Pension spikes crumbling CA roads

Pension spikes crumbling CA roads

Los Angeles traffic jam, wikimediaFrom roads to bridges and well beyond, California’s neglected infrastructure won’t receive relief this election cycle.

For years, the state has lavished money on other projects — especially public pensions. Despite a flurry of bad press surrounding the crushing burdens those pensions place on cities and municipalities, the trend is set to continue.

When voters go to the polls next week, they’ll face a dizzying array of proposed tax increases. All told, Californians must contend with 140 different ballot proposals, largely because of pension-imposed budgetary pressure.

Competing priorities

Pensions have climbed steadily upward while infrastructure has crumbled away, according to findings published in the Sacramento Bee. “Six-figure pensions for mid-level public servants have brought the state to the point where one out of every nine state and local tax dollars goes to pay for pensions,” wrote Mark Blucher. In 1994, he noted, the figure reached just one in 16 tax dollars. “Tax increases now do not increase government services, but simply service government pensions.”

The Golden State’s infrastructure needs have become critical. To repair its local roads, California must make up a budgetary shortfall of $1 billion annually — amounting to $78.3 billion in total, according to the new California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment Report.

And although some 40 percent of state bridges need repair, as the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated, about one-fourth of California’s pensions are still unfunded, Blucher observed. To reverse the tide of funds ebbing away from infrastructure, he suggested, cities faced with bankruptcy and debt restructuring would need the authority to renegotiate contracts with public employee unions.

Setbacks in Stockton

The quest for that kind of authority, which reformers have urged for years, has been stopped short in the days before November’s election. Recently, creditors affected by the city of Stockton’s bankruptcy challenged the so-called “California rule” that has long protected public union contracts from renegotiation in times of fiscal trouble.

Franklin Resources refused to take a haircut that yielded pennies on the dollar while Stockton’s public pensions remained completely protected. Initially, the bankruptcy judge hearing the case, Christopher Klein, seemed to side in principle with Franklin. He ruled that the California Public Employees Retirement System was not constitutionally immune from the kind of cuts imposed by cities entering into bankruptcy.

But Klein reserved himself on the right to rule in favor of a deal in which CalPERS was spared anyway. In fact, that is precisely what Klein did in his final holding. Deciding that “workers would be the real victims” if CalPERS were not shielded from liability, yesterday Klein authorized Stockton to simply reduce public workers’ pay, affecting pensions only indirectly.

Although Franklin has vowed to consider its next steps, policymakers have already concluded that the lid has not been blown off of the legal prejudice in favor of public pensions.

No end in sight

With the Stockton case tipping in CalPERS’ direction, pension reform in California has been thrown into doubt.

New reports recently revealed that ever-increasing sums of money have flowed from Sacramento into the fund’s coffers. Last year alone, according to the Los Angeles Times, CalPERS received more than $8 billion in government cash, quadrupling its haul over the course of the past 10 years.

CalPERS, the Times reported, voted in August to adopt 99 new types of pension bonuses.  Meanwhile, its gap between current resources and pension promises has hit an estimated $100 million.

Gov. Jerry Brown, whose administration tried and failed this summer to prevent pension spiking by the fund, has ordered another round of investigations into whether the perks are “legal and appropriate,” according to the Times.

Meanwhile, as anyone who recently has driven on California’s once world-class roads has found out, the asphalt keeps crumbling.

100 comments

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  1. Scott Baker
    Scott Baker 31 October, 2014, 10:47

    You have the wrong target. It’s not the pensioners that are the problem, but the low returns and high assets required by the pension funds themselves that are the problem.
    From my upcoming book “America is Not Broke!”:
    “There is $487 billion in California’s 2 State pension funds alone, (see Appendix 1) and one of these funds, Calpers, has earned a 10-year average of 7.3% a year, but only paid out 2.03% ($5.3 billion) for pensioners and expenses, net of employee/employer contributions in FY 2013. Meanwhile the managers rake in $426 million in fees, while sometimes underperforming the market, and while government acts as both regulator and investor in the Mother of All Conflicts of Interest! We need impartial accountants to comb through the CAFRs and to do so every year, for the benefit of the American people.”

    Even a small amount of the money in the pension fund could wipe out the DEBT, not just the deficit, of California. We could easily make up the loss in the fund with a modest increase taxes, which would be offset by either a Citizen’s Dividend from the fund, and/or from a Public Bank that invested in the community, funded by the assets the state already has.
    Most of all, we need to stop supporting Wall Street, and continue to support those people who have worked and saved, for the State, or anywhere else.

    Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 31 October, 2014, 17:52

      We could easily make up the loss in the fund with a modest increase taxes…

      I knew that was coming. The answer is ALWAYS higher taxes.

      In the private sector nearly all newly hired workers and the vast majority of current workers do NOT get pensions. They are lucky to get a crummy 401k match that amounts to a small percentage (usually 4 percent or less) of what the EMPLOYEE contributes.

      If the private sector can no longer aford pensions for their workers how on earth can the private sector fund the pensions of public sector employees? And it is the private sector that pays for everything in the public sector.

      Please, go peddle your tax increases somewhere else.

      Reply this comment
      • Scott Baker
        Scott Baker 31 October, 2014, 20:16

        You seem to have missed the part where the payback from the fund would provide a dividend that would offset any tax increase, until a Public Bank would kick in and start providing new revenues for the State, funded by some of the pension fund diverted from Wall Street Banks (also saving nearly a billion/year in fees).
        It’s OK, you can read about it in my upcoming book:
        https://tayen-lane.squarespace.com/america-is-not-broke/

        It’s hard to understand why you are so in love with the bankers who rip off the state and crash the economy, and so in hate with the working man or woman who actually builds and maintains everything you actually need.

        Reply this comment
        • bob
          bob 31 October, 2014, 21:49

          You seem to have missed the part where the payback from the fund would provide a dividend that would offset any tax increase.

          That’s hillarious. Politicians that demand higher taxes and fees over time will give us some of our money back? Once they get their grubby little hands on it, it’s gone forever. I guarantee you they will come up with a way to keep the money. They always do.

          It’s hard to understand why you are so in love with the bankers who rip off the state and crash the economy

          Funny, I never recall saying that. I loathe the banksters every bit as much as I loathe the politicians who run the state. A public bank will be run for the benefit of the politicians and special interests not the public. Quit being so naive.

          Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele PhD
      Ted Steele PhD 31 October, 2014, 19:37

      Scott–

      I have been a top poster on this blog for many years and all I can say is this– you are too smart for this crew— you will be underwhelmed at the posts!

      Reply this comment
      • Scott Baker
        Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 07:34

        Yeah, I’m kind of seeing that. I do a lot of presentation and have written over 200 articles, so sometimes I like to “experiment” with new audiences outside the usual crowd, but you are right, this is becoming a time sink. Back to my book now. I have a tight deadline…

        Reply this comment
        • Ted O'Steele, CEO
          Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:42

          But Scott— PLEASE don’t go away! We need you here to fight the dark forces of the dull-normal.

          Reply this comment
        • NTHEOC
          NTHEOC 1 November, 2014, 09:44

          Scott, I can’t wait to read your book!!! Thank you for your effort to bring truth and reality to the DOOMER NATION. I’ll let all the guys down at my station know about your book to..,

          Reply this comment
          • bob
            bob 1 November, 2014, 10:04

            You RAWGI trough feeders know this gravy train is going to collapse so some snake oil salesman like Scott pitching a new ponzi scheme to keep you in the money really gives you all quite a hard on.

          • NTHEOC
            NTHEOC 1 November, 2014, 10:47

            Bobo says,
            You RAWGI trough feeders know this gravy train is going to collapse
            ——————————————–
            Hahahahah, So says the DOOMER! What the heck is a RAWGI??

          • bob
            bob 1 November, 2014, 11:47

            Hahahahah, So says the DOOMER! What the heck is a RAWGI??

            It’s the plural of RAWGUS and you know that.

          • S Moderation Douglas
            S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 12:35

            What is RAWGUS?

      • Rex the Wonder Dog!
        Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 November, 2014, 12:30

        b<"Scott– I have been a top poster on this blog for many years…"
        Scott, Troughey here is also very smart, he informed ALL of us that Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), was the very first case ever decided by the SCOTUS 🙂

        Reply this comment
        • S Moderation Douglas
          S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 12:34

          Puppies can’t spell “HANLDE”.

          Reply this comment
        • Scott Baker
          Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 15:05

          Yes, and that’s why the Supreme Court gets to interpret the constitution. It’s a right they gave THEMSELVES. It’s not there in the constitution. Marbury made the Constitution a legal document. Before that, it was just a set of guidelines. (I’m not saying I disagree with Judicial Review, but there is a reason all elected gov’t office holders have to swear to uphold the constitution and not whatever the Supreme Court says is the constitution. The Oath is required in the constitution, not adherence to the Supreme Court).

          Reply this comment
          • T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
            T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:28

            Scott— Little buddy! You forgot about Article three…….of course the Court is here to be the final legal arbiter of ALL things legal. To stand the document on its head and pretend it aint a legal doc is….well….sorry—— goofy.

            Oh– and our Marbury scholar above (that’s dufus El Collapso) is liable to go off on a racial tangent against our first African American president or the developmentally disabled at any moment!

            At least until his parents get home!

  2. Donkey
    Donkey 31 October, 2014, 13:07

    You just don’t get Scott, the RAGWUS feeders are being compensated too much to begin with! They are overpaid, underworked and way over pensioned to the extent that the infrastructure is falling apart! Instead of using the taxes paid for the betterment of all the RAGWUS feeders are stealing all for their benefit. It is not going to be long before Calpers is paying out $100 billion a year to the retired RAGWUS thieves. 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • scott Baker
      scott Baker 31 October, 2014, 13:39

      What part of “but only paid out 2.03% ($5.3 billion) for pensioners and expenses, net of employee/employer contributions in FY 2013” don’t you understand? There is no conceivable way Calpers would ever pay our anything remotely close to $100B. Furthermore, the pensioners DO deserve the money they and their employers already invested in Calpers years ago. It’s deferred salary, that’s all, with a bit of ROI.
      The real question is why does Calpers aka Wall Street, need 98% of a pool of money to trickle out 2% a year, while collecting fat fees of nearly half a billion/year?
      Stop spouting nonsense, Donkey (the name fits, BTW). 🙁

      Reply this comment
      • Donkey
        Donkey 31 October, 2014, 17:01

        You are wrong Scott. When there are 1,000,000 RAGWUS feeders collecting $100,000 a year pensions calpers most certainly will be paying out $100 billion a year. As the baby boomers leave the hazed world of the RAGWUS the number will steadily grow, and as the public sector continues to out pace in growth the RAGWUS will become more desperate for cash as the producers leave California, but you know that. 🙂

        Reply this comment
        • S Moderation Douglas
          S Moderation Douglas 31 October, 2014, 18:07

          For the benefit of the new people here, what is RAGWUS again?

          Reply this comment
          • Ted O'Steele, CEO
            Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:41

            THAT is a VERY good question, it has been years since The Duncey ™ has opined smartly on the well seasoned yet ignorant acronym.

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 09:53

            My erudite pals, S&MD and TCS, seem to be in the early stages of mind deterioration, having no clue as to the definition of RAGWUS. It is a simple acronym that portrays the wickedness of the government unions in the most clear of ways, by using the poster child of government corruption, Robert Rizzo in the opening letter. The acronym is available on Google, but the two mentioned above are having trouble so I will entertain their request:
            R= Robert Rizzo
            A= And
            G= Government
            W= Worker
            U= Union
            S= Scam
            🙂

          • S Moderation Douglas
            S Moderation Douglas 2 November, 2014, 13:37

            Must be a beta version of Google™. Everything I see just boomerangs back to “donkey”.

            Which leads to this:

            “Donkey is highly confident, but history has shown him to be reliably incorrect.”

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 14:37

            History shows S&MD as being a RAGWUS feeder with no moral bounds when it comes to stealing from the taxpayers!! 🙂

          • S Moderation Douglas
            S Moderation Douglas 2 November, 2014, 21:49

            Is that another prediction?

            LOL

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 22:16

            Another fact S&MD!! 🙂

    • T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
      T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:34

      LOL Poor Duncey—-

      He may be right! Let’s say that gov workers ARE overpaid. In a representative democracy the people’s reps deal the compensation up and down. But of course Duncey and his ilk are just so completely and utterly helpless as human beings that there is just no way EVER that he could approach a solution by entering electedhood to deal with it! It’s far beyond their tiny capabilities!

      Duncey kind of reminds me of Arlo Gutheries old monologue concerning “the last guy”—-aka—the planet’s biggest loser!

      Reply this comment
  3. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 31 October, 2014, 14:24

    First, you must have a payroll before you can have pensions, and the pension payments come from the complete salary/benefit package. So to say, that roads are crumbling because pensions were paid, instead, is absolutely ridiculous. Donkey, the majority of public employees do not get six figures, but the salaries that are paid are usually done through the collective bargaining process, so it is just your opinion that the compensation is too high to begin with; it has to do with the law of supply and demand. I wish I could have made six figures, but that doesn’t translate my being jealous or resentful of those who did. Under PEPRA there is a cap on the amount of pensionable income, so the idea that CalPERS could be paying out $100 billion a year is not going to happen in our lifetimes–maybe a billion years into the future.

    Reply this comment
  4. Desmond
    Desmond 31 October, 2014, 16:53

    There is movement among young Latinos that the Calpers money should be paid as well to the undocumented to kick start their financial status. This is a great idea. Just a small portion, 15%. They will be the ones to a great extent rebuilding the roads. Common sense for the new California.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted O'Steele, CEO
      Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:39

      Desmond,

      There is also a movement among the dreaded and spooky liberal youth that the Obama Care ™ death panels be permitted to enter homes at will, rule on the issue of death for any sick folk, seize all handguns, and plant an NSA listening device. While the Ted of course “wants” to support this, even the Ted feels like this is “bridge too far” ™.

      Pastor Ted

      Reply this comment
  5. bob
    bob 31 October, 2014, 17:58

    We could easily make up the loss in the fund with a modest increase taxes…

    This is the answer the Demoncrats give for every problem at every election.

    If the sales tax were 15% it would still not be enough for the RAWGI trough feeders.

    These parasites believe there are never enough taxes and they are never high enough.

    Reply this comment
  6. bob
    bob 31 October, 2014, 18:00

    I wonder if every site like calwatchog that adovcates at least a modicum of fiscal repsonsibility get overrun and infested with RAWGI trough feeders.

    Reply this comment
  7. bob
    bob 31 October, 2014, 18:11

    New reports recently revealed that ever-increasing sums of money have flowed from Sacramento into the fund’s coffers. Last year alone, according to the Los Angeles Times, CalPERS received more than $8 billion in government cash, quadrupling its haul over the course of the past 10 years.

    CalPERS, the Times reported, voted in August to adopt 99 new types of pension bonuses. Meanwhile, its gap between current resources and pension promises has hit an estimated $100 million.

    Gov. Jerry Brown, whose administration tried and failed this summer to prevent pension spiking by the fund, has ordered another round of investigations into whether the perks are “legal and appropriate,” according to the Times.

    They will bleed us white with tax and “fee” increases long before there is any kind of real reform. Only when these parasites kill their host will there be any reform.

    Reply this comment
  8. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 31 October, 2014, 19:23

    Between the crazy train and the public pensions these scoundrels are bleeding us dry. They don’t give a damn about the common working man anymore. People who choose to live in California and try to make an honest living are nuts. With all the taxes and enormous fees we’re subject to in order to keep the ship afloat – it’s practically impossible to maintain your head above the financial waters. If you live in California you need to be either in the top 5% or dirt poor to survive. Anybody who’s caught inbetween those 2 groups, with the exception of the public pension trough feeders, are screwed, blued and tatooed! Haven’t you folks had enough yet? For how much longer are you going to tolerate it? Oh, be sure to write your State Senator or Congresscritter and complain!!! As if they give a damn what you want!!! HAH! 😀

    Reply this comment
  9. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 31 October, 2014, 19:26

    “according to findings published in the Sacramento Bee.”
    …………….
    “findings published in the Sacramento Bee”

    Being a euphemism for op-ed (i.e., OPINION) of Mark Bucher , president of the board of California Policy Center.

    Hardly unbiased.
    ……….
    ” yesterday Klein authorized Stockton to simply reduce public workers’ pay, affecting pensions only indirectly.”

    Reduce city expenses, reduce employee compensation, WITHOUT “reforming” pensions??

    What was he thinking?

    Reply this comment
  10. Skippingdog
    Skippingdog 31 October, 2014, 20:02

    Klein also noted that U.S Supreme Court precedent gives greater protection to pensions than other debts, and that Stockton workers and retires had already taken a severe haircut of more than $550 million in their healthcare costs.

    Reply this comment
  11. Skippingdog
    Skippingdog 31 October, 2014, 20:03

    How come Ed Mendel is the only reporter who can get this stuff right?

    Reply this comment
    • Ted O'Steele, CEO
      Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:34

      Ed Mendel is the single most significant life force in the world today in the Ted’s view. Although he banned me from his blog for, I guess, being annoying, which I freely must admit that I must be. I have had to post there under a bewildering series of disguises. It’s fun.

      The Ted Steele System.

      Reply this comment
    • T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
      T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:38

      “Sweet Wingnut Tears” !

      Reply this comment
  12. Eddy
    Eddy 31 October, 2014, 20:08

    6 figure pensions for all state employees! Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted O'Steele, CEO
      Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:31

      “6 figure pensions for all gov workrs”? —-only a VERY small percentage—-and—-of course it is merely the deferred compensation that they have lawfully bargained for, and legally contracted about, and after performance in the legal sense is now due—– this sacred agreement—-all of which is also the basis of commerce in a free capitalist society —– foundational, archetypal, basic, fundamental etc…..

      Your Leader
      King Poster
      Jefe Del Grupo
      ttttt Ted

      Reply this comment
  13. Queeg
    Queeg 31 October, 2014, 20:14

    Does personal misery become airborne?

    Reply this comment
  14. Scott Baker
    Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 06:13

    Any “investment” that has to retain 98% of itself in order to pay out 2% is a bad investment. The fact that the combined assets of Calpers and Calstrs are enough to wipe out the California debt many times over, just makes it even worse. That wiping out the debt would give CA a AAA rating again, making any future borrowing much cheaper (CA pays 5-7% on bonds now, like Greece). But with a Public Bank, CA could create its own credit anyway, and then return dividends to the state, like the Bank of North Dakota has for decades – $300m over the last 10 years alone. A Public Bank like the BND (est. 1919) wouldn’t have to be FDIC insured – it has something better; the assurance that all state taxes will be deposited first in the bank. A PB like the BND could also support a wide network of community banks, which are the kind that actually make loans to small businesses, unlike the Money Center banks, which primarily speculate on asset markets, do wealth management for already wealthy clients, and manage M&A activity, that is, when they are paying off record fines for fraud etc. (JP Morgan is past $20B for 2013 alone).
    I know you are no fan of the megabanks, so I won’t belabor that point, but you should take a fair look at Public Banks too. They are working in most place they’ve been tried, and 40% of the world’s assets are in PBs, including in the BRIC countries (The State Bank of India is the largest bank in the world, by number of branches).
    There are much better ways to pay the pensioners than are currently being practiced, which is primarily a way for rentiers to make money for nothing (most fund managers can’t even beat the dumb S&P so what are we paying them high fees for?)

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 1 November, 2014, 07:07

      Scott, there are other factors that shine on the RAGWUS feeders:
      Why are public workers receiving more than the “average household income” in retirement?
      Why are the PS RAGWUS feeders so over-compensated, over-benefitted, and over-pensioned when compared with private citizens?
      What makes high taxes on the private sector taxpayers good for them when they receive nothing more than highly compensated RAGWUS feeders in return?
      How does high property taxes and high housing costs help the private sector?
      You see Scott, you are talking banking 101 BS to people that have seen the public worker go from glad to have a job, to hey this job is cake, to hey the taxpayers have more than us, to lets start a union and dictate our pay, benefits, and pensions by buying the politicians with taxpayers money. Like Bob said: “They will bleed us white with tax and “fee” increases long before there is any kind of real reform. Only when these parasites kill their host will there be any reform.” Go peddle your “I can make this right with just a little more cash” to the RAGWUS feeders that you so adore. The people paying for the freeloading public servants are living off of the crumbs of what money they can hide from you crooks. 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • Scott Baker
        Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 07:26

        Hmmm, let’s see.
        On the one hand you have millionaire bankers who rake in fees for hoarding over 95% of hundreds of billion in funds that they never even earned.
        On the other hand, you have civil servants who tucked away savings as they were made to do their whole working lives, in the hope that they will get enough back, after inflation, to live mostly on a a few tens of thousands in pensions when they can no longer work.
        Remind me again, who’s the parasite?

        Reply this comment
        • bob
          bob 1 November, 2014, 11:38

          And on yet another hand (Scott you are running out of hands) you have private sector workers who get NO pensions but are expected to pay ever increasing taxes so government employees can have pensions and benefits that those in the private sector can only dream of.

          Reply this comment
        • T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
          T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:42

          Scott—

          You realize when arguing with Duncey, you’re arguing with a chap who last week admitted that he is regularly examined by physicians for either insanity or a serious head injury, right? He apparently is asked by doctors things like, “who is the president of the US”?

          Reply this comment
      • Ted O'Steele, CEO
        Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 09:23

        Duncey’s post illustrates how his ilk wants to create a caste where certain “workers” are in a class below. It’s an old story, and, pretty dull.

        Once again (for the 10th time?)— a court has spoken. Although of no value in a stare decisis sense, it demonstrates yet another in a long line of jurists weighing in on basic concepts of settled law that are hundreds of years old.

        Professor Ted

        Reply this comment
        • Donkey
          Donkey 1 November, 2014, 16:02

          TCS, lay off the crack you dope. The RAGWUS has created a caste of enriched feeders at the expense of the private sector worker. And as usual the outcome of the Stockton BK will have little effect, for Stockton will be back in BK court, just like Vallejo, and every other city and county in California. 🙂

          Reply this comment
          • T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
            T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:11

            Duncey– “useful idiot of the Wall Street globalists”….

            God Bless ya little buddy!

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 22:18

            Keep crunching on that crack TCS, no one wants to see you slow down. 🙂

  15. Ted O'Steele, CEO
    Ted O'Steele, CEO 1 November, 2014, 08:38

    VERY well said Scott.

    Reply this comment
  16. bob
    bob 1 November, 2014, 10:07

    either a Citizen’s Dividend from the fund, and/or from a Public Bank that invested in the community

    Citizen’s Dividend, how Soviet.

    And a public bank run by politiicans and bureaucrats that “invest” in the community? A huge opportunity for the special interests and other trough feeders. And we get a “small tax increase” in the process. How special.

    Reply this comment
  17. bob
    bob 1 November, 2014, 10:15

    Most of all, we need to stop supporting Wall Street, and continue to support those people who have worked and saved, for the State, or anywhere else.

    What about the taxpayers who make all these state pensions possible?

    In the private sector nearly all newly hired workers and the vast majority of current workers do NOT get pensions. They are lucky to get a crummy 401k match that amounts to a small percentage (usually 4 percent or less) of what the EMPLOYEE contributes.

    Contrast that to this:

    Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation

    Public employees have become the new American elite. In the past, Government workers earned less money but had slightly better job security and benefits than Americans working in the private sector. These days, government workers not only earn more than other Americans, but they have vastly superior benefits, including pension plans that often allow them to retire as early as age 50 with 100 percent or more of their final year’s salary. These pensions often to $100,000 a year and come with cost of living adjustments and free lifetime medical care. Getting a government job and sticking with it is like winning the lottery. This plundering of treasuries, made possible by aggressive union tactics and spineless politicians, results in higher taxes and massive debts that ultimately will be borne by our grandchildren. The current situation is “unsustainable.” The problem goes beyond finances. Government unions protect even the worst public employees from accountability. Schools don’t attempt to fire incompetent teachers-and union protections make it nearly impossible to even fire ones accused of abuse and other misdeeds. As government gets bigger and more powerful, government officials have more uncontrolled power over the rest of us-to enrich and protect themselves at the expense of the public good. The public’s servants have truly become the public’s masters.

    Do you really think those in the private sector with no pensions who must work their whole lives and never retire are going to keep paying higher and higher taxes so these government employees can receive pensions and benefits that private sector workers can only dream of?

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 1 November, 2014, 10:55

      Why is it that you cannot debate a subject in a rational manner? First, you seem to think that only private sector workers fund the government, when you know, that the public sector workers get the same tax bills and pay the same taxes that you pay. You continually put forth a, “divide and conquer”, strategy which isn’t the way to get things done, or the way for us all to live!

      And, the worst of the worst of your claims…………..A public sector worker retiring at the age of 50 with a 100% pension is not in existence. The 3% formulas were established for public safety in 1999 and for miscellaneous workers in 2001. A public safety worker on the 3% at 50 formula could get 90% if he/she began a full career under CalPERS at the age of 20–most public safety workers do not get into those careers, full-time, until the late 20’s or even later. Then a miscellaneous worker getting 100% at the age of 50 would have had to begin a full-time, under CalPERS public sector career at the age of 15. Stop your insane claims, which have no basis in fact at all!!!

      A much better, true, story is mine…..I got 109% when I retired at the age of 72–96% after the 13% deduction for my beneficiary. Now, however, you can take a deep breath–most public sector workers don’t go longer than 30 years; the average make it for 20 years and are 60 years old. The 3% formulas have gone by the wayside–many of those were gone before PEPRA was even introduced. Collective bargaining works.

      And, Desmond, keep your sick Grandma jokes to yourself. You wouldn’t even be here if not for your ancestors.

      Reply this comment
      • bob
        bob 1 November, 2014, 11:25

        First, you seem to think that only private sector workers fund the government, when you know, that the public sector workers get the same tax bills and pay the same taxes that you pay.

        But who pays the public sector salaries? You don’t understand that everything the gummit does is funded by the private sector in one way or another.

        A public sector worker retiring at the age of 50 with a 100% pension is not in existence.

        I know several CHP,local PD, fire, etc. who are in their early 50s and are retired with 90% or more of their highest year’s salary, some in excess of 100%. Many took advantage of the infamous pension spiking. I know of one police sargeant promoted to lieutenant two months before she retired.

        You don’t seem to understand that the private sector working people have NO pensions. They have to fund ALL of their retirement themselves with the exception of very small contributions from their employer if they are lucky and this typically amounts to a few percent of what the employee pays.

        If you think private sector workers with no pensions are going to pay higher and higher taxes so public sector employees can have pensions those in the private sector can only dream of then you are nuts.

        Reply this comment
        • SeeSaw
          SeeSaw 1 November, 2014, 13:03

          I’m married to a former private-sector worker, Bob. You can’t seem to understand that most public-sector workers have families, friends, and relatives that are in the private sector–that those of us that have brains, refuse to fall into this,”divide and conquer”, mentality. You know several at age 50, who have 90% pensions–oh, I bet you do. I worked 40 years in the public-sector and I knew one former maintenance superintendent who retired at the age of 53 with a high pension–he began his career at the age of 18. That’s probably your experience too–you might know one! The police sargent promoted to lieutenant two months before retirement most likely was in line for the job–public sector employers don’t just “give” employees higher salaries at retirement time. Under retirement rules, the new salary could not have been the final amount used in the retirement calculation. It had to be part of the average used, depending on the entity’s pension contract.

          Reply this comment
  18. bob
    bob 1 November, 2014, 10:18

    OK, now I know who Scott is. An Ellen Brown worshipper.

    http://www.garynorth.com/public/department141.cfm

    Reply this comment
    • Scott Baker
      Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 11:12

      OK, last article of the anthology just edited, so now more bloviating….
      1. The Bank of North Dakota has been in existence, scandal-free, since 1919. Meanwhile, JP Morgan alone had over $20B in fines last year, and it also has $69 Trillion in derivatives on its books (not a typo) according to the OCC. Oh, and the president of the BND made about $300k last year, somewhat less than the crook Jamie Dimon.
      2. Gary North occupies a cubbyhole of debaters, whom almost no one takes seriously, just like the discredited Von Mises school. OK, ad hominem, I know… So, read the debate between him and Ellen Brown and make up your own mind.
      3. You are welcome to read MY articles (a tiny portion of which are being updated for the book), here: http://www.opednews.com/author/author24983.html
      4. As others with more knowledge than me have pointed out already, very few retirees are making over 100k a year in pensions.
      5. If you pay into something with a contractual obligation to get it back, shouldn’t you get it back? Should we take away your Social Security and Medicare too?
      6. The great cost for the pensions is for the FUND, not for the payouts. This is the subterfuge the Pension managers impose so they can keep over 95% of the fund to play with, while paying out meager returns and complaining about those ^&%^ pensioners. It’s a total lie.
      7. Many conservatives are and have supported a citizen’s dividend, like Milton Friedman, Richard Nixon (the negative income tax). It would save money by ending an alphabet soup of merit-based agencies, and provide dignity and choice to every American. And yes, we can easily afford it. And, while we’re at it, we can either use a CD to effectively raise the minimum wage or do it directly. I know a lot of people who are sick and tired of supporting the bloated corporations who are so inefficient they have to rely on the governemnt subsidize their workers’ otherwise non-living wages. Maybe then the 7 Walmart heirs wouldn’t have more than the bottom 40% of Americans. It’s not like they created the company even!

      Reply this comment
      • bob
        bob 1 November, 2014, 11:35

        I agree with you that the banksters are ripping us off. The Federal Reserve and Wall Street are totally corrupt, no doubt about it. If the people really understood how our monetary system worked there would be a revolution tomorrow.

        But a “public” bank run by Congress or state banks run by state politicians would be nearly as bad or just as bad. Our politicians are fiscally irresponsible. How do you think the federal government got over $17 trillion in debt with over $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities? And can you imagine people like Kevin Deleon, John Perez, Darrel Steinberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc. in charge of a state bank in California? It would be a feeding frenzy for every special interest at the taxpayer’s expense. The last thing we need is to make bankers out of politicians.

        Reply this comment
        • Scott Baker
          Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 15:01

          I answer all that in my book. The subtitle may give you a clue:
          America is Not Broke!
          Four Multi-trillion Dollar Paths to A Thriving America

          See: “Four Multi-Trillion Dollar Paths…” not just one. It’s about more than Public Banks, though I’d still put the world’s Public Banks up against the TBTF banks anytime, in an honesty and integrity contest. The Bank of North Dakota is a real bank, staffed by real bankers, making real risk assessments like a bank. No politicians involved since 1919!

          And there is so much money in nearly 200,000 municipal, state, and federal agencies, that most people won’t believe it. I didn’t either, until some good guides showed me how to read the CAFRs (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports). These are all online. It adds up to 10s of trillions. If you want to know where your tax dollars have gone (since WWII), look there not to the crumbs the pensioners get.
          And I’m just getting started….

          America In Not Broke!

          Reply this comment
          • bob
            bob 1 November, 2014, 15:48

            And there is so much money in nearly 200,000 municipal, state, and federal agencies, that most people won’t believe it.

            If this is true than it is criminal how they tax us and keep increasing taxes and fees and debt. If what you say is true there is no need for such levels of taxation and debt.

            Politicians and bureaucrats are constantly telling us they can’t get by without additional borrowing and increased taxes and fees. Utterly criminal if they have trillions stashed away.

          • Scott Baker
            Scott Baker 1 November, 2014, 16:56

            Yup.
            And remember, all these entities are incorporated now. They produce uniform asset balance reports (CAFRs) annually.
            The governments are, collectively, the largest holders of stock in corporations. The governments are not in bed with the corporations, they ARE the corporations.
            I don’t want my government off my back, I want my government…back.

      • bob
        bob 1 November, 2014, 11:40

        And yes, we can easily afford it.

        Even if “we” could it will never happen. Those in power will always fund the politically connected special interests as much as possible and those without political connections will be left holding the bag.

        Reply this comment
  19. bob
    bob 1 November, 2014, 11:45

    As others with more knowledge than me have pointed out already, very few retirees are making over 100k a year in pensions.

    You are not even from Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it) and it shows. You know very little of the situation here. There are thousands of state and local California retirees getting pensions of 100k or more and the number is growing.

    Back in 2005, some 1,841 retirees pulled down more than $100,000 a year in pension checks from the California Public Employees Retirement System.
    By 2009, this so-called “$100K club” had more than tripled, to 6,133 members.
    And by the end of 2012, membership more than doubled yet again, to 14,763, according to data from CalPERS.
    That’s up 700 percent in less than a decade. The rate of inflation over the same period was 38 percent.

    http://www.ocregister.com/taxdollars/city-515888-100k-club.html

    And the number above does not include state and local pension systems besides CalPERS.

    Reply this comment
    • S Moderation Douglas
      S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 15:49

      “That’s up 700 percent in less than a decade. The rate of inflation over the same period was 38 percent.”

      Non sequitur.

      The two facts are not related. Very impressive juxtaposition, though. Meaningless, but impressive.

      Reply this comment
      • John Seiler
        John Seiler 1 November, 2014, 17:42

        Actually, the comparison is meaningful. The number of $100K Lucullans should have followed inflation, up 38% instead of 700%. But what we’ve been seeing is the retirees cashing in big time on the pension spiking of the last 15 years. It will end because there’s not enough money in the funds, and not enough extra money that can be taken from taxpayers. Enjoy the champagne and caviar and Cuban cigars while you can, boys.

        Reply this comment
        • S Moderation Douglas
          S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 19:10

          Why The Face?

          I hope you don’t do your own taxes.

          By your logic, the number of $50k pensions should have also increased by 38%, the number of $200k’s should have increased by 38%, etc. ad nauseum.

          It doesn’t work that way. $100,000 isn’t a magic number, just good fodder for the doom mill.

          Reply this comment
  20. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 1 November, 2014, 13:10

    Bob, I’m glad that those people have money to put into our economy instead ofthe other way around. In CalPERS the 100K+ Club includes 2% of the 500,000+ annuitants. Fifty-percent of the CalPERS retirees get $18,000/yr. or less. In the meantime while you are studying, learn how to spell and pronounce the word, “government”. Baby talk won’t fly wherever you work.

    Reply this comment
  21. bob
    bob 1 November, 2014, 14:09

    Fifty-percent of the CalPERS retirees get $18,000/yr. or less.

    Irrelevant. How many years did those people put in? I bet most of those people worked less than 5 years for as you like to call it, gummit.

    Also, I know of several people who work for the city, then work for the county and then may move and work for a different county or city or fot the state or the feds. They shift in and out of different pension programs. So they can have a pension in CalPERS, a county pension (not CalPERS) and/or a city pension program or federal program (not CalPERS). None of what the receive from the individual pensions is 100k but when you add them up they are over 100K.

    Reply this comment
    • S Moderation Douglas
      S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 15:40

      “Also, I know of several people…”

      “The woman in front of me at the checkstand…….”

      Yada, yada, yada….food stamps, iPhone, lobster, Mercedes SUV… what we call “apocryphal” people.

      I expect most local entities are like the state, “people worked less than 5 years for as you like to call it, gummit.” are NOT vested. If they contributed to CalPERS, they must withdraw their balance or roll it into an IRA. They do not receive any of the employer matching funds, and are not eligible for a pension or retiree health care.

      How do you even make this stuff up??

      And, why?

      Reply this comment
  22. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 1 November, 2014, 14:36

    Why irrelevant, when they are annuitants of the system? Every penny paid out goes into the calculation as to what the average payout is. One must have a minimum of five-years service credit to get a CalPERS retirement. I know a few of those–their pensions are less than three thousand a year. You can look up any pensioner’s name on Transparent CA and see what their pension is. You can see many with less than $18,000/yr. who had 20+ years service credit. How many 50 year olds can you find with 100%? I can just say, “Bully”, to those who were able to work in several systems and earn more than one pension. You should have been so innovative yourself–then perhaps you would have been able to pronounce and spell the word, “government”.

    Reply this comment
  23. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 1 November, 2014, 16:03

    “You have the wrong target. It’s not the pensioners that are the problem,”

    That I can agree with. Everything after that, I don’t think so. I have never heard of Ellen Brown. I believe I have read a few posts from Scott Baker on this and other blogs.

    I must say, I am skeptical. That is an understatement. It sounds like sophistry to me.

    Reply this comment
  24. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 1 November, 2014, 16:22

    Donkey stop picking on Teddy. He is fair and balanced…he is humane and has wisdom doomers covet……

    Pensioner deserve their pension……pay your taxes…..this State is well run and we love it.

    Reply this comment
  25. T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted
    T Ted E-- Mind of your Godhead Ted 1 November, 2014, 21:37

    LOL

    Hey Duncey— What about that Fed BK judge who was going to see the law the way you do? Wasn’t your prediction that he would cut those pensions? LMAO—The Fed bench never makes a move without consulting CWD and that oracle of law— The Duncey!

    This is just too easy! ™

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 2 November, 2014, 07:17

      I never made a prediction crackhead TCS. I do believe Stockton will be right back in BK because the main problem was not addressed, and that is RAGWUS pensions, though he did do away with the free medical and left the door open for cutting pensions in the future. 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • Ted Steele, Editor
        Ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 07:57

        LOL— This is too easy— I should be limited to only 10 or 20 beat downs of Duncey a week—- Here is one of Duncey’s infamous predictions re Judge Klien!

        Enjoy!

        Donkey says:
        April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm
        Skdog, get ready to have your pension halved. The day of reckoning is at hand for the RAGWUS feeders.
        The days of stealing from the non-represented taxpayers is coming to an end. The well has run dry, and all the bad legislation the RAGWUS has put in place to seal and protect their thievery will be of no avail.
        – See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2013/04/03/bankruptcy-judge-calpers-a-garden-variety-creditor/#sthash.osnq4zrC.dpuf

        HURRY BACKPEDDLE NOW SLAVE TROLL!

        Reply this comment
        • Donkey
          Donkey 2 November, 2014, 09:58

          That is not a prediction TCS, that is a statement of fact, the timetable is in the making you RAGWUS crook. 🙂

          Reply this comment
          • Ted Steele, Editor
            Ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 12:36

            LOL

            Like a child!

            Nailed and backpeddling!

            In a thread about Judge Klien you said…

            Skdog, get ready to have your pension halved. The day of reckoning is at hand for the RAGWUS feeders. The days of stealing from the non-represented taxpayers is coming to an end. The well has run dry, and all the bad legislation the RAGWUS has put in place to seal and protect their thievery will be of no avail. – See more at: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/10/31/pension-spikes-crumbling-ca-roads/#sthash.6vLVCXt2.dpuf

            LOL Like a small child you can NEVER admit it! Oh my this is easy!

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 14:39

            TCS, like a fool you babble on in the hope that criticism of you and your RAGWUS cabal will disappear. Not going to happen my dimwitted parrot. 🙂

          • Ted Steele, Editor
            Ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 16:47

            Laugh
            Out Loud

            Caught in a huge prediction failure and ALL backpeddle!

            You don’t pack the gear kittle buddy– your stuff is a mile wide and an inch deep— no juevos!

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 17:49

            Babble on my little parrot, the RAGWUS will kill itself without my help, I just enjoy reading the consternation in your rants at the impotence of your words. Now babble on my parrot, I own you my parrot slave. 🙂

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 17:54

            TCS, the youngsters are figuring out the RAGWUS pretty fast. It won’t take much before they see your ilk for what you are, a tight nit group of crooks stealing from the private sector working men and women. In the end you will be held accountable, and it will not be pretty. 🙂

          • ted Steele, Editor
            ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 20:13

            LOL

            Duncey—- Still trying to backpeddle on your now infamous prediction fail?

            Changing the subject so it will go away? LMAO !!!

            Have you EVER had Any prediction out here come true little buddy?????

            just too easy ™

          • Donkey
            Donkey 2 November, 2014, 22:20

            You half-witted fool, you can call it whatever you like, all I made was a statement, and it will come to pass!! 🙂

          • Ted Steele, Editor
            Ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 22:45

            LOL

            You are the first to call folks out on this blog and the first to cower in the corner and not admit you are wrong!

            Are you 12?

  26. Ted Steele, Editor
    Ted Steele, Editor 2 November, 2014, 07:34

    LOL

    NEVER made a prediction!
    LMAO

    Reply this comment
  27. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 2 November, 2014, 08:56

    Teddy….you nailed the Donkey on his repeated gloom and doom lies….totally discredited…. His Ragwanetti fables are poof!

    Now we can just humor him as the CWD mascot…..

    Oh My-

    Reply this comment
  28. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 2 November, 2014, 12:00

    “Pension spikes crumbling CA roads”

    Correlation does not imply causation.
    …………………
    “Even a small amount of the money in the pension fund could wipe out the DEBT, not just the deficit, of California. We could easily make up the loss in the fund with a modest increase taxes, which would be offset by either a Citizen’s Dividend from the fund, and/or from a Public Bank that invested in the community, funded by the assets the state already has.”

    Snake oil salesman. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 3 November, 2014, 08:22

      It does in this case S&MD!!! The cost of the RAGWUS is the reason there is no tax dollars to maintain infrastructure, simple math, not a logic and reason seminar. 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • S Moderation Douglas
        S Moderation Douglas 3 November, 2014, 10:21

        Money is fungible. A LOT more is spent on welfare than on employee costs.

        Why is it not “Welfare costs crumbling CA roads”?

        Simple math.

        Reply this comment
        • Donkey
          Donkey 4 November, 2014, 09:11

          Now that is an absolute lie about welfare S&MD. The majority goes to the RAGWUS feeders that run the system, very little gets to the recipient. Just like the Schools, the teachers eat up 90% of the money leaving 10% to cover buildings, utilities, and books, while the kids are used as pawns. 🙂

          Reply this comment
  29. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 2 November, 2014, 18:45

    Do you really want government workers who retire working at 7-11 and Home Depot and Visting Angels?

    Do you want more poor people in California?

    Do you like to watch dumpster diving?

    Republicans have always exploited the working man.

    Reply this comment

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