Democrats should lead on pensions

Democrats should lead on pensions

There are 28 comments on the Long Beach Press-Telegram story from Jul 26, 2009, titled Democrats should lead on pensions. In it, Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that:

The bipartisan budget agreement reached this week in the Capitol does not include reforms of California's public employee pension system.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Long Beach Press-Telegram.

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rudy braun

AOL

#1 Jul 27, 2009
It seems to me this guy, along with the others, are displaying a similar behavior to the crooks on Wall Street. Hey, I guess it goes with the morals of the whole failed economic system that has taken over the country of each person stealing what they can for the greater good. Wow, and what a great country we once must have had.
oscar jenkins

Long Beach, CA

#2 Jul 27, 2009
The Democratic voters sold their Party to the Unions.

Every one knows that the Unions/Democrats ONLY raise the totally UNFUNDED 250 plus BILLION which will crush Calif.

Every one in American now knows that Californians are to stupid to handle self government and the price is hopelessness, failure, and insolvency.
Robert J G Jackson Sr

Long Beach, CA

#3 Jul 27, 2009
So, Chief Nowicki's final year of earnings was $241,000? Nearly a quarter of a million dollars?How old was he at retirement, and how much of that $241,000 will he be paid each year for the rest of his life? Just what other benefits, such as healthcare are provided for the Chief? Pension spiking may be legal, but it is certainly immoral, and our government officials who are supposed to take care of such things are derelict in their duty to allow such things to happen. Moraga will be paying a very great deal of money for Chief Nowicki's past services for many years to come, in all liklihood. A comfortable retirement is one thing, while this kind of stealing from the public is quite another. Governor Davis and his shenanigans with the State employee unions are among the chief reasons for the current fiscal disaster. It's time to fix the problem. The Democrats, as the party responsible for the problem, and also as the vast majority in State governement, are obligated to take the lead and fix this obvious fiscal disaster. As stated in this article, the Governor certainly doesn't have the power to fix it all himself, nor do the few Republicans in the legislature.
Jonathon S

Long Beach, CA

#4 Jul 27, 2009
Don't sweat the ever growing $250 BILLION in UNFUNDED penions for State public employees.

Our Legilature is assuring that the catastrophic impact will crush our children and grandchildren under the unimaginable DEBT they continue to amass.

We won't suffer..our kids will pay. So who cares?
guilty till proven not

Torrance, CA

#5 Jul 27, 2009
Do you know how to save money in California? Cut the pay of the legislators, cut their pension. Why should they get pensions when they are not doing their jobs.
Steve O

Long Beach, CA

#6 Jul 27, 2009
No one forced Californians to elect the Union owned politicians who created the UNFUNDED 240 BILLION in pension obligations.

Our political choices define us as the cruelest, most irresponsible Fools in America.

If only Californian's had been sterilized so our children wouldn't be victimized by our complete political ignorance. We certainly don't qualify as loving parents.
honu

Cerritos, CA

#7 Jul 27, 2009
While I understand that Public Eployee pensions are a hot button issue, the "reporting", if that's what it can be called, has been less than completely honest.

The media has loudly touted the inflated retirement packages of numerous, high ranking individuals and extrapolated that out, to insinuate that the rank and file firefighters and police officers enjoy the same, "bloated" pensions.

We do not. I retired from the police department with 25 years of service at 75% of my salary, just a little under $50,000 per year (pre-tax). I receive no medical benefits, other than what I pay for from own pocket and do not receive any Social Security benefits. And I am typical of the average public safety employee in Long Beach.

IF, and it's a big if, the Press Telegram wanted to accurately report and opine regarding the pension issues, the editors would ensure that all the facts would be presented.

Of course, that would require these same editors to live up to the ethics of their chosen profession.
Dan Martinez

Long Beach, CA

#8 Jul 27, 2009
It only seems proper for our State to become a total joke. No other State consistently shows such pathetic political judgment. We are a cruel bunch to do such dastardly things to our own children. The bone crushing deficits will force our children to relocate to proud American States when they go out on their own.

Remember when Unions were about fair treatment of workers. Ha ....Thats a LAUGH.
Now they are Mafia demanding tribute from the tax slaves who were mentally defective enough to elect Union Thugs to run the Legislature.

Even admitting to BEING a Calif. Dem voter at this point is an act of treason.
rudy braun

AOL

#9 Jul 27, 2009
In response to Steve O, I think you are on to something. Lets say every woman had 5 children and this led to too many people striving to survive based on our current level of culture and technology. This would lead to people being looked on as a burden. Then, let us suppose that there were restictions on how many children a woman could have - say two. This may cause people to look on others as not a burden to support but an asset to be valued. Isn't this idea something to be considered, or are we doomed to war and disease?
Peter Johnson

Long Beach, CA

#10 Jul 28, 2009
We made the free choice to elect pols who diminished most every thing that once made our State great. Was our choice motivated by self loathing or a malgnant strain of inhumane cruelty that drove us to support destroying California as a fit home for hard working citizen families?
The beat goes on

AOL

#11 Jul 28, 2009
honu, thank you for your service. The thing is, you have a VERY generous deal. Even your 3% at 50 is unsustainable when combined with the 2.7 at 55 and the 2% at 55 with health insurance that CA's other gov't workers get. There are simply too many future retirees in the pipeline. There are not enough future taxpayers combined with PERS investment performance to pay everyone.

For example, try finding a private sector employee who can retire after 25 years. Your last year's salary was roughly $66K. No private sector pension is based on the last year's salary. The tiny percentage that have fixed benefit plans such as gov't employees, where the income is guaranteed, have payouts based on their last five years' average. Spiking is impossible. After 35-40 working years, someone earning your pay would get about $27K/year.

Most people's retirement, however, is now based on investment performance. If the markets drop, their pension income drops.
honu wrote:
While I understand that Public Eployee pensions are a hot button issue, the "reporting", if that's what it can be called, has been less than completely honest.
The media has loudly touted the inflated retirement packages of numerous, high ranking individuals and extrapolated that out, to insinuate that the rank and file firefighters and police officers enjoy the same, "bloated" pensions.
We do not. I retired from the police department with 25 years of service at 75% of my salary, just a little under $50,000 per year (pre-tax). I receive no medical benefits, other than what I pay for from own pocket and do not receive any Social Security benefits. And I am typical of the average public safety employee in Long Beach.
IF, and it's a big if, the Press Telegram wanted to accurately report and opine regarding the pension issues, the editors would ensure that all the facts would be presented.
Of course, that would require these same editors to live up to the ethics of their chosen profession.
tom trayner

Long Beach, CA

#12 Jul 28, 2009
Our State's Politicians DID LEAD on Pensions.

Our State's Democratic Majority led us into a crippled future by awarding UNFUNDED pensions totaling over $270 BILLION.

The State Democratic Legislature majority made it impossible for our children to stay in California when their Syndicates outrageous debts come due.
honu

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#13 Jul 28, 2009
The beat goes on wrote:
honu, thank you for your service. The thing is, you have a VERY generous deal. Even your 3% at 50 is unsustainable when combined with the 2.7 at 55 and the 2% at 55 with health insurance that CA's other gov't workers get. There are simply too many future retirees in the pipeline. There are not enough future taxpayers combined with PERS investment performance to pay everyone.
For example, try finding a private sector employee who can retire after 25 years. Your last year's salary was roughly $66K. No private sector pension is based on the last year's salary. The tiny percentage that have fixed benefit plans such as gov't employees, where the income is guaranteed, have payouts based on their last five years' average. Spiking is impossible. After 35-40 working years, someone earning your pay would get about $27K/year.
Most people's retirement, however, is now based on investment performance. If the markets drop, their pension income drops.
<quoted text>
Please don't misunderstand my point... I'm not crying poverty and I'm fully aware that my retirement package allows me to live comfortably.

The point I was trying to get across is that the average, rank and file, firefighter or police officer doesn't retire at well over $100,000.00 with a fully paid medical plan.

If we were to believe the media's reporting and opinion columns though,$100,000.00+ retirements are the norm. They don't tell the whole story. By sensationalizing the relative few instances of "pension spiking" and presenting the "facts" in a contextual vacumn, it's another example of intellectual dishonesty and media manipulation.
Educator

Long Beach, CA

#14 Jul 28, 2009
The beat goes on wrote:
honu, thank you for your service. The thing is, you have a VERY generous deal. Even your 3% at 50 is unsustainable when combined with the 2.7 at 55 and the 2% at 55 with health insurance that CA's other gov't workers get. There are simply too many future retirees in the pipeline. There are not enough future taxpayers combined with PERS investment performance to pay everyone.
For example, try finding a private sector employee who can retire after 25 years. Your last year's salary was roughly $66K. No private sector pension is based on the last year's salary. The tiny percentage that have fixed benefit plans such as gov't employees, where the income is guaranteed, have payouts based on their last five years' average. Spiking is impossible. After 35-40 working years, someone earning your pay would get about $27K/year.
Most people's retirement, however, is now based on investment performance. If the markets drop, their pension income drops.
<quoted text>
If the person retiring is getting about 27K a year from their pension fund are they getting social security too? Many seniors I have talked to recently have told me that they get a pension and social security. Educators and it seems by honu's post, police officers too, do not get social security. I keep hearing about many workers getting health benefits paid too. Again we do not. I will have paid into my pension system for 35 years when I retire. I have also worked a second job for many years and I have paid into social security but will not be able to claim it. Don't get me wrong I am thankful for my pension but I too believe their seem to be many misconceptions about the pension system right now. Also I didn't realize that there were so many different formulas for state workers pensions.
Concerned American

Burbank, CA

#15 Jul 28, 2009
Interesting to note that Arnold actually did try to do something about the out-of-control pension system, but that Democrats in the Legislature pushed back. I suppose Arnold could have pushed a lot harder, but he is a typical politician that doesn't want to be seen as holding up the entire process due to a tiny little thing like principles and conviction. The main point that should be taken from this commentary is that, once again, the Democrats in the State Legislature have shown that they are completely controlled by Big Labor, and the rest of the State's citizenry can get s-c-r-e-w-e-d.
sarah s

Long Beach, CA

#16 Jul 28, 2009
Ha Ha Ha....Pretending to be a Democrat got the union operatives elected and now California is doomed to a hopeless, bankrupt future.
seth adams

Long Beach, CA

#17 Jul 28, 2009
If the other States voters were as thoughtless, stupid, and self destructive as Californian's the Unions would be strangling them too.

No other States parents would vote to have such a devastating impact on their own children's future.

It's a Progressive Thing. The stench of hopelessness is an intoxicant to the them.
The beat goes on

AOL

#18 Jul 29, 2009
honu wrote:
<quoted text>
Please don't misunderstand my point... I'm not crying poverty and I'm fully aware that my retirement package allows me to live comfortably.
The point I was trying to get across is that the average, rank and file, firefighter or police officer doesn't retire at well over $100,000.00 with a fully paid medical plan.
If we were to believe the media's reporting and opinion columns though,$100,000.00+ retirements are the norm. They don't tell the whole story. By sensationalizing the relative few instances of "pension spiking" and presenting the "facts" in a contextual vacumn, it's another example of intellectual dishonesty and media manipulation.
You are right. I slid away from your point, and I apologize.

I suppose from the media's point of view a bunch of people making $50K/year is not sexy. One or two making $200K, especially when it's 20% over their highest salary...now that sells newspapers.
The beat goes on

AOL

#19 Jul 29, 2009
On the other hand, what does need to happen is that the populace must get riled up for the system to change. Informing voters about a few abusers is more likely to accomplish that.

Much as I would love for our public safety personnel to have awesome pensions, the current civil service pension deals cannot be sustained. People are being laid off in order for gov't to have money to pay current retirees. That's crazy. It will worsen, too. The actuarial numbers cannot be changed, therefore the pension deals must be.
The beat goes on

AOL

#20 Jul 29, 2009
Interesting fact: Every month 120 state employees retire with a pension at or greater than $100K/year. Let's assume that each of those people receive "only" the minimum $100K.(Which is absurd, considering the state pays many dentists more than $400,000/year.) That means that EVERY year CalPERS' payout increases another $144,000,000 ($144 million), plus cost of living increases.

After 10 years, 14,400 retirees would be costing the state more than 1% of the state's entire budget.

Looking at it another way, it's the same as 240 retirees per month who receive what you do. Obviously there are many, many more than 240/month. These numbers are increasing at unimaginable -- but very calculable -- rates.

The system will collapse. And many people just like you -- possibly you -- will not receive their promised pensions.

IMO, we must make adjustments before that happens.

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