How will unfunded "pensions" affect the local economy?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by phaster on September 1, 2014 - 7:48am

Here is a simple question, how do you think unfunded pensions affect the economy, specifically RE prices?

To illustrate specifically what I am concerned with, below is an outline of a local unfunded public pension issue....

*** WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PUBLIC PENSIONS IN SAN DIEGO ***

A recent wall street journal article essentially said the SD county pension system was using derivaties to manage their portfolio.

"Simply put, it could have a market exposure of $20 billion despite only managing half that amount."

http://online.wsj.com/articles/san-diego...

To show why the current SD county pension "operations" is a bad idea, google "buying stocks on margin" and check out the first search result.

The math is pretty simple to understand (just add "000,000" to the following $ figures):

A Buying Power Example
Let's say that you deposit $10,000 in your margin account. Because you put up 50% of the purchase price, this means you have $20,000 worth of buying power.

http://www.investopedia.com/university/m...

Returning to our example of exaggerated profits, say that instead of rocketing up 25%, our shares fell 25%. Now your investment would be worth $15,000 (200 shares x $75). You sell the stock, pay back your broker the $10,000, and end up with $5,000. That's a 50% loss, plus commissions and interest, which otherwise would have been a loss of only 25%.

Think a 50% loss is bad? It can get much worse. Buying on margin is the only stock-based investment where you stand to lose more money than you invested. A dive of 50% or more will cause you to lose more than 100%, with interest and commissions on top of that.

http://www.investopedia.com/university/m...

A good basic math education, is all that is needed to understand the "downside" risk of a margin account (but all the reports in the media so far do not show this simple "downside" math).

Adding the "options" account variable complicates matters, but kinda explains the lackluster single digit portfolio returns of the SD county portfolio (i.e. the various options w/in the portfolio of "puts for downside protection and "calls" to try and win big on the upside" cancelled each other out - so far, in a market that has gone up), the big unknown is how the "options" are structured within the portfolio and how it react if there is sudden and dramatic turbulence.

Consider all it might take for the "local" house of cards to fall is some kind of foreign black swan event that drops the market towards 10% down, and because of leverage things could suddenly get ugly for the local economy (for example LTCM, which happened in a less complex world, now one has to factor in some thing akin to high speed robo traders, that will sell off a position because of a trigger event, thus converting a "paper" loss into a real loss for the pension portfolio??).

10 billion dollars placed into a margin account to play the options market IMHO is "insane" if anyone was investing their own money, but think I uncovered the motive.

The reason the county pension board might have taken such drastic action is the change in accounting rules which put public pensions on the balance sheet next year.

Few even in the investment community know that:

PUBLIC "Pension liabilities must be included on the balance sheets of the agencies responsible for funding their employees' pensions. Until now liabilities have been buried in arcane footnotes that few read and even fewer understood"

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/09/...

NOTE if San Diego's pension board margin-option strategy fails, the tax payer is on the hook!

One other thing, there is a youtube video (starting at 3:24), where san diego is mentioned at the being at the top of the list (for being the deepest in the hole overall for unfunded pensions and having an unfunded health care plan)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRr49iAgI9g

If pensions and health care costs have to both be included on the balance sheet, the bond markets are in for a real shock which will ripple through the economy and affect everyone on main street.

If you want understand why there is a problem with pensions in San Diego, read the history of pensions at the state level (which started out well managed and over the years turned corrupt and mismanaged):

http://www.city-journal.org/2013/23_1_ca...

The local(s) (city and county) basically followed the CalPERS model, and what might be telling is the former CEO of CalPERS just plead guilty to a fraud, corruption charge

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ca...

Submitted by CA renter on September 16, 2014 - 12:11am.

phaster wrote:
CA renter wrote:
phaster wrote:

CA renter wrote:
The worst employees tend to leave before benefits vest to any large extent. That doesn't mean that some dead wood isn't hanging around after too many years -- and I absolutely support making it easier to fire truly bad employees.

could not agree more, and think this concept should be extended to entrenched politicians (both on the left and right) because it seem they enable lots of the problems:

http://patrick.net/forum/?p=1247288&c=1114955#comment-1114955

You are totally wrong about politicians and unions being on the same side of the table. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some politicians are labor-friendly, and others have a vitriolic hatred for unions. I have personal experience with contract negotiations, and there is NO truth to your statement that politicians automatically pander to unions.

Unions are no different from any other group that supports politicians who will further their particular interests.

There is a perception (which I happen to share) that public unions have a great deal of control over the careers of their negotiating counterparties (i.e. politicians). Said another way its an old boys club, same as what happens in wall street, where the basic instinct is to protect their own. Bottom line is, politicians and public employees are part of a club, the "public at large" isn't part of.

You most likely have lots of stories you know and want to share about $hit that happens on wall $t, but the same thing happens between public employee union members and politicians.

Recall the before SD made the national news headlines that we had a groper for a mayor (who was forced to resign), there was a similar pervert problem w/in the SDPD. Seem there is an "old boys club" attitude, because the reporter from the "reader" stated:

It was surprising to see the lengths that the City Attorney's office went to try and get this case dismissed.

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/ne...

I have my own sad example when I encountered the "old boys club,", that is kinda how I stumbled onto the issue of public "pensions," basically I followed the money motive trail...

http://TinyURL.com/EnronByTheSea

I have a feeling there is something akin to a watergate type mentality w/ local politician (goldsmith and gloria) who are being sued for wanting to delete eMails from both their personal and official city accounts.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/...

I think these officials are trying to hide public employee sins of the past that have something to do with software that allows building permit fraud and tax dodges possible with properties labeled as "historic"

Jim Mills, a former state senator from San Diego who pushed for the law's creation in 1972, said he is surprised by how the financially strapped city has embraced the program during a time when it has had to close swimming pools, reduce library hours and delay sewer and water projects.

“I have to admit what I had in mind was significant buildings and houses, and I now see houses being covered by the Mills Act that were not what I had in mind,” Mills said.

http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/2008...

Imagine you’re a developer with a pal who handles permits for the city of San Diego. And say you thought the permitting fees were a little too high. Not to worry, your pal says, and he knocks down the price for you.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/03/cit...

Another "moral/ethical" reason if I were king, I would eliminate public employee unions is, because I read they:

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS "hurt the overall interests of the working poor."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...

I'd guessing if there were some kind of public vote, I'd bet a majority of people would have to wonder if the "public employee economic self interest" more often than not is biased inward toward "the old boys club" rather than to the public at large.

CA renter wrote:
Many have defined benefits, and DB plans were the norm a few decades ago...you know, when the middle class and the economy were at their strongest.

Ya don't seem to understand basic cause and effect, like when I pointed out the reason DB pensions came to be associated with so called "middle class" jobs in the USA is because of unique global economic conditions that existed in the 1950's and 60's.

Anyway I'd further argue the big deal made about "middle class" in the USA, was done as part of an "unofficial" cold war hearts and minds propaganda effort directed toward those in the USSR.

For example in high school I was told the USA included adding the words "in god we trust" to the US dollar bill in the late 50's (to show those "godless" communists, we in the west have freedom of religions),

Then there was the "nixon" kitchen debate, to show those "poor" communists, the capitalist economic system can make guns as well as butter....

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/libra...

CA renter wrote:
I don't get distracted by non-economic issues where politics are concerned. That's not to say that these issues are unimportant, but that they pale in comparison to economics.

If you're just starting off on your own journey to think like an "economist," perhaps you might consider its a good thing to have low corporate taxes (because that is where jobs are). Like when I first did experiments and the associated math in quantum mechanics, thinking like an economist has its own counterintuitive to normal everyday life logic one has ponder just a bit before things make sense.


Eliminate the corporate income tax. Completely. If companies reinvest the money into their businesses, that's good. Don't tax companies in an effort to tax rich people.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/1...

As to why labor participation rates are low, consider "thinking like an economist" and you might see it might be due to the fact that technology lessens the demand for those with just "brawn" to offer the market, combined with the fact that with population growth there is a "skills" mis-match.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/are-robots...

It might not feel right that conditions change, but fact is, things in life do change...

Whew! You've thrown a lot of stuff out there, the vast majority of which has absolutely nothing at all to do with public pensions. But I'll address the issues in separate posts, one subject at a time, below.

[edited to add:] Have run out of time today, but will get on this tomorrow. :)

Submitted by phaster on September 19, 2014 - 3:04pm.

CA renter wrote:
phaster wrote:
CA renter wrote:
phaster wrote:

CA renter wrote:
The worst employees tend to leave before benefits vest to any large extent. That doesn't mean that some dead wood isn't hanging around after too many years -- and I absolutely support making it easier to fire truly bad employees.

could not agree more, and think this concept should be extended to entrenched politicians (both on the left and right) because it seem they enable lots of the problems:

http://patrick.net/forum/?p=1247288&c=1114955#comment-1114955

You are totally wrong about politicians and unions being on the same side of the table. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some politicians are labor-friendly, and others have a vitriolic hatred for unions. I have personal experience with contract negotiations, and there is NO truth to your statement that politicians automatically pander to unions.

Unions are no different from any other group that supports politicians who will further their particular interests.

There is a perception (which I happen to share) that public unions have a great deal of control over the careers of their negotiating counterparties (i.e. politicians). Said another way its an old boys club, same as what happens in wall street, where the basic instinct is to protect their own. Bottom line is, politicians and public employees are part of a club, the "public at large" isn't part of.

You most likely have lots of stories you know and want to share about $hit that happens on wall $t, but the same thing happens between public employee union members and politicians.

Recall the before SD made the national news headlines that we had a groper for a mayor (who was forced to resign), there was a similar pervert problem w/in the SDPD. Seem there is an "old boys club" attitude, because the reporter from the "reader" stated:

It was surprising to see the lengths that the City Attorney's office went to try and get this case dismissed.

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/ne...

I have my own sad example when I encountered the "old boys club,", that is kinda how I stumbled onto the issue of public "pensions," basically I followed the money motive trail...

http://TinyURL.com/EnronByTheSea

I have a feeling there is something akin to a watergate type mentality w/ local politician (goldsmith and gloria) who are being sued for wanting to delete eMails from both their personal and official city accounts.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/...

I think these officials are trying to hide public employee sins of the past that have something to do with software that allows building permit fraud and tax dodges possible with properties labeled as "historic"

Jim Mills, a former state senator from San Diego who pushed for the law's creation in 1972, said he is surprised by how the financially strapped city has embraced the program during a time when it has had to close swimming pools, reduce library hours and delay sewer and water projects.

“I have to admit what I had in mind was significant buildings and houses, and I now see houses being covered by the Mills Act that were not what I had in mind,” Mills said.

http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/2008...

Imagine you’re a developer with a pal who handles permits for the city of San Diego. And say you thought the permitting fees were a little too high. Not to worry, your pal says, and he knocks down the price for you.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/03/cit...

Another "moral/ethical" reason if I were king, I would eliminate public employee unions is, because I read they:

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS "hurt the overall interests of the working poor."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...

I'd guessing if there were some kind of public vote, I'd bet a majority of people would have to wonder if the "public employee economic self interest" more often than not is biased inward toward "the old boys club" rather than to the public at large.

CA renter wrote:
Many have defined benefits, and DB plans were the norm a few decades ago...you know, when the middle class and the economy were at their strongest.

Ya don't seem to understand basic cause and effect, like when I pointed out the reason DB pensions came to be associated with so called "middle class" jobs in the USA is because of unique global economic conditions that existed in the 1950's and 60's.

Anyway I'd further argue the big deal made about "middle class" in the USA, was done as part of an "unofficial" cold war hearts and minds propaganda effort directed toward those in the USSR.

For example in high school I was told the USA included adding the words "in god we trust" to the US dollar bill in the late 50's (to show those "godless" communists, we in the west have freedom of religions),

Then there was the "nixon" kitchen debate, to show those "poor" communists, the capitalist economic system can make guns as well as butter....

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/libra...

CA renter wrote:
I don't get distracted by non-economic issues where politics are concerned. That's not to say that these issues are unimportant, but that they pale in comparison to economics.

If you're just starting off on your own journey to think like an "economist," perhaps you might consider its a good thing to have low corporate taxes (because that is where jobs are). Like when I first did experiments and the associated math in quantum mechanics, thinking like an economist has its own counterintuitive to normal everyday life logic one has ponder just a bit before things make sense.


Eliminate the corporate income tax. Completely. If companies reinvest the money into their businesses, that's good. Don't tax companies in an effort to tax rich people.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/1...

As to why labor participation rates are low, consider "thinking like an economist" and you might see it might be due to the fact that technology lessens the demand for those with just "brawn" to offer the market, combined with the fact that with population growth there is a "skills" mis-match.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/are-robots...

It might not feel right that conditions change, but fact is, things in life do change...

Whew! You've thrown a lot of stuff out there, the vast majority of which has absolutely nothing at all to do with public pensions. But I'll address the issues in separate posts, one subject at a time, below.

[edited to add:] Have run out of time today, but will get on this tomorrow. :)

still no answer? or comments from the peanut gallery??

livinincali wrote:

The one benefit of defined benefit contribution plans, retention, isn't worth the risks, the frauds, the vote buying, and everything else it enables. That's the bottom line. The rewards (reduced training costs retention, etc.) don't outweigh the risks and therefore they should be scrapped..

Agree! And after doing some research, seems the best way forward is to follow the example set by the Thrift Saving Plan (a federal government 401K style program, that can't be corrupted/mismanaged like what happend at CalPERS or as what is happening with the SD pension program)

https://www.tsp.gov/investmentfunds/fund...

Getting back to the topic of the economy and how things will be affected locally. After the bubble burst in 2007, the FED response to save the system from total failure because of "swaps," was to buy "the too big to fail" mortgage backed securities from various banks.

Since about 2011 the 1%, people who can qualify for "credit" and the hot Chinese money have driven up RE prices because the money supply has dramatically increased.

The paradox is the money velocity, it is at a record low!

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ser...

With 4 trillion being printed out of thin air in the USA, and 15+ trillion in china, the next economic downturn seems to me will be caused at the local level (when public pension accounting rules change, interest rates reset, etc.). And the FED IMHO being a one trick pony won't have any way to help out??

Actually anyone one else think the geo-political danger for the USA is if the FED further increases the money supply in order to try and kick the LOCAL unfunded public pension issue(s) further down the road?

From what I gather, this will play right into the BRICS plans to create an alternative to the dollar as the default global reserve currency.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-15...

Basically by not getting our LOCAL city/county/state "banana republic" financial house in order, it further accelerates/weakens the position of the USA as an economic/military superpower!

One last thing to ponder, Don’t Blame Shrinking Work Force Participation on Great Recession (according to a FED Paper)

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/09/0...

Submitted by CA renter on September 20, 2014 - 4:28am.

Sorry, phaster. As I had mentioned above, this is a busy time for me, so didn't have the time to give thoughtful responses to your many, varied points. You took the time to write a lengthy post, so I wanted to be sure to give a proper response to your writings.

Your post lists a number of grievances, and each deserves a separate post because the issues are not related.

--------

phaster][quote=CA renter wrote:
phaster wrote:

CA renter wrote:
The worst employees tend to leave before benefits vest to any large extent. That doesn't mean that some dead wood isn't hanging around after too many years -- and I absolutely support making it easier to fire truly bad employees.

could not agree more, and think this concept should be extended to entrenched politicians (both on the left and right) because it seem they enable lots of the problems:

http://patrick.net/forum/?p=1247288&c=1114955#comment-1114955

This link addresses how to report slumlords or illegal construction. It does not say anything about "entrenched politicians," nor does it show any kind of a link between politicians and slumlords or illegal construction.

Having read your piece on the construction of the garage, I'll assume that you're suggesting some sort of link between what you describe as "entrenched politicians" and the construction of a detached garage on private property that you seen to take issue with because it (presumably) has caused some sort of backup in the sewer lines of neighboring properties.

You then go on to talk about the Mills Act (totally unrelated to the other construction/building issues), and I think BG explained things quite well in her above post. There is nothing "fraudulent" about the Mills Act. And if you think it was "sold" to the public in a deceitful way, then you certainly must think that Prop 13 is fraud on a grand scale, since it was sold as "a way to keep granny from being taxed out of her own home."

phaster wrote:
I have my own sad example when I encountered the "old boys club,", that is kinda how I stumbled onto the issue of public "pensions," basically I followed the money motive trail...

http://TinyURL.com/EnronByTheSea

I have a feeling there is something akin to a watergate type mentality w/ local politician (goldsmith and gloria) who are being sued for wanting to delete eMails from both their personal and official city accounts.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/...

I think these officials are trying to hide public employee sins of the past that have something to do with software that allows building permit fraud and tax dodges possible with properties labeled as "historic"

Jim Mills, a former state senator from San Diego who pushed for the law's creation in 1972, said he is surprised by how the financially strapped city has embraced the program during a time when it has had to close swimming pools, reduce library hours and delay sewer and water projects.

“I have to admit what I had in mind was significant buildings and houses, and I now see houses being covered by the Mills Act that were not what I had in mind,” Mills said.

http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/2008...

Imagine you’re a developer with a pal who handles permits for the city of San Diego. And say you thought the permitting fees were a little too high. Not to worry, your pal says, and he knocks down the price for you.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/03/cit...

I've actually taken the time to read most/all of the information you've provided in your links and timeline. I'm not sure that any actual fraud was committed, though. It looks like the new garage was indeed a replacement for an older garage, even if the older garage was torn down in ~1991. The easement for the sewer lateral was recorded in 1929, so the original garage existed over the sewer easement. As for the setback requirements, I think there might be a typo, because it gives the setback requirements in yards instead of feet. There is no way that a 10 yard setback requirement is in place for garages in the front of the home. The lots simply wouldn't allow for that. If the setback requirements are in feet, which would make far more sense, then the setback requirement for the new garage would be 1', if I'm reading that right.

If you look at neighboring lots, they all look as though the garages are placed at the lot lines, so the original garage probably existed at the very edge of the lot, right about where the current garage is located.

As for the owner increasing the footprint of the garage, that is noted on the drawing used for the permit.

You'll also note that the garage failed to pass inspection on a number of occasions because of foundation issues. It's also noted that they did not see the sewer line during the inspection.

All that being said, there are going to be situations when the building department will try to work with owners/builders to facilitate a project, and they might allow a variance if they believe it won't cause any problems. People apply for, and get, zoning variances all the time. There is nothing fraudulent about it. The other option would be to make everything so incredibly rigid that nothing gets done. California and its cities have some of the most stringent building codes in the country.

If you're one of the plaintiffs in this case, have you tried to talk to the owners of this house to see if they would pay to have the sewer laterals re-routed so that they don't run under the garage? What sort of remedies have you worked on, other than trying to get them to tear down their permitted garage that they've had built on private property?

While I certainly understand your frustration, it doesn't mean that there is any fraud, and it certainly doesn't lead to some hidden conspiracy regarding unions or public pensions. There is no "old boys' club" that I can see in this particular story.

----------------------

Your assertion that Jan Goldsmith and Todd Gloria and wanted to delete public and private emails isn't true, at least not from what I've read. The issue in this case is whether or not personal, private emails are subject to FOIA requests.

The likely issue here is whether or not Goldsmith was feeding the media "news" regarding Filner. He's also said to have spent a significant amount of time campaigning for the likes of Mitt Romney, or pushing the agenda of certain well-connected folks from within *private industry* during working hours. Things of that nature are what people want to learn more about.

From your link:

Briggs, who filed the cases against Goldsmith and Gloria, claimed in court papers that Goldsmith is wasting taxpayer money by giving the council bad advice on public records matters, and “he is actively and purposefully spending a substantial amount of his time during official business hours communicating with the media.”

Briggs asked a judge to order Goldsmith to stop doing these things, and to pay back the city for “the illegal waste that he has committed.”

Early this year, Briggs filed a request for “any and all emails” from Goldsmith’s personal account between 2008 and 2013 “that pertain in any way to the official business of the City of San Diego.”

The city responded 10 days later, saying it had no responsive records.

“As you likely are aware, the email address … is not a city email address, nor does the city have access to such an individual’s personal email account,” the response said.

Briggs said the city subsequently identified about 2,500 emails to or from Goldsmith’s personal account — and turned over about 1,000 of those — that could be construed as public records.

More may be released as the records are vetted for privacy concerns, although city officials do not concede that state law requires them to do so.

The issue of public officials using personal email to conduct public business has vexed local governments across the state, which has no specific rules governing their release.

In June, the state Supreme Court said it would review a case in San Jose, in which officials declined to release personal emails to and from the mayor and council members regarding city business.

A lower court found that the city could not be expected to release emails that were not in its possession.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/...

------------------

And that KPBS link regarding the software that would allow for "fraudulent" transactions? NO FRAUD WAS FOUND. The issue here is that the auditors thought some employees had access to certain modules in the software that they shouldn't necessarily have access to. It's like people in sales having access to the accounting modules. The apparent reason for this is that the building/planning department is understaffed, and people are trained to do more than one thing when necessary. It also looks like they are working on fixing this.

"Luna recommends 13 changes to the Development Services Department including restructuring its management to create greater internal controls, separating employees’ responsibilities so they can’t access as much of the computer system and documenting more changes to individual permits. He attributed much of the failures to inefficient staffing, high workloads, limited supervision and deficiencies with the computer system itself.

Department head Kelly Broughton disputed almost all of Luna’s findings, contending that his auditors didn’t understand how the computer system worked and that its internal controls were strong.

The department, Broughton said in its official response, “follows appropriate access protocols; and documents and records changes in the system appropriately. We believe the authorities currently granted to employees are appropriate and proper.”'

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/03/cit...

Submitted by CA renter on September 20, 2014 - 4:59am.

phaster wrote:

You most likely have lots of stories you know and want to share about $hit that happens on wall $t, but the same thing happens between public employee union members and politicians.

Recall the before SD made the national news headlines that we had a groper for a mayor (who was forced to resign), there was a similar pervert problem w/in the SDPD. Seem there is an "old boys club" attitude, because the reporter from the "reader" stated:

It was surprising to see the lengths that the City Attorney's office went to try and get this case dismissed.

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/ne...

I've mentioned many times that there are multiple entities who will attempt to use politicians to get what they want. From unions, to RE developers, to private govt contractors, to special interest groups of various sorts, to "taxpayer advocates," to retired citizens with too much time on their hands who want the city/state/country to look or feel a particular way, to corporations looking for tax credits or special infrastructure, etc., etc. (The fact that all of the attention has been focused on labor will be addressed in a different post.)

Filner was an elected official who had a definite problem with women. No excuse for that. And he's gone.

The cop with the groping problem is also gone...in jail. Nobody with any brains or morals will try to justify his behavior. The reason the city had to defend him (and look into the character of the main victim/witness) was because the city is on the hook if he's convicted. So far, they've had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to at least one victim. This is why public agencies screen their potential employees so thoroughly (and, yes, some bad ones will still manage to slip through the cracks). It's why they don't want to lose the good ones. A public agency is viewed as a very deep pocket. People often file fraudulent lawsuits against public employers, so every accusation has to be investigated thoroughly.

This isn't so much about the "old boys' club" as it is about liability...though it does look like the PD had him return to work when he absolutely should not have been working, and that's a problem...but then, people would be complaining that he was being "paid not to work" while he was being investigated.

http://www.10news.com/news/judge-overtur...

Submitted by CA renter on September 20, 2014 - 6:28am.

phaster wrote:
CA renter wrote:

You are totally wrong about politicians and unions being on the same side of the table. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some politicians are labor-friendly, and others have a vitriolic hatred for unions. I have personal experience with contract negotiations, and there is NO truth to your statement that politicians automatically pander to unions.

Unions are no different from any other group that supports politicians who will further their particular interests.

There is a perception (which I happen to share) that public unions have a great deal of control over the careers of their negotiating counterparties (i.e. politicians). Said another way its an old boys club, same as what happens in wall street, where the basic instinct is to protect their own. Bottom line is, politicians and public employees are part of a club, the "public at large" isn't part of.

...

Another "moral/ethical" reason if I were king, I would eliminate public employee unions is, because I read they:

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS "hurt the overall interests of the working poor."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...

I'd guessing if there were some kind of public vote, I'd bet a majority of people would have to wonder if the "public employee economic self interest" more often than not is biased inward toward "the old boys club" rather than to the public at large.

Yes, I'm sure you do have that perception, and it's no accident that you do. It's been fed to you by the Privatization Movement. These are people/entities who benefit from the government far more than any union employees do, and they will not be satisfied until they own and control public finances and all of the commons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons

The ONLY thing standing in their way? Public employee unions.

Once again, politicians and public employees are NOT "on the same side of the table." There is no "club," there is no secret society where public union employees and politicians come together to conspire against "the people." Public unions are no different from any other stakeholder group, as mentioned in my post, above. They have no more control or power than those other groups. The ONLY thing any of them can do is donate to a candidate's campaign, or endorse a candidate, or help pound signs, etc. Every single person has that same power, either as a group (for those of "normal" means..."immigration reform" advocates, Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Realtors, etc., etc.) or as a single, wealthy individual (Bill Gates, George Soros, David Koch, etc.).

And you've offered up a perfect example of the Privatization Movement's propaganda, right there in your very own post. That totally ridiculous "Daily Beast" article, apparently telling "progressives" that they need to encourage an artificial divide between public and private workers, was written by Dmitri Mehlhorn, the venture capitalist "free market" thinker who is going to lecture progressives about how to think and act in ways that will further destroy labor. Who is Dmitri Mehlhorn?

"As a political activist, Dmitri has co-founded several groups focused on market-friendly advocacy. In 2003, he co-founded Hope Street Group, a 501c3 national nonprofit focused on centrist innovation in healthcare and education. In 2010, with former Washington DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Mehlhorn co-founded and served as COO of StudentsFirst, a 501c4 focused on K-12 educational performance. In 2011, Mehlhorn founded and chaired the Great New England Public School Alliance, a group funded by Michael Bloomberg and focused on electoral advocacy in New England. Mehlhorn has also served on the boards of other market-oriented groups, and has written about market-friendly progressive solutions in housing, antitrust, technology, and economics, with publications in journals such as the Fordham Law Review and the San Diego Union Tribune."

Here's a thread where we had discussed Michelle Rhee's qualifications and successes (if one can call them that).

http://piggington.com/ut_opinion_article...

She's stepped down as head of Students First.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysoc...

This is an excellent blog if you want to learn more about the Privatization Movement in education (it's a HUGE deal):

http://dianeravitch.net/category/student...

The Privatization Movement at work in San Diego:

http://piggington.com/ot_public_employee...

And my all-time favorite post from paramount where he tried to claim that some poor, little ol' teacher was taking on the big, bad unions (see who was hiding behind the curtains):

http://piggington.com/ot_california_teac...

Submitted by CA renter on September 20, 2014 - 1:54pm.

Here's another post about "pension reform" advocates.

The link from paramount's original post no longer works, but I've found another source with the same article.

http://www.modbee.com/2011/11/03/1931321...

CA renter wrote:
paramount wrote:
Let's not be distracted by those who inordinately benefit from our inordinate taxes, let's get it on the ballot:

(It's gaining momentum)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/11/02/2254976/california-pension-reform-group.html

Dumbasses... They're spending lots of money when the governor's proposed the very same thing already.

Let's see who's behind this anti-union propaganda, shall we?

-------------------------------
Pension Reform President Dan Pellissier said the group is now trying to raise the millions needed to gather signatures and eventually mount a campaign against well-funded public employee unions.

Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/11/...

"Some recipients of BP tickets are playing key roles in crafting the climate law's landmark environmental policies... It also gave Kings tickets to Dan Pellissier, then the deputy secretary for energy policy at the state environmental protection agency; Pellissier is now a deputy cabinet secretary advising Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on energy and environmental policy."

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/07/...
........

"John D. Arnold, a former Enron Corp. trader in Texas who became a billionaire by buying and selling natural gas, is bankrolling a group supporting changes to limit California’s pension-fund obligations.

Arnold, who formed hedge fund Centaurus Advisors LLC in Houston after leaving Enron, started a foundation that Meredith Simonton, a spokeswoman, said has given $150,000 to the California group.

The organization set up by Arnold and his wife, Laura, a lawyer, plans to be involved in pension-overhaul efforts around the U.S., Simonton said by telephone from Houston. State and local governments confront “massive financial distress” from the gap between assets and promised benefits, she said.

Their foundation, like the one run by Fritz, is restricted from political activities as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization under U.S. law.

“I can’t say, ‘Go for this’” proposal because of that tax status, Fritz said Aug. 8. In promoting a bipartisan legislative approach, she said, “I’m looking to avoid the fights we’ve seen in Wisconsin and New Jersey.”

Her organization and the one backing the ballot measure are opposed by a union group called Californians for Retirement Security. Steve Maviglio, a spokesman, has sought to compel Fritz to disclose her foundation’s financial backers.

“Clearly, transparency is an issue,” Maviglio said by telephone last week. “Voters deserve to know who’s paying for their propaganda.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-12...

[Hmmm...I'm seeing an "energy industry" relationship here. How about you, paramount? Still think it's about "pension reform," or have your eyes been opened to the true nature of the attacks on unions (privatization of public assets and revenue streams). Follow the money... KNOW **WHO** IS BEHIND THE ATTACKS ON UNION WORKERS AND KNOW **WHY** THEY ARE DOING IT. -CAR]
------------------------------------

Pellissier said the plan has united several leading pension reform advocates, including former California Republican Party Chairman Duf Sundheim and former GOP Assemblyman Roger Niello.

So far the group has spent about $250,000 on polling and legal help to write the proposals. The largest chunk of that money came from billionaire John D. Arnold, a former Enron Corp. trader who became wealthy buying and selling natural gas for the now-defunct energy firm.

Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/11/...

......

"Duf Sundheim has been active in Republican Party politics for over 30 years beginning with his service as a page in the Illinois State Legislature at age 18 and working in the trenches as a campaign advance staffer for the Illinois Republican U.S. Senate candidate in 1974. Duf also had a record setting term as Chairman of the Lincoln Club of Northern California."

"Mr. Sundheim was Chairman (2003-06) of the California Republican Party during one of the most critical times in its history. Shortly after Mr. Sundheim was elected in 2003, California had its first recall of a sitting Governor and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor. Mr. Sundheim's election itself was historic, as it marked the first time in 38 years the seating Vice Chairman had not been elected Chair. In February of 2005, Mr. Sundheim became the first Chairman in the history of the CRP to be re-elected to a consecutive term. In three years, with the active support of Governor Schwarzenegger, the CRP has raised over $100 million dollars, an unprecedented figure."

[Friends in high places? -CAR]

http://igs.berkeley.edu/people/nac/sundh...

.....

"The head of an upstart group that aims to recruit California Republicans to run for statewide offices earned $900,000 in salary and benefits in the 2007-2008 election cycle, angering some Republicans who wondered Monday if the cash is being well-spent.

Duf Sundheim, former California Republican Party chairman, collected the money while launching California Republicans Aligned for Tomorrow, according to reports that the 527 political group has filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The group was officially made public in 2008, though Sundheim said he started working on the GOP candidate development and recruitment efforts in 2007.

It was backed with $100,000 pledges from more than a dozen major supporters of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, including businessmen Lawrence Dodge and Paul Folino. Over the two-year period, the group raised $1.4 million and paid much of it to Sundheim.

Details of Sundheim's pay package, including salary, medical and automobile expenses that topped $43,000 a month, were first discussed on Republican blogs over the weekend.

[Holy cow! THIS is the guy criticizing public employees' compensation????? Gee, I wonder which "bought politicians" these guys are trying to get elected. I'll go out on a limb and guess that they have nothing to do with "taxpayer advocacy." -CAR]

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/03/03/63...

.................

[Uh-oh. Looky here at what Mr. Lawrence Dodge has been up to. -CAR]

"A federal agency has concluded former bank president and co-CEO Lawrence Dodge violated the law, breached his fiduciary duties, engaged in unsound business practices and filed false and misleading reports, including claims of proceeds from a $2 million loan to the California Republican Party that did not exist.

At different times, American Sterling claimed to OTS the bank was "well-funded" or "adequately funded." This was based on Dodge telling his board of directors that the bank received contributions from loan proceeds from $2 million his parent company gave to the California Republican Party and $400,000 to Millennium Gate Receivable, a real-estate investment.

[Why is a MO banker interested in California's pensions? There's a lot more to this story, but don't want to make a long post even longer. Do your research. -CAR]

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/20...
..........

[More stuff about Lawrence Dodge. Apparently, he thinks public employees make too much, but is "donating" millions (and then not paying for it, though claiming credit for it) in order to get buildings named after himself. -CAR]

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/20...
.............

And Roger Niello:

"In addition, Assemblyman Niello’s legislation to authorize the state to participate in Public Private Partnerships for infrastructure projects provided a template for the language in the most recent budget agreement.

Additionally, Assemblyman Niello has introduced legislation to bring about innovative reforms to our method of contracting public infrastructure..."

[Anytime I hear about "Public-Private Partnerships," I think "fraud and corruption." But, that's just me... -CAR]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Niello

"The formation of a 527 is curious, too.

[A]fter all, there’s nothing stopping the California Republican Party or the New Majority Political Action Committee, of which Dodge and Folino are board members, from building a farm team of prospective statewide candidates.

But a 527 is a federal entity and not subject to California campaign contribution or spending restrictions, although it must disclose its donors and expenses. (Click here to look up CRAFT’s filings on the IRS web site.)

Dodge, Folino and the New Majority PAC are among those who donated $100,000 each, along with William Lyon of Lyon Homes, the San Diego Chargers and Baron Real Estate CEO William Bloomfield Jr.

As CRAFT’s CEO, Sundheim earned $20,833 in each of the first three months of 2008 plus expenses, according to the filing."

http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2008/04/...

....................

Looks like real estate and fiance people like CRAFT.

http://forms.irs.gov/politicalOrgsSearch...
..................

"We're taking it one step at a time," Pellissier said, noting that former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has agreed to raise money for the effort.

Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/11/...

So, we have finance, energy, and real estate being pretty heavily represented here. Any of those helped you (or any other taxpayers) out lately, paramount?

http://piggington.com/gov_brown_proposes...

Submitted by harvey on September 20, 2014 - 2:30pm.

CA renter wrote:
Here's another post about "pension reform" advocates.

The link from paramount's original post no longer works, but I've found another source with the same article.

...

Wow - spending a nice Saturday afternoon recycling old posts from old arguments.

While you are digging through old threads, why not come up with an example where I said that public sector compensation should be lower? Now would be a good time to prove your claim from earlier in this thread (September 8, 2014 - 6:39pm, to be precise.)

Just one example of these "ad nauseum" posts you describe should be trivial to find.

Unless, of course, you were not telling the truth, making stuff up, you know ... lying.

Enjoy your weekend!

Submitted by CA renter on September 21, 2014 - 3:20am.

Well, since the same subject was brought up again -- by someone who appears to be a new poster -- it would be logical to link to threads where the topic was already discussed, no?

--------------

Have you not said that public employees should be converted from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans? And have you not suggested that the up-front contribution amounts should remain the same? Are you actually claiming that the two are of equal value?

http://neatoday.org/2012/03/23/why-a-401...

The only liar around here is you, pri. Crawl back into your hole, troll.

Submitted by phaster on September 22, 2014 - 8:44am.

CA renter wrote:

And that KPBS link regarding the software that would allow for "fraudulent" transactions? NO FRAUD WAS FOUND. The issue here is that the auditors thought some employees had access to certain modules in the software that they shouldn't necessarily have access to. It's like people in sales having access to the accounting modules. The apparent reason for this is that the building/planning department is understaffed, and people are trained to do more than one thing when necessary. It also looks like they are working on fixing this.

"Luna recommends 13 changes to the Development Services Department including restructuring its management to create greater internal controls, separating employees’ responsibilities so they can’t access as much of the computer system and documenting more changes to individual permits. He attributed much of the failures to inefficient staffing, high workloads, limited supervision and deficiencies with the computer system itself.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/03/citys-development-system-major-fraud-risk-says-aud/

What's the old saying "where there smoke there is fire"

In general, people don't like bad news so they don't dig for it. Then there is tendency of people not wanting to admit anything thing is wrong (if they missed something the first time around), so if the root cause of a problem is not fully understood, it can't be fixed!

IMHO TPTB are in denial (much like an individual who has a substance abuse problem), unfortunately for me I inherited an issue that required me to try and figure out the root cause of a bad news problem.

If ya first look at the MLS for the property (which was sold in 2006), it shows no structure (because it was torn down after a homicide investigation back in 1988), therefore the plans submitted to the city for a permit that show a "termite infested detached garage" to be replaced is a fraudulent statement!

Given all the historical documents (like a 1929 documents showing an easement, along with city maps indicating utilities in place), news reports that the the city has software that allows fraud and the statement from an eMail dated 9/23

"In addition, based on preparation of a thorough historical report on our property to apply for a historical designation of the residence, no existence of any sewer line or associated easement was noted on any of the historical documents/maps we researched."

there as you can see, lots of "interesting" questions one can ask about the "integrity" of the building permit process, along with questions about "historical property" designations.

Being god fearing and honest all their lives, the last thing my parents wanted to do was be an accessory to insurance fraud (because an offer was given to fix the mess from the builders/owner of the construction project)

Because there were lots of questions/concerns my parents parents "informally" worked their way up the chain of command to eventually goldsmith and gloria, asking for an investigation.

So after my parents died, I inherited the whole damn mess which legally put me between a rock and a hard place.

The city IMHO basically swept the whole problem under the carpet, because after the scandal allowing a skyscraper (the sun road building) to be built too tall next to an airport (as per FAA regulations) to fix the software that won't allow fraud has a pretty high price tag (financially and politically), then there is the tricky question what about all those tax credits based on "historical property" status.

Trying to do the right thing, cost me well into six figures of legal and repair costs (basically had to cave in because it was my only survival option after I was sued for "quiet title" )

I've been more financially fortunate than most, having a legacy my parents left me as well as managing to save and invest my own monies, so I can survive a six figure hit. But I've learned the game is rigged, and its not only wall street "greed" that is causing the economy to hurt those in the so called 99%...

I am not a lawyer, but was able to piece together case law "logic" that seems to fit the fact pattern...

"Obtaining Recovery for Property Damage through Inverse Condemnation"
http://www.lacba.org/files/lal/vol33no10...

ARREOLA v. MONTEREY COUNTY
An entity with the power to control a project need not actively participate in it to suffer liability.

BOOKOUT v. STATE OF CALIFORNIA
a five-year statute of limitations applies only where a public entity has physically entered and exercised dominion and control over some portion of the plaintiff's property.

Main body logic...

HARSHBARGER v. CITY OF COLTON
1) there is a mandatory duty for building inspectors to enforce building codes because of public safety concerns
2) an exception to the rule of sovereign immunity is fraudulent inspection

BLAIR v. MAHON
3) failure to speak is a species of fraud

HORWITZ v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES
4) "Just as the city has no discretion to deny a building permit when an applicant has complied with all applicable ordinances, the city has no discretion to issue a permit in the absence of compliance"

Is section 1983 Applicable???

MAXWELL v. COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
5) the court ruled that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity because of the danger creation exception

(9th circuit has addressed the legal standard issue in "danger creation" cases and agrees with the majority view that a heightened level of culpability, i.e., more than mere negligence is required. Specifically, in Grubbs II, the court held a plaintiff must plead and prove "deliberate indifference."

pleadings and briefs are available upon request see:

www.mcnicholaslaw.com/CM/Custom/MSM_PMc-...)

The silver lining, in this whole mess is I have had my eyes opened to looking at issues (like public pensions, etc.) in a whole new light.

Submitted by phaster on September 21, 2014 - 11:49pm.

CA renter wrote:

Yes, I'm sure you do have that perception, and it's no accident that you do. It's been fed to you by the Privatization Movement. These are people/entities who benefit from the government far more than any union employees do, and they will not be satisfied until they own and control public finances and all of the commons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons

The ONLY thing standing in their way? Public employee unions.

Once again, politicians and public employees are NOT "on the same side of the table." There is no "club," there is no secret society where public union employees and politicians come together to conspire against "the people."

The old boys club, as I have used it in an economic context is one of association and "peer" social norms...


"one of our findings is that people’s standards for morality are dramatically influenced by the behavior of people around them and I think that if you have a situation where bankers are friends with bankers and politicians are friends with politicians and they see people in their social circle misbehaving in a dishonest way there is basically a temptation to match that behavior and find a similar behavior, find it socially acceptable, follow up on it and continue behaving this way. And of course, the really sad thing about it is that those things have a propensity for a slippery slope and escalation, which I think is exactly what we’ve seen over the past few years and sadly I have not seen any serious attempt to stop this escalation and even to reset it, but we have to because we are getting into a worse and worse situation over time."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/...

This "economic" explanation could account for why there have been so many lapses in good judgement "locally" (i.e. mayor and SDPD being "exposed" as pervers, pay to play in the south bay "sweetwater," FBI investigation of foreign national to donate to political campaigns, poway billion dollar school bond, the 20 billion WSJ news report about "pension" portfolio management, etc.)

Our outlook on life is based on actual hands on experience and interactions with family/friends. Since I have no "teaching experience" yet have interest in the subject, I enjoy watching documentary news reports/films

Perhaps it is look into the future of schools here in SD/CA in that many students have parents struggling to find a way to make living in a global economy. In addition we have administrators/teachers trying to protect their own position in a system that is not producing "members" of the next economic generation that are a net positive to society.

Dan Rather Reports - A National Disgrace

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xypiZ-hqdY

Sadly another way of looking at the "status quo" problem is the school system is more like prison (where students are the in mates, and administrators/teachers/union members are the guards). Upon graduation/release the students/inmates do not have a "reputable" skill set necessary to thrive in a world with so called free and open markets.

Waiting for superman

"I teach in California in a district where teachers get tenure after 2 years. No portfolios are required, no interview, nothing! You get it simply by fulfilling your time. My school is in a very high poverty area with predominately ELLS. Our kids are behind as it is, and they are stuck with terrible teachers year after year who are protected by a bogus contract and a terrible teachers union that protects it."

which I realize has to be balanced against a$$holes and idiots

The biggest reason teachers need unions is that educational administrators are not always the best and the brightest.

http://blog.stenhouse.com/archives/2011/...

Looking at the overall trend(s) its a downward spiral and personally think it prudent to, brace for impact!!

Submitted by harvey on September 22, 2014 - 7:58am.

CA renter wrote:
Well, since the same subject was brought up again -- by someone who appears to be a new poster -- it would be logical to link to threads where the topic was already discussed, no?

--------------

Have you not said that public employees should be converted from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans? And have you not suggested that the up-front contribution amounts should remain the same? Are you actually claiming that the two are of equal value?

http://neatoday.org/2012/03/23/why-a-401...

The only liar around here is you, pri. Crawl back into your hole, troll.

Your "proof" of something that I said is an article from a public sector lobby?

FAIL

Although everyone here but you gets this, let me spell it out:

- Given the same initial investment, defined benefit and defined contribution plans have the same value. Any (objective) accountant will tell you that.

- The only reason defined contribution could be "worth" more is because there is stupidity or outright shenanigans at play.

- The only difference between the two plans is that one comes with a promise to pay. In the case of public sector pensions, the entire burden of this promise is on the public. Any additional "value" in the plan will be taken from the taxpayer when the bill is due.

The fact that you insist that the same amount of money invested can somehow be magically more valuable because of the "promise" of a guaranteed return betrays your ignorance and your agenda.

Read the title of this thread. The pensions are UNFUNDED. The "additional value" you reference does not exist.

Promises are so much easier to make when someone else has to keep them.

Nevertheless, you have failed to provide any of my posts where I claim that public sector compensation should be lower. Until you do so, it as established fact that you are a liar.

Your credibility is shot (it was years ago) but on keep cutting and pasting...

Submitted by phaster on September 22, 2014 - 8:48am.

harvey wrote:

- The only reason defined contribution could be "worth" more is because there is stupidity or outright shenanigans at play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 2:01am.

harvey wrote:
CA renter wrote:
Well, since the same subject was brought up again -- by someone who appears to be a new poster -- it would be logical to link to threads where the topic was already discussed, no?

--------------

Have you not said that public employees should be converted from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans? And have you not suggested that the up-front contribution amounts should remain the same? Are you actually claiming that the two are of equal value?

http://neatoday.org/2012/03/23/why-a-401...

The only liar around here is you, pri. Crawl back into your hole, troll.

Your "proof" of something that I said is an article from a public sector lobby?

FAIL

Although everyone here but you gets this, let me spell it out:

- Given the same initial investment, defined benefit and defined contribution plans have the same value. Any (objective) accountant will tell you that.

- The only reason defined contribution could be "worth" more is because there is stupidity or outright shenanigans at play.

- The only difference between the two plans is that one comes with a promise to pay. In the case of public sector pensions, the entire burden of this promise is on the public. Any additional "value" in the plan will be taken from the taxpayer when the bill is due.

The fact that you insist that the same amount of money invested can somehow be magically more valuable because of the "promise" of a guaranteed return betrays your ignorance and your agenda.

Read the title of this thread. The pensions are UNFUNDED. The "additional value" you reference does not exist.

Promises are so much easier to make when someone else has to keep them.

Nevertheless, you have failed to provide any of my posts where I claim that public sector compensation should be lower. Until you do so, it as established fact that you are a liar.

Your credibility is shot (it was years ago) but on keep cutting and pasting...

That's correct, a DC plan is far less valuable than a DB plan. You've clearly advocated for reduced compensation for public sector workers. Anyone with at least two brain cells to rub together will tell you this. One of the biggest arguments (including yours) on this site is: "I don't get a DB pension, why should they?" IOW, it is well known that a DB pension plan is more valuable than a DC plan. Of course, most people seem to forget the fact that they DO have a defined benefit plan...it's called Social Security. Funny how so many people don't grasp that fact.

As for the claim that the pension funds are "unfunded," if you can find a pension fund that is unfunded, I'd like to see it. Pension funds can be over-funded, under-funded, or fully-funded. While there might be some anomaly in a red state where the Privatization Movement is trying to make a point by siphoning all the money out of a pension fund, I'm unaware of any "unfunded" pension funds in the real world.

You're also clearly ignorant about the differences between DB and DC pensions. DC plans have higher administrative costs and lower returns; DC plans have access to fewer investment options; DC plans don't pool longevity risk; DC plans have lower contribution limits than DB plans (for employer and employee); and DB plans can remain in higher-yielding and more diversified investments and can better manage the ups and downs of the market over time because they are continuously funded by the contributions of current employees and their employers, and benefits are staggered well into the future (pooled investment risks over time and number of people).

You're also wrong about who bears the risks. As I've already mentioned on the first page of this thread, public employees are *already* taking the hit for the additional contributions to pension funds, not only because of the items I've mentioned there, but because they are taking pay cuts/pay freezes, and losing other benefits because of the additional costs of their pensions. As we speak, they are working on ways to share the costs of the "unfunded liabilities" (the difference between actuarially assumed rates of return and actual returns) with employees if return rates don't make up the difference. Additionally, we can reduce the waste, fraud, and abuse that goes on in the public sector...like building a road or bridge to a well-connected "friend" of a politician. Note the stories posted by phaster to see how the corruption was specifically concentrated around entities in the PRIVATE SECTOR. No unions or boots-on-the-ground public employees were mentioned in the story where millions were diverted to various parties.

But I'd like to hear more about how my credibility was shot. Shot by whom? By you???? By the person who has absolutely no knowledge about, or experience with, the public sector? The person to whom I had to explain how pension formulas worked? The person to whom I had to explain how the benefits were paid, and by which entities? The person who makes personal attacks rather than addressing the actual issues in an intelligent and informed manner? The person who describes cited facts, statistics, studies, etc. as "cut and paste"? That's the person who's "discredited" me? You're a quaint troll.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on September 30, 2014 - 2:25am.

Defined benefits or defined contribution can have the same value. It all depends on the Net present value.

All else being equal, I personally would not mind everything being paid to me in cash up front. Hell, I don't even need health care benefits. Just give me the cash.

What's best for me, however might not be best for the same group of people.

Problem is public employers say x contributions today will pay for y benefits in the future. Then 10 years later, opps we calculated wrong so we need to cut services and raise taxes to contribute more to pensions. Because by law, we cannot cut pensions.

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 3:21am.

FlyerInHi wrote:

Problem is public employers say x contributions today will pay for y benefits in the future. Then 10 years later, opps we calculated wrong so we need to cut services and raise taxes to contribute more to pensions. Because by law, we cannot cut pensions.

Wrong. Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far. Many haven't had a raise in over 6 years...many have had their compensation reduced, some by a large amount. READ what I've posted, above, about how employees are having to contribute more to their pensions...and more increases are on the way.

Sorry, brian, because I don't want to take this out on you, specifically; but it gets very frustrating when I have to keep correcting some incredibly ignorant and uninformed statements, over and over and over, again. This has been going on for years, usually because the same ~2-3 people want to keep attacking public sector employees by spreading the propaganda put out there by the Privatization Movement.

Submitted by harvey on September 30, 2014 - 7:12am.

Quote:
Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far.

It's easy to prove a lie with a counterexample (you should try it sometime.)

Vallejo

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cities-fi...

For nearly 30 years, he was a police officer in the city of Vallejo [...] He was able to retire at 50 with a pension and family health insurance benefits worth a total of a little over $180,000 a year.

Cop retires at 50 with a pension worth millions.

He's not working, but making an income that is easily in the top 5% of the nation.

(BTW: Who was saying up-thread that a police officer retiring at 50 was "bullshit?")

Vallejo's financial situation is desperate, city services were cut by 40%, city is still on verge of bankruptcy. Cost of pensions alone is 30% and rising - yes, thirty percent of the budget pays for people who aren't even working for the city.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/10/pf/valle...

Retired cop in PBS interview did have to take a cut. He now has to pay for his own health insurance. Income was reduced by $769/month, or about 5%.

Cop complains about it, as if it will be a struggle to live on $170K per year. Would rather current employees (and therefore the quality of current services) to take the hit:

"Where I think that they should’ve started to make changes is with the current employees. Those people still have an opportunity to plan for these things in the future."

Yup, kick the can down the road, into the face of the next generation.

Submitted by livinincali on September 30, 2014 - 9:01am.

CA renter wrote:

Wrong. Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far. Many haven't had a raise in over 6 years...many have had their compensation reduced, some by a large amount. READ what I've posted, above, about how employees are having to contribute more to their pensions...and more increases are on the way.

The problem is the total cost of employee isn't what they see in their pay check. San Diego's revenue stream has been pretty flat and just growing with GDP/inflation at best. The problem is that things like healthcare benefits and pension issues are growing at a faster rate so somehow the city has to reduce it's costs. It has done so via pay freezes, laying people off, etc. In some cases the citizens took a hit, your water bill has gone quite a bit over the past 5-6 years correct. In some cases services were reduced. In some cases employee got pay freezes or pay reductions. With all those cuts the pension plan is still underfunded.

Let's say tomorrow we magically get a 10% increase in city revenues. Are we going to use that money to shore up the pension system or give employees raises who haven't had a raise in 6 years. My guess is we'll give raises now and leave the pension system underfunded because that's a problem in the future. That act of giving employees raises makes the pension problem worse because of how most of these defined benefit pension plans work.

These defined benefit plans just don't manage the risks properly. They never have. Most of them are going to fail one way or another.

Look at social security. You contribute 13.6% of your salary. If you make 50K per year and wait until 70 to retire you get 50% of your salary. If you retire at 62 you get about 25% of you salary. If you make $100K per year you get 37% of your salary at 70, at 62 you get 20%. So that's far less of a benefit and even that system is in some trouble.

The problem for the public sector employees is that combined the employee and employer might be putting in 20% max which is more than social security, but the benefit is far higher. Usually something like 60% of your highest salary. Plus you tend to retire earlier. So a social security system that's in a bit of trouble pays like 20-25% of you salary at 62 but the public sector wants to get 60% at 60 or so. It's just not going to work. You might be able to do it but you'd need to contribute 30-35% percent of your compensation or assume unrealistic returns and end up unfunded.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on September 30, 2014 - 10:27am.

CAr, what you say is so irrelevant.

You can calculate an amount today that equates to a stream of future payments. The only reason that pension funds are underfunded is because past and present contributions are too low in relation to future promises.

Depending on the amount, I would theoretically be indifferent between a DB or a DC plan. If they raise my salary enough, I'd be willing to give up any kind of future benefits.

There is a shifting of risk. But you have to pay for the risk.

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 5:13pm.

harvey wrote:
Quote:
Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far.

It's easy to prove a lie with a counterexample (you should try it sometime.)

Vallejo

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cities-fi...

For nearly 30 years, he was a police officer in the city of Vallejo [...] He was able to retire at 50 with a pension and family health insurance benefits worth a total of a little over $180,000 a year.

Cop retires at 50 with a pension worth millions.

He's not working, but making an income that is easily in the top 5% of the nation.

(BTW: Who was saying up-thread that a police officer retiring at 50 was "bullshit?")

Vallejo's financial situation is desperate, city services were cut by 40%, city is still on verge of bankruptcy. Cost of pensions alone is 30% and rising - yes, thirty percent of the budget pays for people who aren't even working for the city.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/10/pf/valle...

Retired cop in PBS interview did have to take a cut. He now has to pay for his own health insurance. Income was reduced by $769/month, or about 5%.

Cop complains about it, as if it will be a struggle to live on $170K per year. Would rather current employees (and therefore the quality of current services) to take the hit:

"Where I think that they should’ve started to make changes is with the current employees. Those people still have an opportunity to plan for these things in the future."

Yup, kick the can down the road, into the face of the next generation.

First, here is my quote. Note how your poor reading comprehension skills have, once again, prevented you from grasping what was written.

CA renter wrote:
harvey wrote:
Wow. Not a hint of compassion in your posts.

There are lot of Macks out there, on the golf courses, in the RV parks and marinas -- yes they're out there. They can be easy to miss -- their youth masks their retiree status -- but they're out there. Victims, all of them.

What about Mack? Who will rescue Mack from Wall Street?

Bullshit. Very few can retire at 50 with full benefits because they'd have to start at 20 to do so.

Now, for why Vallejo has so many financial problems...it's not because of pensions. EVERYBODY has to take a hit, including the retirees, because of problems that were brought on by base closures and the recession (and the bursting of the Fed's bubbles...we're in another one right now). Is is not the public employees' job to take the hit for everyone else. All stakeholders have to share in the pain. From your own PBS link:

"RICK KARR: Gomes had a front row seat on the city council as Vallejo went broke in 2008. The city never recovered from the blow its economy took in 1996, when the Mare Island Naval Shipyard closed there and thousands of residents lost jobs. The additional burden of the recession was too much for the municipal budget. For Gomes, the worst part of the crisis was just before the city filed for bankruptcy."

..........

BTW, how many people have personally lost $769/month in order to fund someone else's pension? Again, your post proves that the public employee is the one taking the largest hit, by far.

I have always said that changes are needed with respect to benefit formulas and retroactive pension increases, especially for those who get retiree healthcare when newer employees do not (benefit parity between older retirees and current employees). And I've long said that contribution rates have to increase, even for employees. They have been increasing, as noted in my comment about PEPRA, and also in my comments about changes in negotiations that result in a net reduction in compensation for public employees (effectively increasing their contribution rates by reducing other pay/benefits to pay for it). They are also working on *legal* legislative changes that would increase direct employee contribution amounts for employees.

Pensions do need to be managed wisely, but ALL aspects of government finance need to be managed wisely, and they are not (again, reference links in phasters last post...and there are many, many more examples of this).

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 4:52pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
CAr, what you say is so irrelevant.

You can calculate an amount today that equates to a stream of future payments. The only reason that pension funds are underfunded is because past and present contributions are too low in relation to future promises.

Depending on the amount, I would theoretically be indifferent between a DB or a DC plan. If they raise my salary enough, I'd be willing to give up any kind of future benefits.

There is a shifting of risk. But you have to pay for the risk.

They do pay for the risk. Most public employees have taken lower pay and other benefits in return for these pensions. Again, contribution rates absolutely do need to go up and, IMHO, benefit formulas need to be reduced (and there are many *fair and legal* ways to do this).

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 6:26pm.

harvey wrote:
Quote:
Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far.

It's easy to prove a lie with a counterexample (you should try it sometime.)

Vallejo

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cities-fi...

For nearly 30 years, he was a police officer in the city of Vallejo [...] He was able to retire at 50 with a pension and family health insurance benefits worth a total of a little over $180,000 a year.

Cop retires at 50 with a pension worth millions.

He's not working, but making an income that is easily in the top 5% of the nation.

(BTW: Who was saying up-thread that a police officer retiring at 50 was "bullshit?")

Vallejo's financial situation is desperate, city services were cut by 40%, city is still on verge of bankruptcy. Cost of pensions alone is 30% and rising - yes, thirty percent of the budget pays for people who aren't even working for the city.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/10/pf/valle...

Retired cop in PBS interview did have to take a cut. He now has to pay for his own health insurance. Income was reduced by $769/month, or about 5%.

Cop complains about it, as if it will be a struggle to live on $170K per year. Would rather current employees (and therefore the quality of current services) to take the hit:

"Where I think that they should’ve started to make changes is with the current employees. Those people still have an opportunity to plan for these things in the future."

Yup, kick the can down the road, into the face of the next generation.

More...

He's not living on $180,000/year. That's the TOTAL cost of his retirement benefits, including the family's healthcare which probably accounts for at least $24,000 of that. Not saying he's living in poverty, but let's be honest about numbers. Let's also not forget that he's probably paying a much higher percentage of income tax than the vast majority of "taxpayers" who are complaining about public sector employees and their pensions.

And current employees are already taking the hit. It is primarily the current and future employees who will take the hits. The only possible way for current retirees to take some kind of a hit is in retiree healthcare because, in most cases, that is not a legally protected benefit. It can be used as a negotiation tool to extract other concessions from current retirees.

Also, the almost 26% (not 30%) of the budget going toward pensions is NOT paying for "people who aren't even working for the city." Again, your ignorance and lack of knowledge about this topic rears its ugly head...not to mention your poor reading comprehension skills (again), as I've explained this to you multiple times over the years. The employer share of pension contributions is paid out as a percentage of their **current employees'** pay. The (almost) 26% number comes from the percentage of the budget that is going toward pension contributions for current employees. Vallejo does not cut retirement benefit checks to their retirees.

But, feel free to keep on "discrediting" me, troll.

Submitted by CA renter on September 30, 2014 - 6:30pm.

livinincali wrote:
CA renter wrote:

Wrong. Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far. Many haven't had a raise in over 6 years...many have had their compensation reduced, some by a large amount. READ what I've posted, above, about how employees are having to contribute more to their pensions...and more increases are on the way.

The problem is the total cost of employee isn't what they see in their pay check. San Diego's revenue stream has been pretty flat and just growing with GDP/inflation at best. The problem is that things like healthcare benefits and pension issues are growing at a faster rate so somehow the city has to reduce it's costs. It has done so via pay freezes, laying people off, etc. In some cases the citizens took a hit, your water bill has gone quite a bit over the past 5-6 years correct. In some cases services were reduced. In some cases employee got pay freezes or pay reductions. With all those cuts the pension plan is still underfunded.

Let's say tomorrow we magically get a 10% increase in city revenues. Are we going to use that money to shore up the pension system or give employees raises who haven't had a raise in 6 years. My guess is we'll give raises now and leave the pension system underfunded because that's a problem in the future. That act of giving employees raises makes the pension problem worse because of how most of these defined benefit pension plans work.

These defined benefit plans just don't manage the risks properly. They never have. Most of them are going to fail one way or another.

Look at social security. You contribute 13.6% of your salary. If you make 50K per year and wait until 70 to retire you get 50% of your salary. If you retire at 62 you get about 25% of you salary. If you make $100K per year you get 37% of your salary at 70, at 62 you get 20%. So that's far less of a benefit and even that system is in some trouble.

The problem for the public sector employees is that combined the employee and employer might be putting in 20% max which is more than social security, but the benefit is far higher. Usually something like 60% of your highest salary. Plus you tend to retire earlier. So a social security system that's in a bit of trouble pays like 20-25% of you salary at 62 but the public sector wants to get 60% at 60 or so. It's just not going to work. You might be able to do it but you'd need to contribute 30-35% percent of your compensation or assume unrealistic returns and end up unfunded.

Healthcare costs need to come down dramatically, for everyone. We're paying higher costs than anyone else in the developed world for the same, or poorer, care. I've always been a staunch supporter of single-payer healthcare, which all the research shows is capable of delivering better care for less money.

Actually, the combined contributions from employees and employers is usually quite a bit higher than 20%, usually by around 50% (it varies from one agency to another, depending on all of the usual investment and benefit factors). And I've also said that public employees will probably see a 25-35% cut in compensation when all is said and done in order to fund the pensions with higher benefits. IMO, in the future, they will be offered a series of benefit options, matched with respectively higher contribution amounts for the more generous benefit packages. Retirement ages have already been increased, too.

I also agree that raises should not be given until the pension issues are resolved. As you've noted, increasing their pay will make the pension problem worse.

Essentially, we're in agreement about this.

Submitted by EconProf on September 30, 2014 - 7:13pm.

This thread has had a lot of back and forth about little details about public employee pensions. But there are several well-established realities that all sides ought to agree on which point to a grossly unfair system that will only get worse.
It is well known that public sector employees have total compensation that far exceeds similar positions in the private sector. Remember that total compensation includes ALL fringe benefits: medical, retirement, vacation days off, etc., plus the smaller likelihood for getting fired for poor performance. And fire and police personnel are good at gaming the system to enhance their benefits with pseudo disability claims, racking up overtime in their final year, etc. Those same public safety workers have convinced the public that their jobs are dangerous, even though the mortality rates for a host of other occupations are far greater. Construction workers, fishermen, farmers, taxi-drivers, convenience store clerks face far more danger and higher on-the-job deaths. And on top of it all, the latter workers retire in their 60's in order to pay taxes to support the public safety workers retiring in their 50's.
Let's remember these obvious realities and not get so bogged down in little details. Government pension expenses in cities, counties, and states are exploding and squeezing out other needed government goods and services.

Submitted by CA renter on October 1, 2014 - 3:01am.

EconProf wrote:
This thread has had a lot of back and forth about little details about public employee pensions. But there are several well-established realities that all sides ought to agree on which point to a grossly unfair system that will only get worse.
It is well known that public sector employees have total compensation that far exceeds similar positions in the private sector. Remember that total compensation includes ALL fringe benefits: medical, retirement, vacation days off, etc., plus the smaller likelihood for getting fired for poor performance. And fire and police personnel are good at gaming the system to enhance their benefits with pseudo disability claims, racking up overtime in their final year, etc. Those same public safety workers have convinced the public that their jobs are dangerous, even though the mortality rates for a host of other occupations are far greater. Construction workers, fishermen, farmers, taxi-drivers, convenience store clerks face far more danger and higher on-the-job deaths. And on top of it all, the latter workers retire in their 60's in order to pay taxes to support the public safety workers retiring in their 50's.
Let's remember these obvious realities and not get so bogged down in little details. Government pension expenses in cities, counties, and states are exploding and squeezing out other needed government goods and services.

Econprof, are you really an economics professor? After all of the false statements you've made in various threads -- teachers don't like unions, privatization saves money, etc., etc. -- I have to question this. You simply spout right-wing propaganda, and when asked for any kind of data to back up your points, you disappear. It's happened on numerous occasions.

As for your claim that public sector employees have total compensation that far exceeds similar positions in the private sector, we've already covered that, too.

CA renter wrote:
ocrenter wrote:
CA renter wrote:
ocrenter wrote:
sdrealtor wrote:
But if you perform below average you should fall behind. Its the private sectors way of showing you where the door is without getting sued.

ultimately that's the downfall of the public sector. the pay increases are all set in stone, regardless of performance.

I'm pretty familiar with a number of public employers and their compensation numbers. Of the ones I'm familiar with, almost all have had their compensation frozen or seen net decreases in total compensation since about 2008. No net raises in the vast majority of cases. Their compensation has gone down in real terms, and in many cases, in nominal terms.

But that's looking at a short term deviation from the norm secondary to budgetary crisis at all levels of government. Overall, the government employees are significantly overpaid.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf

Where does it say that?

From your link, on page 4:

"Comparing private and public sector data
Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in
private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work
activities and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of
private industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Professional and
administrative support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local
government workforce, compared with one-half of private industry."

------------------

Here are some articles and studies regarding compensation in the public vs. private sectors:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/201...

And this more "mixed" analysis from the Reason Foundation -- hardly a "liberal" or "pro-union" organization:

http://reason.org/news/show/public-secto...

And from Mother Jones (to get all sides in here), another "mixed" bag:

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/0...

------------------

One comment I have to make about the higher pay for the jobs with fewer degree requirements -- many of which are public safety jobs -- there are no similar jobs in the private sector with which to compare them.

Not only that, but they mention the much lower turnover rate in many public sectors jobs; this is very important to public employers. The (necessarily) bureaucratic hiring process and extensive initial, and ongoing, training required for these employees is VERY expensive. They cannot afford to have high turnover rates. IMHO, even if they were to go to defined contribution plans (as many suggest), I don't think they'd end up saving very much (anything?) in the long run. One of the main reasons people are attracted to these jobs is the benefits packages. Take that away, and the turnover rates -- and related costs -- would be much, much higher.

http://piggington.com/2012_edition_what0...

Here's another study regarding public vs private sector compensation:

http://www.politifact.com/texas/statemen...

------------

And your claim that public safety workers "game the system" to enhance retirement benefits? While some do (mostly state employees), most cannot. Overtime is NOT calculated in pension benefit formulas for many (most?) municipal employees. New employees are specifically prohibited from using OT to "spike" pensions (and I think it should apply across the board).

"Also specifically excludes certain types of pay from being
reported as pensionable compensation, including, bonuses, overtime, pay for additional
services outside normal working hours, cash payouts for unused leave (vacation, annual,
sick leave, CTO, etc.,), and severance pay, among others."

http://www.calpers.ca.gov/eip-docs/emplo...

-----

And those public safety workers are not just being paid because of the dangerous nature of their jobs (and they are dangerous; cops are in the top 10, firefighters in the top 15), they are also being paid for the skill set and responsibilities (HUGE liabilities...witness the Ferguson issue...where a split-second decision can easily change the rest of your life) inherent with those jobs.

Most dangerous jobs:

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/11/12/...

Submitted by EconProf on October 1, 2014 - 7:12am.

To answer your question--I taught economics for 18 years at SDSU and have since kept up with the research and published nationally.
CAR, please tell us Piggs what you and your spouse do for a living.

Submitted by harvey on October 1, 2014 - 7:47am.

CA renter wrote:
Wrong. Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far.

Unbelievable that anyone could make this claim, which is absolutely false.

You contradict it in the very next post!

Quote:
EVERYBODY has to take a hit

And this one perfectly illustrates your grasp of the situation:

Quote:
He's not living on $180,000/year. That's the TOTAL cost of his retirement benefits, including the family's healthcare which probably accounts for at least $24,000 of that. Not saying he's living in poverty, but let's be honest about numbers. Let's also not forget that he's probably paying a much higher percentage of income tax than the vast majority of "taxpayers" who are complaining about public sector employees and their pensions.

So, being "honest about numbers:"

- It's not all cash - part of it is $2000/month in healthcare benefits.

- And the poor guy makes so much money, it puts him in a high tax bracket.

When a city has to cut services while the taxpayers still pay the same, your only concern is for the "employees" that have to "take a hit." When the people who are paying for services get substantially less police protection, fewer ambulances and paramedics, more crowded schools and crumbling infrastructure, you direct your outrage toward the notion that public employees might actually have to fund their own retirements.

The selfishness and complete disregard for the public you supposedly serve says a lot about your character.

Submitted by livinincali on October 1, 2014 - 8:00am.

CA renter wrote:

And your claim that public safety workers "game the system" to enhance retirement benefits? While some do (mostly state employees), most cannot. Overtime is NOT calculated in pension benefit formulas for many (most?) municipal employees. New employees are specifically prohibited from using OT to "spike" pensions (and I think it should apply across the board).

I worked on a project for RISK management about 12 years ago, which is the San Diego's self funded disability insurance office. What firefighter and cops did at retirement was pretty bad. That was more a case of disability fraud, where if you retire under disability 50% of you pension income is tax free. But there were crazy things in the payroll system. People claiming to work more than 24 hours in a day. People claiming light duty (aka a disability claim) and regular duty in the same day. People like to game the system unfortunately, and defined benefit contribution plans like the ones that are currently designed encourage that unethical but possibly legal behavior.

Submitted by CA renter on October 1, 2014 - 3:23pm.

livinincali wrote:
CA renter wrote:

And your claim that public safety workers "game the system" to enhance retirement benefits? While some do (mostly state employees), most cannot. Overtime is NOT calculated in pension benefit formulas for many (most?) municipal employees. New employees are specifically prohibited from using OT to "spike" pensions (and I think it should apply across the board).

I worked on a project for RISK management about 12 years ago, which is the San Diego's self funded disability insurance office. What firefighter and cops did at retirement was pretty bad. That was more a case of disability fraud, where if you retire under disability 50% of you pension income is tax free. But there were crazy things in the payroll system. People claiming to work more than 24 hours in a day. People claiming light duty (aka a disability claim) and regular duty in the same day. People like to game the system unfortunately, and defined benefit contribution plans like the ones that are currently designed encourage that unethical but possibly legal behavior.

I agree with you on the disability stuff. While most are legitimate claims, I think that some people do stretch things in order to qualify for this. IMO, the 50% tax-free income should not be allowed, especially if the person gets retiree healthcare...so their healthcare costs are covered, witch would be the only legitimate reason for this tax-free status if they had to pay for their own healthcare costs in retirement.

The other issues might have been a problem with the record-keeping system. I know for a fact that the system can sometimes double-count shifts when the employee enters a different code for a shift; it's not intentional in the cases that I'm aware of. It should be audited on an ongoing basis (and it usually is) to make sure this doesn't happen.

Submitted by CA renter on October 1, 2014 - 3:27pm.

harvey wrote:
CA renter wrote:
Wrong. Public employees are the only ones to take a hit, so far.

Unbelievable that anyone could make this claim, which is absolutely false.

You contradict it in the very next post!

Quote:
EVERYBODY has to take a hit

And this one perfectly illustrates your grasp of the situation:

Quote:
He's not living on $180,000/year. That's the TOTAL cost of his retirement benefits, including the family's healthcare which probably accounts for at least $24,000 of that. Not saying he's living in poverty, but let's be honest about numbers. Let's also not forget that he's probably paying a much higher percentage of income tax than the vast majority of "taxpayers" who are complaining about public sector employees and their pensions.

So, being "honest about numbers:"

- It's not all cash - part of it is $2000/month in healthcare benefits.

- And the poor guy makes so much money, it puts him in a high tax bracket.

When a city has to cut services while the taxpayers still pay the same, your only concern is for the "employees" that have to "take a hit." When the people who are paying for services get substantially less police protection, fewer ambulances and paramedics, more crowded schools and crumbling infrastructure, you direct your outrage toward the notion that public employees might actually have to fund their own retirements.

The selfishness and complete disregard for the public you supposedly serve says a lot about your character.

There you go with your reading comprehension problems again, troll. The first statement is about what IS happening. The second statement is about what should be happening. The problems were not caused by public employees, so they should not be the only ones to take the hit. ALL STAKEHOLDERS need to take the hit. Get it?

Your disregard for the people who do the actual work is disgusting. You advocate for investors (like landlords and other non-resident property owners who benefit from Prop 13, and high-frequency traders, to name a couple); I advocate for the people who make the world go 'round -- the workers.

Submitted by CA renter on October 1, 2014 - 3:33pm.

EconProf wrote:
To answer your question--I taught economics for 18 years at SDSU and have since kept up with the research and published nationally.
CAR, please tell us Piggs what you and your spouse do for a living.

Then why are you so inclined to just spout propaganda without ever using data and research to back up your claims? Why do you disappear whenever somebody calls you out on your false claims? It's frightening that you were an economics professor. I've never seen a professor so inclined to argue the way you do without any regard for the facts (and harvey/pri and paramount are right behind you).

And I've already stated many times what I do/have done. I was a public school teacher many years ago, but spent most of my time in the private sector...management in the tech industry, to be specific.

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