest city, population 1 million: “The Internet boom created both great expectations for public employees and tax revenues to meet them….  Over the past dec­ade the city of San Jose had repeatedly caved to the demands of its public-safety unions. In practice this meant that when the police or fire department of any neighboring city struck a better deal for itself, it became a fresh argument for improving the pay of San Jose police and fire. The effect was to make the sweetest deal cut by public-safety workers with any city in Northern California the starting point for the next round of negotiations for every other city.”

This ratchet effect also struck areas throughout the rest of California and the United States.

According to Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat, “Our police and firefighters will earn more in retirement than they did when they were working. There used to be an argument that you have to give us money or we can’t afford to live in the city. Now the more you pay them the less likely they are to live in the city, because they can afford to leave. It’s staggering. When did we go from giving people sick leave to letting them accumulate it and cash it in for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they are done working? There’s a corruption here. It’s not just a financial corruption. It’s a corruption of the attitude of public service.”

And it’s a corruption that could lead to bankruptcy.

While costs have been ratcheting up for San Jose, city staff levels have been ratcheting down. City staff has been cut from 7,450 to 5,400. The number of staff is the same as that of 1988, before the city added another 250,000 residents. By 2014, the number of city staff could be as low as 1,600. Reed warned, “There is no way to run a city with that level of staffing.”

San Jose’s fate could rest on the decision of voters. As Ed Mendel of CalPensions wrote in December 2011, “The San Jose City Council voted 6-to-5 … to place a pension reform measure on the June ballot that takes on what the Little Hoover Commission called ‘the elephant in the room,’ a way to reduce the cost of pensions promised current workers. As state and local governments face rising pension costs while a weak economy forces deep budget cuts, the San Jose council’s plan is the biggest and boldest proposal yet by elected officials to reduce pension costs widely believed to be legally untouchable. Mayor Chuck Reed had talked about declaring a fiscal emergency to reduce pensions earned by current workers in the future. Now he is talking about the city charter specifying minimum benefits provided by the city’s two independent pension systems.”

Vallejo

One city that did declare bankruptcy was Vallejo, Calif., back in 2008. Unfortunately, the city missed a grand opportunity to pull itself from fiscal disaster. Government-worker unions made some concessions, such as higher payments for retirees for their health-care insurance. However, Jonathan Weber wrote in the  Bay Citizen, “But pension plans for retirees and current city employees, including one that allows police officers to retire at 50 with as much as 90 percent of their pay, remain untouched. The city chose not to test whether messing with pensions would be allowed even in bankruptcy, and so remains on the hook for some $195 million in unfinanced pension liabilities.”

Vallejo is a city of 116,000. So, each resident remains on the hook for paying $1,681 in pensions to city workers who no longer even are on the job.

The city is surviving – sort of – by cutting the police force from 155 to 90, or 42 percent; and slashing firefighters from 122 to 70, a 43 percent cut.

Weber described the city: “Vallejo stumbles forward: with minimal public safety services, a skeleton crew for road repairs, deferred maintenance on everything, and no money for ‘extras’ like parks, libraries and senior centers.”

As Calwatchdog Contributing Editor Steven Greenhut wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Over the past five years, Vallejo has slashed spending where it could, mostly by cutting personnel and services. As a recent San Francisco Chronicle editorial pointed out, the city cut its police force to about 100 officers from nearly 160 and warned residents to use the 911 system judiciously, even while it experienced crime rates higher than other comparable cities in California. The city has also cut funding for a senior center, youth groups, and arts organizations and has done little to restore an increasingly decrepit downtown, develop waterfront properties, or attract new businesses.

“To permanently bring its spending in line with its tax base, however, at some point Vallejo will have to do something about its pensions. U.S. bankruptcy judge Michael McManus, as the National law Journal reported last March, ‘held the city of Vallejo, Calif., has the authority to void its existing union contracts in its effort to reorganize.’ … But when it came to voiding those contracts on pensions — a major driver of public expenses — the city blinked. The “workout plan” the city approved in December calls for cuts in services, staff and even some benefits, such as health benefits for retirees. However, it does not touch public-employee pensions. Indeed, it increases the pension contributions the city pays.”

San Diego

San Diego still bills itself as “America’s Finest City.” They’re talking about the balmy weather, the beaches and the famous San Diego Zoo, not the city’s finances.

The city’s pension payments are skyrocketing, from $229 million in 2010, to $318 million in 2015 – 40 percent in just five years. By 2025, the number will be $512 million, a whopping 124 percent increase in 15 years.

No wonder City Councilman Carl DeMaio in September 2011 turned in 145,000 signatures to put a pension-reform measure on the ballot in 2012. Instead of pensions, it would enroll mostnew city employees in 401(k) programs for retirement. It would save the city $1.2 billion through 2040. DeMaio also is running for mayor in 2012.

“Sadly, San Diego’s pension/budget debacle is hardly unique,” Richard Rider told me; he’s chairman of San Diego Tax Fighters, which has been warning of the pension crisis for many years. “Like most cities and counties in the state, the politicians gave away benefits today that had to be paid for years later.  Everyone in the city’s decision-making process – the city managers, politicians from both parties, pension oversight committee, actuaries, attorneys, staff and the unions – profited from the giveaway of both pensions and free retiree health care. No one represented the taxpayers.  Indeed, we have had city council critters retiring in their 30s with pensions.”

Central Falls, R.I. Files for Bankruptcy

The small city of Central   Falls, R.I., filed for bankruptcy on August 1, 2011 because it couldn’t pay its pensions. In an action heard around the country, it also claimed it did not have to pay full pension benefits to retirees. The city’s population is 19,376 and its annual city budget, $17 million. But its total pension obligations are $80 million. It’s like a family having $17,000 in income but owing $80,000 on credit cards. The numbers don’t work.

Eight public employee unions insisted that the city must pay its pension obligations in full and filed suit. On Sept. 13, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ruled in favor of the unions. According to the Providence Journal, “Taft-Carter says that there is an implied contractual relationship between the Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island and participating employees.”

“The benefits provided … are not gratuities that may be taken away at the whim of the State,” the judge wrote. However, reforming municipal bankruptcy – especially in 2011 and 2012 – isn’t exactly a whim.

On Oct. 5, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and state Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo, reported the Providence Journal, “asked the Supreme Court to use its discretion because of the ‘extreme public importance’ of the case and because Taft-Carter erred in ruling that state pension law is an ‘implied contract,’ rather than an evolving public policy statement enacted by the General Assembly that has been and will continue to be subject to change.’

“ ‘Immediate review of the decision is necessary and warranted so that the State, the Governor and the General Assembly will have clear guidance on the law in Rhode Island as they endeavor to resolve the State’s $9.4 billion unfunded-pension liability’,” lawyers for the state argue in their court filing.”

On November 22, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the unions’ lawsuit could proceed.

Meanwhile, Central   Falls’ case was moving through federal bankruptcy court. In late November, reported WPRI.com on Nov. 29, “the bankrupt city signed new agreements with its unions to cut costs and stabilize its budget. A tentative agreement on pension cuts has been reached with its retirees. And Tuesday [Nov. 29], its Adams Memorial Library said the city will rejoin the state lending system on Dec. 1 thanks to a flood of donations from celebrities and others.” The celebrities included actor Alec Baldwin and Tony Award-winning actress Viola Davis.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders, whom the state appointed Central Falls’ receiver, told WPRI.com, “This is all good news for the city and its taxpayers. It definitely is a new beginning for the city.”

At the state level, Rhode   Island is leading the way for the type of far-reaching reform that can keep states from reaching dire financial situations. As the Bond Buyer reported in November 2011, “Gov. Lincoln Chafee … signed the [pension-reform] bill, which he and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo had championed. … It creates a hybrid plan that merges conventional public defined-benefit pension plans with 401(k)-style plans. While some other states have implemented hybrid plans,Rhode Island’s would be the first to affect current employees, according to the Pew Center on the States.”

At this point, in Rhode Island, California and the rest of America, municipal bankruptcy law is up for grabs. But officials in Democratic Rhode Island, unlike Democratic California, appear more likely to take the steps necessary to fix the problem without reaching the point where bankruptcy is the most feasible option.

Does Bankruptcy Work?

As the case of Vallejo shows, bankruptcy is not a cure-all for a city’s problems. In Vallejo, bankruptcy led to a hollowed-out government. But the alternative isn’t all that attractive, either.

The dilemma was described by Jonathan Henes, a municipal bankruptcy expert: “Today, municipalities are facing an unfunded pension obligation problem. Chapter 9 [bankruptcy] was not set up specifically to address this problem, although certain sections of the Bankruptcy Code (sections 365, 1113 and 1114) may provide municipalities with the tools to address it. Based on the initial reports about the Central Falls bankruptcy, it appears that we will find out if Chapter 9 can help a municipality fix its unfunded public pension problems. If it doesn’t, it may be time for Congress to amend Chapter 9 to address today’s problems.”

However, with Democrats still controlling the White House and the U.S. Senate, reform is unlikely because their major constituency is public-sector employees. Republicans, should they control the White House and both houses of Congress beginning in 2013, may be reluctant to act in state matters if only because national economic problems will be more pressing.

Moreover, reforming municipal and state pension obligations also could affect federal pensions, including the pensions of congressmen themselves.

Reform a Must

With the economy still underperforming, there will be no rescue for public budgets. There’s no dot-com boom or real-estate bubble on the horizon. As we have seen, those booms were unsustainable anyway, and just encouraged unrealistic expectations about municipal revenues and portfolios.

What has happened is that at least 12 years of delusions finally are wearing off, and everyone is being forced to meet reality. For most governments, the easy fix, if one could do it, would be just to switch all future pensions for current employees to 401(k) plans. And for those facing bankruptcy, the additional fix would be to cut payouts to existing retirees, as Central Falls is trying to do. But employee unions, not surprisingly, are resisting any changes to current benefits.

“As budget realities have started to hit home, most cities now realize that just making tweaks in pension formulas for future hires won’t solve their problems – the mushrooming retirement obligations are just too large,” Jack Dean told me; he publishes the indispensable PensionTsunami.com news site, which collects stories on the national pension crisis. “Modifications in agreements with current employees will have to be made. And if the unions won’t cooperate, then municipal bankruptcies could become more commonplace.Vallejo in California and more recently Central Falls in Rhode Island have provided us with a glimpse of what may be in store for us on a larger scale without major pension reforms.”

Public employee unions complain that their members should not be subject to the ups and downs of 401(k)s invested stock markets. But that’s what most people have in the private sector that pays for the public sector.

The longer true reform is delayed, the worse matters will become.

———————–

———————–

CalWatchDog.com’s Special Series on Municipal Bankruptcy:

Broke Municipalities Look to Bankruptcy Option

Bankruptcy Didn’t Make the Sky Fall In Orange County

Local Governments Face Bankruptcy Quandary

Bond Holders Seek Governmental Transparency

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Comments(82)
  1. NTHEOC says:

    Public employee unions complain that their members should not be subject to the ups and downs of 401(k)s invested stock markets. But that’s what most people have in the private sector that pays for the public sector.
    ================
    We also do not get Social Security to fall back on like the private sector! I paid 10 years into SS and guess what,I cannot collect a penny of it. Give me my money back!!! And I pay into my retirement and my medical.Oh yes,I am also a taxpayer to.There are around 482 incorporated cities in California,Yet you can only name less than a handfull that are considering BK.Why don’t you “”CHICKEN LITTLE”” types try reporting on the cities that are doing good and have balanced budgets for once…

  2. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    NTHEOC, you do get SS if you paid into it for 8 quarters-so you will have 2 pensions. And you know you would never go into SS at $30K per year at age 67 when you get $100K-150K/year at age 50.

    Last, the only people who claim we are not in a major financial crisis with public pensions are public employees. There are hundreds of cities upside down, not a handful.

  3. NTHEOC says:

    No Rex,I will not receive a penny of that SS! Check your facts. And it will be 56y/o for me at 30yrs.

  4. Beelzebub says:

    “And it will be 56y/o for me at 30yrs”

    By that time the pension funds will be broke and your union bosses will all be living in Ecuador to escape your rath! :D

  5. eck says:

    Chuck Reed’s a Republican! At least he was when I voted for him. If I’ve missed a party conversion, shame on me. If you have shame on you and I’ll quit reading anything else you have to say.

  6. SkippingDog says:

    The real question raised by this article is:

    “What kind of nimrod organization would have Chriss Street as a presenter at one of their national meetings?”

    This is a guy who was run out of office in Orange County and had a $7 million judgement against him personally for his actions in “End of the Road Trust.”

    He ought to be in jail.

  7. Beelzebub says:

    Boy, you really go for the jugular, don’t you Skippy? :D

  8. queeg says:

    Of course…never criticize or expose your government masters..not PC.

    Government workers look out for themselves and love you sheep to coddle them!

  9. Tough Love says:

    No Skippy, The politicians should be jailed for accepting your bribes ( I think you call them “campaign contributions”) to approve your grossly excessive pensions & benefits.

    But since the ultimate monetary benefits of their votes benefit you guys, THAT’s were Taxpayers must go to right this injustice ….. freeze pension growth for actives, and TAKE AWAY from those already retire, the 50+% portion that resulted from this Union/Politician collusion.

    Taxpayers ..DEMAND change !

  10. Beelzebub says:

    You know how they tell us that the economy is improving and we’re adding jobs in California?

    Then why did CA income tax and sales revenue in Feb/2012 fall by 22% as compared with revenue in Feb/2011? Hmmm?

    I think we’re being screwed with in an election year with rigged numbers.

    Read this:

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2012/03/california-tax-revenues-plunge.html

  11. SeeSaw says:

    There is probably no City or County in CA, that is not suffering a financial crisis right now–thanks to the abolishment, of Redevelopment. That does not translate into saying, that they are all considering bankruptcy. Author, you have talked with every, “Chicken Little” financial analyst and reporter out there–have you also talked with the officials, of CalPERS? San Jose is still prosperous, but it is considering bankruptcy?

    Rex, why do you basically call the poster, who says he/she won’t get to draw SS, a liar? There is a penalty on SS, for public retirees who have a certain amount of public-pension, to offset it–perhaps this poster has been offset to zero, on the SS benefits. I am a bonafide recipient of SS–when SS recipients got a sum, of $250, a few years ago, I received it–because I am a recpient–however, I am subject to the GPO–I get zero from SS.

  12. SeeSaw says:

    It had been apparent that the economy was improving–there was more traffic in the streets–and where you really see, if the economy is getting better, is by going into restaurants–the crowds there had increased. Eveything was looking up, and then JB, and the State, dropped the bomb. The loss of Redevelopment does not just cost public jobs, which is happening with Cities laying of workers, and thousands of teachers now getting pink slips–it also costs thousands of jobs in the private sector. We are just now starting to enter a phase, where we will be seeing increased unemployment numbers, in CA.

  13. SeeSaw says:

    eck, his Wikipedia bio says he is a Democrat. How funny–you voted for a Democrat, when you thought he was a Republican. He is probably about as much a Democrat, as is Joe Nation.

  14. SeeSaw says:

    Union bosses don’t have anything to do with the funds in the pension system, Beez. So, there would be no reason for them to run to another country, if the system went broke.

  15. Bob says:

    Ah come on, John Seiler. Stop being such a gloomy Gus.

    Don’t you know there is nothing a good tax increase can’t solve.

    And if not, more bonds can always be floated. That’ll solve the problem for sure. Heck, they’re free money, don’t ya know!

  16. Tough Love says:

    SeeSaw, The Union bosses’ own pensions are darn big, and you can bet they are ALWAYS be fully funded, unlike yours.

    When yours goes belly up, THEY will still be collecting theirs. You see, they’ve screwed the workers (with unfunded promises that cannot be met) as well as Taxpayers.

  17. SeeSaw says:

    TL, I confess to not knowing much about the internal structure of the unions and the union heads, but I don’t believe they are drawing the same pensions–they are not employed by the public entities, whose employees, they are representing. The entities, themselves certainly do not have those union heads on their payrolls, and they are not making any pension payments for them.

  18. Beelzebub says:

    “Union bosses don’t have anything to do with the funds in the pension system, Beez. So, there would be no reason for them to run to another country, if the system went broke”

    Your analysis is flawed, seesaw. It was the union bosses who made promises to the public workers that they can’t possibly deliver on. They lied to rank ‘n file. And they continue to lie. And they are the ones who bribed to politicians to create an unsustainable Ponzi retirement system. Public worker with 15-20 years seniority are going to get royally screwed. Greed is never a good plan, seesaw.

  19. Beelzebub says:

    “It had been apparent that the economy was improving–there was more traffic in the streets–and where you really see, if the economy is getting better, is by going into restaurants–the crowds there had increased”

    You can’t gauge improvement in the economy by traffic or your observation of restaurant crowds, seesaw. Way too subjective. Economic numbers are supposed to tell us if the economy is improving. The one fail safe method to measure it is INCOME TAX REVENUES and SALES TAX REVENUES. If more people are working there would be higher INCOME TAX REVENUES. And if consumers had more money from more jobs they would spend it resulting in higher SALES TAX REVENUES. But as I showed you – BOTH revenue sources are down substantially. That makes no sense whatsoever. Again, I believe the numbers are rigged since it’s an election year.

    And Redevelopment was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the output of the entire economy in California. You are greatly exaggerating the economic benefits of Redevelopment. No possible way is the loss of Redevelopment a factor in the declining economy of California.

  20. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    The loss of Redevelopment does not just cost public jobs, which is happening with Cities laying of workers, and thousands of teachers now getting pink slips–it also costs thousands of jobs in the private sector. seesaw, you have no idea what yo’re talking about-all the money from the RDAs went to connected developers, NOT teachers, now it IS going to teachers, it is filling the budget hole and nO the develoeprs.

    RDAs were nothign but corporate welfare.

  21. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    Greed is never a good plan, seesaw.

    Beels, Seesaw has already crossed over to the dark side and aint coming back :)

  22. SeeSaw says:

    Oh yes, the loss of Redevelopment is monumental, Beez! My own small city, in the Inland Empire, is losing eleven million dollars, a year. Public workers are being laid off and many times more private-sector jobs will go the same route. You obviously don’t know what has happened with Redevelopment, if you think it was only a drip in the bucket. LA would still have a skid row on the top of Bunker Hill, if it hadn’t been for Redevelopment. That is no mere drip in the bucket. The definition of greed is pretty subjective, too–your definition is sure not mine.

    There were partnerships between the entities and the developers. How do you consider that welfare? The people who also benefitted were workers–not on welfare!

  23. Beelzebub says:

    Redevelopment was nothing more than a quid pro quo bribery scam between the local politicians and the developers, seesaw.

    It’s about time some public workers got laid off. Thinning the herd is a good thing.

    What you are forgetting is that the Redevelopment money was diverted to the cops, firewhiners and teachers. Aren’t you the one who always says that it’s a good thing for the public workers to have more money to spend to strengthen the economy?

    We need corporations to stand on their own two feet in America, seesaw. Not more crony capitalism which makes a mockery of the free market system. If a company can’t survive without infusions of public money then it doesn’t deserve to be in business.

  24. Tough Love says:

    Second only to the thievery of Public Sector Unions and the pensions & benefits granted their members (by politicians accepting their bribes), is the practice of Corporations refusing to build, or expand without a tax break.

    The States/Counties/cities should have known this would develop in a death spiral of one-upsmanship with Taxpayers on the losing end of the deal.

  25. Beelzebub says:

    Here’s an overlooked major factor that is contributing to the municipal bankrupcies that most people fail to see.

    Municipal bid rigging by the big investment banks that results in big gaping holes in municipal budgets.

    Very educational 8 1/2 minutes. Enjoy!

  26. Beelzebub says:

    “The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice; you have owners. They own you. They own everything.” – George Carlin

  27. SeeSaw says:

    I’m in favor of everyone having more money to spend–not just public workers. If the banks would give their tellers full-time jobs, whereas they used to have full-time jobs/w benefits, the economy would be strenghthened. Everything is going backwards now–not foward. Those laid off workers will now be drawing unemployment–so any savings are only partial. Most of you should get on a ship to any other country, and live there for a month–you wouldn’t be coming home, to bad-mouth this one, any more.

  28. Beelzebub says:

    Seesaw, employee compensation should be tied directly to the skill set required to perform said job. A medical doctor must successfully complete minimum 10 years of higher education before he starts to earn a real income. There is no reason on God’s green earth why a job in government that has a GED diploma as an entry requirement should pay as much or more than what a medical doctor makes.

    Compensating GED’s with medical doctor salaries does not help the economy. It fuels wage inflation and DISTORTS compensation equilibriums in the workplace.

    Giving a bank clerk a $100,000 salary and a $100,000 pension at age 55 would be ludicrous. But that is exactly what is happening in the public sector today. High school grads are collecting multi-million dollar pensions at 55. It’s absurd!

    I don’t bad mouth America. I have always loved my country. I bad mouth the goons run it and the parasites who are destroying us.

  29. SeeSaw says:

    Clerks, in the public sector, don’t get $100,000 salaries and pensions at 55 either. I just think that a job should be a job–a full time job that has some benefits, like sick leave and vac time. Bring forth all those high school grad with multi-million dollar pensions at 55–you might find one, in any individual public entity. Most of the public workers put in 30+ years and are beyond age 55 by then, and not getting multi-million dollar pensions.

  30. Tough Love says:

    Quoting SeeSaw …”I just think that a job should be a job–a full time job that has some benefits, like sick leave and vac time.”

    How come you left out the pension …. ALWAYS at least double (and often 4x and even 6x greater for safety workers) what a Private Sector worker with the SAME pay, SAME years of service, and SAME retirement age would get ?

    And while it’s routine to carry over years of sick leave and often cash it out at retirement (sometimes even using it to spike one’s pension), NONE of this is EVER allowed in the Private Sector.

    Why is it OK for Public Sector Pension Plans and Public Sector policies to screw the Taxpayers ?

  31. SkippingDog says:

    Nobody is screwing the taxpayers, except the people who continually push for ever increasing tax reductions for those at the very top of our economic pyramid. The reduction in the estate tax, capital gains, and marginal income taxes have most benefitted the people and groups that already have the most, while the attack on our middle class continues.

    Our current discussion about the pensions of public employees is nothing more than an attempt to further erode the middle class to benefit the truly rich, and is really no different than their previous proposal to privatize social security or cut larger holes in our social safety net.

    The most amusing part is the ease with which the truly rich have developed Quislings (the only proper description) out of people like you, Tough Love, as well as observer/beelzebub, Rex, et al. As their useful tools, you’d happily watch your public employees get screwed in the name of “fairness,” but you don’t have any apparent qualms over the unfairness created when our tax structure became less progressive or the one-percenters became the vanguard of the ever widening schism between the classes in our country.

  32. Tough Love says:

    Quoting Skippy …”Nobody is screwing the taxpayers,…”

    What is it about ….Public Sector pensions ALWAYS at least double (and often 4x and even 6x for safety workers) greater in value at retirement than what a Private Sector worker with the SAME pay, SAME years of service, and SAME retirement age would get ………. that shouldn’t be considered ..”screwing the taxpayers” when Taxpayers are forced to not only provide such greater pensions, but ALSO pay for 80-90% of it?

    And quoting …”Our current discussion about the pensions of public employees is nothing more than an attempt to further erode the middle class …”

    More BS, the PUBLIC Sector Middle Class is eroding the Private Sector Middle Class while enriching themselves.

    Diverting attention to the rich and tax issues (a favorite to feed the insatiable appetite of Public Sector workers) doesn’t cut it … it’s the Public Sector’s grossly excessive pensions and benefits that are strangling budgets and services EVERYWHERE.

    Taxpayers …it’s time to CUT them back to a level no greater than YOU get !

    Demand it from your elected representative, or throw them out of office.

  33. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    Our current discussion about the pensions of public employees is nothing more than an attempt to further erode the middle class to benefit the truly rich, and is really no different than their previous proposal to privatize social security or cut larger holes in our social safety net.

    Actually Skippy it is the public employees who are not only eroding, but wiping out, the middle class. The TAX INCREASES NEEDED TO FUND PUBLIC PENSIONS AT AGE 50 TO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES WHO WILL EARN 2-3 TIMES MORE IN RETIREMENT THAN WHEN THEY ACTUALLY WORKED all fall on the poor, in the form of sales/user/use and excise taxes atc. Public pensions at age 50 that are worth millions are not paid for by the rich, they are paid for by the poor. There is no reason any public employee should be retiring at age 50, or 55, or 60, or 65 when everyone else is retiring at age 67 or later.

    We have the top 1% who are makign out like bandits, and then we have the public employees who are enxt in the top 5%, and then we have everyone else with nothing.

  34. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    Skipping Dog says:
    The most amusing part is the ease with which the truly rich have developed Quislings (the only proper description) out of people like you, Tough Love, as well as observer/beelzebub, Rex, et al. As their useful tools, you’d happily watch your public employees get screwed in the name of “fairness,”

    Here is what Beelz said about your spin (and this is nothing more than public employee spin/talking points);

    A medical doctor must successfully complete minimum 10 years of higher education before he starts to earn a real income. There is no reason on God’s green earth why a job in government that has a GED diploma as an entry requirement should pay as much or more than what a medical doctor makes.
    Compensating GED’s with medical doctor salaries does not help the economy. It fuels wage inflation and DISTORTS compensation equilibriums in the workplace.

    So stop with the SPIN Skippy. What is fair about rank and file, entry level, HS educated gov/public employees making more than doctors???

  35. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    Oh yes, the loss of Redevelopment is monumental, Beez! My own small city, in the Inland Empire, is losing eleven million dollars, a year.

    You’re not losing ANYTHING from RDAs seesaw. You never received that money-it went into the WELL CONNECTED developers POCKET.

    RDAs were nothing more than SLUSH FUNDS for well connected developers. You are clueless about RDAs and their abuses by the comments you have posted that losing them is causing harm to the working class-they were causing harm when they were around.

  36. SkippingDog says:

    I see Tough Love and Rex/Paul are right on time this evening…. Are those big “L’s” on your foreheads tattoos or birthmarks?

  37. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    Well Skippy/Michael, our L is not as big as your “L”!

  38. Tough Love says:

    Skippy, You don’t like the truth do you?

    And you certainly don’t like it when I point out to readers that a good portion of your rich pension was the result of the back-room deals and collusion between your Unions and our elected representatives trading campaign contributions and election support for favorable votes on pensions & benefits … and THEREFORE, there exists a basis to consider (if financial circumstances dictate) that you not be paid all you were promised …. but only that portion that likely would have been approved in the absence of that collusion.

  39. SkippingDog says:

    There was no “back-room deal” or “collusion” involved in any of the pension plans you so like to attack, TL. You need to review basic civics again and bone up on the part about representative government.

    Every politician, Republican, Democratic, or otherwise, loves to have photo opportunities with cops, firefighters, nurses, teachers, etc., in the background. It gives them credibility.

    Every pension program in California is the result of legislation openly discussed and passed by our two houses of the state legislature, and then signed into law by the sitting governor. Hardly a “back-room deal.”

    In the case of SB400, the legislation that allowed local governments to select an enhanced pension option for their employees that included 3@50 for safety personnel, our state senate passed the legislation unanimously. The state assembly passed the same bill by a vote of 73 to 7. Again, hardly a back-room deal.

    Even after the bill was passed, local agencies still had to vote to approve the pension enhancements. That means the matter was voted on again by every city council and county board of supervisors where the benefit exists. Another back room deal? Please.

  40. SkippingDog says:

    Nice to see that you’re in better humor today, Rex.

  41. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    I don’t think you’re going to be very soon…..but be sure to let Maureen know I said hello :)

  42. SkippingDog says:

    Nice try.

  43. queeg says:

    Some never sleep?????

  44. Tough Love says:

    Nice try Skippy.

    If those who approved your pensions had not been allowed to accept campaign contributions (given knowingly by the Unions & their membership that favorable votes on pensions & benefits would be the payback), they NEVER would have approved your grossly excessive pensions.

    The Taxpayers are rapidly wising up to how they have been ripped off to pay for this. It won’t be long before they start demanding change …. likely refusing to pay for much if not all of the underfunding.

  45. SkippingDog says:

    Perhaps you’ve noticed that campaign contributions are considered one element of our 1st Amendment right to free speech – the same one you like to exercise here. If not, you should do a little reading about how such rights have historically been exercised in our country.

    The 1st Amendment has long since been “incorporated” into the 14th Amendment by our Supreme Court, so it applies equally to free speech in California or New Jersey, or throughout the U.S.

    The taxpayers you always claim to represent have long since received full value for their taxes, so what you refer to as “wising up” is really nothing more than your wish to become a scofflaw concerning your legal obligations.

  46. Beelzebub says:

    “Perhaps you’ve noticed that campaign contributions are considered one element of our 1st Amendment right to free speech….”

    The ones who make the rules are the same as the ones who game the system. Allowing unions or mega-corporations to give hundreds of millions of bribes to elected officials in return for favored legislation that bilks the masses is not free speech. It’s financial fascism. I don’t give a damn what SCOTUS says. I know a rigged system when I see it.

  47. SkippingDog says:

    So you’re in favor of public financing for all political campaigns and activities? That’s really the only other option available, and it would require tax revenues to supplant the campaign funding currently in place.

  48. Beelzebub says:

    “As their useful tools, you’d happily watch your public employees get screwed in the name of “fairness,” but you don’t have any apparent qualms over the unfairness created when our tax structure became less progressive or the one-percenters became the vanguard of the ever widening schism between the classes in our country”

    Speaking for myself only, how could you have missed my posts that blast Wall Street and the widespread financial fraud perpetrated by the 1 percenters, Skippy? You see, I don’t play favorites like you do. My opinions are formed based on what’s right and what’s wrong. You have never posted a comment that criticizes the public sector. Yet I bash the private sector all the time. That’s the difference between you and me.

  49. SkippingDog says:

    But you didn’t respond as to whether you’d support public financing of political campaigns. Why not?

  50. Beelzebub says:

    “So you’re in favor of public financing for all political campaigns and activities?”

    No, that’s not the only option. There should be LIMITS on how much unions or corporations can contribute to political candidates. When Goldman Sachs gave Obama close to $1M in 2008 is there any question whether Goldman Sachs owned him for his first 4 years? Look how Obama handled Goldman and the rest of the Wall Street thugs so far. None were indicted, prosecuted or jailed despite illegal wrongdoings. Just look at the Settlement Agreement between the government and the TBTF Wall Steet firms in Foreclosuregate if you question whether any laws were broken!

  51. SkippingDog says:

    So, what should the limits be? Who decides? You?

    The only way to “clean up” the current system would be to require complete and full disclosure of all individuals and business contributions in politics, even those currently operating under the cover of PACs. That’s where the real abuse take place, with people who make large contributions through a PAC that’s functioning no differently than any other money laundering operation.

    But, at the same time, you’re one of the people who frequently calls for less regulation and a smaller government. There’s no way to achieve that goal and regulate all of the interests who want to buy access and influence in our system.

    Some things are important enough to be considered “public goods.” Clean air, clean water, and a number of other basic human needs fall into that realm. I’d include public financing of elections and public financing of single-payer healthcare among them as well. That’s the kind of “common good” promotion that would do the most for those in our society who have the least.

  52. Beelzebub says:

    “So, what should the limits be? Who decides? You?”

    I’m fine with that. Let’s put it to the vote of the people. All I know is that unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions is synonomous with bribery and gaming the system. It does not benefit the large majority of the populus. It benefits only the select few. And that’s wrong.

    “But, at the same time, you’re one of the people who frequently calls for less regulation and a smaller government”

    Again, you are misrepresenting my views. I have complained vigorously about the government regulatory agencies (SEC, FDIC, etc…) that were asleep at the wheel and failed to do their jobs as Wall Street had their way with us. You must have me confused with someone else.

    We should not just reward those who have the least – like welfare recipients or the Octomom’s in California. We should reward those who work for a living and play by the rules of society. Instead we reward leeches, scofflaws and criminals. That’s one reason this society is so screwed up. The ones who break the rules get a better deal than the honest producers. And that’s the reason this nation will eventually collapse.

  53. Tough Love says:

    Skippy, For a dose of unbiased reality, I suggest you read this brief commentary written by an experienced pension actuary. The last 4 brief paragraphs sums it up quite well.

    http://www.conservativecommune.com/2012/03/california-pensions-hoping-the-dog-doesnt-bark/

  54. Al Moncrief says:

    THE COLORADO WE LIVE IN.
    Fact #1: Governor Hickenlooper signs bill this week to give a raise to state legislators. Fact #2: State legislators steal contracted, earned, fully-vested, and accrued retirement benefits from elderly in our state (SB 10-001, COLA theft bill.)
    Our values are warped.
    Thank God the courts are beginning to correct the outright, unabashed theft of public pension benefits that has occurred in a number of states across the U.S. Read below the clarity that this Florida judge brings to the matter, it is truly breathtaking.
    COLA LAWSUIT VICTORY IN FLORIDA! – FLORIDA JUDGE: IT’S ILLEGAL TO TAKE EVEN FUTURE COLA ACCRUALS FROM EMPLOYEES, LET ALONE COLA BENEFITS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN EARNED AND ACCRUED (SEE: COLORADO GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SB1.)
    The Florida Legislature attempted pension reforms that were not nearly as aggressive, in terms of risk of unconstitutionality, as those adopted by the Colorado General Assembly. Nevertheless, the Florida Legislature has been smacked down by the courts.
    Here are some noteworthy portions of the Florida ruling:
    “This court cannot set aside its constitutional obligations because a budget crisis exists in the state of Florida. To do so would be in direct contravention of this court’s oath to follow the law.”
    “To find otherwise would mean that a contract with our state government has no meaning.”
    “There was certainly a lawful means by which they could have achieved the same result.”
    “Florida law is clear that a legislature can, as part of its power to contract, authorize a contract that grants vested rights which a future legislature cannot impair.”
    “The elimination of the future COLA adjustment alone will result in a 4 to 24% reduction in the plaintiffs total retirement income. These costs are substantial as a matter of law.”
    “Where the state violates its own contract, complete deference to a legislative assessment of reasonableness and necessity is not appropriate because the state’s self-interest is at stake.”
    “All indications are that the Florida Legislature chose to effectuate the challenged provisions of SB 2100 in order to make funds available for other purposes.”
    “If a state could reduce its financial obligations whenever it wanted to spend the money for what it regarded as an important public purpose, the Contract Clause would provide no protection at all.”
    “The Takings Clause is intended to prevent the government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens, which in all fairness and justice should be borne by the public as a whole.”
    “Defendants are further ordered to reimburse with interest the funds deducted or withheld . . . from the compensation or cost-of-living adjustments of employees who were members of the FRS prior to July 1, 2011.”
    Here’s a link to the decision in Florida:
    http://judicial.clerk.leon.fl.us/image_orders.asp?caseid=49809133&jiscaseid=&defseq=&chargeseq=&dktid=87117441&dktsource=CRTV
    Here’s hoping that one day Justus will prevail in Colorado. Read all about it and support the lawsuit at saveperacola.com.

  55. Tough Love says:

    Al, Is that the 1001-th time you cut & pasted that ?

  56. SeeSaw says:

    Beez, I believe that Dr. who gave the fertility treatments to Octomom, has been dicsiplined, and has lost his license to practice, that type of medicine. In the meantime, there are 14 innocent children, who are getting help–we do that because we should. That’s the way we are in America.

    Rex, I worked in a public municipality for 40 years–and you tell me I know nothing about Redevelopment! Those public employees and private sector workers who are losing their jobs, as a result of the abolishment of Redevelopment, are thousands more, in numbers, than the rich developers that, you are so happy, for the predicament, that they will not be able to offer as many jobs, as they have. In the meantime, our economy suffers another tough blow.

  57. English Teacher says:

    SeeSaw, I wish I had $10 for each of the unnecessary comas in your comments.

    Best and Brightest … really?

  58. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    seesaw, you know nothing about RDAs if you claim they were nothing but a slush fund for well connected developers. And that is your claim, so you know nothing about them.

    The money lost from the RDAs goes right back into the system, so your claims of lost jobs is another whopper. The only ones who miss RDAs are the well connected developers and their stooges in elected office who give away the tax money to them.

  59. SeeSaw says:

    Unlike you, English Teacher, I don’t insult anyone, with my excessive use of commas. I never claimed to be the best and brightest, of anything.

  60. SkippingDog says:

    I think Meep is sometimes interesting, but that doesn’t make her an actuary. Moan as much as you need to, but the obligations you’ve got will have to be paid – just as sure as night follows day, even in New Jersey.

  61. Tough Love says:

    Not that ever your opinions are even moveable, but Mary Pat Campbell has achieved the highest designations aspired to as a professional actuary.

  62. SeeSaw says:

    She better get another picture, if she expects to be taken seriously.

  63. Tough Love says:

    Skippy, I’m guessing that if you believed Mary Pat was really a professional actuary you would a bit tongue-tied as to how to put down her thoughts …. as you do all others who seek MEANINGFUL pension reform.

    A quick & easy Google search (you’ve heard of Google ?) came up with this:

    http://wiki.mathuniverse.com/index.php?title=Resume_of_Mary_Pat_Campbell

    How does YOUR education, training, publications, and INTELLECT stack up?

  64. Beelzebub says:

    “Beez, I believe that Dr. who gave the fertility treatments to Octomom, has been dicsiplined, and has lost his license to practice, that type of medicine”

    The only reason this doc lost his license is because Octomom was a highly publicized case. There are thousands of other Octomom’s out there that use fertility and drop 2,3 or 4 hungry mouths at once – with no way to pay for them. The financial burden of raising their kids winds up on the taxpayer’s dime. Medical, housing, food, etc… all borne by the innocent taxpayers. Octomom has run the total taxpayer costs well into the multiple 7 digits.

    “That’s the way we are in America”

    And that’s one small reason we are a dying empire. Whether it’s an evil corporate pig, a public trough feeder or a welfare mom ripping off the system – when you punish the producer by imposing unbearable taxes on him to sustain the leeches – eventually it must all collapse. No society can reward the rule breakers and punish the rule followers for an extended period and survive. Impossible.

  65. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    And that’s one small reason we are a dying empire. Whether it’s an evil corporate pig, a public trough feeder or a welfare mom ripping off the system – when you punish the producer by imposing unbearable taxes on him to sustain the leeches – eventually it must all collapse

    You nailed it here Beelz, excellent, spot on comment.

  66. Tough Love says:

    Skippy, Mary Pat Has outstanding credentials and a wealth of experience as an actuary. Whose opinion is more likely on point, hers, or yours …… especially since you have a strong vested in this gravy train not being derailed, and she has no vested interests at all.

  67. SeeSaw says:

    She’s probably your daughter, TL. Get her another picture.

  68. SeeSaw says:

    Thousands of Octomoms, Beez? Octomom was an aberration. How many single, unattached females do you know who get fertility treatements for the purpose of continuous child-bearing. Most people who go through the procedure are married couples who desire children, and have had a had time conceiving. They spend thousands of dollars, of their own money in the process.

  69. Tough Love says:

    SeeSaw, You insult someone (Mary Pat) obviously quite brilliant, but complain when the English Teacher pointed out your overuse of commas ?

    Double standard ?

  70. SeeSaw says:

    Insult? If she wants to be taken seriously, she needs a better pose. My comments were meant in a quipping way–a little advice too. Not meant as insults. You are certainly touchy on this–she must be your daughter. You obviously mine every little statement I make, so that you can insult me, don’t you, TL. I took the ET’s statement very seriously, where the overuse of commas is concerned–not so enamored of the “best and brightest” comment–unnecessary. Anyway, I hold the highest regard for teachers, and I doubt ET is one.

  71. SkippingDog says:

    I don’t doubt she has experience as an assistant actuary with TIAA CREF and the other firms listed on her resume, but I didn’t see anything related to either public pension funds, government service at any level, or GASB experience.

    As we’ve discussed many times before, economic rationality and political rationality are two entirely different things. The “pension crisis” is a product of economic and political conditions, which is where the solutions will come from. Actuaries perform an important function, but there’s a reason so few actuaries, engineers, and others with an exclusive and tight focus on numbers alone ever grow into leadership positions in either business or government.

    Perhaps it’s one of those “right brain – left brain” kind of problems. The people who are really extraordinary with numbers tend to be extraordinarily bad with other people. The people who are really good with other people tend to be less so with the numbers, which is why you find both kinds in most successful organizations. CFO’s (or Chief Actuaries) tend to make poor CEO’s, but that’s who you would have running the world if it were solely up to you.

  72. Tough Love says:

    Skippy, Mary Pat left TIAA-CREF ended in 2008. She is now a Vice President at another firm. TIAA-CREF specializes in retirement security … certainly seems relevant as almost all of TIAA’s customers are gov’t and quasi-gov’t employees.

    Quoting …”The “pension crisis” is a product of economic and political conditions,”

    Here we agree, with the “political issues” being first-and-formost the granting of excessive pensions & benefits, and hiding the true cost to Taxpayers.

    By-the way, professionally trained actuaries are in many high-level business positions … but functioning as Corporate executives, they generally don’t call themselves actuaries at that point. It’s the training that helped get them there.

  73. Beelzebub says:

    “Thousands of Octomoms, Beez? Octomom was an aberration”

    BS, seesaw.

    Having 14 kids is an aberration but it is not an aberrtion for welfare moms to scam the system by intentionally getting pregnant knowing that the State will pay more for each kid that she drops. There is massive fraud in the welfare system. Social services account for huge budget outlays. Go talk to a social services fraud investigator if you think there’s not thousands of other Octomom’s out there. Maybe not w/ 14 kids. But 4 – 7 kids is not unusual at all. There are 100′s of millions in welfare fraud in America.

  74. SeeSaw says:

    Octomoms and welfare moms are two different groups. I don’t hang around welfare offices, so I can’t opininate on your welfare claims. I don’t think there are many women who go to fertility doctors so that they can get babies to put on welfare.

  75. Beelzebub says:

    “Octomoms and welfare moms are two different groups. I don’t hang around welfare offices, so I can’t opininate on your welfare claims. I don’t think there are many women who go to fertility doctors so that they can get babies to put on welfare”

    You continue to miss the point – which doesn’t surprise me.

    There is an incentive in America for welfare moms in California to intentionally get pregnant and pump out babies. They get paid additional monies for each kid and the 5-year welfare benefit clock starts anew so that they do not have to work or earn an income while receiving welfare benefits. That’s why it’s a common sight in So. Cal to see indigent mothers pushing a baby stroller down the sidewalk with 2 other kids in tow. A normal family with a $50,000 income could never afford 2 kids. But when your food, housing and medical care is paid for by the state (taxpayers)having 3 or 4 kids is no big deal. It’s easy to pump out babies when someone else pays for them

    Get it now, seesaw?

  76. Tough Love says:

    Belzebub, SeeSaw never “gets” anything beyond supporting the excessive pensions and benefits of Civil Servants past, present, and future(she is a 70+ year old retiree).

    What interesting in her comments is how she complains at how little her husband gets as a Private Sector retired carpenter, while not realizing that in most families NEITHER spouse is a Civil Servant benefiting from the excesses granted them.

  77. JusttheFactsLady says:

    “Some things are important enough to be considered “public goods.” Clean air, clean water, and a number of other basic human needs fall into that realm. I’d include public financing of elections and public financing of single-payer healthcare among them as well. That’s the kind of “common good” promotion that would do the most for those in our society who have the least.”

    SkippingDog, you represent all those who have brought us to the brink of financial meltdown at all levels. “Basic human needs” and “the public good” have always been the balloons with which socialized societies have puffed themselves up until they burst under the pressure of their own efforts to have all “basic human needs” or “public goods” provided for them by a government that fully determines what is needed and what is good.

    The things you mentioned are good for the public. So what? Government should not be the provider for all “public goods” nor “basic human needs” in our country. Our country was founded upon an ideal that the greatest “public good” of government is that it keep out of the way so We, The People can provide for our own basic human needs and determine our own public good. When we CANNOT (not will not) provide for our true basic needs which are POTABLE water, basic food and shelter, the role of the Church and other charitable institutions is to temporarily meet those needs while we get ourselves back on our feet. There is a larger role they play for helping orphaned children, the incapacitated sick, disabled and very elderly. Beyond that, it is OUR OWN responsibility to manage. No where in our Constitution does it stipulate that the government is to provide us with whatever the government says is for the public good. In fact, the Constitution strictly constrains what government is ALLOWED to do.

    I am tired of the likes of YOU putting your WANTS on me as though they are NEEDS! They are NOT.

    I am tired of the likes of YOU expecting ME to pay out of my hard earned dollar for what YOU think is GOOD.

    I am tired of the likes of YOU telling ME that I am selfish because I will not be enslaved to YOUR desires, YOUR idea of the public good, and YOUR lazy lifestyle.

    If you don’t like what’s going on, earn your own money, spend it to influence what you will and stop condemning others for doing what you must simply not be capable of. There are rewards to hard work and earning money, and THAT is one of them. I would RATHER our politicians be influenced by those who are PRODUCTIVE than by those WHO ARE NOT.

    You squeal about PACs but likely have NO PROBLEM with Unions! They have virtually no accountability to their members for the amounts they spend in the millions per DEMOCRAT candidate. PACs are people voluntarily giving their own money….Unions are coercion!

    In the world of those like you, there is no room for voluntary anything, there is only room for coercion. People like YOU mean to enslave us. My side sets people free from your enslavement to government, unions, newspeak, coercion, intimidation, and all the other controlling mechanisms you and yours enshrine.

  78. Rex The Wonder Dog! says:

    LOL..Skippy just got spanked back to the stone ages :)

  79. Beelzebub says:

    Here, here, JusttheFactsLady!

    That was one of the finest smackdowns I have seen on these boards.

    Please come here more often! :D

  80. SeeSaw says:

    Rhetoric is smackdown? That’s all that justthefacts has. I’m sure that Skipper is weeping, uncontrollably, right now.

    Yes, TL, I am proud to say that I support all public employees, past, present, and future. I do try to make discussion point’s about my husband’s pension, because he got screwed, like a lot of private sector workers. But, the fact that I have a public pension, is what kept us financially stable. Our situation was what caused formerly one-earner families to become multiple-earner families, in the 70′s. I never went out to get a public job, for a pension–in fact, there was no CalPERS at my workplace when I first took part-time employement. And, you and others demonize me because I lucked into a public pension plan, 11 years later. Insulting me daily seems to be what keeps you going–you spout my age, with such glee. Real classy there, TL. That little green monster sitting on your shoulder has consequences, to your mental health.

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