January 1, 2011

Pictured on the front page of the NYT: "Scott Walker, the governor elect, brings his lunch to work."



It's not still on the front page. That was a few hours ago. A nice image of Walker, don't you think? Flattering because he's eating lunch at his desk. It's not conventionally flattering to catch the bald spot like that, but it's politically flattering to have him bending over his work. (On the other hand, what's the big deal? I eat lunch while working almost every day. Don't you? Breakfast too, and often dinner. But I like to see my public servant working, and it's nice of the NYT to offer political support to a new governor who doesn't represent the newspaper's political preference.

Here's the article:
Mr. Walker, who has said publicly that he hopes to force public employees’ wages and benefits “into line” with everyone else’s, urged leaders against the session, saying he needed “maximum flexibility” to handle the state’s coming budgets, but Democrats argued that the contracts were not particularly beneficial to workers anyway (they included no raises and furlough time that amounted to a pay cut)....

State workers here are predicting a flood of retirements by those who will not want to bear the uncertainty of it all, and particularly the prospect of shrinking pension benefits. Some employees were already talking about moving elsewhere, getting new jobs, retiring.
I'm one of those state employees. Should I retire? (I'll be 60 on January 12th.) Is that the way to get while the getting is good?

23 comments:

former law student said...

The physical paper features a picture of Walker at a press conference, on the first page of the National news.

Lem said...

Ninetyniners beware.

wv palingu

hawkeyedjb said...

All employees, regardless who they work for, always have the choice to stay or go. The uncertainties of future pay or benefits certainly are not limited to government workers; perhaps the last couple of years are the first time many of those workers have faced such circumstances. For most of us, it's simply an aspect of living in a free economy: uncertainty and opportunity almost always go hand-in-hand.

AJ Lynch said...

If govt pension funds are truly insolvent, all employees should be fired then they could be re-hired but with reduced pension benefits on a go-forward basis.

Most govt employees would have little or no bargaining power or leverage to resist this. But I'd offer police and fireman a pension plan as near to their current plans as possible. Everyone else gets the shaft like John Q. Taxpayer.

Btw it's funny to hear govt employees talk about quitting andmoving somewhere else to take other govt jobs. Yeah sure an excellent law prof maybe could do that but for the average revenue supervisor or tollbooth money-changer not likely.

Titus said...

Yes, you should retire and dedicate your time 100% to this blog and me.

Irene said...

It looks like the NYT is dovetailing to a local story.

"Fear."

"Distrust."

"Tom Riewe spent the last 37 years working to make sure the state's drinking water is safe."

" "I'm really going to miss the people a lot," said Riewe, who spent decades working to protect the state's drinking water."

Be afraid!

JAL said...

From the article:

State workers here are predicting a flood of retirements by those who will not want to bear the uncertainty of it all, and particularly the prospect of shrinking pension benefits. Some employees were already talking about moving elsewhere, getting new jobs, retiring.

Wish blogger would allow strike outs. (I know, I know, Chip mysteriously can make all those things happen when HE comments.)

Businesses here are predicting a long period of non-expansion by those who will not want to bear the uncertainty of it all, and particularly the prospect of shrinking profits and higher taxes. Some companies were already talking about moving elsewhere, continuing hiring freezes or even closing.

See? It's all a matter of perspective.

Nationally the continuation of the tax cuts is helpful. (Two years? That was Lame.) But the anti-business buzz and hypocritical anti-wealth campaign of this administration makes many people want and need to play safe. Really safe.

Even when there is a glimmer of hope.

But this is about Wisconsin. And no, Professor, somehow I don't think many governors brown bag (or BYO bag) it.

k*thy said...

We're state employees, too, but are a little perplexed by the rush to retire. What's gonna change is gonna change, regardless, right? What's the advantage?

Bob_R said...

Are you WRS or TIAA/CREF?

former law student said...

Irene: the theme of today's National page is 2011: The Year of Political Change. One of the other articles is the seeming lack of change in Sacramento as Brown takes over from Schwarzenegger. The other story is the prospect of Pennsylvania's privatizing the state's liquor store.

Nothing to do with pure water.

Titus said...

He doesn't have a college degree which is very good and not elite.

I would do him. He has a lisp....hmmm.

MadisonMan said...

Pennsylvania's privatizing the state's liquor store.

it's about time.

I am pretty sure that Wisconsin's Govt pension is not insolvent. Not in the way that Pennsylvania's is, for example. But I'm nowhere near retiring, so I'm not really sure.

Ann Althouse said...

@Bob

WRS

Jason (the commenter) said...

Some employees were already talking about moving elsewhere, getting new jobs...

Oh my, are they in for a shock! Just wait until they learn about 401(k)s (and paying for health insurance).

PatCA said...

At 37 years of employment, this man is probably about maxed out for benefits. He will probably take home 80-90% of his salary. Why should he wait? At this point, it's just a place to go every day.

Someone should ask the NYT: Why does the "fear" of these whingers outweigh the "fear" of taxpayers who have to support them?

Manfred said...

"but I like to see my public servant working"

did you forget for a minute that you are a public servant?

edutcher said...

If he's still lunching at his desk like the working stiffs four years from now, that's good.

As for Miss Ann retiring, I'd stay in as long as possible. As someone trying to get back into the job market, I've found the longer you can put off retiring and keep putting more back, the better off you'll probably be.

And I do hope you've got something invested away from anything the state has set up.

Lem said...

Ninetyniners beware.

If there's a revolution in this country, they, and the Tea Partiers, will start it. I don't envy the ones in their fifties with families to support.

Mine ran out last May and I'm very glad I sat on my savings all that time.

Jim said...

Hope he doesn't have a paring knife in his lunchpail...

ricpic said...

LOL! Jim wins thread.

David said...

I'm one of those state employees. Should I retire? (I'll be 60 on January 12th.) Is that the way to get while the getting is good?

Can they reduce your benefits if you have not retired?

If I were you, I'd consult an attorney.

Harsh Pencil said...

Why would a professor ever retire? Seriously. Unless you want to move out of state, why do it? It's not like teaching is that demanding.

somefeller said...

edutcher says: If there's a revolution in this country, they, and the Tea Partiers, will start it...Mine ran out last May and I'm very glad I sat on my savings all that time.

Not likely. Revolutions are generally started by people who can actually accomplish stuff, not by the unemployable and the perpetually grumbling. Plus, most Americans like this country just fine.

And does this mean you took unemployment insurance, that creation of the New Deal (1935 Social Security Act), for all those months? I would think doing that would be unacceptable to someone always complaining about big government and the small c communists / National Socialists who've been running the big government ever since FDR's era (if not Wilson's). Ridiculous.

George said...

Retirement is the Natural State of Being. Hit 60 last June and retired same month. Now I can afford to do "work" that I couldn't before. Do it!