No, the recession is not to blame for the pension crisis

July 5, 2013

By Chris Reed

Perhaps the single smartest guy in the Schwarzenegger administration, David Crane, continues to be a wrecking ball when it comes to the arguments offered by apologists for California’s ruinous state finances. In his latest Bloomberg News column, Crane takes on the defenders of the status quo who try to reframe the narrative by saying pension funds aren’t underfunded because benefits are ridiculously generous, it’s because of Larger Economic Factors That Came Out Of Nowhere.

“The reason for rising pension costs has nothing to do with the recession or short-term declines on Wall Street. Public pension costs are increasing simply because liabilities are growing faster than assets.

CalPERS building

“Calpers is a good example. As an intermediary that administers pension promises made by the state of California and other public-sector employers to their employees, it collects contributions from employers and employees, invests those funds to generate earnings, and uses the proceeds to pay benefits to retired employees.

“In 2007, Calpers reported that the pension liabilities of its largest pool of employers totaled $248 billion. By 2011, just four years later, those liabilities had grown 32 percent, to $328 billion. That rapid growth happens because pension liabilities grow (‘accrete’) at the rate used to discount those obligations to present value, which at Calpers is a very high 7.5 percent per year. Pension assets must grow at that “hurdle” rate or pension costs rise. For example, to meet the rate at which pension liabilities were increasing in 2007, Calpers needed the Dow to reach 20,000 by now. Because it is at 75 percent of that level, pension costs must rise to make up the difference.

“This isn’t a new phenomenon. To meet the rate at which pension liabilities were growing in 1999, Calpers needed the Dow to reach 30,000 by now. Because it is half that level, California has spent $20 billion more on public pensions than would have been the case had pension assets grown at the hurdle rate.”

Projecting Dow at 30,000 epitomizes insanity of 1999

In key ways, 1999 was the year that brought the pension tsunami more toward shore than in any other year. That’s when CalPERS lobbied for a retroactive 50 percent increase in pensions for state employees, triggering a wave of giveaways by local governments who were encouraged by CalPERS’ insane claim that it would be easy to fund the much more expensive benefits.

What was driving that assumption? As Crane notes, the idea that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would be at 30,000 this year. Nothing epitomizes the civic arson committed by CalPERS in 1999 better than that ridiculous factoid.

 

73 comments

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  1. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 10:13

    I still say that the taxpayers have a class action against CalTURDS based on fraud, for withholding material information on SB 400

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 10:17

    “…triggering a wave of giveaways by local governments who were encouraged by CalPERS’ insane claim that it would be easy to fund the much more expensive benefits.”
    ==
    The other INSANE, aka FRAUDLUNT claim was that they would be paid for by the stock market

    Reply this comment
  3. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 11:31

    That is why the need for pension reform become evident in the mid-2,000’s and why some entities, like my former one, started such years prior to the 2008 financial collapse. The State passed a pension, reform law last fall. You have no more talking points, Rex. Take your lumps and move on.

    Reply this comment
  4. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 11:42

    David Crane lost all credibility when he fed Arnold the “2,000% increase in pension costs” line.  Supreme cherry picking. 

    Somehow, his claim that “Calpers needed the Dow to reach 20,000 by now” seems just as specious. 

    “rising pension costs has nothing to do with the recession or short-term declines on Wall Street”?

    I would agree that the recession is not the ENTIRE cause, but not that they had no effect at all. 

    Speaking of “specious”:  

    “a retroactive 50 percent increase in pensions for state employees “:

    Is 99% pure bullsh!t. 

    If a police officer began his career a 20 (few do) and retired at 50, his pension would indeed be increased by 50 per cent. That accounts for about one percent of all retirees. A more typical safety retiree would retire closer to age 55. In these cases, SB400 would increase pensions by 10% to 20%. A sizable increase, but nowhere near 50%

    In my case, the SB400 formula increased my pension by less than four percent. I would happily pay $10,000 to anyone with a time machine to go back to 1999 and STOP the enactment of SB400.  Enact instead an annual COLA equal to the CPI. I would have easily earned back that $10k and my pension would be 8 to 10 percent higher than it is now. 

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 11:47

    In my case, the SB400 formula increased my pension by less than four percent.
    ==
    LOL…oh my, the spin that come from the mouth of troughers 🙂

    SB 400 raised pensions retroactively by 50% (not “per cent”). It ONLY applied to CHP, no one else, and it did not increase pensions by 4%, but 50%.

    This is the NO SPIN zone lil buddy, ask seesaw.

    Reply this comment
  6. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 12:18

    Most safety workers don’t retire at 50, Rex, and most miscellaneous workers don’t quit at 60. I was 72 when I retired–in the final analysis, my pension was about 13 percent more than it would have been without the 2001 increase from 2% to 3%. The 2% formula did not reach its full potential until age 63. New miscellaneous employees coming in to public service now will have to work until age 67 to reach the full amount of their retirement formula. It will keep the door shut longer for the younger ones wanting to get a foot in the door. Yes, Rex, I am a NO SPIN person–you are not–you are a, “sky is falling”, person and its going to fall on you before you ever realize you need to “live” to survive.

    Reply this comment
  7. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 12:47

    The difference between the 2% at 60 miscellaneous formula and the 2% at 55:

    Retired at age 63 with 37 years service is 3.03 percent.

    NOT fifty percent.

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 13:56

    Most safety workers don’t retire at 50, Rex
    ==
    ALL “safety” dorks CAN retire at age 50, I they WANT to seesaw. End of story.

    Reply this comment
  9. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 14:22

    No, Rex. Retired at age 63 with the former 2% formula is 2.418%. I have the charts.

    Reply this comment
  10. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 14:26

    No, Rex. A worker in CalPERS would have to be vested for at least five years and have attained the age of 50 to retire. You aren’t going to find many with a multi-million dollar pension vested at the age of 50. You are screaming bloody murder about something that happens only rarely, and sure doesn’t happen, at the age of 50, for 99.9% of rank and file.

    Reply this comment
  11. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 14:32

    S Douglas: I believe the state and miscellaneous charts differ slightly. The miscellaneous, 2% formula for state workers peaked at 2.5% for Age 63; for local miscellaneous at age 63, the 2% formula peaked at 2.418%. There is no 3.03 percent formula.

    Reply this comment
  12. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 14:40

    Sorry, SeeSaw. I meant the DIFFERENCE between the old and new formula was 3.03 percent. That’s how much more I receive as a result of SB400. Not a fifty percent increase. A three percent increase.

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 14:50

    No, Rex. Retired at age 63 with the former 2% formula is 2.418%. I have the charts.
    ==
    seesaw, can you read? I said “safety”,NOT when YOU can retire seesaw …..And they can ALL retire at age 50, if they want to.

    What part of 3%@50 can you not understand???? The 50 is when they can “retire”.

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 14:52

    Sorry, SeeSaw. I meant the DIFFERENCE between the old and new formula was 3.03 percent. That’s how much more I receive as a result of SB400. Not a fifty percent increase. A three percent increase.
    ==
    SB 400 took a 2% multiplier to 3%, or a 50% INCREASE.

    🙂

    You HS educated gov troughers are dumber than a bag of rocks!

    Reply this comment
  15. ricky65
    ricky65 5 July, 2013, 15:31

    Hey Guys:
    In this scenario seems like you’re overlooking the obvious. The safety guy collects his pension at age 50 versus the misc. member having to wait to age 63.
    You’re comparing apples & oranges here. The safety retiree collects hundreds of thousands of dollars before the regular retiree gets a dime.
    And because that person is much older, he will not collect anywhere near the total lifetime benefit as the safety member. And that’s why the safety retirements are the ones bankrupting the system.

    Reply this comment
  16. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 16:40

    “Perhaps the single smartest guy in the Schwarzenegger administration, David Crane,”:

    Quote:
    “It’s crazy to tax incomes and goods that can move to other states but be barred from raising levies on real estate and resources such as oil that can’t be moved. Accordingly, no California reform would be complete without enacting a severance tax and getting rid of Proposition 13.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-19/jerry-brown-s-last-chance-to-save-california.html
    …………
    Quote:
    “As exploding pension costs divert money from classrooms and other public services, some free-market and school-reform organizations have argued that education funding would be better protected if governments moved to 401(k) plans. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Properly managed, defined-benefit plans can work just fine.”

    http://davidgcrane.org/?p=1187
    ……………

    Reply this comment
  17. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 16:42

    LOL!!!

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    My comment IS Moderation.

    Reply this comment
  18. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 17:11

    Ricky, 

    No one is overlooking that. SeeSaw points out correctly that, although safety workers CAN retire at 50, very few do so. 

    Mainly because most begin their careers in their mid to late twenties, and must work til mid fifties to get the max (Nintey percent) pension. (3% times 30 years)

    That said, your other statement is somewhat correct, safety retirements are a large part of the expenses. (“bankrupting the system” may be a bit of a stretch, though)

    CalPERS is aware of this, which is why there is a huge (about 30% of salary) pension contribution for safety. This is partially offset by not having to pay the 6.2% social security costs. 

    But another cost of these earlier retirements is that the state pays for health insurance for all those extra years of retirement. CHP just recently began pre funding health care costs (about 2% of salary goes to health care pre funding, AIR)

    And, like SeeSaw wrote, MOST state workers may retire at 50, with a greatly reduced pension. Theoretically, if one started at age 20, he/she could retire at 50 with about 30% of salary…..plus state subsidized healthcare until Medicare kicks in. As far as I know, this is very rare. 

    Reply this comment
  19. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 18:24


    Hey Guys: In this scenario seems like you’re overlooking the obvious. The safety guy collects his pension at age 50 versus the misc. member having to wait to age 63

    Most counties/gov allow full retirement for misc employees at age 55, not 63. I know of NO gov subdivision or the state that has age 63 for misc.
    And because that person is much older, he will not collect anywhere near the total lifetime benefit as the safety member.
    Baloney, safety gets more, but misc gets 20 times what SS fives out at age 67.

    SeeSaw points out correctly that, although safety workers CAN retire at 50, very few do so
    Once again, for our GED educated gov troughers, ALL safety have the OPTION to “retire” at age 50. Up to them.

    CalPERS is aware of this, which is why there is a huge (about 30% of salary) pension contribution for safety. This is partially offset by not having to pay the 6.2% social security costs.
    Baloney, it is not offset by more than 1% by SS, if that. And it is not 30%, more like 60%-80%. Please show me ANY SS recipient that is getting $300K per year in pension at age 54 like Craig Bowen is from SRVFD. Bowen is getting MORE IN A MONTH from his fraudulent pension than a MAXIMUM SS recipient can collect in a YEAR at age 67.

    And, like SeeSaw wrote, MOST state workers may retire at 50, with a greatly reduced pension………he/she could retire at 50 with about 30% of salary
    Wow, how many times do I have to slap you with the truth??? A safety employee can retire at age 50!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! with a FULL pension-90% (or 300% MORE than your bogus lie), as long as they have 30 years in, and many do.

    Reply this comment
  20. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 18:26

    Oh man, that was so easy, like taking candy from a baby…..errr…..trougher 😉

    Reply this comment
  21. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 19:27

    S Douglas, sorry I misunderstood your comment.

    Reply this comment
  22. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 19:29

    So, back to the title claim, the recession is not to blame for the pension crisis.

    Not entirely, but it must be a major factor.

    David Crane is not to be trusted.

    Reply this comment
  23. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 19:33

    No problem, SeeSaw. I worded it poorly.

    Reply this comment
  24. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 19:57

    Age 50 is only a minimum retirement age for public employees, Rex. The average age for miscellaneous retirees is 60 and the average length of career is 20 years–for most of those, that translates to 40%. “Many” safety workers do not have 30 years in by age 50. (I have told you many times that, in my 40 years employment with a municipality, I never met one safety person who retired at age 50, with a full pension.) Miscellaneous workers who have the former 2% at 55 and 2% at 60, formulas must still work until age 63 to get the maximum amount. New miscellaneous employees will have to work until age 67 to get the same benefit. You continue to spin the real facts about public sector retirements.

    Reply this comment
  25. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 20:00

    While we’re awaiting moderation, David Crane DID say California should enact an oil severance tax and get rid of prop 13.

    Reply this comment
  26. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 20:06

    And he did say governments moving to 401(k) plans would be “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

    “Properly managed, defined-benefit plans can work just fine.”

    That’s from Perhaps the single smartest guy in the Schwarzenegger administration,

    Reply this comment
  27. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 20:15

    So, back to the title claim, the recession is not to blame for the pension crisis.
    ==
    No, the fraudulent SB400 and unearned retroactive pensions hikes of 50% combined with lowered retirement ages is to blame for most of the pension scam. The recession just magnified the scam in a much faster time. We don’t need to get rid of prop 13, we need to get rid of $10 million pensions for HS educated firewhiners.

    As for DB being fine if “properly managed”, false, #1, they can never be properly managed b/c of the fraud, like with SB400, and #2 there are far too many changing variables to make a DB work today, like changing mortality rates and ROI. All a DB does is shift liability, to someone else besides the recipient, why should the private sector pay for public sector liability???

    Reply this comment
  28. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 20:18

    I have told you many times that, in my 40 years employment with a municipality, I never met one safety person who retired at age 50, with a full pension.)
    ===
    Oh, this is so easy……..;

    CRAIG BOWEN’S SALARY during his final year as chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District was about $221,000 a year. So how did he end up retiring in December with a tax-advantaged annual pension of $284,000?…..
    Bowen was only 51 years old when he retired at the end of 2008. If he or his wife lives another 30 years, that bump-up alone would add $2.7 million in today’s dollars to his

    Reply this comment
  29. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 5 July, 2013, 21:17

    SeeSaw,

    I can’t believe you never met Craig Bowen. He’s pretty much your typical average GED firefighter.

    Reply this comment
  30. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 5 July, 2013, 22:23

    Craig Bowen IS the typical firewhiner, GED education with $10 million pension at age 50, I love it when I spank you clowns how you run for cover like lil cockroaches 😉

    Please show me ANYONE in the real world that has a GED and “retires” with a $10 million pension at age 50, NAME JUST ONE! Dougie!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  31. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 July, 2013, 23:05

    Rex, I am guessing that Bowen is a 37 Act County Employee, not a CalPERS retiree. I doubt he was a typical employee–probably a Chief or Division Chief. The 37 Act County plan allows for egregious pension spiking, which CalPERS does not. Actually, I don’t care how much money other people make as long as they came to it by following the rules. If things aren’t right, you change the rules. I also never met a safety worker at my entity who had only a GED. Most have some college, at the least. Oh, poor Rex, you are going to leave this world without ever enjoying one day of your own existence, because you are so perpetually worked up about somebody else getting something that you missed out on.

    Reply this comment
  32. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 6 July, 2013, 09:48

    I also never met a safety worker at my entity who had only a GED.
    ==

    Mark…cough….cough…FURMAN~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!

    Like I said, taking candy from a baby 😉

    Seesaw, you are so full of BS it is killing me!

    Reply this comment
  33. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 6 July, 2013, 13:05

    I don’t know why I bother. 

    SeeSaw:  “I also never met a safety worker at my entity who had only a GED. Most have some college, at the least.”

    Mark Furman?

    Mark Fuhrman , March 13, 1995 testimony. 

    ” I WENT TO PENINSULA HIGH SCHOOL. I DID NOT COMPLETE. I GOT A GED”

    “I ATTENDED ONE, TWO, THREE COMMUNITY COLLEGES I BELIEVE. I CURRENTLY HOLD APPROXIMATELY 47 UNITS OF COLLEGE. ”

    Q: WHAT WOULD THAT BE IN YEARS? 

    A: CLOSE TO TWO YEARS. 

    Q: AND WHAT DID YOU STUDY? 

    A: HISTORY, POLICE SCIENCE, ART. 

    Reply this comment
  34. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 6 July, 2013, 13:26

    Q.  Who said “Defined-benefit plans aren’t to blame for the crushing costs of pension liabilities in the U.S.”

    A. “Perhaps the single smartest guy in the Schwarzenegger administration, David Crane”

    I sincerely hope I didn’t take that out of context. 

    He also said in the same article that organizations, such as Students First and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, that favor the elimination of public-sector defined-benefit pension plans, should reconsider their view. 

    And  “if governments moved to 401(k) plans. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Properly managed, defined-benefit plans can work just fine.”

    Reply this comment
  35. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 6 July, 2013, 14:36

    Mark Fuhrman , March 13, 1995 testimony.

    ” I WENT TO PENINSULA HIGH SCHOOL. I DID NOT COMPLETE. I GOT A GED”

    Like I said, A GED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BTW Mark “I Never Used the N-Word” Furman did not have ANY college course work, not even “Community College”, when he was hired, he ONLY had a GED.

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dougie, come on lil buddy, at least TRY to challenge me 🙂

    Reply this comment
  36. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 6 July, 2013, 14:46

    S Moderation Douglas says:

    David Crane is not to be trusted.
    Oh Dougie, first old Crane is NOT to be trusted and a few seconds later we get this from you!!!!!! Challenge me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    S Moderation Douglas says: And he did say governments moving to 401(k) plans would be “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” “Properly managed, defined-benefit plans can work just fine.” That’s from Perhaps the single smartest guy in the Schwarzenegger administration,

    Well, I guess Crane is OK when he SUPPORTS your scam, but not OK when he doesn’t support the scam!!!

    Reply this comment
  37. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 6 July, 2013, 16:17

    Three strikes. You’re irrelevant.

    Reply this comment
  38. Queeg
    Queeg 6 July, 2013, 16:56

    What drivel…..everyone who works should consider pension possibilties prior to commencing work…why work for a gobalist or slave master service business?

    Reply this comment
  39. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 6 July, 2013, 17:03

    Three strikes. You’re irrelevant.
    ==
    More like BALL FOUR!

    Reply this comment
  40. Sean Morham SIlver
    Sean Morham SIlver 6 July, 2013, 17:37

    I am sure that the hordes of Californians looking for work place a big priority on the pension. What a naive comment!

    Reply this comment
  41. Queeg
    Queeg 7 July, 2013, 22:24

    Most CWD regulars are unqualified for government jobs.

    Reply this comment
  42. Hondo
    Hondo 8 July, 2013, 08:40

    Queeg:
    Thats right. We simply don’t know how to sit on our asses for 40 hrs a week.
    Hondo….

    Reply this comment
  43. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 July, 2013, 09:52

    Not envious much, are you Hondo? If you think it is only ass sitting, why don’t you apply? You should be able to handle that for 40 years, so that you can sustain yourself in your “Golden Years”.

    Reply this comment
  44. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 8 July, 2013, 10:21

    seesaw, a hater who hates EVERYONE who exposes her scams 😉

    Reply this comment
  45. Larry Littlefield
    Larry Littlefield 8 July, 2013, 10:49

    It is worth nothing that the same stock market bubble that was used to justify retroactive pension increases for public employees, who already had the best retirement benefits, was also used to justify the huge run up in cash pay for the top executives, who already had the most pay.

    Despite the exposure of the mass fraud of all of this, neither executive pay nor public employee pension enrichments have been taken back — except for screwed younger generations.

    You have the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs. The serfs have their pay and benefits set in a free market, and have been squeezed. The other classes get contracts from their cronies in mutual backscratching deals the serfs pay for.

    The financial/executive class and the political union class are running everything and selling off the future as fast as they can. In fact, since this blog is obviously not run by the latter group, I would assume it is funded by the former. Let’s see if this comment, containing a comparison neither group likes, sticks around.

    http://www.r8ny.com/blog/larry_littlefield/point_of_intersection_between_the_years_in_retirement_rich_and_the_bonus_rich.html

    Reply this comment
  46. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 July, 2013, 11:02

    I am a people-lover Rex–a dog like you doesn’t qualify!

    Reply this comment
  47. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 8 July, 2013, 16:51

    🙂 seesaw, you’re a H-8-er!!!!!!

    And for the record, dog is mans best friend!

    Reply this comment
  48. Shelby
    Shelby 8 July, 2013, 18:38

    “GREED” has consequence, ask those retires that will have a portion of their retirement clawed back to pay other creditors in Stockton, San Bernardino and about 100 of the 478 cities in this state now flirting with “Bankruptcy”,
    when cities in 2015 are forced to increase the employer contribution to CalPers by 50%.

    Reply this comment
  49. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 8 July, 2013, 22:00

    Saw….the Poodle is irrelevant shun him…..he deseves no less.

    Reply this comment
  50. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 8 July, 2013, 23:49

    🙂 pipe down!

    Reply this comment
  51. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 00:57

    Yes Rex, animals, who are dogs, are man’s best friend; but people, who are dogs, are not!

    Reply this comment
  52. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 01:05

    I don’t think that is going to happen Shelby–so are you saying that if such should happen, it was because they were greedy? Ridiculous.

    Some cities are in dire financial straights due to mismanagement–the rank and file are not at fault there.

    The biggest reason why many cities are in trouble is the abolishment of the Redevelopment Agencies by the state. And now some public entities are going to have more salt rubbed into their wounds with abolishment of Enterprise Zones.

    Reply this comment
  53. Tough Love
    Tough Love 9 July, 2013, 04:52

    With SeeSaw it’s ALWAYS too little revenue (taxes) and NEVER to high expenditures (pensions & benefits).

    Wake up.

    Reply this comment
  54. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 08:37

    Mismanagement may be in the eye of the beholder. People want cops. People want firemen. Politicians give the people what they want.

    By their very nature, personnel costs are typically around 80% of local government costs. If revenues suddenly fall by 20%, that is a recipe for disaster. To blame that disaster on ONE aspect of he budget (pensions) is ludicrous.

    Reply this comment
  55. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 08:40

    SeeSaw, did you used to post on Sacramento Bee under another name?

    They have an interesting discussion going about CalPERS publishing a searchable database of ALL CalPERS retirees.

    Reply this comment
  56. Tough Love
    Tough Love 9 July, 2013, 09:50

    S Moderation, With cash pay in the Public & private sectors VERY close in most occupations, please tell what justifies Public Sector pensions, the Taxpayer paid-for share of which is ALWAYS at least double in value (USUALLY 3-4x greater, and for safety workers USUALLY 4-6 times greater) at retirement than their Private Sector counterparts ?

    Reply this comment
  57. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 10:16

    TL;

    Short term memory loss?

    We’ve already been there.

    There’re only so many times you can ask “have you stopped beating your wife?”

    Reply this comment
  58. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 10:18

    Yes, S Douglas, I used to post on the SacBee a lot until the pay wall. Evidently I am on my tiny monthly allowance at the moment. My Disqus name is, “SAWZ”. With Disqus it is extremely hard to change your screen name, once you have already used your e-mail address.

    Reply this comment
  59. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 10:21

    S Douglas, Stockton gave retirees vesting for retiree medical care after six months on the job–just one of many reasons why it is in bankruptcy now.

    Reply this comment
  60. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 10:25

    Pensions are a minute part of any public agency’s total budget–the State’s liability for CalPERS is only 3% of the total State budget. The focus by the news outlets should have been on the abolishment of Redevelopment–that is where the real pain lies, for the local government agencies in CA.

    Reply this comment
  61. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 11:28

    I would have to double check the six months thing.

    Years ago, I read that a worker who worked ONE DAY for Stockton could get medical benefits for LIFE. Sounds like something I might have read on CWD.

    Being naturally skeptical, I checked into it. Turns out, it’s technically correct………..IF……….that worker transfered from another agency with a reciprocal agreement AND was vested in his health overage from that agency.

    I wonder how many people transfer from one city to a job in a different city, work ONE day, and then retire?

    Probably fewer than the number of safety workers with ONLY a GED.

    Reply this comment
  62. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 11:36

    When SacBee went to a pay system, I e-mailed Jon Ortiz, and he said you could still read State Worker blog without paying.

    Not true, apparently. You are limited to a set number of visits (per month)

    BUT , if you turn of the “cookies” on your browser, you can read unlimited. I think you have to turn them back on to post.

    If you have more than one computer, smart phone, tablet, you can max out on each one.

    If that’s not enough reading, download a .(free) browser. Each browser on your computer gives you more visits to Sac Bee.

    Reply this comment
  63. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 11:43

    Oh, and pensions are a small part of STATE budget. Total employee costs are about twenty percent, so pension costs are about 3%.

    For cities and counties, salaries and pensions are a MUCH greater share of their budget. (and healthcare).

    What can I say, local government is labor intensive.

    I read some yahoo on a blog saying that MOST of the education budget goes to teacher salaries and benefits. Yes, Mr. Obvious, that’s what education IS.

    Reply this comment
  64. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 9 July, 2013, 12:51

    S Moderation Douglas says: July 9, 2013 at 8:37 am Mismanagement may be in the eye of the beholder. People want cops. People want firemen. Politicians give the people what they want.

    Errr..the public does NOT WANT GED educated cops and firewhiners at $200K-$300K (BART to $350K) per year DouglASS

    Reply this comment
  65. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 9 July, 2013, 12:53

    SeeSaw says: July 9, 2013 at 10:25 am Pensions are a minute part of any public agency’s total budget–the State’s liability for CalPERS is only 3% of the total State budget.

    LOL..oh seesaw, you can lie with the BEST of them~

    Pensions are at least 20% of the CA budget, what you FAIL to take into account in your little 3% lie is that over 50% of the CA budget goes to school districts and other independent districts, like water or power, and they in turn pay out a HUGE portion of their state $$$ to pensions.

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  66. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 9 July, 2013, 12:54

    S Moderation Douglas says: July 9, 2013 at 11:43 am Oh, and pensions are a small part of STATE budget. Total employee costs are about twenty percent, so pension costs are about 3%

    Dougie, please learn to read ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  67. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 9 July, 2013, 12:57

    Tough Love says: July 9, 2013 at 9:50 am S Moderation, With cash pay in the Public & private sectors VERY close in most occupations, please tell what justifies Public Sector pensions,

    Tough Love, please show me ONE job in the real world where a dork with just a GED (like Mark Furman) can get a $200K-$350K job with OT, like cop or firewhiner.

    Reply this comment
  68. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 9 July, 2013, 12:58

    SeeSaw says: July 9, 2013 at 1:05 am I don’t think that is going to happen Shelby–so are you saying that if such should happen, it was because they were greedy? Ridiculous. Some cities are in dire financial straights due to mismanagement–the rank and file are not at fault there. The biggest reason why many cities are in trouble is the abolishment of the Redevelopment Agencies by the state.

    OMG….my side is hurting from laughing so hard at this idiot comment seesaw…RDA’s are the root cause of the CA meltdown!!!!! You are Koo-Koo for CoCo Puffs girlfriend!

    Reply this comment
  69. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 9 July, 2013, 13:04

    I am only quoting a figure for one subject, Rex. The State of CA’s liability to CalPERS is 3% of the total state budget. We can share opinions and facts–but you need to stop calling me a liar! I am very dedicated to the truth is all facets of life!

    Reply this comment
  70. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 14:28

    Actually, SeeSaw, I would say it is much less than 3%. I saw this mistake on the LAO website. They related the $3.8 billion in pension costs to the GENERAL FUND budget, which is around $98 billion. In reality, less than half that $3.8 billion is paid on behalf of general fund salaries.

    The TOTAL state budget, inlcluding general fund, special fund, AND federal fund (many state workers are paid by federal funds) is about $233 billion, Which would make pension costs about 1.5 percent of the budget.

    Reply this comment
  71. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 14:29

    The glass is AT LEAST half full.

    Reply this comment
  72. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 9 July, 2013, 14:41

    AT

    LEAST

    !!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  73. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 10 July, 2013, 11:06

    Some of us are, SeeSaw….

    Reply this comment

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