Reed pension reform stalls, 401(k) favored in poll

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said yesterday the backers of a public pension reform initiative will file a lawsuit to correct an “inaccurate and misleading” ballot summary, making a vote on the measure in November doubtful.

Reed said court action to change the summary from Attorney General Kamala Harris, which appears to contain language “lifted” from a labor poll, is unlikely to leave enough time to gather the signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot.

“If we don’t hit ’14, we will be pushing ahead for ’16,” Reed said, referring to moving the target from this fall until the next regularly scheduled statewide elections two years from now.

Major campaign donations would be needed to finance a drive to get the 807,615 voter signatures needed to place a state constitutional amendment on the ballot and then battle well-funded opposition from public employee unions.

Two years ago, Dan Pellissier said California Pension Reform suspended an initiative drive “after determining the attorney general’s false and misleading title and summary makes it nearly impossible to pass.”

Reed said the first sentence of Harris’s summary incorrectly says his initiative “eliminates” government worker vested rights, a portrayal found by a labor polling firm to foster “a visceral negative response,” the Sacramento Bee reported last month.

The first sentence also “singles out a few specific public occupations that are held in high regard by voters,” Reed said, which was one of Pellissier’s complaints about the summary of his initiative.

Here’s the sentence in question: “Eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including teachers, nurses, and peace officers, for future work performed.”

Harris

Harris

Reed said he has not polled on the summary. A public employee union coalition, Californians for Retirement Security, said last week their polling found seven of 10 voters do not favor “eliminating” benefits for several different groups of workers.

“More important than rejecting the language of this ballot proposal, California voters reject the idea of reducing or eliminating retirement benefits for current public employees,” said the Garin-Hart-Yang poll.

The initiative would give state and local governments the option, like private-sector pensions, of cutting retirement benefits current workers earn in the future, while preserving benefits already earned through past service.

A little-publicized part of the initiative is intended to strengthen retirement benefits by requiring governments to propose, but not enact, annual plans for fully funding pensions and retiree health care in an unusually short 15 years.

In contrast to the union poll finding that seven of 10 voters do not favor Reed’s initiative, a poll issued this week by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California found that seven of 10 voters favor ending pensions for new government employees.

“Overwhelming majorities (82 percent adults, 85 percent likely voters) say the amount of money spent on public employee pension or retirement systems is at least somewhat of a problem for state and local government budgets,” a PPIC news release said.

“One idea to deal with the situation is to change the pension system for new employees from defined benefits to a defined contribution system similar to a 401(k) plan. Asked about this idea, 71 percent of adults and 73 percent of likely voters support it, with strong majorities across parties in favor.”

Past PPIC polls also have found strong support for switching government employees to 401(k)-style individual investment plans that have replaced pensions in most of the private sector.

Reed

Reed


Reed, responding to a question, said he did not poll in advance of designing the initiative or consider using a “selling point,” a popular and easy-to-explain provision that might aid passage of the complicated main part of the initiative.

Instead, Reed said talks with other mayors settled on three principles. The initiative should 1) come from Democrats like Reed 2) be a solution other mayors can support 3) be optional, not a requirement.

“We think we have a plan that works, that solves the problem,” Reed said. “There are no gimmicks. It’s just a straightforward initiative.”

State court decisions dating back to 1955, erroneous in the view of some, mean the pension promised a worker on the date of hire becomes a “vested right,” protected by contract law, that cannot be cut unless offset by a new benefit of comparable value.

Reed and others, including the bipartisan Little Hoover Commission, argue that if growing retirement costs are taking money needed for basic programs and services, cutting pensions current workers in the future is needed to quickly get significant savings.

Bargaining with unions, and pension reform legislation that took effect last year, can increase employee pension contributions and give new hires lower pensions, but the initial savings are small and bigger savings takes decades.

A pension reform pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Brown, AB 340 in 2012, did not put much of a dent in the huge debt or “unfunded liability” of the California Public Employees Retirement System or California State Teachers Retirement System.

In San Jose and San Diego, where retirement costs were taking 20 percent or more of city general funds, voters in June 2012 overwhelmingly approved measures (70 and 66 percent) that, in different ways, attempt to cut pensions current workers earn in the future.

The San Diego measure switched all new hires, except police, to a 401(k)-style plan and called for a five-year freeze on the pay used to calculate pensions, while still allowing pay raises.

In Ventura County, where a 1997 court decision allowed what critics say is pension “spiking” in 20 county systems, a group filed a proposed initiative this month similar to the San Diego 401(k)-style measure, except sheriff’s officers are included.

Reed’s San Jose measure gave current workers an option: 1) Increased pension contributions of up to 16 percent of pay, but no more than half the cost of paying for the unfunded liability. 2) A much lower pension for future service.

Orange County has been waiting since 2009 for an IRS ruling on a cost-cutting plan negotiated with a union that gives workers the option of choosing a lower pension rather than paying a higher pension contribution.

Reed, working with several national groups, said he met with IRS officials about 10 days ago to discuss getting formal IRS approval for current workers to choose a lower pension.

After a five-day trial last July, a superior court judge last month upheld much of the San Jose measure but overturned the option for current workers. The city and the unions are scheduled to give the judge their comments on the ruling today.

Reed said he expects appeals to take the case to the state Supreme Court in several years, giving the high court a chance to review some of the old decisions on the pension rights of current workers.

“They will have a chance to clarify or change, if they think it needs to be done,” he said.

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at Calpensions.com. Posted 31 Jan 14

138 Responses to “Reed pension reform stalls, 401(k) favored in poll”

  1. spension Says:

    Reducing future DB pension accruals makes a lot of sense… California raised payouts way too high, and in doing so neglected 200 years of stock market volatility. The deep problem has been that a transition to purchasing stocks in the DB plan portfolio occurred in the 1960′s and 1970′s, and the deciding actuaries assumed smooth gains at the 200-year stock market average.
    Their models neglected the consequences of volatility.

    Plenty of DB plans in the country, both private and public, didn’t screw up like California.

    But DC Plans are *not* the solution. They are terrible alternatives. They allow the managers of the DC plans to grab incredibly high fees, and even seize the $ saved by plan members:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/401-k-woes-when-a-company-goes-bankrupt-fair-game.html

    As to how the DC plan took over in the private sector, it is a sordid story. Over the last 20 or so years, private sector executives seized the DB pension assets, and then claimed bonus payouts for the apparent improvement in their company’s bottom lines.

    And BTW, those same executives have set up enormously lucrative DB plans for *themselves*, and greatly increased the liability of private sector for *executive salaries*.

    http://www.retirementheist.com

    for the story by Wall Street Journal reporter Ellen Schultz.

  2. SDouglas47 Says:

    The initiative won’t pass, whether it comes in 14 or 16. But it will cost the unions millions of dollars in campaign expenses.

  3. SeeSaw Says:

    The initiative does not say anything about a 401k. So if they want to sponsor that they must start over, and they definitely will not make the 2014 ballot. The CA Legislature vetted the issue of Governor Brown’s proposed hybrid plan in 2012, and the experts working for the State committee announced that the hybrid plan would only guarantee public sector workers in CA retirements of 18% to 21% of pre-retirement income. So, it looks like its time to “Let Sleeping Dogs Lay”.

  4. stevefromsacto Says:

    Reed’s proposal will cut pension benefits for thousands of public servants. Why is he so upset that the Attorney General points that out? What is he trying to hide from voters? With apologies to Shakespeare: Methinks the Mayor doth protest too much.

    P.S. Glad SDouglas47 is at least honest enough to tell the truth about this and other anti-worker proposals. The idea is not to actually get them passed, but rather to bleed the unions dry so they can’t support pro-worker candidates.

  5. SeeSaw Says:

    Amen, SFS!

  6. SeeSaw Says:

    How does pushing reduction of accruals make sense when it requires an amendment to the CA Constitution, Spension? CA pension system is a screwup? With CalPERS having a bottom line of $280 billion, what is needed so as not to be a screwup?

  7. Linda Messick Says:

    Anyone who is keeping up on the 401K history is well aware of what happened to private company employees 401K savings when the 2007 bank failure occurred. Public employment agencies should not model their retirement systems to those in the private sector. Maybe the word “Private” makes one’s heart tingle, but the word “Public” denotes civic mindedness coupled with hard work and dedication. And…guess who is footing the bill for Mayor Reed’s initiative exploration? Could it be the Koch brothers?

  8. Captain Says:

    spension Says: “Reducing future DB pension accruals makes a lot of sense… California raised payouts way too high, and in doing so neglected 200 years of stock market volatility. The deep problem has been that a transition to purchasing stocks in the DB plan portfolio occurred in the 1960′s and 1970′s, and the deciding actuaries assumed smooth gains at the 200-year stock market average.

    Their models neglected the consequences of volatility.

    Plenty of DB plans in the country, both private and public, didn’t screw up like California.”

    - Spension, we certainly agree on that last point, and the others (above). You go on to say:

    “But DC Plans are *not* the solution. They are terrible alternatives. They allow the managers of the DC plans to grab incredibly high fees, and even seize the $ saved by plan members”.

    - I would like to offer for discussion what “jskdn” says in the previous topic:

    “Defined contributions don’t require individual 401(k)s. The point is to have the compensation of employees known and paid in the present, something that is impossible and fraught with potential mischief with defined benefit pensions. Pooling assets and sharing risk in retirement investment is better than individuals managing their own and being subject to large variations in returns and hence pensions received.”

    - Spension, how can you argue with that? If your greatest fear is Wall Street will take control of individual accounts while charging excessive fees, maybe CalPERS can manage the 401k investment accounts of public safety unions while limiting their fees to the percentages you’ve mentioned previously? Does that make sense to you?

    Go Denver!

  9. Mawinda Says:

    We have a neighbor who worked for state, retired early 50′s. She says she gets 75% percent of highest pay(with escalators) plus low cost health care. Obviously state and her did not save the money to justify this. Whether it was promised to her is irrelevant to the following. The acturial math(unfunded portion) does not lie. Perhaps the piper does not have to be paid(the gravy train continues), but if he does(history would say that day will come), there will be hell on earth in California. Everyone seems to bank on: either that isn t the case or they will be gone when that day arrives. NIce gift to their descendants by some. Congratulations to them. Perhaps, hell is thier fate as well.

  10. spension Says:

    A pooled system with defined contributions makes lots of sense. But how does one structure the payout?

  11. SDouglas47 Says:

    I agree with spension that “DC Plans are *not* the solution.”

    http://www.q-group.org/pdf/waring_post-FAJ_submission_version.pdf

    Barton Waring:

    “I have said often in lectures, and also in one article and in one book chapter, that the worst DB retirement plan benefit is far better than the best defined contribution retirement plan benefit.”
    ……………………
    I don’t necessarily agree that California raised payouts “way too high”.

    If you are referring to SB400, the effects of that are often grossly exaggerated, and probably more than counterbalanced by reductions in inflation adjusted dollars.

    Some of the biggest increases in pension costs come from salary increases for safety workers since 2000. The increases from the SB400 “formulas” are comparatively minor.

    The question is, are firemen and police overpaid now, or were they underpaid ten years ago? How much is a good policeman worth?

    Even some of the most ardent pension critics will usually not commit that safety workers are overpaid.

  12. SeeSaw Says:

    Mawinda, the situation with your neighbor, if she was miscellaneous, would be quite rare–she would have had to started her public sector career when she was about 15. Why would you say its obvious that she and the state did not save the money to justify such? If she worked for 35 years with a 2% formula she would only gross 70%–one would have to work until age 63, to get the full state formula of 2.5%.

  13. SeeSaw Says:

    A pooled system with defined contributions could be a disaster. With an economic collapse like happened in 2008, everyone on the plan could be wiped out. A DC plan that is contracted by the employer with individual accounts for each employee would be the better way, like with my own 457. I have lost and gained thousands of dollars during the course of my 457–the investments and apportioning of such were my own responsibility , with the help of the representative provided by the company. And you would wish DC plans, only, on pubic employees? Shameful!

  14. SeeSaw Says:

    I normally wouldn’t care, Captain, but I was in Tacoma at the time of the 2006 Super Bowl–the natives there were absolutely traumatized by their loss–so I am hoping for a little happiness for them this time.

  15. Captain Says:

    spension Says: “A pooled system with defined contributions makes lots of sense. But how does one structure the payout?”

    - If it’s a managed defined contribution plan the accounts would be individual but in the context of CalPERS being able to provide reduced management fees as a function of economies of scale, and as a not for profit agency. The benefit to public employee union members would be reduced fees consistent with the fee schedule you’ve previously mentioned.

  16. RSpringbok Says:

    “…73 percent of likely voters support it, with strong majorities across parties in favor” of changing public employees from pensions to 401(k) plans.

    But, 401(k) are a disaster and a failure in America:
    http://xrl.us/boe4yj

    Must be the Crab Mentality at work. “If I can’t have it neither can you.”

  17. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting spension…”But DC Plans are *not* the solution. They are terrible alternatives. They allow the managers of the DC plans to grab incredibly high fees, and even seize the $ saved by plan members:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/401-k-woes-when-a-company-goes-bankrupt-fair-game.html

    Being quite surprised by your suggesting that 401K funds can be “seized”, I read linked article and find your description to be very misleading. Clearly there is a hold-up in the payout of participant 401K funds, but it is DUE TO THE IRS NOT YET GIVING APPROVAL for funds disbursement. That hardy constitutes a “seizure” of the 401K funds by the Plan manager.

    We know you are extremely biased against DC (401K) Plans and Pro DB Plans, but an honest discussion of the facts w/o such misleading spin would be nice.

  18. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting spension ….. #2 …”As to how the DC plan took over in the private sector, it is a sordid story. Over the last 20 or so years, private sector executives seized the DB pension assets, and then claimed bonus payouts for the apparent improvement in their company’s bottom lines.”

    Not true as stated. Yes, such activities happened,. but NOT since the mid-1980s when the IRS put a stop to it by instituting a 50% “excise tax” on such withdrawals”

    Spension … honest please…w/o the “spin” to push your favored DB Plans.

  19. Tough Love Says:

    Quotingspension…#3 … “And BTW, those same executives have set up enormously lucrative DB plans for *themselves*, and greatly increased the liability of private sector for *executive salaries*.”

    More “spin”. Only IRS “qualified” Plans can have any impact on Taxpayers. and “IRS” Qualified Plans” have maximum payout limitations. From the IRS website…….”Effective January 1, 2014, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $205,000 to $210,000. ”

    I would hardy call a $210,00 DB Plan payout “enormously lucrative” (some CA cops and firemen get such pensions !). While Corporate compensation packages can indeed be VERY lucrative, those giant compensation figures were hear of invariably come from the granting and exercise of stock options….rewarding the executive for good stewardship of the company.

    Again spension … honesty please…w/o the “spin” to push your favored DB Plans.

  20. Tough Love Says:

    quoting Linda Messick Says:… “Maybe the word “Private” makes one’s heart tingle, but the word “Public” denotes civic mindedness coupled with hard work and dedication.”

    To many (NOT riding the Public Sector pension/benefit gravy train), the word “Public” means greed, and to-hell-with-the-Taxpayers.

  21. Tough Love Says:

    quoting sDouglas47…”If you are referring to SB400, the effects of that are often grossly exaggerated, and probably more than counterbalanced by reductions in inflation adjusted dollars.”

    Nice try at BSing the readers.

    PRIVATE Sector DB Plans never include annual COLAs……as do virtually all PUBLIC Sector DB Plans.

    Why are PUBLIC Sector workers deserving of a better deal…… on the Taxpayers’ dime?

  22. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting SDouglas47… “The question is, are firemen and police overpaid now, or were they underpaid ten years ago? How much is a good policeman worth?”

    While I don’t really know the answer to that, I do know that the claimed “high risk” does NOT justify the high pay because (per US Gov’t Statistics) Police work is not even on the list of the most dangerous occupations, all of which (with the exception of airline pilots) likely earn less than HALF that of the typical police officer. Firefighters are on the list,but not near the top.

    Another NON-justification for the high compensation…the often-heard claim that they die at young ages (due to work hazards) has also been declared FALSE, by non other than CalPERS former chief actuary.

    W/o verifiable justification, Police Officer/Firefighter “Total Compensation” (cash pay plus pensions plus benefits) should be comparable to that of the Private Sector worker in an occupation with similar risks, and with comparable skill sets, education, experience, and knowledge.

  23. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting seeSaw…”I normally wouldn’t care, Captain, but I was in Tacoma at the time of the 2006 Super Bowl–the natives there were absolutely traumatized by their loss–so I am hoping for a little happiness for them this time.”

    I guess they must have “seen the future”… because the “crash” occurred in 2008/2009.

  24. toothbrushes Says:

    Some really poor knowledge evident,
    Unfunded debt means there will be a moment when the debt won t be paid. It does not make a difference if one worked 50 years, if Ihe savings are not there. It’s the “I was promised in a contract”thing again. Golly, the entitled tell the next generation…your are xXxXxx, and it’s on me. Time to study up this Sunday afternoon. Sit at a desk. Study pension accounting, actuary courses. Stay away from watching TV, good for your brain, good for your health. I suppose some won t do that. My pension is protected by a contract. Time to sit on the couch. I am owed this. OK…one may want to pay attention to kids down the street, not watching the game. Wonder who has been stealing the tools from garages? Honey, do you know where my pitchfork is?

  25. SDouglas47 Says:

    She’s talking football, TL, not economics.

  26. stevefromsacto Says:

    And it is hateful and selfish comments like this and a total lack of gratitude for the public services you take for granted that is tearing our country apart.

  27. SDouglas47 Says:

    TL,

    ” Nice try at BSing the readers.”

    Pensions have COLAs (2% max), for CA state workers. Salaries don’t, at least not automatically.

    SB400 increased my pension by 3%. Failure of salaries to keep up with inflation from 2000 to 2010 led to about a ten percent loss in real income.

    IF California had legislated automatic COLAs in 1999 INSTEAD OF SB400, my pension would have been five percent higher, or more. The combination of the two factors actually SAVED the taxpayers five percent or more.

    This is true for any miscellaneous state employee who retired in the last two or three years and was 63 or over at the time of retiring.

    Safety workers generally got bigger gains from SB400 (NOT 50%, except for a very few outliers)
    On average, the formulas increased safety pensions by ten percent, more or less. And, many safety workers in California received substantial raises mid decade.

    In the case of CHP, these raises came to make salaries more competitive. Recruits were going through CHP academy (salary and expenses paid by the state), then, at the first opportunity, transferring to more lucrative local agencies.

  28. SeeSaw Says:

    Go Seattle!

  29. Tough Love Says:

    quoting stevefromsacto….”And it is hateful and selfish comments like this and a total lack of gratitude for the public services you take for granted that is tearing our country apart.”

    No Steve, It’s both the insatiable greed from the very rich (keeping all of the country’s “productivity gains” for themselves), and the insatiable greed of the Public Sector Unions/workers, enabled by their bought-off elected officials (stealing Private Sector wealth, via their grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits).

  30. Tough Love Says:

    quotingsdouglas47…”IF California had legislated automatic COLAs in 1999 INSTEAD OF SB400, my pension would have been five percent higher, or more.”

    Why are you “entitled” to either … and are discussing WHICH of 2 “positives” ?

    Most Private Sector workers are just glad to have a job, ANY job, and are mostly concerned about just keeping it.

  31. SeeSaw Says:

    Well, that’s true TL. Most people are glad to have a job–and that includes both public and private sectors. I was certainly glad to get a job paying $1.85 hour in 1967–I didn’t care what sector it was. And keeping a job? Several of my former public sector colleagues lost their jobs in the aftermath of the last recession–their existence was reduced to pieces of paper at those places of public employment. The private sector pensions got screwed about three decades ago, and thank god the public sector pensions didn’t. My spouse and I would be living in poverty now without my public sector pension to supplement his private sector pension. You need to get off this rant about equalizing the two sectors, just so that everyone can be miserable together.

    Go Seattle.

  32. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Relax thyself TL. I never said anything about entitlement.

    Simple fact, from 2000 to 2007, CA state worker raises were sporadic, not keeping up with inflation. 2007 to 2011 there were NO raises for most. This saved taxpayers a LOT of money in real dollars. And anyone retiring during that time had their pension locked in on that lower wage. These lower pensions will be saving CalPERS money for years to come.

    And for many employees such as myself, those savings are greater than the cost increases from SB400. It’s 5th grade math. That is a GOOD thing for the taxpayer.

    We are all aware that many private sector workers are glad to have a job. So are many public sector workers. We’ve had several “private sector” workers in their late 50s or early 60s hire on with the state in the last 8 years or so. Some of those will NEVER draw a pension or post employment healthcare.

    The insatiable greedy bazterds probably won’t even have enough time to buy off very many elected officials or steal that private sector wealth.

    Get over yourself. ” grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits” is YOUR OPINION, and is not backed up by verifiable facts.

  33. Tough Love Says:

    quotingseesaw,,,”You need to get off this rant about equalizing the two sectors, just so that everyone can be miserable together. ”

    No Seesaw, the current “advantage” of the Public Sector must be taken away and given to Private Sector workers …to RIGHTFULLY “equalize” compensation.

  34. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting…”Simple fact, from 2000 to 2007, CA state worker raises were sporadic, not keeping up with inflation. 2007 to 2011 there were NO raises for most. This saved taxpayers a LOT of money in real dollars.”

    That’s really a question of perspective. From the Taxpayer’s perspective, Public Sector employment cost MORE than what it should have during that period because (even considering the “furloughs in some locations) job abolishments were appropriate .. just as what happened in the Private Sector..

  35. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting S Moderation Douglas… “Get over yourself. ” grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits” is YOUR OPINION, and is not backed up by verifiable facts.”

    Well, there was a 1/30/14 Unionwatch article which says otherwise (a paragraph from it pasted below). Too bad the author didn’t provide links to pass along:

    “Studies purporting to compare federal with private work levels do not agree with one another, but the Congressional Budget Office has found that, comparing employees of comparable educational level, federal wages are higher at lower pay scales, similar at middle, and somewhat lower at the high end, with benefits much higher across the board. Taken together, the federal employee advantage is 16%. In addition, federal employees work three hours less per week on average and one month less per year. An earlier Labor Department study found that state and local workers make 46% more, so federal workers were not doing as well. Other studies, however, suggest all categories of government pay are more like twice as high as private, when the net present value of soaring retirement awards, often equal to final year pay, is taken into account.”

  36. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    If you paid union watch for a subscription, tell them you want your money back.

    ” comparing employees of comparable educational level, ” in federal government shows a 16% advantage.

    Maybe.

    I have seen other studies claiming federal workers earn more than equivalent private sector.
    ……………….
    ” An earlier Labor Department study found that state and local workers make 46% more”

    No friggin way. Union watch is yanking your crank. Here is the latest from the BLS:

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm

    Dec 11, 2013
    Private sector hourly total compensation…………..$29.23
    State and local government total compensation…$42.51

    There’s your link. 45.4% MORE than private sector.

    Of course, you KNOW if you download this report it will state, as it ALWAYS DOES, on page four, paragraph four:

    “Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in private industry.”

    This is the CLASSIC apples and oranges and Union watch is trying pass it of as a comparison of equivalent positions.

    I am truly embarrassed for you.

  37. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Meanwhile, in the real world, nearly everyone agrees that state workers earn less in cash pay than EQUIVALENT private sector workers. Even the Heritage Foundation concedes this.
    ……………
    Josh Rauh, no friend to defined benefits for public employees:

    ” Presenters reviewed existing research and provided their own evidence. Essentially everyone who looked at the data found that public sector workers on average have slightly lower salaries.”

    http://kelloggfinance.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/government-unions-and-public-sector-compensation/

    ………………….
    Rauh says his research shows that accounting using PROPER discount rates reveals that pension benefits are around fifteen percent of pay more expensive than is recognized. Fifteen percent of pay is larger than the public-private differential found in the data.

    ” That suggests to me that total compensation for an average public sector employee might be somewhat higher than that for a private sector employee ”

    “might be somewhat higher”

    How do we get from “might be somewhat higher” to:

    “insatiable greed”
    “bought off elected officials”
    “Stealing Private Sector wealth”
    and
    ” grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits”

    ?????????

    Get over yourself.

  38. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    The rest of the story.

    From the same conference linked above:

    ” A related question at the conference was whether public sector collective bargaining and public sector unionization actually succeed in raising compensation. ”

    In a word, ……..NO

  39. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    The Heritage Foundation

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/03/are-california-public-employees-overpaid#_ftn14

    Richwine and Biggs, 2011

    Wage regression results, 2006-2010

    ” After controlling for observable skills and a detailed list of personal characteristics, state workers in California earn about 10.2 percent less in wages than private-sector workers.”
    ………………………..
    Proper Pension Discount Rate.

    ” the higher implicit return on public defined-benefit pensions increases the compensation of California’s government workers by approximately 4 percent.”

  40. SeeSaw Says:

    TL is not human. TL is a robot–programmed with one mantra–”Public employees must be brought down to the same pay and benefit level as those in the private sector. Private sector employers have no obligation in the matter.” The robot’s hard drive cannot accept new applications that might change its mantra, giving public sector workers the false hope that this robot could actually think and develop feelings of compassion and understanding.

  41. stevefromsacto Says:

    Equating the 1 per center and a DMV clerk making $20K a year? Claiming that the Wall Street exec and a retired state employee (whose average pension payment is less than $25K a year) are equally greedy? LOL

    I think those who are living well and begrudge paying one dime in taxes to support public services that all of us enjoy have little room to talk about others being greedy and selfish.

  42. spension Says:

    Concerning the Penn Specialty, magically the company released the 401(k)’s when the exorbitant fees they charged just happened to compensate the company contributions…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/business/a-long-fight-to-get-what-was-theirs-in-a-401-k.html

    And how convenient to blame it on IRS not issuing a letter… what really happen, I’ve heard, is the company stalled in providing documentation to the IRS for issuing that letter.

    The fact is: you don’t own your 401(k) assets. The company does, and can lock them up (even though you made the contributions).

    I’ve tried to move mine while still working and I cannot.

    All the DC plan laws and accounting are stacked against the employee… DC plans need major overhauls for them to be serious retirement vehicles… they were never, ever intended to be the primary retirement income source.

    Pooling DC plans does *not* achieve reduction of the longevity risk, which is a huge, huge effect. If everyone saves in their DC plan, they have to save for survival until 95 or so, to cover 99% chances.
    A DB plan can count on the law of averages and just save for the average person surviving to 85 or so.

    Pooling might help with fees and management, but substantial laws would need changing to stop huge seizures by high fees like in the Penn Specialty case.

  43. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting stevefromsacto…. “Equating the 1 per center and a DMV clerk making $20K a year? Claiming that the Wall Street exec and a retired state employee (whose average pension payment is less than $25K a year) are equally greedy? ”

    You’ve completely gone off the deep end. I never made such a comparison

    Do you think BS and outright lies supports yourcase?.

  44. Tough Love Says:

    spension, BY FAR, the primary reason the Public Sector Unions/workers favor DB Plans is because they get MUCH MUCH more Taxpayer $$$ than they could ever hope to get under the automatically-transparent DC Plans… because only DB Plans have many ways in which the true cost of the promised pensions can be hidden from the Taxpayers (as well as from the few “honest” elected officials who wouldn’t approve such Plans if the true cost were known) ,….. to bite the Taxpayers at a later date,,,,….which is EXACTLY what is happening EVERYWHERE right now..

  45. stevefromsacto Says:

    TS, you NEVER made such a comparison? Then what do you call this:

    “It’s both the insatiable greed from the very rich (keeping all of the country’s “productivity gains” for themselves), and the insatiable greed of the Public Sector Unions/workers, enabled by their bought-off elected officials (stealing Private Sector wealth, via their grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits).”

    But I understand. You spew so much hatred of public servants that you sometimes get your statements confused.

  46. SDouglas47 Says:

    “It is difficult to read, watch or listen to the news without hearing that public employees are paid too much and get “lucrative” pensions and this is “bankrupting” your state, county or city. Public officials are “in bed” with “union bosses” and state and local government; taxpayer dollars are wasted to pay for people who don’t do much work but live the good life. “Reports” and “studies” confirm this.

    People hear the same story over and over and over and over, seemingly coming from everywhere: public employees have it good, with extravagant pay and “lavish” or “plush” pensions, while taxpayers are taking it in the shorts. Public-employee pensions are “bankrupting” the state/county/city. “Unfunded liabilities” are “out of control” and it is time to do something about it before it is too late.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………..

    http://ourfuture.org/20120813/discover-the-network-out-to-crush-our-public-workers

    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    What you hear “over and over and over and over” is an echo bouncing of these “organizations”: a *very* small sample, in no particular order.

    Pacific Research Institute
    Retirement Reform.org
    Reason Foundation
    The Free Enterprise Nation
    Yankee Institute
    Maine Heritage Policy Center
    The Heartland Institute
    The American Enterprise Institute
    the Heritage Foundation
    The California Public Policy Center
    and, of course, Union Watch.

    How could the average citizen not be swayed? The organization names alone are enough to send a chill up your spine.
    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    “Their “experts” are well paid and always available to talk to reporters, appear on TV and radio shows and write articles and opinion pieces for newspapers, blogs and for their network of similar organizations.”

    “Their “reports’ and “studies” reach the conclusions that fit the strategy, and are crafted to sound just right. And there are so many of them!”

    “And right now the corporate conservative line is that we should think that public employees and their unions are responsible for state and local budget shortfalls.”

  47. stevefromsacto Says:

    SDouglas47: You are so right. Remember that Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels said that if you tell a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it is true. Old Joe would be proud of the organizations you listed.

  48. Tough Love Says:

    stevefromsacto,……You ought to take a class in reading comprehension.

    The paragraph you are referring to (and pasted below) is simply stating 2 SEPARATE independent problems that I see as plaguing America and the ability of ALL all of it’s citizens (not just the rich and Public Sector workers) to improve their lives.
    ————————————————————————–
    “It’s both the insatiable greed from the very rich (keeping all of the country’s “productivity gains” for themselves), and the insatiable greed of the Public Sector Unions/workers, enabled by their bought-off elected officials (stealing Private Sector wealth, via their grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust pensions & benefits).”

  49. spension Says:

    SDouglas47, the real puzzle is why public unions and elected officials got blindsided… the skepticism about public jobs has been around forever. Look in the movie `Lincoln’ about how he used public jobs.

    Long ago knowledge of the public’s skepticism kept public DB plans modest and often investing only in public bonds offerings.

    The transition to private securities in the 1960′s and 1970′s (nicely documented by Ed Mendel) brought potentially higher gains, but also far greater volatility. Public pensions could have used the higher gains to reduce contributions while keeping pensions modest, say, 1.5% @ 62. Instead we got (for safety) 3.0% @50.

    Then when the inevitable volatility came in, say, 2008-2009, the public grew upset and the public sector-bashing went into overdrive. Entirely predictable.

    There is no equivalent bashing of the private sector for its trashing of its own DB systems, documented by Ellen Schultz (WSJ reporter and part of a Pulitzer-winning team) in

    http://www.retirementheist.com

    (BTW, Tough Love, the exact mechanisms for how IBM, Cigna, and many others raided the employee pension funds, often transferring the funds to the executive golden parachutes is documented there, by someone far more knowledgeable and experienced than either of us. There are numerous ways the limits you cite have been evaded by clever consultants and accountants. Read that book, everyone, to understand how greed really took over the US private DB system)

    In the end, modest DB pensions run in a bare-bones manner are the most economical solution. Spiking, disability, etc in the long run destroy those pension systems. There are certainly public and private DB pensions that didn’t go to ruin like California’s system.

    And even within California’s system a whole lot of folks don’t get very much. I encourage everyone to look up their elementary and junior high teachers in the San Jose Mercury data base and judge for yourself if they are getting rich. When I do that, most of the ones I find who worked 30-40 years aren’t making much. A few are, usually who took management positions.

    As for the usual wank from Tough Love:

    “spension, BY FAR, the primary reason the Public Sector Unions/workers favor DB Plans is because they get MUCH MUCH more Taxpayer $$$ than they could ever hope to get under the automatically-transparent DC Plans… because only DB Plans have many ways in which the true cost of the promised pensions can be hidden from the Taxpayers (as well as from the few “honest” elected officials who wouldn’t approve such Plans if the true cost were known) ,….. to bite the Taxpayers at a later date,,,,….which is EXACTLY what is happening EVERYWHERE right now..”’

    Nobody is out to get Taxpayer $$$, that is BS. Greed drives unions and the private sector a like, Tough Love, but as you’ve said, greed in the Private Sector never bothers you. To me the public sector copycats the private sector.

    The true costs of DC plans are just as hidden, like, Penn Specialty that can charge 2.4% fees/year for nothing. By the way, it took Vanguard threatening Penn Specialty (not the IRS) to get that thing moving.

    As I’ve said, Wisconsin, Washington state, North Carolina have pretty good public state pension systems. There are a bunch of others in the US that came through 2009 near 100% funded. Your blanket condemnation of all public pension systems is tiresome, Tough Love.

    Also, in the last few years, I’ve published here some of the good private DB plans still in existence. DB plans are better if managed well.

  50. stevefromsacto Says:

    Again, TL, you lump together “rich” people and public employees by claiming that they are the only ones able to improve their lives. Yes, all people should have the opportunity to improve their lives. But that doesn’t mean you do it by bringing other people down to your level.

  51. Tough Love Says:

    Stevefromsacto, If they (the rich and the Pubic Sector workers) have achieved their advantage AND continue to hold it at the ongoing expense and to the detriment of all others, yes. those “others” (e.g.,middle class Private Sector Taxpayers) should take back what has been stolen from them.

  52. Linda Messick Says:

    As a retired “Public Worker”, I have never considered my receiving my earned retirement benefit from CalSTRS as stealing from anybody! I enjoyed my 40 years serving as a speech pathologist in the public school system and contributed my time and expertise as well as the required percentage of my monthly salary to the state retirement funds as did the school district I worked for. My base retirement annual award is about $1K for every year I worked which is by no means exorbitant but rather quite modest. I know many fellow retires who are in this same boat as I am and Guess What? The hundreds of hours that each of us retired teachers volunteer to our communities every year benefits the economy in spades. This is not a portrait of thieves but rather of dedicated human beings.

  53. toothbrushes Says:

    It is hysterical to read the rationale of I am wonderful and giving and deserve what the rest of you owe me. Humility, not so much. This is a parable for our times, hubris blinding.

  54. stevefromsacto Says:

    Humility? Let’s see now: The private sector work that I do is important…the work you do as a public employee isn’t. I earn and deserve my pay and benefits…you don’t. I’m a taxpayer and have kids and a family to support…you aren’t and you don’t. The money I earn is spent in my community to help local businesses survive… yours isn’t. I have a right to public services, but I begrudge paying and giving benefits to those who provide them.

    By the way, neither I nor anyone else in my family has ever been a public employee. I was just raised by my Mom and Dad not to be selfish and envious of others.

  55. Tough Love Says:

    stevefromsacto, Nobody begrudges NECESSARY and FAIR Public Sector pay and benefits, with “NECESSARY and FAIR” being defined as what a Private Sector worker would get doing the same or comparable work (based on the job’s risk and the job’s educational, knowledge and experience requirements).

    THAT would be fine…but right now, while CASH PAY in the Public/Private Sectors are near equal, PUBLIC Sector pensions and benefits are ALWAYS multiples greater in value at retirement …. from 2x-3x for lower formula misc. workers to 4x-6x for the higher formula safety workers.

    That’s……. UNNECESSARY and UNFAIR (to Taxpayers)….and needs to change for the future service of all CURRENT workers. ALL of that Taxpayer-funded “advantage” MUST be taken away.

  56. SDouglas47 Says:

    Again:

    “Cash pay near equal”

    Richwine and Biggs, 2011,

    ” After controlling for observable skills and a detailed list of personal characteristics, state workers in California earn about 10.2 percent less in wages than private-sector workers.”

    ” the higher implicit return on public defined-benefit pensions increases the compensation of California’s government workers by approximately 4 percent.”

  57. SDouglas47 Says:

    TL does not get to decide what is FAIR or NECESSARY.

  58. toothbrushes Says:

    Steve, Who are you talking too? I generally find the lack of humility in the public sector with rank and file. The private sector knows at will is used liberally. Private sector employment is like golf, humbling. The top executives are as pompous as they come…think Jamie Dimon. Of course, many fire chiefs have nothing on him.:) My wife is a public school teacher. I believe her pension probably should take a haircut. It is unbelievable to me how underfunded Calstrs is.The contributions for the teachers are supposed to be plus 20 percent between payroll and what gov t contributes. Their must be a bunch of early retirees and deals cut to be so underfunded, or corruption.

  59. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting…SDougles47 ………… “TL does not get to decide what is FAIR or NECESSARY.”

    You’re right of course…. … but unfortunately, unless the changes I advocate for are made, in many Cities the Bankruptcy Court will be making those decisions.

    How’s that working out for Detroit’s workers?

  60. SDouglas47 Says:

    We are not yet sure how that will work out for city employees or retirees.

    The rumors I have read is *possibly* lowering COLAs for retirees and *possibly* reducing retiree health care costs.

    Fair? Reportedly, Detroit salaries and pensions are already much lower than most major cities. And I don’t hear many people claiming salaries and pensions are the CAUSE of Detroit bankruptcy.

    Necessary? If total compensation for Detroit workers are lowered much more, will they really be capable of hiring or retaining qualified workers in the future?

  61. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting Sdouglas47…”Fair? Reportedly, Detroit salaries and pensions are already much lower than most major cities. And I don’t hear many people claiming salaries and pensions are the CAUSE of Detroit bankruptcy.”

    Well, Detroit’s pension (only) funding “shortfall” is estimated to be about $3.5 Billion. And what I have read several times is that had Detroit NOT paid out their now notorious13-th month annual pension checks (which I have also read have no legal basis) that shortfall would be $1 Billion LESS.

    That certainly contributed to the Bankruptcy as well as speaking volumes about mismanagement and “greed”.

  62. SDouglas47 Says:

    Police officers may well be overpaid in some peoples opinion, but since San Jose cut police pay, transfers to other cities and counties have increased.

    Pension formulas may be excessive, but when California passed pension reform, Stockton rushed to fill police positions to grandfather officers in the old formulas.
    City manager Deis: ” if Stockton didn’t offer an industry-standard pension plan, we simply would not be able to staff an already challenged police department.”

    Detroit police pensions may be some of the lowest in the country……

    But it is TLs determination that the compensation for ALL these police departments is UNFAIR and UNNECESSARY.

  63. Tough Love Says:

    SDouglas47, I agree that exactly what you described is the problem … the “industry standard” for Public Sector compensation (especially safety workers) is the problem.

    The granting of these grossly excessive pensions could ONLY happen in the PUBLIC Sector where those granting the pensions aren’t spending THEIR (or their company’s) money (but TAXPAYER money), and currying great favor in return (in the form of campaign contributions and election support) for this self-interested betrayal of the Taxpayers.

  64. SDouglas47 Says:

    No wonder you’re posting 24/7. Your paranoia won’t let you sleep.

    Business interests routinely outspend unions by fifteen to one in political spending.

    Powerful Public Employee Unions is an oxymoron.

  65. Tough Love Says:

    Sdouglas47, Now you’ve moved to a typical Union tactic……… when you cannot win a discussion with facts, CHANGE THE SUBJECT to distract the readers.

    Sorry, but that’s NOT going to work………… the title of the article is “Reed pension reform stalls, 401(k) favored in poll” and the discussion is about REFORM of the the grossly excessive Public Sector pensions,……….NOT the misdeeds of Business

  66. Bille Says:

    What a punk mayor Reed is. Somebody smack this is dumb frivolous lawsuit out of the courts before it is too late. This is as frivolous as a lawsuit can get. Wah! Wah! I am mayor Reed and I don’t like your words so I am suing. What a child. Get a life Reedy boy and stop your frivolous lawsuit so someone with a real case can go to court. Childish Conservatives deserve to be called what they are.

    The world must be upside down. Conservatives file frivolous lawsuits and Toughlove is asking for facts? The asteroid must be closing in on us.

    Hey Reedy Boy! Why was a lane closed on 680 last week? Uh oh, sounds like you have a Christy problem.

  67. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Not talking about the misdeeds of business. I was talking about the impotence of public sector unions.

    Happy groundhog day.

  68. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Joshua Rauh:

    “A related question at the conference was whether public sector collective bargaining and public sector unionization actually succeed in raising compensation. Here there was in fact no conclusive evidence. A number of speakers noted that it is possible for workers to be unionized but lack collective bargaining rights. Neither collective bargaining nor unionization seemed strongly correlated with compensation in the studies that were presented ”

    http://kelloggfinance.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/government-unions-and-public-sector-compensation/

  69. SeeSaw Says:

    Again, TL, the initiative does not include changes to 401k’s–so why would they include that subject, in their polling on how their initiative would play out with the voters? The term “grossly excessive” is your opinion–has nothing to do with facts.

  70. SeeSaw Says:

    To Seattle: “Hip, hip”.

  71. Bille Says:

    Nothing screams incompetence like filing a lawsuit because your ballot summary is accurate but you don’t like the way it reads in the light of day. Be a man and stand for what you believe in. Otherwise you are just trying to protect one job and one pension, your OWN. Reedy Boy, you can’t stand for what you believe in, then you should be tossed out of office. See ya! Wouldn’t want to be YA! What a coward…people who have waited years for their day in court are now going to wait longer and probably die because you filed your frivolous and childish tantrum of a lawsuit. Go home little boy.

  72. Tough Love Says:

    Billie, Run out of your meds?

  73. stevefromsacto Says:

    So anyone who disagrees with you must be on medication, TL? That’s a fine example of why political discourse in this country is going down the crapper. You can disagree with someone without hating or insulting them.

    Also, the misdeeds of business are clearly relevant to this discussion. After all, it is business that has taken away the decent pensions and health care benefits for millions of working Americans. But instead of trying to build those benefits back up, the anti-worker crowd now wants to bring public employee benefits down as well.

  74. SDouglas47 Says:

    TL,

    Pot?
    Kettle?

  75. Tough Love Says:

    No stevefromsacto, Billie is flipping out about Mayor Reed’s initiative, that simply enables the negotiation of lower pension accruals for FUTURE service only … with no change to PAST service accruals.

    Not only does that seem reasonable (given the financial mess most govt’s are in and the MUCH MUCH more generous pensions afforded Public vs Private Sector workers), but such FUTURE service reductions are both legal and routine in Private Sector Plans….and Corporate Plan Sponsors need not “negotiate” to implement Private Sector Plan reductions.

    What makes you think Public Sector workers are “special” and deserving of a better deal than the Taxpayers…at the Taxpayers’ expense ?

  76. SDouglas47 Says:

    According to Richwine and Biggs, California state workers earn 10.2% less than equivalent private sector workers, and *proper* discount rating of their pensions increase compensation by 4%.

    What’s “special” about that?

  77. Tough Love Says:

    Sdouglas47, Please supply a link to that study (with the page(s)with that statistic) … I’ll keep an open mind

  78. Tough Love Says:

    SDouglas47……I found the link to the study with your 10.2% statistic. Here’s the link (pasted from a comment above):

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/03/are-california-public-employees-overpaid#_ftn14

    Interesting how you carefully selected that one statistic to mention. Yes according to that study “State” workers make 10.2 percent less in wages than private-sector workers.

    But you didn’t mention the rest … quoting ALL of it from the Study…” state workers in California earn about 10.2 percent less in wages than private-sector workers. Local workers see a much smaller, statistically insignificant penalty of 0.6 percent. Combining state and local workers together yields a significant penalty of 3.7″

    OK, so the authors are saying that Public Sector workers (State & Local Combined) make 3.7% less in cash pay. Now lets see what that study says about non-cash compensation (essentially pensions,retiree healthcare promises and greater job security).

    Quoting from the study’s final conclusion:

    “. In the case of California public employees, wages are slightly lower in the public sector. Initially, benefits appear only slightly higher, implying rough parity in compensation between the public and private sectors. However, properly accounting for retiree health benefits and defined-benefit pension plans generates a public compensation premium of around 15 percent. The additional job security granted to public-sector employees is equivalent to an approximately 15 percent increase in public compensation, meaning that the total public-sector pay premium in California may be as high as 30 percent.”
    ————————————————–

    Yeah …I’d say that justifies Reed’s initiative to rein in this excess for the FUTURE Service of all CURRENT workers.

  79. Captain Says:

    SDouglas47 Says:

    Nothing intelligent or accurate.

  80. Captain Says:

    spension Says: “SDouglas47, the real puzzle is why public unions and elected officials got blindsided… the skepticism about public jobs has been around forever. Look in the movie `Lincoln’ about how he used public jobs.

    Long ago knowledge of the public’s skepticism kept public DB plans modest and often investing only in public bonds offerings.

    The transition to private securities in the 1960′s and 1970′s (nicely documented by Ed Mendel) brought potentially higher gains, but also far greater volatility. Public pensions could have used the higher gains to reduce contributions while keeping pensions modest, say, 1.5% @ 62. Instead we got (for safety) 3.0% @50.

    Then when the inevitable volatility came in, say, 2008-2009, the public grew upset and the public sector-bashing went into overdrive. Entirely predictable.”

    - Good stuff. Only the Pensions plans, both public & private, continued to move away from Bonds and into ever riskier investments in the early to mid nineties. The sideways volatility began in 2000-2001, but the Public Employee Union/CalPERS plan, SB 400, was already in full swing. When significant issues began to arise CalPERS came up with their infamous smoothing policy, an outlier, to hide their own very gross stupidity.

    Girard Millar, a pension expert who now runs the Orange County Pension System, wrote about CalPERS smoothing policy. Here is the link for those who may be interested: Pink Slips and Pension Red Ink: http://www.governing.com/columns/public-money/Pink-Slips-and-Pension-Red-Ink.html

    Here is an excerpt:

    “How high will this flood crest? Local employers are now skeptical that they have been told the full truth about how high their pension costs will ultimately surge. Unlike the vast majority of public pension funds, CalPERS uses a 15-year actuarial smoothing process that camouflages the genuine economic impact of market fluctuations. I have no issue with normal industry-standard actuarial smoothing periods of 5 years, in light of the average length of a business cycle — which is 6 years based on 14 recession cycles in the past 84 years. But the CalPERS process is opaque and flunks the transparency test that taxpayers, public managers and municipal bond investors are entitled to expect. As I have explained before, such extraordinary “smoothing” practices deserve SEC investigation as an “artifice and device” to conceal relevant financial information from the investment community — as well as the employers who must now bear the financial brunt of unsustainable pension benefits.”

    Thankfully some of the CalPERS shenanigans are about to end but not because CalPERS had anything to do with it. CalPERS is incapable of policing itself. CalPERS is CORRUPT!

    (and it should be noted that during the 2000′s their CEO and a Former Board Member were pilfering the fund).

  81. SeeSaw Says:

    Not exactly, Captain. There was some bribery going on–the CEO and certain Board members were being richly wined and dined in exchange for helping the first former Board member get CalPERS’s business for firms that he represented and for which he got rich commissions. In the final analysis, the fund was not pilfered.

  82. SeeSaw Says:

    How about backing up your statements, Captain. CalPERS is corrupt? What is it doing that is corrupt, IYO?

  83. SDouglas47 Says:

    ” Interesting how you carefully selected that one statistic to mention.”

    Yeah, kind of like repeatedly quoting police pensions (extremely higher than average, usually) and implying that they are typical government retirees.
    …………………..
    The wage regression results were similar from at least four different studies, and agreed to by Richwine and Biggs.

    “Proper” accounting of health and pension benefits is unique to Richwine and Biggs.

    Interesting how you didn’t mention that in their calculations, they assumed that government workers “retire in their mid fifties”. Because employees *can* retire in fifties does not mean they do. MOST public workers do not retire in their fifties. Exactly how this affected their conclusion is not clear, but it looks suspiciously like “Tough Love” math.

    And the largest single factor in their calculation (15%) is for “Job Security”. The basic assumption underlying ALL their calculations rely on JOLTS data which shows

    ” a private-sector worker has an approximately 20 percent chance of being fired or laid off in a given year, while for state and local employees the probability is only 6 percent.”

    Does the expression “apples and oranges” sound familiar? Like the BLS stats showing public workers earn “45% more than private sector”?

    In the salary surveys, most, including R&B, agree to compare public workers to private workers in companies of 500 or more. Guess what the JOLTS data says about the turnover in large companies? (It’s about 6%)

    The biggest groups bringing up the averages of private sector workers are construction, entertainment, and service jobs. Apples and oranges.

    Mike Genest did a study for CFFR which came up with results similar to Biggs and Richwine, “may be as high as 30 percent”. But when questioned about his own salary (and six figure pension), he said, he could have made MORE on the outside.

    Don’t believe everything you read

  84. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw Says: “Not exactly, Captain. There was some bribery going on–the CEO and certain Board members were being richly wined and dined in exchange for helping the first former Board member get CalPERS’s business for firms that he represented and for which he got rich commissions. In the final analysis, the fund was not pilfered.”

    - it cost the fund at least 90 million, Seesaw. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg, IMO. The CalPERS elevator of Corruption went all the way up to the CEO & The Board of Administration. They are both due in court very soon and would be on trial as we speak if not for their Lawyers claiming they are too ill to appear. The sorted details of the Board Member and the CalPERS CEO aren’t pretty.

    My concern has less to do with these two shysters, which held the highest positions in the CalPERS organization, as it has to do with my concern about a very CORRUPT CalPERS CULTURE which begins with the current CalPERS Board of Administration/Directors.

    Again, Girard Millar, a pension expert who now runs the Orange County Pension System, wrote about CalPERS smoothing policy. Here is the link for those who may be interested: Pink Slips and Pension Red Ink: http://www.governing.com/columns/public-money/Pink-Slips-and-Pension-Red-Ink.html

    Here is an excerpt:

    “How high will this flood crest? Local employers are now skeptical that they have been told the full truth about how high their pension costs will ultimately surge. Unlike the vast majority of public pension funds, CalPERS uses a 15-year actuarial smoothing process that camouflages the genuine economic impact of market fluctuations. I have no issue with normal industry-standard actuarial smoothing periods of 5 years, in light of the average length of a business cycle — which is 6 years based on 14 recession cycles in the past 84 years. But the CalPERS process is opaque and flunks the transparency test that taxpayers, public managers and municipal bond investors are entitled to expect. As I have explained before, such extraordinary “smoothing” practices deserve SEC investigation as an “artifice and device” to conceal relevant financial information from the investment community — as well as the employers who must now bear the financial brunt of unsustainable pension benefits.”

    Thankfully some of the CalPERS shenanigans are about to end but not because CalPERS had anything to do with it. CalPERS is incapable of policing itself. CalPERS is CORRUPT!

  85. Tough Love Says:

    QuotingSDOuglas47….”“Proper” accounting of health and pension benefits is unique to Richwine and Biggs. ”

    Oh really? Well Richwine and Biggs have some pretty good company, as GASB (under their new accounting rules), Moodys (under credit worthness analysis), and Warren Buffet all think that using CalPERS assumption of 7.5% is nuts.
    ——————————————————————————
    Sounds like you think you’re more qualified to do such studies than these study authors ………get a grip.

  86. SeeSaw Says:

    Be careful what you imply, Captain. The former Board Member made millions but it did not come out of CalPERS pocket; it came out of the pockets of the companies that gave him the commissions for getting CalPERS’s business. Yes, there were about three Board members, besides the CEO, who accepted the vacations and wining and dining from the former Board member. But, I repeat, the CalPERS fund was not pilfered! CalPERS has spent the last few years cleaning up this mess. You cannot point to any corruption or corrupt officials on the Board now. So as I said, Captain, be careful what you imply, or come right out and say who on the Board is corrupt and what you accuse them of doing.. Bet you can’t……………..Let’s hear it…………………….

  87. Captain Says:

    … And that corruption includes the policies that come from the CalPERS Board which include SB 400, as well as many, maybe even most of, the items contained in the list of “CalPERS Optional Benefits.” In other words CalPERS has created, endorsed, and promoted the POLICY & PERKS that are driving many cities toward bankruptcy. They threaten to bury any/every city thinking of uttering the word “Bankruptcy” with with unaffordable legal fees for a city in dire straights. CalPERS has also recently enacted new policies that make it cost prohibitive to exit the CalPERS plan.

    What they’ve recently done should be illegal, IMO. And the reason I like to refer CalPERS as the “Hotel California -You Can Check-in But-You- Can- Never- Leave” is because they’ve recently created their own policy that essentialy makes it cost prohibitive for any city to leave the pension plan. Why they’re allowed to create their own policy which creates an additional tax payer burden, without public input, is beyond me. They seem to think they’re a governing body that can do what they want – whenever they want.

    That is CalPERS 2014. CalPERS is CORRUPT!

  88. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw Says: How about backing up your statements, Captain. CalPERS is corrupt? What is it doing that is corrupt, IYO?

    What aren’t they doing that isn’t corrupt? Besides what I’ve mentioned above, Seesaw, I think you answered your own question:

    SeeSaw Says: “Captain. There was some bribery going on–the CEO and certain Board members”.

  89. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Where does GASB say that most public employees retire in their mid fifties?

    Where does GASB say anything about turnover rates in the public sector?

    These are Richwine and Biggs assumptions, and they are incorrect.

  90. Pete Says:

    Hey Tough Love,

    Caught your shtick-trolling on another website about New Jersey pensions. Do you spend your entire day, or just most of your day, looking for stories on websites so you can repeat ad-naseaum your tired take on public DB plans–and then laying our your never will be enacted solutions?

  91. Tough Love Says:

    S Moderation Douglas,

    Having a reading comprehension problem?

    The GASB reference (as well as the references to MOODys and Warren Buffet) were with respect to the interest rate used to discount Plan liabilities. Clearly obvious.

  92. stevefromsacto Says:

    No surprise about TL sounding off about New Jersey pensions. There’s a whole network of anti-government zealots out there, funded by people like the Koch Brothers, working through the right-wing ALEC legislative coalition. Their goal is, as one of their founders Grover Norquist has said: “To shrink the size of government so we can drown it in the bathtub.” Tough Love is probably a card-carrying member of that network. Might even be a paid staff member in one of the organizations.

  93. Tough Love Says:

    Hey Pete…. I saw your childish response to my comment on the other article…..to which I responded appropriately.

    Here’s my response to you again (in case you missed it there):.

    “So Pete, Instead of calling me names (troll), why not state exactly what it is that I have stated inaccurately? Let’s debate it.

    Or is your real problem with my posts being that I point out the injustice and that you are riding the Public Sector gravy train, and want what you have been “promised” no matter how unfair to Taxpayers and no matter how unjustly they were granted (by your Union’s buying the favorable votes of our self-interested elected officials)?”

    By the way,that other article is interesting (pension reform) reading …. here’s a link:

    http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20140202/state-watch-new-jerseys-pension-money-pit

  94. SeeSaw Says:

    The present CalPERS staff and Board are clean as a whistle–now, Captain. That is what I have been trying to tell you. When you find corruption, whether it is in your own house or another, you have to eradicate it–and that’s what CalPERS has done. The actions of the long ago, former Board member who is now being charged with fraud, and got his start in CA politics by being appointed as deputy mayor of the former Republican Mayor of Los Angles, carried out his activities, post his CalPERS Board participation, for years, before it was brought to CalPERS attention. That was because no money disappeared from the coffers of CalPERS during those actions. The former Board member had set up his own company and was wining and dining certain Board members so that he could then rely on their votes for approval of CalPERS investments in a company he represented. Then when CalPERS bought in, he received a fee for bringing in that investment. He and the former CEO of CalPERS are being charged with fraud because they reportedly fraudulently dated and signed certain documents, and their trials and subsequent decisions from those future trials are yet to be heard.

    Captain, CalPERS is an arm of the State of CA. All of the rules and regulations that guide the actions of CalPERS are put forth by the State Legislature of the State of CA. CalPERS is the gatekeeper of all the funds entrusted with it, and it takes lawful orders from the state and the members in the plan. CalPERS is not its own government! Get that out of your head and live with it. Or maybe there is a nice Red State in which you would prefer to reside.

  95. Pete Smith Says:

    Hey Toughie,

    Here’s the bottom line. Nothing prevents you from running candidates with your viewpoints and getting them elected, instead of the ones supported by the public workers you detest. That’s the way you get the changes you want.

    But….you haven’t, you can’t, you won’t.

    So, go ahead and complain, troll every article in every forum you can find on public pensions–but all the while know that nothing you support will ever be enacted. However, if your trolling is your personal form of therapy, then more power to you.

  96. Tough Love Says:

    Stevefromsacto, Looks like you have given up factually debating the issues with me…. and now have move on the to……heavens, might I be paid by the “Koch Brothers”.

    Pathetic greedy porker!

  97. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw,……………a TRUE eradication of corruption would include a reversal of the consequences of PAST corruption & fraud… meaning a reversal of SB400 (at the least).

  98. stevefromsacto Says:

    I must have hit a nerve, eh TL? Looks like you’ve decided to engage in the politics of personal destruction. Talk about giving up on debating the issues.

    I am not nor have I ever been a public employee. I am not in CalPERS. I do not receive pension benefits from any state or local government. So that pathetic greedy porker comment is a flat-out LIE.

    Of course, being called greedy by an anti-worker zealot is like being called ugly by a frog.

  99. SDouglas47 Says:

    “Reading comprehension?”

    I assume then you agree with Richwine analysis that:

    “the higher implicit return on public defined-benefit pensions increases the compensation of California’s government workers by approximately 4 percent. higher implicit return on public defined-benefit pensions increases the compensation of California’s government workers by approximately 4 percent.”

    If you would reread, you might understand that I did not refute that calculation.

    Or are you intentionally trying to change the subject?

    My objection was that they made calculations with that rate……AND……assuming that *most* state workers retire in their mid fifties.

    Likewise with healthcare. Biggs and Richwine compute a retiree healthcare subsidy of 8%, based on the assumption that public sector workers retire in their fifties.

    This is akin to T L math where you “assume” that a police officer earns $100,000 a year and works $50,000 in overtime his last year to spike his pension. No matter how accurate your “math” is from that point on, result is grossly exaggerated because your assumptions were faulty.

    GIGO

  100. Tough Love Says:

    Pete, you call it trolling, and I call it “education” of the still uninformed Taxpayers ,,,, so they will rise up and demand very material pension reductions for the FUTURE Service of all CURRENT workers.

  101. Tough Love Says:

    Stevefromsacto, While I see no reason to believe you (so you needn’t respond), I did note that you didn’t exclude that a relative (spouse, child, “significant other”) is benefiting from a current or future Public Sector pension.

  102. stevefromsacto Says:

    Anyone who doesn’t agree with your position is either “uninformed” “uneducated” or “ignorant,” eh, TL? That’s the same crap that the Right uses in claiming that the majority of American voters who elected President Obama twice only did so because they were “uninformed.”

    And only you and Fox News can properly inform them, right? What amazing chutzpah you have.

  103. SDouglas47 Says:

    You call it education, we call it “opinion” and “exaggeration.”.

  104. Tough Love Says:

    SDouglas47 ,I’ll leave that determination to my target audience…. the readers NOT riding the Public Sector Gravy Grain.

  105. stevefromsacto Says:

    No one in my family is benefiting from a public employee pension. So you can’t call my 85-year-old mother a “pathetic greedy porker” either.

    BTW, Assume you meant “I have no reason NOT to believe you.” So then will you apologize for the insult?

  106. SDouglas47 Says:

    That works for me, TL.

    You’re probably doing your cause more harm than good.

    Most people can see through your gross exaggerations.

    You know what happened to the boy who cried wolf.

    Because of your exaggerations and your attitude, your credibility is shot.

    By all means, keep it up!

  107. Tough Love Says:

    SDouglas47, Oh I intend to “keep it up”. MATERIAL
    pension reductions for CURRENT workers are a NECESSARY part of any effective pension reform action…. as California’s Little Hover Commission pointed out 1 year ago.

    Oh……….That Commission doesn’t know what it’s talking about either…. right ?
    —————————–

    And if you REALLY think my posts aren’t effective, why are you and the myriad of other Public Sector workers riding this gravy train countering every comment I make? If you REALLY believed that my comments were ineffective, you would be ignoring me.

    You’re CONCERNED because you know I speak the truth in disclosing your decades long Taxpayer ripoff.

  108. SeeSaw Says:

    No, you are wrong TL. SB400 was lawfully passed by the CA State Legislature and it has lawfully been executed ever since, with reforms along the way. No corruption involved. Why don’t you stay in your Crow’s Nest up there in NJ and tend to the problems in your own back yard. I hear there has always been a lot of corruption in NJ, and the Mafia has never left the restaurant industry in NJ. What work have you done on the problems in your own state?

  109. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, I’m sure you will like yesterday’s write-up on your beloved (it my “bread and butter”) CalPERS:

    http://calwatchdog.com/2014/02/04/latest-scandal-why-you-would-be-nuts-to-believe-calpers/

  110. Tough Love Says:

    spension, Wow…I’m SURE you’ll love the “Good News First” study referenced in THIS article:

    http://www.american.com/archive/2014/january/crony-capitalism-vs-public-pensions

    Right up your alley …….no matter that it distorts the TRUTH as Mr. Biggs describes…… that study is chock full of just what you like to quote … low Public Sector pension costs and high Corporate Welfare.

    Go ahead..spread some more BS.

  111. SDouglas47 Says:

    Actually, The Little “Hover” Commission pointed that out 3 years ago, along with more than a dozen other recommendations. The California legislature passed and Gov Brown signed PEPRA, which included twelve of those suggested changes.

    Even though the commission recommended it and TL felt it NECESSARY, there were, and are still, many equally qualified experts who disagree on ethical AND economic grounds. Not to mention that such a change would result in years of court battles.

    When the commission made these recommendations, they were based on 2010 data, when tax revenues were at their lowest level in years and CalPERS assets were less than $180 billion.

    Remember the greatest recession since the great depression?

    CalPERS is now well over $270 billion, the economy is slowly rebounding, and the savings from PEPRA are already in the billions and rising.

    And the compensation of state employees are still not as excessive as your exaggerated rants claim.

    The glass is at least half full.

  112. stevefromsacto Says:

    “…you and the myriad of other Public Sector workers riding this gravy train countering every comment I make?”

    One more time, I am NOT nor have I ever been a public employee, nor has anyone in my family. I do not receive a public pension.

    I counter your comments because I want people to understand that there are taxpayers and private sector employees and retirees who do NOT support your campaign to tear down benefits for public employees. We believe that our nation should be improving benefits for all American workers, not tearing them down for some.

    Who are you, TL? Where do you work? What kind of pension do you have? Maybe once we know where you are coming from, we can better understand why you are so vehement about this.

  113. Tough Love Says:

    SDouglas47, All BS, If CalPERS had to value it’s assets and liabilities using the SAME rules that the U.S. Gov’t REQUIRES of Private Sector pension Plans, the funding ratio would be BELOW the cutoff under which Future Service accruals would be barred.

    Using phoney accounting doesn’t change that..

  114. Captain Says:

    stevefromsacto Says: “I counter your comments because I want people to understand that there are taxpayers and private sector employees and retirees who do NOT support your campaign to tear down benefits for public employees. We believe that our nation should be improving benefits for all American workers, not tearing them down for some.”

    - Well then, maybe you’re a private sector union employee. If that’s the case you should be concerned with all the negative attention the public employee unions have brought to defined contribution pension plans in California – which simply can‘t be justified by any metric. As far as your comment that “there are taxpayers and private sector employees and retirees who do NOT support your campaign to tear down benefits for public employees” goes, nobody is trying to tear down anything. What most citizens are concerned with is the public employee pensions costs that are leaving their General Fund cubbards bare; thereby leaving their cities unable to provide even the most basic of city maintenance or services. Is that difficult to understand?

    But at the same time more & more people are beginning to understand that paying people 100% or more of their working income during retirement is simply RIDICULOUS, UNSUSTAINABLE, UNFAIR TO THOSE THAT ARE FUNDING EXCESSIVE RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION MEMBERS THAT THEY THEMSELVES CAN’T AFFORD. You must certainly be aware that recent polling numbers (over 70%) disagree with your position, instead preferring 401(k)s.

    Apparently there’s a concerted effort by yourself and others to discredit Tough Love. Why is that? Is it because he speaks the truth and you feel a need to discredit him? I think so. Otherwise why not just ignore his comments? When people start shooting/attacking the messenger it’s usually because they’ve ran out of legitimate arguments. In your case, stevefromsacto and several others bad mouthing Tough Love – none of you seem to have any legitimate arguments left to forward.

    Stevefromsacto, if taxpayers are already paying 200-300 percent above the “normal cost” for pensions, for people that can retire at age 50 with 100 percent of their salary, or even twice to three times (or more in way too many cases) the median family income in California, at what point do you quit blaming people asking for reform and start questioning the excessive benefits these public employee union members receive? Yes, I hope you can answer that question!

    If I’m a private sector union member, and I was, I understand how these crazy public employee union member pensions are impacting General Funds, which in turn reduces money for road maintenance, building maintenance, etc… They are also souring the public on private sector funding for school bonds, transportation taxes, road maintenance (which has been diminishing and deferred for years now), street-scaping, etc… And of course redevelopment Agency’s are no longer a source of private sector union funding because they no longer exist – partly because much of the money was diverted from the intended purpose to pay for city employee salaries that had little to nothing to do with redevelopment.

  115. Captain Says:

    My first paragraph shoud read, ” -Well then, maybe you’re a private sector union employee. If that’s the case you should be concerned with all the negative attention the public employee unions have brought to defined “BENEFIT” pension plans in California”.

  116. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw Says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    “The present CalPERS staff and Board are clean as a whistle–now, Captain. That is what I have been trying to tell you.”

    - Hardly, seesaw. I do believe there are some at CalPERS trying to do the right thing but the Board of Administration still controls the snakes head/is the snakes head. Your comment, “The present CalPERS staff and Board are clean as a whistle–now”.

    At least that comment acknowledges your understanding of “SOME” past indiscretions by the Board, CEO, and many of the staffers that referred to these arrangements by characterizing them as dealings with “Fred’s (the CEO) friends. My point: it wasn’t just the CEO, Board Member/Former Board Member, but also staff that was aware of the goings on. It was a very shady Cultural Issue of “look the other way” which WAS/IS imbedded in the CalPERS CULTURE. That is difficult change and I do NOT think the change has occurred.

    What about the recent case of a CalPERS SEC compliance employee notifying CalPERS some of their trading activity was non-compliant because CalPERS had “Insider Information” on the companies. According to an early article on the subject CalPERS told the employee to drop it – even though that was her job and the job CalPERS trained her to do. She was subsequently terminated by CalPERS only to be paid in an out of court settlement. What message do you think that sends to the other CalPERS employees charged with monitoring SEC trading compliance (because CalPERS has insider knowledge of top level board discussions/activity in many companies)?

    Here is an appropriately timed article: Latest scandal: Why you would be nuts to believe CalPERS

    http://calwatchdog.com/2014/02/04/latest-scandal-why-you-would-be-nuts-to-believe-calpers/#sthash.a3lCHY2A.dpuf

    CalPERS is CORRUPT!

  117. SeeSaw Says:

    I already noted the alleged fraud that took place in the 90′s and 2,000′s, due to the cozy relationship that one former Board Member set up with the CEO and other Board Members. I did not know about it–most people did not know about it. But, once it became known, action was taken by law authorities and CalPERS. So, you don’t need to keep referring back to it. CalPERS is not corrupt and it never was corrupt! The corruption was on the part of certain individuals–those types are found in every area of the population.

    That was a standard personnel issue, Captain. And, the article is written by Chris Reed, The SDUT’s and CalWatchdog’s conservative op-ed columnist. Why don’t you quote from an article by Steve Mavigiio sometime?

  118. SeeSaw Says:

    You just keep right on throwing all those pebbles TL and Captain–if that’s all it takes to get your your daily satisfaction-fix. In the meantime, 500,000+ CalPERS annuitants will continue to receive their monthly checks. Yes, TL, CalPERS is my bread and butter–that is my satisfaction.

  119. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw Says:
    February 6, 2014 at 3:47 am

    “I already noted the alleged fraud that took place in the 90′s and 2,000′s, due to the cozy relationship that one former Board Member set up with the CEO and other Board Members. I did not know about it–most people did not know about it. But, once it became known, action was taken by law authorities and CalPERS.”

    - Give it a rest SeeSaw, if you’ve read the report conducted by an independent law firm you would know that the corruption was common knowledge amongst many employees. The term, “Fred’s Friends” wasn’t coined by accident. The term refers to the shady relationship former CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro, currently under indictment, had with some unsavory characters. The fact that many at the Top-Level of CalPERS administration were aware of the improprieties (The Scams), to the point they referred to “Fred’s Friends” as some code for “look the other way” should tell you that CalPERS integrity issues are more cultural than isolated.

    The recent case of a CalPERS SEC compliance employee getting FIRED for notifying/reporting to her superiors that CalPERS trading activity was non-compliant/ILLEGAL because CalPERS had “Insider Information” on the companies they were trading in is yet an other example of a cultural issue within the CalPERS organization. She was terminated but also received a going away settlement. Why? CalPERS never reversed the trade.

    According to an early article on the subject CalPERS told the employee to drop it – even though that was her job and CalPERS trained her. What message do you think that sends to the other CalPERS employees charged with monitoring SEC trading compliance (because CalPERS has insider knowledge of top level board discussions/activity in many companies)? IMO, it tells them to keep their mouth shut – creating another cultural issue of secrecy and corruption.

  120. SeeSaw Says:

    You only know what you read in the op-ed columns from the sources that you choose, Captain. They are all one-sided–I make it my business to read them, but I also read others so that I have a rounded view of issues. You don’t want that. You are just going to believe that CalPERS is corrupt and nothing is going to change your mind. CalPERS has 1.6 million members–500,000+ receiving benefits now. That is a lot more important than a standard personnel issue, the type of which goes on in all work sectors every day. I don’t care how the two parties settled their differences. I just know that my pension was earned by my hard work for 40 years and lawfully enacted when I retired and that CalPERS is sustainable and will still be sustainable when I am gone. You just go on stating your mantra–if it keeps your blood pressure level. its fine with me.

  121. Captain Says:

    SeeSaw Says: “You only know what you read in the op-ed columns from the sources that you choose, Captain.”

    - Not true, Seesaw. I’ve done my homework. Why do you struggle with the truth that is CalPERS has been lying to the public for decades? Why do you continue to ignore that current pension costs are 3X the advertised cost of CalPERS pensions? When I make that statement I’m really referring to the advertised CalPERS cost of 17 percent of payroll, which is now costing some cities as much as 50 percent of payroll – on the way to 70 percent plus of payroll.

    That equation will lead to many cities going bankrupt. CalPERS will encourage those cities to increase taxes or fund Pension Obligation Bonds (more taxes while ignoring a solution to the root cause of the problem).

    CalPERS is CORRUPT!

  122. Tough Love Says:

    Captain,Thanks for the support…

    I understand where those fighting reform are coming from….they both fear losing the benefit of their over-sized PAST service accruals AND refuse to accept that FUTURE service accruals MUST come down materially. The latter part (pure greed,….. and disdain for Private Sector Taxpayers) is most perturbing.

    Their grip/control of the situation, the structure, the politicians, is slowly eroding and will ultimately be lost.

    Here’s the latest example of the change taking place

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/05/us-usa-municipalities-sanbernardino-idUSBREA1427020140205

  123. stevefromsacto Says:

    With your unbridled hatred of public employees, you really have a lot of gall accusing people who don’t agree with you of having “disdain for private sector taxpayers.”

    You’re like the guy who kills his mother and father and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.

    Just like you, public employees pay taxes, raise families, support local businesses, etc. You zealots somehow never recognize that FACT. But of course to people with closed minds, facts only confuse you.

    You will not be happy until all public employees are paid minimum wage with no benefits. And then you’ll bitch because it wasn’t done sooner.

  124. Tough Love Says:

    stevefromsacto, The “hate” seems to be coming from you (and apparently directed at me).

    I don’t hate any Public Sector workers, nor do I “blame”them for the horrible financial situation our cities and States find themselves in.

    But that being said, THEY are the financial “beneficiaries” of the collusion between their Unions and our elected officials who allowed this mess to happen ..,via the demand for and granting of these grossly excessive pensions….. so that’s where Taxpayers must look to take back the future that has been stolen from them. And that requires very material (50+%) pension reduction for all CURRENT Public Sector workers.

    Re-read you last comment a few times….then consider getting some therapy… you’ll feel better about yourself and find better ways to deal with your anger problem.

  125. SeeSaw Says:

    Captain, we voters send our own representatives to Sacramento to run the state, and we CalPERS members participate in electing the people who run that Plan. None of us, respectively, are expected to get up every morning and get to work, sorting out who is lying to whom. The “advertised” numbers from CalPERS were honest mistakes. They were just like all other organizations and individuals–it is known that the economy suffers continuous ups and downs–but the depth of the collapse in 2008 was not expected. There are thousands of hard-working individuals in all areas of our systems, and a few dishonest individuals sprinkled throughout. Each person’s responsibility is to go out every day, and be the best citizen of this state and country that they can be–that’s what I do and what I will continue to do. (We all be giving attention to those millions of people in this country without jobs.) CAlPERS is just fine and will continue to be just fine!

  126. SeeSaw Says:

    TL, you get all worked up about supposed hate toward you while you continue to lie and cast false aspersions on public sector workers about how they got decent pensions. Talk about the Pot calling the Kettle black!!!!!

  127. stevefromsacto Says:

    “Collusion.” “Union thugs.” “The future stolen from taxpayers.” And on and on. But no, of course not, you don’t hate public employees. Boy I’d hate to see what you say about people you really don’t like.

    And one more time, TL, public employees pay taxes, raise their families, support local businesses, just like you do. Is it so difficult for you to acknowledge that public employees are just as much taxpayers as you are?

    I just wish you would put as much energy into trying to improve wages and benefits for ALL American workers as you do trying to tear down benefits for some.

    I’m going to stop now. It is very tiring trying to argue with someone whose mind is closed.

  128. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw…..Tell me what I have said that is “false”. Granted, much is “opinion” ,but nothing is “false”.

  129. Tough Love Says:

    stevefromsacto, Sure Public Sector workers are Taxpayers, but did you ever wonder why 2 (and ONLY 2) segments of citizens routinely SUPPORT tax INCREASES?

    One group are those that pay little or no taxes (the unemployed and/or those with very low income, and those on Welfare). THEY support tax INCREASES because they like free (tax-supported) services… and don’t have to pay for them.

    The other group is Public Sector workers. Sometimes they even have rallies calling for increased taxes. Why ? Because while they might contribute (via their OWN increased taxes) 15-20% of the total incremental tax revenue generated from everyone, they know that THEY will likely get back 75+% of the total from everyone in the form of support for their outsized pensions & benefits, and in maintaining the large Public Sector worker headcount … much of the work of which could be more cost-effectively provided by the Private Sector.

    And sure, what they spend locally supports local businesses. But if say they made 20% less (in pension & benefits) and that 20% stayed in the Taxpayers’ pockets, wouldn’t those shopkeepers be in the SAME position via an equal amount of incremental spending now coming from those Taxpayers with more spendable income?

    Your arguments are flawed and don’t hold up under close examination.

    And it would indeed be wonderful if the fairness issue could be solved by all Private Sector workers being granted pensions as rich as those currently enjoyed by only Public Sector workers (and yes, the1%). But it won’t and can’t happen, as our economy (in global competition with others) would be priced out of every market if it provided such rich compensation. A good example is what happened to General Motors, with the cause of their bankruptcy clearly traceable to Union-accommodated demands for pensions and benefits, the cost of which was far greater than could be accommodated by competitive price constraints.

    Just because the Public Sector often has a monopoly or little competition, and has taxing power, doesn’t mean that it should be used to unnecessarily overcompensate it’s workers … as is the case EVERYWHERE today.

    There is no “hate” in my words. It’s simple economics and fairness. Overcompensating Public Sector workers means cheating Private Sector Taxpayers.

    Seriously, consider some therapy for your anger problem.

  130. SeeSaw Says:

    The idea that public employees bribe and threaten elected officials until they get what they want is absolutely false–they are working 8, 10, 12 hour days to serve the public. The unions are run by representatives of those employees–the employees have nothing to do with the Collective Bargaining sessions unless they are designated representatives.

    There are some union leaders in CA, representing certain public safety associations, that have used less than ethical methods, IMO, in contract negotiations–I deplore that type of representation, and consider it an embarrassment to rank and file public workers–such did not exist in my association, nor would it ever. Those, respective, unethical, IMO, representatives of certain public safety associations are being taken down now.

    Collective Bargaining sessions take place between representatives of management and representatives of the rank and file. The elected officials are the last ones to know what transpired in those sessions. In the midst of all this rhetoric are the public employees that you want to portray as villians–lie, lie, lie. You also seem to think that there is something dirty about anyone who opinionates in favor of pubic pensions because they have a spouse, friend, or other relative who stands to benefit. I should certainly hope so!

  131. SeeSaw Says:

    Oh yes, TL, your words drip with hate! Perhaps it is you who needs to seek therapy.

  132. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, Oh yea, the Unions are uninvolved and puritanical….

    Check out this video and get back to me:

    http://unionwatch.org/seiu-spokesperson-threatening-california-lawmakers-with-union-retaliation/

  133. SeeSaw Says:

    Another article from a conservative group–the only side you read. I never said unions were uninvolved. I said I do not approve of union tactics that are unethical. There is nothing unethical or corrupt about this–its politics.

  134. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw, Sure, nothing at all “unethical” about a Union mouthpiece threatening a City Council.

  135. SeeSaw Says:

    I can’t follow every “union” rep around–this person may or may not have been tactful–I haven’t seen the video and would like to hear what came out of the mouths of both sides. In the coming months, If I were to come face-to-face with any member of my city’s council, and have the opportunity to give an opinion, I would make it very clear to them that they will never receive another vote from me if they publicly endorse the “Reed Initiative”. That is the power that I claim as an individual voter–I have no union.

  136. Tough Love Says:

    Seesaw, Having trouble finding that video?”

    http://unionwatch.org/seiu-spokesperson-threatening-california-lawmakers-with-union-retaliation/

    And you said…”There is nothing unethical or corrupt about this”

    Really?

  137. Bille Says:

    So back on February 3rd I posted, “Somebody smack this is dumb frivolous lawsuit out of the courts before it is too late. This is as frivolous as a lawsuit can get.”

    TL, you and others criticized me for my position that this was frivolous and a demonstration of Mayor Reed’s utter incompetence as a manager and negotiator. Well…

    March 14th update:

    “Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner shot down Reed’s case, saying that Reed failed to prove Harris’ ballot summary was false, misleading or biased.

    “The court must presume her language is accurate, absent ‘clear and convincing’ proof otherwise,” Sumner wrote.

    TL, who is off their meds again?

    What did I say again, “Nothing screams incompetence like filing a lawsuit because your ballot summary is accurate but you don’t like the way it reads in the light of day”.

  138. Bille Says:

    Oh and there is also this update …

    “Reed then formally announced that he was withdrawing his Constitution-altering pension attack, from which several of his fellow mayors had already distanced themselves.”

    I guess he realized that he was going to look more foolish by pursuing this than he already did.

    So, Reed finally concedes that his lawsuit was/is frivolous, that the ballot initiative description was accurate. So, why was he suing again?

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