December 6, 2011

The NYT presents liberal fear-mongers as if they were intelligent, sober critics of Republican policy.

Monica Davey, reporting for the NYT from Madison, Wisconsin, looks at why "Many Workers in [the] Public Sector [Are] Retiring Sooner" and what it will mean for the states. Excerpts:
“You start to feel like, ‘What will they do next?’ ” said Bob McLinn, 63, a labor union president who left his job with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in March, earlier than he planned, after political leaders pressed to cut benefits and collective bargaining rights for workers.

“There’s always been this promise that if you came to work and did your job, at the end there would be your reward — a defined retirement. The idea was you could retire with respect and dignity. But that whole idea has been slashed now, and I felt like, ‘What is the point?’ ”
What demagoguery! We have to contribute more to our pensions as we get each new month's pay, but there was no cut in the ultimate reward. Getting out early isn't a way to preserve the retirement benefit. It's just a decision not to continue putting a chunk of your pay into your pension as you go along working before retirement. If McLinn's communication is typical of labor union presidents, no wonder so many people freaked out and protested last winter.

Now, are states better off if a lot of older workers leave their jobs?
“What we’re going to see is a lot of young people reinventing the wheel,” said Karen Gunderson, 56, who retired this year from her information technology job with the State of Wisconsin after 26 years, a few years sooner than she had intended, saying she felt that public workers were being “turned into scapegoats” for a troubled economy.
“We’re going to waste a lot of tax dollars with young people attempting things that were tried before. You can get people cheaper, but whether you save money, I don’t know.”
I'm mostly curious why the NYT chose to feature this quote and the one above. This isn't serious analysis of what the state did and the real effect on workers. It's more of an effort to propagate hysteria. What did Gunderson — a woman who thinks she was scapegoated — do in "information technology" that younger workers — working at lower pay — would do more expensively? The secret wisdom of the elders is lost, apparently, when somebody retires, and their replacements must puzzle over how to do the complicated work the oldsters had down pat. Is that what it's really like?
[H]ere, in Wisconsin, the battle over public workers may have been the loudest... Union supporters pushed back, leading an effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker next year over the issue. But government workers also left: 16,785 workers filed retirement applications as of Oct. 31, while in all of 2010, 11,750 workers had done so.

“It’s about fear,” said Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. “A lot of people are seeing this war on public employees and saying, let’s get out.”
Where did that all that irrational fear come from? A lot of people are seeing this war... why? Why are they seeing the governor's effort to fix the budget as a "war"? Why do they see themselves as "scapegoats"?

Remember "The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things"?
Why are so many fears in the air, and so many of them unfounded?...

We compound our worries beyond all reason....

We had better learn to doubt our inflated fears before they destroy us. Valid fears have their place; they cue us to danger. False and overdrawn fears only cause hardship....

Any analysis of the culture of fear that ignored the news media would be patently incomplete, and of the several institutions most culpable for creating and sustaining scares the news media are arguably first among equals....
The link goes to a long passage from that book at the "Bowling for Columbine" website. "Bowling for Columbine," you may remember, was the Michael Moore movie about guns in America, and the point was that the gun-clinging sector of America was seized with irrational fear.

I'd like to see some balance in the diagnosis of fear in the media, for example, the New York Times.

234 comments:

1 – 200 of 234   Newer›   Newest»
David said...

Fear and ignorance are joined at the hip.

NYT is just compounding the ignorance by its own stupid reporting.

Opinions should derive from facts, instead of the other way around.

Surfed said...

Irrational fear is caused by irrational reading and watching irrational television. Do neither and you'll be a lot healthier. Mentally anyway.

Triangle Man said...

What demagoguery! We have to contribute more to our pensions as we get each new month's pay, but there was no cut in the ultimate reward.

Quite right. Your retirement will be the same. It's your take home pay they cut.

edutcher said...

These people are being asked to contribute to their own retirement. Not exactly an onerous hardship, but, from all the screaming ("at the end there would be your reward — a defined retirement. The idea was you could retire with respect and dignity. But that whole idea has been slashed now"), you'd think the union bosses had looted the pension fund the way it happened in so many private sector unions.

The people with the 401ks are the ones who have a right to scream, given the economic mismanagement going on, but it's the government slugs crying because their apple pie a la mode won't come with whipped cream.

Henry said...

Quite right. Your retirement will be the same. It's your take home pay they cut.

Cool! That happened to me too. Every time health insurance costs went up my take home pay went down. Happened in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998... I guess I should've worked in government all these years.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Retire at 56! What a whining princess. I would love to be retired rather than working to pay her retirement.

Rube said...

A New Word is born - Ineptocracy
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of diminishing number of producers.

Pogo said...

The real war is the State worker -and the State- against the shrinking private sector.

Henry said...

Does the article mention that when workers retire early it undermines the funding of the pension system?

MadisonMan said...

Most of the people I know who have retired did so because of the Health Insurance. There's a nice option now to convert banked sick days into months of Health Coverage (I'm not sure what the conversion rate is) and the perception is that that option will go away in the near future. I just scanned the NYTimes article, but that wasn't mentioned. So it wasn't the paying more for benefits now that spurred retirement, it was the uncertainty about losing benefits in the future.

Of the 4 I know who retired, 3 came back to work as rehired annuitants, and 1 is taking care of an aging parent.

Curious George said...

"I'm mostly curious why the NYT chose to feature this quote and the one above."

Seriously?

SunnyJ said...

As a forced member of the union in higher education, I can attest to the ridiculous level of fear mongering that comes out in every union newsletter, email and correspondence of any kind.

Everyone that disagrees, even to just correct a fact is demonized, targeted and ridiculed. All of the devoted educators who are "in it for the children" are suddenly calling others "stupid" and ridiculing the Governor for not having a higher education, while they spend their days acting as if they actually advocate for anyone that hasn't go one...of course dependent upon them agreeing with their idealogy.

Don't even get me started on the phony "diversity" meme...there is no place less friendly and more discriminatory than the teachers lounge in higher education. Diversity of ideas translates to: ok to be left of center or far left but nothing else is acceptable.

The real fear is that the "cushy" and unaccountable lives that higher education offers, might have strings attached like performance outside the ivory tower.

Pastafarian said...

How can any system in which people can retire at 56 be close to economically viable?

If she lives to be 85 (not an unreasonable expectation these days), she'll be retired for about as many years as she worked.

I realize that public employees will state that this is why they took the job; that this is part of the overall compensation that they were promised. But it's not as though they're being paid half as much as someone equally qualified in the private sector.

It's outrageous that such benefits are offered to people who are, for the most part, held unaccountable for their performance, compared to their for-profit counterparts, who bear the burden of paying these public employees' salaries.

Beta Rube said...

A 56 year old IT guru? Being replaced by a youngster who was raised on technology?

The horror.

frankz said...

the only thing to fear is michael moore coming to your all you can eat buffet. he makes me ashamed to be left leaning.

as far as the times. you should read everything with skepticism and a critical mind.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

@ Abdul Abulbul Amir:

"Retire at 56! What a whining princess."

Exactly. My 86 year-old Grandfather still works part time and is happy to get out of the house. (My grandmother is happy about it too!) She's just reinforcing the perseption that union workers are pampered goldbricks with no clue about the real world.

Pogo said...

When the tax-eaters outnumber the productive, and even rule over them, the end is nigh.

All bleeding must stop.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The secret wisdom of the elders is lost, apparently, when somebody retires, and their replacements must puzzle over how to do the complicated work the oldsters had down pat.

I think this is a terrific insight. Governments at all levels should respond by immediately raising their retirement ages to 65.

Ann Althouse said...

"These people are being asked to contribute to their own retirement. Not exactly an onerous hardship, but, from all the screaming...."

It's just a pay cut. That's how it needs to be understood. You have to think in terms of pay packages. If we have to "contribute to [our] own retirement," when we did not have to do that before, we get less take-home pay. We could have had our pay package structured differently, with larger salaries instead of larger employer contributions to our pension fund. From a political standpoint, maybe it's easier for us to get raises in some form other than salary, and it's correspondingly easier to take that away, but make no mistake, we had nice pay packages and we took substantial cuts. I know exactly what it is. It happened to me.

Let's be clear and accurate about what happened. Don't minimize it and don't inflate it.

By the way, Scott Walker's plan hurt, but the previous governor, the Democrat Doyle, had already hurt us too, with the furlough program. We had the same amount of work to get done. It was another political way to deliver a pay cut.

Sorun said...

The secret wisdom of the elders is lost, apparently, when somebody retires...

As the saying goes: Graveyards are full of indispensable men. Yet somehow we go on.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

perception

MadisonMan said...

But it's not as though they're being paid half as much as someone equally qualified in the private sector.

Where I work, a lot of people left in the mid-90s to work for private industry. One looked at his state salary, with the added benefits, and asked for that plus 40%. He was hired.

Curious George said...

By the way, there is a scam going on with teacher's "retiring", getting their pension andpaid health insurance, and then getting rehired in the same district for the same job. Double dipping salary, no cost for pension or healthcare, and in some cases getting paid for not taking the healthcare.

"Respect and dignity"? The have none so deserve none.

m stone said...

but there was no cut in the ultimate reward.

Not in pensions, but the threat of diminished health care post retirement prompted many early retirement decisions. To keep the train rolling, unions would---and have already cut---health benefits. Retirees don't necessarily lock in, but are safer from cuts. WEAC is the classic example.

DADvocate said...

There’s always been this promise that if you came to work and did your job, at the end there would be your reward — a defined retirement. The idea was you could retire with respect and dignity.

Barf. Typical entitlement attitude of a government worker.

Mentioned before, retiring at 56? From a job she started at age 30? The horror.

Suck the taxpayers dry and then cmoplain.

xnar said...

Secret wisdom of the elders... in the IT business. Would that be reading Hollerith punched cards by eye?

In IT, when someone retires you can hire two youngsters for the same price that each do twice as much.

What a cushy, comfortable world Gov. Walker is upsetting.

cubanbob said...

@Ann it's not a pay cut. it's a targeted tax hike.

All the whining from people doing the taxpayers a favor with their money.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"at the end there would be your reward — a defined retirement. The idea was you could retire with respect and dignity. But that whole idea has been slashed now"

But but but....we were promised unending milk and cookies!!!! We don't care if the cow died from being over milked......where are our Damned COOKIES....AND....MILK.......wah!!!!!!

Sorun said...

If state employment is anything like federal employment, 20% of the workers do 80% of the work. Half of the workers would get fired from a private employer for sloth.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"These people are being asked to contribute to their own retirement. Not exactly an onerous hardship, but, from all the screaming...."

It's just a pay cut. That's how it needs to be understood. You have to think in terms of pay packages.


Exactly. The pension isn't changed, but their take home, like everybody else's, takes a hit from their contribution.

And they don't think they should have to do that.

Sorun said...

The secret wisdom of the elders is lost, apparently, when somebody retires...

As the saying goes: Graveyards are full of indispensable men. Yet somehow we go on.


Good organizations have what is called documentation, so the new guys don't have to re-invent the wheel. They also try to maintain some measure of corporate memory, by not ditching the entire staff after a project is done.

AprilApple said...

If everyone works for a government union as a government union employee, we could have utopia. The problem- who is going to pay for it?

Again, the left are economically retarded. They don’t understand that money must be produced. The left look at private sector workers and their employers and assume they are their own private ATM machines.
Meanwhile, the rest of us slave away late in life, with dwindling resources, with the dreadful promises from democrats to hike our taxes, and hike the taxes of our employers. The dems talk about cutting red tape, but it’s a lie. Red tape and regulation are ways and means democrats use to line their pockets.
But never mind all that. The poor government union employee! While the rest of us don’t have much in the way of anything for retirement, we are endlessly told by the pro-democrats hack at the NYT that we must shed tears for those who retire early with lavishly funded retirements, knowing "it was not enough".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Where I work, a lot of people left in the mid-90s to work for private industry. One looked at his state salary, with the added benefits, and asked for that plus 40%. He was hired.

Private sector businesses have tax write-offs that can somewhat mitigate those benefit costs. Public sector jobs do not.

Apples-Oranges.

Plus if your friend does a shitty job in the private sector he CAN be fired. Public sector...not so much.

traditionalguy said...

Fear is a useless emotion only valuable when you can instill it in your opponent.

The truth is that the old game of transfers to a higher paying position for the last year or two before retiring to double the pension checks is not as easy a game as before.

AlSo the dudes are cashing in early headed for double dip local consultants' jobs or for that well planned second career in the warmer southern States for the last 10 years in good retirement towns.

The only war is against the truth and for the creation of a new Victim Identity class.

Spread Eagle said...

Having worked in a pretty good job for a state government for several years (not Wisconsin) I can tell you this: older state workers possess no secret knowledge younger workers don't have. Rather, the older workers have been riding the 100% secure gravy train for so long they have lost all connection with how things operate in the real world, how there really is no such thing as job security in the real world, what a day's work for a day's pay really means, and that there are no free lunches. In the real world. Which is why, after looking around at my colleagues and seeing the road I was heading down, 32 years ago I flicked it in and went to law school instead. And I pretty much never looked back. That was then. I'm certain the situation is exponentially worse now.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann, it doesn't matter what the story says, you will bash the public employees.

People are leaving in droves. There is a brain drain in state service. Many people believe, with very good reason, that Scott Walker has only begun and will do more to stick it to public employees.

There are also elements of the retirement system which run contrary to your misinformed claim that there is no impact on retirement benefits. I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it.

It's very rational. You are not!

Ann Althouse said...

"There's a nice option now to convert banked sick days into months of Health Coverage (I'm not sure what the conversion rate is) and the perception is that that option will go away in the near future. I just scanned the NYTimes article, but that wasn't mentioned."

Good point. But that's not going to be ripped away without warning. I have a huge benefit there, and that might push me over the edge. I'm sure they'd ease it in though, and just deprive us of the ability to add to the banked sick days. It's stupid to retire early to consume that benefit. Wait until you're closer to Medicare age.

People are being irrational retiring over that.

Are these professors you know doing that? If so, why are they that dumb?

Ann Althouse said...

"Where I work, a lot of people left in the mid-90s to work for private industry. One looked at his state salary, with the added benefits, and asked for that plus 40%. He was hired."

But you're in a field with great value in the private sector. You can't say that about most state employees, especially after they've ripened for a quarter century in their state jobs.

rhhardin said...

Fear mongers take fear from where it is plentiful to where it is in short supply, profiting on the difference in price.

DCS said...

Ann, the New York Times hasn't published anything resembling balanced coverage in decades. Are you just figuring that out?

MadisonMan said...

Plus if your friend does a shitty job in the private sector he CAN be fired. Public sector...not so much.

He did fine. Outstanding worker.

I've worked with plenty of people in my state job who were essentially fired. It wasn't stated that way, of course. They just weren't renewed. I can only recall one person who was actually fired fired. She didn't do her job.

Ann Althouse said...

"Exactly. The pension isn't changed, but their take home, like everybody else's, takes a hit from their contribution. And they don't think they should have to do that."

No, it's not like everyone else's unless those other people also experienced a pay cut. We had something in our pay package that was cut back. Anybody who was making that contribution all along and continued doing so did not experience a cut.

It's sophistry to deny that.

Surfed said...

There is some truth in the "wisdom of the elders". As an inner city school teacher of refugees and immigrants I am one of the old guard, the last of my generation of teachers still on the job. At my school there are only three of us left all, more or less, 60 years old. We sit in amusemment as the young teachers struggle to reinvent their wheel. At one point when all the newbies started infiltrating the faculty lounge we tried giving advice. They weren't interested in the least. They NEEDED to reinvent the wheel so that their cart would roll. All well and good as each generation needs to reinvent their own wheels for their own carts. We are letting them. Sometimes it's amusing and sometimes it's not. But we sit and watch and wait for the pasture.

ricpic said...

"No respect and dignity for YOU!"

--The government-soup Nazi

Pogo said...

In considering the early retirement of well-paid government workers, the words "fear" and "threat" do not come to mind as immediately as "finally" does.

ndspinelli said...

I hired 2 retired State homicide investigators back in the 90's. They hoarded their sick leave like squirrels. I think they had medical coverage paid for until they're in their 80's. Being a private biz owner who had to pay both ends of Social Security, how can public employees not understand the reality. That's because they never had to..until now. It's like one big reality show and it's still running strong.

Chase said...

FULL FEAR MODE!

The Times, in it's attempt to help the Democrat Party running into next year's election, is starting it's fear mongering and class division "reporting" earlier than ever.

Look at just today's Times - these are all on the front page of the online New York Times right now - and it's almost a year before the election. In addition to the article Ann refers to:

-) Mr. Romney's Missing Details - a specious, unreadable editorial exceeding the ususl Times no-facts-neecessary editorials

-) When Gingrich's Big Thoughts Backfire

The Times and it's far left ilk and Democrats and Public Sector Union Bosses and Thugs are running scared this year - Obam's numbers stink, and there is no way he can stand on his own before voter's next year - he's Jimmy Carter lite. The only thing the enemies of fiscal sanity and American values have left to help keep the White House in the poorly managed hands it's in is to demonize political opponents often and early and over the top hard.

Truth and facts are not in the Democrat playbook. They can't be, because Democrats cannot win with them.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, it doesn't matter what the story says, you will bash the public employees. "

I am a public employee. I'm not "bashing" them. I'm asking for accuracy and an end to fear-mongering. You are propagating it, stoking fear and saying what you need to to promote your political agenda. You hate the conservatives. Noted.

"People are leaving in droves. There is a brain drain in state service."

Who are these big brains? You really think that 56-year-old IT person is so much better than a 25-year-old who might replace her? It's true that retirements are up 70%, but you'll have to convince me that these oldsters are better than the job-seeking 20-somethings who take their place.

"Many people believe, with very good reason, that Scott Walker has only begun and will do more to stick it to public employees."

Analyze the rationality of that statement. People whose fears have been stoked are now making decisions out of fear. In your book, that's Scott Walker's fault.

"There are also elements of the retirement system which run contrary to your misinformed claim that there is no impact on retirement benefits. I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it."

Tell me. I'd like to know. Maybe I should retire. What am I missing? That thing about banked sick days? Note my earlier comment.

What are these mysterious "elements"? You see how blithely you mobilize the rhetoric of fear? Aren't you at least a little embarrassed?

"It's very rational. You are not!"

Announcements like that are the height of rationality. In your book. You are a demagogue. Own it.

Henry said...

Alpha Liberal: I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it. It's very rational. You are not!

You can't make this stuff up.

Kit said...

I'm sure they'd ease it in though...

At the speed and direction things were changing, this spring, I'll just say that don't share you're assuredness. A friend of mine left a little before his 30 years of service because of this. His wife, who's younger, now carries their health insurance and will do so until she retires. At that time he'll covered by Medicare. They're fine their decision.

James said...

There are also elements of the retirement system which run contrary to your misinformed claim that there is no impact on retirement benefits. I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it.

LOL...you don't understand it yet you just know that Ann is incorrect.

Marshal said...

Public employee philosphy:

We realize there's a recession. We just believe those in productive industries should bear our fair share as well as their own. After all, I only made 25% more than those who are now bearing the brunt of the recession. Why should I be impacted?

Crimso said...

“What we’re going to see is a lot of young people reinventing the wheel”

I suspect they'll get that one quickly enough, probably things like the telephone, plumbing and such as well. Calculus will take a while.

One wonders why society continues to function in this way, but having to reinvent civilization with each new generation of workers does afford the opportunity to stumble on some more refined theories than previous attempts. So there's that.

TosaGuy said...

So there was a spike in retirements after a change in how things are done. So what! You had people who had been eligible for retirement for awhile finally getting out. Let's look at the retirement stats next year. They will be lower than 2010 and when averaged with 2011 the total will be very close to the average. All people will retire eventually and a whole bunch of Baby Boomers are getting set to retire. Public sector ones just get to do it first and yet they still somehow martyr themselves into thinking this is a hardship.

Chase said...

There are also elements of the retirement system which run contrary to your misinformed claim that there is no impact on retirement benefits. I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it.


"Yeah, I heard it from, you know, Jimmy and his uncle who retired at 56 and Wilma - she's always been screwed by her frickin' tea party lovin' boss for the last 22 years she's woked there, and some more public employees, so like, I know what's really happening and don't need top hear anyone else (nods head self-righteously). So if you say anything against it, screw you."

TosaGuy said...

“What we’re going to see is a lot of young people reinventing the wheel”


They are just using the education methods used on them in a school. Why practice what has already been done, when you can figure it out on your own!

Pogo said...

The analysis behind the 'unexpected' retirements is that the numbers are propelled by the long-heralded wave of baby boomers hitting 60-65, who would be expected to, well, retire right about now.

Unexpectedly.

That they might be leaving slightly earlier can be attributed to the mistaken notion that doing so shields their benefits package from ever being changed.

Which is completely false. See 'Greece'.

Pogo said...

Doh!

Tosa Guy.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken


Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/hlmencke101109.html#ixzz1fm6GskEB

TosaGuy said...

There is going to be a whole bunch of 30 to 40 year old public employees that will get opportunties to move up as these boomers retire. A good portion of them will reflect back in a few years and be thankful for the opportunity presented to them by these changes.

TosaGuy said...

"Doh!

Tosa Guy."

LOL. Great minds think alike. Some of us type faster.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... It's just a pay cut. That's how it needs to be understood..."

Bullshit. A pay cut is what my wife got three years ago, 7% of salary to reduce corporate overhead when the economy was really in the toilet. Your 'pay cut' is nothing more than deferred compensation since it's actually going to your pension.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What Hoosier said.

You, public employees, are seeing a reduction in take home $$ due to increasing contributions to your own retirement and benefit packages. It is NOT a pay cut if you are getting the same GROSS amount as before.

And as Hoosier said, you are basically transferring current income to later income.

If I am a wage earner (salary or hourly) and my marginal income tax rate goes up and I take home less money because the IRS is taking out more from my wages, it isn't a PAY CUT. I don't like it much...but I am not getting a cut in pay.

Be accurate.

bgates said...

Where I work, a lot of people left in the mid-90s to work for private industry. One looked at his state salary, with the added benefits, and asked for that plus 40%. He was hired.

Well, you've pretty much destroyed the argument that state workers get paid half as much as a similar private sector worker, assuming that one person is representative of state workers as a whole, state salaries have the same relation to private sector salaries as they did in the mid-90s, and x + 40%x = 2x.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I wonder if the public employee unions actually look at Europe right now and are able to draw any conclusions why so many Eurozone nations are on the brink of economic collapse?

The WSJ cover page showed the Italian Labor Minister crying because they have to raise retirement ages to 66 (the horror....) I guess the reality of running out of other people's money has finally hit home.

MayBee said...

@Ann it's not a pay cut. it's a targeted tax hike.

Exactly! People paying their fair share!

Althouse:
No, it's not like everyone else's unless those other people also experienced a pay cut. We had something in our pay package that was cut back.


Maybe you don't realize how much "everybody else" has been having to increase contributions to the cost of insurance these past several years. It's a paycut, just like you all are experiencing.

Hoosier Daddy said...

For example Professor,the 7% pay reduction my wife took in 2008 didn't get transfered to her 401k.

garage mahal said...

If I were Scott Walker I would embrace the recall so I could explain all these great new tools to Wisconsinites.

MayBee said...

If we are saying a pay cut = a cut in take home pay.

The private sector employees go through this same thing when our insurance contributions rise (as they do every year), and if we want to contribute more to our 401(k) to try to save enough to money to retire (sometime after the age of 56, most likely).

Anthony said...

Of course, what they don't tell you is that the 56 year old will retire and then get hired back on and be double-dipping for another 10 years or so.

Christopher in MA said...

Retirement at 56. I'm shaking my head in astonishment.

A story - when I was a young lad, my family knew, fairly well, a rather powerful member of the Massachusetts legislature. When I was between jobs, it was suggested that I ask "Uncle Jack" for a job at the Turnpike or the T. But, since I was a Republican and had never voted for Uncle Jack - despite his seeming to be a nice fellow - I didn't think it would be right to beg him for a public sector job.

So I didn't. To paraphrase Homer Jay Simpson, "and here I am working in the private sector like a sucker."

It's the same feeling I get when watching people walk away from their mortgages - why am I continuing to be a sucker and play by the rules?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If I were Scott Walker I would embrace the recall so I could explain all these great new tools to Wisconsinites.

That would require that Wisconsinites have some basic concepts of math, economics, taxes and the ability to think critically.

Since none of those qualities seem to be evident, and especially not in the public sector working class, it would be a big waste of Walker's time.

garage mahal said...

Wisconsin is just not getting it yet. Yes, sometimes government can do good things!

Jay said...

“We’re going to waste a lot of tax dollars with young people attempting things that were tried before.

Actually, we're going to waste a lot of taxpayer dollars paying your healthcare and retirement benefits for the next 20 years.

Ann Althouse said...

"If I were Scott Walker I would embrace the recall so I could explain all these great new tools to Wisconsinites."

He's already doing that. He doesn't need the recall to get authorized before unleashing his political advertising. He's raising tons of money and already spending it. The recall folk empowered him to do that.

Jay said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
I wonder if the public employee unions actually look at Europe right now and are able to draw any conclusions why so many Eurozone nations are on the brink of economic collapse?


*GIGGLE*

What incentive do they have to do that? They have been indoctrinated to believe that if "the rich" pay their "fair share" then all will be well.

Big Mike said...

It's just a pay cut. That's how it needs to be understood.

No, it needs to be understood as shared sacrifice. Asking me to take a pay cut -- via higher taxes -- and you contribute nothing whatsoever is a non-starter.

Ann Althouse said...

"Of course, what they don't tell you is that the 56 year old will retire and then get hired back on and be double-dipping for another 10 years or so."

We don't know that is the case with the particular 56-year-old named in the article, but her words were an example of the argument used to support double-dipping. A retiree has this super-special knowledge and skill, so the best person to replace the retiree is... that very retiree. That's the cheapest choice for the state that is trying to fill the gap left by her retirement. If they hired a new person, it would cost more, so it's cost effective to re-hire her. That's the defense of double-dipping.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... They have been indoctrinated to believe that if "the rich" pay their "fair share" then all will be well..."

Which should be even more depressing considering Euro nations have exceedingly higher rates of taxation than we do yet its still not enough.

I guess that's why liberals can be defined as insane. Trying the same kind of policies that have failed and expecting different results.

MadisonMan said...

@Jay, the government does not spend money on disbursing retirement benefits in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's Pension is quite healthy, thanks to Court Decisions in the '90s (I think) that prevented Politicians from raiding it to pay for pet projects.

garage mahal said...

He's already doing that. He doesn't need the recall to get authorized before unleashing his political advertising. He's raising tons of money and already spending it. The recall folk empowered him to do that.

Explaining his policies to Wisconsinites = political advertising. How true. He isn't actually in any of the ads yet explaining his policies to Wisconsinites though, wonder why that is? I would think he would be barnstorming the state talking to local communities. Guess that's best left to Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth.

MadisonMan said...

That's the cheapest choice for the state that is trying to fill the gap left by her retirement. If they hired a new person, it would cost more, so it's cost effective to re-hire her. That's the defense of double-dipping.

I work with a rehired annuitant, and he is the only person I know that has the knowledge to do what he does. Some of the other rehired annuitants in the building? Not so much.

It is much cheaper for the state to hire them, as there are no benefits to pay.

MayBee said...


It is much cheaper for the state to hire them, as there are no benefits to pay.


Because they are already paying them benefits.

Now that is some fancy math.

Shanna said...

That they might be leaving slightly earlier can be attributed to the mistaken notion that doing so shields their benefits package from ever being changed.

Yeah, I don't get that. You still get less in retirement than you do when you are working right? So I would stay and save if I were really about cut benefits.

It's amazing to me that state employees freak out about so much that federal employees pretty much just have to accept.

Alex said...

Let's face it. The body starts really falling apart at 55 and conservatives want these people working to 75? Good luck with that. Work is a game for the young. Remember in the old days of Paleolithic times, nobody lived past 35-40.

Rabel said...

"What did Gunderson — a woman who thinks she was scapegoated — do in "information technology" that younger workers — working at lower pay — would do more expensively?"

Ms. Grunderson was in IT Administration at your very own UW Madison for the past ten years. I can only assume that she was a valuable and highly knowledgeable administrator with experience that was difficult to replace. Her comments indicate that she has seen many well-credentialed young know-it-alls roll through the system.

Are you better professor now that you were your first year? Do you get better results more efficiently?

Fortunately Grunderson can put away the shovel as she landed a job with Dragon Technology Solutions in Middleton. Dragon is run by a Chinese immigrant lady. I suspect that if Grunderson wasn't working hard before, she will be now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is much cheaper for the state to hire them, as there are no benefits to pay.

Possibly. That would depend on the salary that they are getting compared to the salary and benefits of a younger, lower wage hire and the work output you can get from each hire.

There IS the efficiency factor in that for certain types of jobs, there is no "new" learning curve. Since the old hire already has the job skills and basically, knows where the nuts are hidden, they can work more efficiently.

However, there is also the longevity factor in that at SOME point you are going to have to hire a younger person to replace the rapidly aging decrepit old employee. That learning curve is going to have to be faced at some time. So the economy of hiring a seasoned employee for a short period may be false economy in the long run.

The better solution would be to sub contract with the old retired employee and let THEM be responsible for all of the other employer costs and payroll taxes. Let him/her pay their own social security, medicare etc taxes. THAT alone, would save a large amount of money.

In order to determine which method is better you would need to do some analysis, mathematical models and time management comparisons.

There you have it...my analytical style of business and financial considerations. Can't help it.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Maybe the additional contributions could have been avoided if the unions hadn't been so successful at fleecing taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars on scams like WEA Trust, sick pay stacking, double dipping, etc.

If public workers really want someone to blame, perhaps they should start with the greed of their own unions. The level of greed was just not sustainable.

Synova said...

"You, public employees, are seeing a reduction in take home $$ due to increasing contributions to your own retirement and benefit packages. It is NOT a pay cut if you are getting the same GROSS amount as before."

It is a pay-cut and not the same because the retirement doesn't go up, does it? There isn't more, total, being put into the pensions so the pensions stay the same. Instead of less pay being the cut, it's less of the employer contribution being the cut. The total amount received is less. The greater employee contribution keeps the pension at the same level, it doesn't increase it.

Or do I have that wrong?

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It's almost obscene to think that the government employees that our taxes pay for don't have to take cuts when the rest of us, who pay for them, are scraping along.

MayBee said...

The better solution would be to sub contract with the old retired employee and let THEM be responsible for all of the other employer costs and payroll taxes.

ISTM the better best solution would be to not allow people to retire with their benefits quite so early, and to be able to give merit-based salaries to truly indispensable people.

MadisonMan said...

Because they are already paying them benefits.

Do not confuse Wisconsin with lesser states (like PA) -- retirees here are not sucking money from the General Fund.

MayBee said...


Do not confuse Wisconsin with lesser states (like PA) -- retirees here are not sucking money from the General Fund.


It doesn't matter. Is the state already paying benefits to the people you say are cheap because the state can hire them without having to pay them benefits?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Synova

It is semantics, really. Pay/wages versus Take Home Pay

A pay cut is when your gross goes down. If you are salaried or hourly and your gross amount goes down from say $50,000 a year to $43,000 a year or from $20.00 per hour to $17.00 per hour you have received a cut in pay or gross wages. That is your wages.

However, that cut in pay can also be an increase in take home pay if you are now in a lower tax bracket. That probably only applies to people in the higher levels of gross income.

The money taken out for benefits (pension and insurance) comes out PRE TAX....in some rare cases this can also increase the take home pay or even be a wash, because the marginal rate on taxable income might be less.

@ Maybee. better best solution would be to not allow people to retire with their benefits quite so early

And to ELIMINATE the padding of Defined Benefit Pensions that is egregious in the last few years before retirement. Working all the overtime, extra days etc to get a higher DB pay out due to the structure and mathematical calculations in a DBP plan.

Defined Benefit Plans are dinosaurs in the private sector. Public sectors should go to the Defined Contribution model just like every one else.

ndspinelli said...

"We're from the govt. and we're here to help."

MadisonMan said...

Is the state already paying benefits to the people you say are cheap because the state can hire them without having to pay them benefits?

No. As I said, The State (which I define as the General Fund, funded by taxes, fees, etc) is not paying retirees benefits. The Employees' Trust Fund is paying them their retirement dole and (I think) their health care. So they can be hired back without the extra expense of health care benefits and retirement benefits. Those items would come out of the General Fund (although in my case, they aren't -- I'm all funded by grants that form a separate pile of money) for non-retired people.

J said...

No, better would be to increase taxes back to average levels (even Clinton era) and then the Govt. would have enough shekels to pay for the entitlements that US workers deserve. The Govt. isn't a Ma and Pa plumbing business, except in the minds of Tweekbaggers.

Freder Frederson said...

If I am a wage earner (salary or hourly) and my marginal income tax rate goes up and I take home less money because the IRS is taking out more from my wages, it isn't a PAY CUT. I don't like it much...but I am not getting a cut in pay.

You be accurate. Please explain how, if your marginal tax rate goes up, you take home less money (as opposed to a smaller percentage of your pay). And granted, if you are trapped by the AMT your take home pay could potentially go down after a raise--but the AMT is an alternative tax, not an increase in the marginal rate.

You are a financial advisor, yet you consistently display an ignorance of how a progressive income tax works. (Actually, I think you know how it works, you just think you can get away with deliberately lying about it because liberals are just too stupid to know how the income tax works.)

Eli Blake said...

And you don't see right-wing fearmongers paraded as 'sober and intelligent critics?'

Freder Frederson said...

However, that cut in pay can also be an increase in take home pay if you are now in a lower tax bracket.

Bullshit. You don't know how a progressive income tax works.

MadisonMan said...

And to ELIMINATE the padding of Defined Benefit Pensions that is egregious in the last few years before retirement.

Yes. I know more than a few who work more than 1 job in their last 3 years to pad their retirement. I can't blame them for doing it, but I can blame the system for allowing it to happen.

All the state retirees who are retiring are doing so after years of Doyle-caused furloughs that stagnated pay.

J said...

the Ma and Pa Methcooks of A-house Acres getting their glibertarian fantasies on. YOu ain't raisin' my taxes, goldangit

Irrelevant since the tax increase is aimed at the yacht club GOP. Not the evinrude GOP.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

The NYT - shaping opinion based on the flavor of the day for years!!!!

"...then the Govt. would have enough shekels to pay for the entitlements that US workers deserve."

Not that I needed proof, but this nugget from J-tard makes his true point.

Ignorance is bliss, that's why J is always 'smiling'.

MayBee said...

The Employees' Trust Fund is paying them their retirement dole and (I think) their health care. So they can be hired back without the extra expense of health care benefits and retirement benefits.

I'm sorry, MadMan. That accounting is absurd.
If was really cheaper, they could just retire everybody now and rehire them without benefits.

If it is financially feasible to pay people their benefits while they work past a certain age, why continue to make older employees contribute to their own benefits?

If a state employee can retire with benefits at 56 and then come back to work- and this is a cheap alternative- why should a 62 year old employee still have to pay toward his benefits?

If Althouse could retire right now, why should she still pay toward her retirement benefits?

Jay said...

said...
No, better would be to increase taxes back to average levels (even Clinton era) and then the Govt. would have enough shekels to pay for the entitlements that US workers deserve


Um, that would be (shockingly) false.

Ending the Bush tax cuts might raise $379 billion a year.

PS,
The final Republican-created and Bush signed fiscal 2007 budget spent $2.73 trillion. If we spent that this year, our budget would practically be balanced.

Freder Frederson said...

Working all the overtime, extra days etc to get a higher DB pay out due to the structure and mathematical calculations in a DBP plan.

And pray tell, how many DBP work like this? Most base retirement pay on base salary--so working overtime and extra pay does you no good at all.

The money taken out for benefits (pension and insurance) comes out PRE TAX....in some rare cases this can also increase the take home pay or even be a wash, because the marginal rate on taxable income might be less.

Yes, this would happen in those rare instances where the marginal rate on taxable income exceeds 100%--and last I checked the top rate in the U.S. was nowhere near that.


My God, for a financial advisor, you sure don't know much about how either the tax system or how DBP are calculated.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And pray tell, how many DBP work like this? Most base retirement pay on base salary--so working overtime and extra pay does you no good at all.

Pretty much all of them. Your DB is calculated on not only on term and pay, but most OFTEN in UNION plans you also have the final pay out calculated on the highest compenation in the last few years

QUOTE:
"A simple final average pay method bases the monthly retirement income amount on some pre-determined percentage of the employee's salary for the last three (or some other number) years of work. The employer simply sums the employee's annual salary for the last few years of employment, divides that figure by three to get the average for the three years and multiplies that amount by the pre-determined percentage amount. Generally, employers average the three or five highest salary years out of the last ten years rather than simply averaging the salary for the last three or five years. This benefits people who are compensated with a base salary plus variable additions such as commissions, overtime pay, compensation for additional or hazzardous work, etc."

Fire, Police, Public Sector Unions are notorious for this.

Padding the retirement benefit by end loading the compensation.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Really, the NYT/Wash. Post/LA Times engages in this type of reportage all the time and has for years.

Of course, these people (liberal fear-mongers) have valid 'concerns'. Republicans/GOP types are 'extreme'. That's the template.

The book 'The News At Any Cost' by Tom Goldstein presents a perspective that examines the motivations of reporters in a competitive environment - and the aftermath.

Interesting read.

Curious George said...

"MayBee said...
The Employees' Trust Fund is paying them their retirement dole and (I think) their health care. So they can be hired back without the extra expense of health care benefits and retirement benefits.

I'm sorry, MadMan. That accounting is absurd.
If was really cheaper, they could just retire everybody now and rehire them without benefits."

MayBee beat me to it, but this "it's cheaper" is pure bullshit...and not surprisingly comes from a few public union employees.

If this were the case, the state could offer retirement to all those eligible with the promise to hire back. Who wouldn't take it? And according to Althouse and MM they would reduce costs.

The reality is that this is an accounting trick. Sure, the State Department of Lazy Asses cuts some costs by eliminating pension and health for an employee slot, but the Pension Department for Lazy Asses loses that same money they don't receive plus a whole lot more paying out the pension early.

AJ Lynch said...

Let's face it- libruls and the MSM don't do math. Reporters are generally dumb fucks who write down whatever BS they are told espoecially if told by a group with which they empathize.

I remember asking a reporter why she reported a $300 Million school would only cost a township resident $6 per year [township had 70,000 residents]. The reporter replied "well that is what the school PR person said".

J said...

wrong again, "Don't Tread" aka mormon-yid sockpup.--you just don't know fuck about US History. Tax rates remain at historic lows.

They'll be increased soon, and little Ma and Pa Methcooks like you and Annie-ho will be paying 'em. Or kicked back to yr single wide. Heh heh

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You be accurate. Please explain how, if your marginal tax rate goes up, you take home less money

If your marginal tax rate goes up it can be for several reasons.

1. The rate goes up by law and you are making the same gross wages. The government will be taking a bigger bite out of your taxable income merely because the progressive tax brackets have shifted and you are now in a higher marginal bracket and effective tax bracket. This is what will happen to almost everyone if/when the whole systems shifts.

2. Your gross goes up and you are now in a different higher marginal rate and most likely a higher effective marginal rate.

Here is a link that explains how your marginal rate can actually be higher than you think. This is your effective marginal tax rate.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/taxes/whats-your-marginal-tax-rate-9546/

This is not the same as effective tax rate.

Jay said...

J said...
wrong again, "Don't Tread" aka mormon-yid sockpup.--you just don't know fuck about US History. Tax rates remain at historic lows.


Byro,
taxes are not at "historic lows" for the people actually paying them.

That is a silly, liberal talking point.

Note that you can't address the fact that your first assertion (raising taxes to the Clinton level would pay for "entitlements") is absurd.

Peter said...

I doubt you'll ever see realistic assessment of threats from the New York Times.

To realistically assess whether popular fears are justified, one must understand at least rudimentary statistics. And there's little evidence that anyone at the NYT understands any math beyond what one might find in a "math for liberal arts majors" course.

It's just the way it is- at the NYT, and elsewhere. Even large newspapers routinely contain math bloopers that would be caught by most grad students who have studied statistics.

Of course, the real problem with public-sector retirement benefits is that the full retirement age is far too low (usually 57 in Wisconsin, with 30 years' service). Even some European governments have increased retirement ages to 66 or so.

But since changing the retirement age for current employees is not legally possible, requiring contributions toward that retirement is the next best alternative as it reduces this massive cost to the treasury.

And then there's Jack Takerian, who "retired" from Milwaukee County employment at age 47 ( http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/rising-pension-benefit-cost-may-hurt-milwaukee-county-pt30rgo-133758348.html ).

Perhaps an NYT reporter cannot understand why the public cannot afford to pay the full cost of these early retirements, but we can only hope that the voters of Wisconsin can figure it out.

J said...

Byro-Jay, comments about your favorite drug meth bother you, white trash wicca swine ? (don't bother with economics tee-shirt queen---you don't know stagflation from yr tweek stash).

Ah knew that it would.

Now, explain subluxation to the people, hijo de puta.

Sofa King said...

Tax rates remain at historic lows.

Only if you ignore everything except the income tax.

Including revenue.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Sigh. Hard to remain byro-worthy anymore...

This idea that 'we' are 'at war' with public employees is just more 'endless fuckery'...like hysterics over the need for a permit at your capital...

TosaGuy said...

Poor Karen Gunderson will be just fine. Even if she would have stayed on the job and contributed less (around $4800) to her pension this year than I contribute to my Roth IRA.

J said...

the progressive tax brackets have shifted

Some accountant. Any competent bookkeeper knows Reagan destroyed the old brackets in '86. And Ma and Pa Methcooks won't be in the upper bracket unless they like rob some banks (and report it).

Stick to the..red devil

Jay said...

MadisonMan said...
@Jay, the government does not spend money on disbursing retirement benefits in Wisconsin.


Oh boy.

Who pays for this 56 year old woman's health care?

Jay said...

J said...
Byro-Jay, comments about your favorite drug meth bother you, white trash wicca swine ?


I am happy & excited that I graduated to "wicca"!!!

PS: Note that you can't address the fact that your first assertion (raising taxes to the Clinton level would pay for "entitlements") is absurd.

Wally Kalbacken said...

“What we’re going to see is a lot of young people reinventing the wheel,” said Karen Gunderson, 56, who retired this year from her information technology job with the State of Wisconsin after 26 years, a few years sooner than she had intended, saying she felt that public workers were being “turned into scapegoats” for a troubled economy.

I'm calling bullshit there. In the IT field, more so than anywhere in state (and federal) government, there is a need for new blood, trained in more current systems, software, methods, etc. There is some amazing deadwood in the more senior IT folks in state government and in the administration of the UW. Look at the recent payroll system fiasco at the UW, I would suggest that much of the blame for that stillborn effort (costing $26M, producing nothing) was due to the mismatch between the state IT employees and the provate sector software vendor.

There could be a tremendous upside in flushing the system and bringing in new blood, particularly in the IT area.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Until the Tax Relief Act was passed, the tax rates for 2011 were scheduled to change as follows: the 10% rate would have been collapsed into the 15% rate; the 25% rate would have become 28%, the 28% rate would have become 31%, the 33% rate would have become 36%, and the 35% rate would have become 39.6%. These tax rate changes will take effect beginning in 2013 absent further legislation.

This is what would have happened in 2010 if the Bush Tax cuts had not been extended.

Shift in the brackets.

Everyone in the 10% bracket would have become 15% and so on. Pay attention Freder.

J said...

No point in arguing with tweek trash.
Just ....get the ATF goons on em, take their gear, lock em down

J said...

No , dumbass, when the BushCo tax slashes expire, tax rates will return to the Clinton level (approx.). But the Reagan bracket-system will still hold (And taxes on highest lower than Reagan's first term).

How to deal with meth-skank-- byatch slap 'em and ask questions later

Jay said...

J said...
No , dumbass, when the BushCo tax slashes expire, tax rates will return to the Clinton level (approx.).


And then what?

The federal government will still be running a trillion dollar a year deficit.

Wicca.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sorry, MadMan. That accounting is absurd.
If was really cheaper, they could just retire everybody now and rehire them without benefits.

I'm specifically addressing one comment: That it is cheaper for a grant to hire a rehired annuitant. As a Program Manager, I can tell you it is. A rehired annuitant comes in and works for a hourly rate, and that's all they are paid. The grant does not need to pony up for retirement, or health care, because ETF is paying that, and ETF is getting funds for that from the Pension Fund.

As to why people don't retire, you can't be fully vested until you're at 30 years (I think that's the number). And each year you stay in, your pension increases. Those are two incentives to stay working.

bagoh20 said...

"The secret wisdom of the elders is lost, apparently, when somebody retires, and their replacements must puzzle over how to do the complicated work"

That's right, because where you gonna find a young person who knows abacus, slide rule, and DOS?

damikesc said...

There is a brain drain in state service.

...as opposed to the old days, when rocket scientists ABOUNDED in government employment. I know when I used to go the DMV, I'd be amused by dissertations on the intricacies of theoretical physics while I looked straight ahead for my photo.

Now? Just a bunch of lumpen mesomorphs. Of course, if they are in government service now --- then the brain drain was occurring before recently.

Stunning.

Many people believe, with very good reason, that Scott Walker has only begun and will do more to stick it to public employees.

God willing.

I don't understand it all but have heard a lot about it.

AL describes his history of posting in one sentence. Kudos.

MadisonMan said...

Although that doesn't explain why Karen Gunderson was able to retire. Maybe there's an either/or -- either you've been in 30 years, or you're 55 or something.

I don't meet either requirement, so I've never looked into it. I plan on working 'til death anyway.

bagoh20 said...

This sounds like the baby sitter bitching that you hid the good liquor she used to water down.

MadisonMan said...

OK, I looked at my form. You can retire at 55, although (of course) the benefits are much less ($400 less per month in my case compared to what you'd get if you waited 'til you were 65).

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Just for the record, eliminating the Obama tax cuts would have no effect on state worker compensation. These folks are paid from state revenues. And Wisconsin is already one of the worst tax hells in the nation.

MayBee said...


I'm specifically addressing one comment: That it is cheaper for a grant to hire a rehired annuitant


Neither your comment nor the ones you were addressing discussed grants. Thanks you for clarifying.

Of course it is cheaper for the the grant to pay any employee- annuitant or not- an hourly rate with no benefits.

It is not cheaper for the state to continue to pay someone for work, and pay their benefits from a fund, while not having them continue to pay into that fund.

MayBee said...

OK, I looked at my form. You can retire at 55, although (of course) the benefits are much less ($400 less per month in my case compared to what you'd get if you waited 'til you were 65).

You could retire, get full benefits, and then be rehired by the state to work a little over 50 hours/month at $8/hour to make up the difference.

Kirk Parker said...

Hoosier and DBQ,

Wow, that's uncharacteristically dense for you both. They aren't getting the same gross as before.

Previously, they were getting salary X plus a fully-employer-funded pension. Now they're still getting salary X but the employer contribution to their pension is reduced. How is that not a reduction in overall compensation?

J said...

Slang: the grunt of the human hog (Bierce)

grunt on, Annie Acres

MayBee said...

You could retire, get full benefits, and then be rehired by the state to work a little over 50 hours/month at $8/hour to make up the difference.

should be: full medical benefits and those pension benefits...

MadisonMan said...

It is not cheaper for the state to continue to pay someone for work, and pay their benefits from a fund, while not having them continue to pay into that fund.

For the umpteenth time: The State does not pay benefits from the fund. The State is separate from the fund. (In Wisconsin).

If it is cheaper for a Grant to pay for someone, why would it not also be cheaper for the State to pay for someone who is a rehired annuitant?

MayBee said...

MadMan- who is paying into the Fund?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wow, that's uncharacteristically dense for you both. They aren't getting the same gross as before.

Yes they are. The gross income, the base salary, the pay per hour is the same. Unless they have also received a reduction in those items they are the same gross income.

The deductions for pension and insurance....those things that they are all bitching about, are taken out PRE- tax. Meaning that their taxable income is now less than it was before and therefore their "take home pay" is less. But then, note: their taxable income is less as well.

The fact that they now are paying towards those items may be considered a reduction in the effective total compensation package because the employer...taxpayers...are not fully paying those costs.

But....their gross pay has not changed.

MayBee said...

why would it not also be cheaper for the State to pay for someone who is a rehired annuitant?

Cheaper than what?

purplepenquin said...

Retire at 56! What a whining princess.

How can any system in which people can retire at 56 be close to economically viable?

Mentioned before, retiring at 56? From a job she started at age 30? The horror. Suck the taxpayers dry and then cmoplain.

Governments at all levels should respond by immediately raising their retirement ages to 65.

Retirement at 56. I'm shaking my head in astonishment.

Ya'll think THAT is bad?! There are a large number of federal employees that can retire with full pay and healthcare at the age of 47. And those are non-unionized workers.

Time to slash those benefits as well, eh?

TosaGuy said...

Who cares about the accounting gimmick of who saves what depending on which pot of money is used to pay someone.

The bottom line is if you retire and go back to work (for the same employer), you are not retired.

Such a person should not receive one penny more in total compensation than they did before. Just fix that part -- I don't care what ratio of money from which pot is used.

Marshal said...

"There are a large number of federal employees that can retire with full pay and healthcare at the age of 47...Time to slash those benefits as well, eh?"

It figures leftists can't tell the difference between risking your life and pushing paper. It's not like there's any reason at all being in the military might require a younger retirement age. I'm shocked you cannot think of a single one.

TosaGuy said...

actually PP, it's 37 and not 47 -- twenty years in the military. Active duty draw immediately and Guard and Reserve wait until age 60. Most people who join the armed forces do not receive a dime in pension because the vast majority do not serve 20 years.

MadisonMan said...

MadMan- who is paying into the Fund?

I am!

The payments from the fund do not depend on what's going in now. (There are two words for that kind of fund: Eventually Insolvent.) The funds are returns on Conservative Investments made with deposits into the funds over the Years. You can credit taxpayers for those historical monies, unless the benefits were paid for by grants from Private Companies.

I have mixed feelings about workers who draw a pension. Retirees have a pretty big economic impact. If the Pension Fund is solvent -- like Wisconsin's -- doesn't it benefit the state to have all those free-spending retirees? Wisconsin also taxes pensions (which is why my Dad won't move here from PA, where pensions are not taxed).

This double-dipping is not unique to Wisconsin, of course. Look at any company that hires young retired military. They're drawing a pension while working as well.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Kirk,

Well if you redefine a pay cut as simply less take home pay then yes I'm being dense. For example, I am going to contribute an extra 5% to my 401k next year so I will be taking a 5% pay cut since I will be bringing less home.

Kit said...

If they hired a new person, it would cost more, so it's cost effective to re-hire her. That's the defense of double-dipping.

I have no problem with this, if it's short-term and done in conjunction with training the new hire.

Alex said...

It figures leftists can't tell the difference between risking your life and pushing paper.

Actually people who are in sedentary jobs have a shorter lifespan then active military.

Kit said...

Maybe there's an either/or -- either you've been in 30 years, or you're 55 or something.

To be fully vested, it's both, 30 years and age 55. Short on either brings you some percentage down. I believe it was originally implemented to encourage turnover.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Penguin,

Sure. After all, liberals think far too much is spent on the military anyway.

Marshal said...

"Actually people who are in sedentary jobs have a shorter lifespan then active military."

This is only relevant is you think the military's early retirement age relates to the liklihood of early death. But in fact their early retirement age signals their need for young people to fill roles requiring physical strength and stamina, as well as the decreasing ability of the boy to recover from injury.

TosaGuy said...

"This double-dipping is not unique to Wisconsin, of course. Look at any company that hires young retired military. They're drawing a pension while working as well."

The point here is the same entity employing someone who had previously retired. I have no problems with people retiring from one job and working for someone entirely different. What you describe has no impact on the current employer, nor does it have an impact on the entity paying the pension.

Once you retire from the military, you cannot reenlist.

TosaGuy said...

"Actually people who are in sedentary jobs have a shorter lifespan then active military."

It's not a matter of lifespan, it's a matter of destroying your body in the prime of your life on the level of a professional athlete.

Kirk Parker said...

You guys are killing me!

DBQ, I swear I used the magical phrase "total compensation" in my last comment (just checked and whadda ya know, yes I did!) I'm sure there is some level of stereotyped menial-job employee who doesn't understand that an employer-paid pension is part of their overall compensation (and a thing of actual value!) But I don't see why thinking at that level needs to part of the discussion here.

And Hoosier, your putting x% more into your 401(k) is irrelevant. The point (trying to be) under discussion here is that the state as employer is going to be putting in y% less!

Meade said...

The fear-mongering has been going on for some time.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

doesn't it benefit the state to have all those free-spending retirees?

Where do you think that money would go if it didn't have to be spent on a select group of "free-spending" retirees? Would it just disappear or would it leave taxpayers with more of their own money to spend?

Also, how many retirees take their pension to a different state to avoid paying Wisconsin taxes? I know what WEAC wants them to do.

Shanna said...

It is semantics, really. Pay/wages versus Take Home Pay

A pay cut is when your gross goes down.


Not to mention that if we are talking about govt employees, a real pay cut would potentially cut their benefits (ie, less 401k or equivalent money put in/taken out (if they match), if they retire with a lower salary their benefits might have been based on that, etc..)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ok Kirk, I'll accept your definition of a pay cut as Ann contributing more to her deferred compensation in lieu of the state not paying so much.

See, when my wife took a pay cut years back, it was a flat cut from her gross pay. It wasn't them telling her she had to kick in more for health care or pension, just a flat cut. It's not like that amount was ever going to be recovered.

Then again Ann claimed it was a pay cut cause she was taking less home. Sure, less now but she'd recover it later.

AJ Lynch said...

"There is a brain drain in state service."

That is the funniest thing ever written here.

Shanna said...

There are a large number of federal employees that can retire with full pay and healthcare at the age of 47. And those are non-unionized workers.

What agency are you talking about? Because the general MRA (with 30 years) is 55-57, depending on your age. According to OPM, there are special provisions for Air traffic control, law enforcement and firefighters, (or if they are downsizing and doing early outs), but the general rule for most employees is 55-57 minimum.

If you want to argue that law enforcement etc is exactly the same as a desk job for retirement purposes, go right ahead.

Military is totally different, though.

Freeman Hunt said...

According to many on Facebook, America faces an impending fundamentalist Christian theocracy. No, really. We're one Rick Perry away from stoning gays and ownership of wives.

Shanna said...

According to many on Facebook

According to many on facebook, KSU fans are jerks and in for a rude awakening :) Also, our defensive coordinator apparently got fired.

Seriously, I'm not sure what is striking people about Rick Perry that makes him seem anything like you described, but I've seen tons of anti-Perry stuff from a friend who's originally from texas.

purplepenquin said...

It figures leftists can't tell the difference between risking your life and pushing paper.

It figures that civilians are unaware that the vast majority of people in the Armed Services will never see combat but rather are merely REMFs.

Alex said...

If you want to argue that law enforcement etc is exactly the same as a desk job for retirement purposes, go right ahead.

How many in law enforcement are paper pushers vs active street cops?

Hoosier Daddy said...

There were more than a few REMFs who bought it in Iraq.

Freeman Hunt said...

Seriously, I'm not sure what is striking people about Rick Perry that makes him seem anything like you described,

I'm actually combining two common Facebook memes: (1) impending fundamentalist Christian theocracy and (2) Rick Perry is a scary Christian.

Michael said...

When Ronald R "slashed" the tax rates he also slashed exemptions and deductions. Ronald R did something even worse. Ronald R and the Tax Reform Act of 1980 RETROACTIVELY changed the tax law so that doctors and lawyers and car salesmen who had been lured into real estate by incentives in the form of deductions were robbed of those very deductions. The "reforms" were not prospective but retroactive. Be very afraid of taxes, tax reforms and the government because even the sainted Ronald R fucked a whole coterie of people.

Freeman Hunt said...

Then there's the other brand with the Obama is a Muslim traitor meme. And non-political memes like gluten is poison or Christians/non-Christians are flaming idiots.

Now many people have Facebook set to display what songs they are listening to. That way everyone can marvel at everyone else's bad taste.

Michael said...

PurpleP: "Ya'll think THAT is bad?! There are a large number of federal employees that can retire with full pay and healthcare at the age of 47. And those are non-unionized workers.

Time to slash those benefits as well, eh?"

Yes. Yes, those benefits need to be slashed as well. Your point is that unions are unnecessary to create obscene retirement arrangements. Your point underscores the fact that unions do little to advance their members beyond those of non members. And thanks for playing.

Freeman Hunt said...

And the ever present requests to cut and paste inane things into one's status updates.

MadisonMan said...

Where do you think that money would go if it didn't have to be spent on a select group of "free-spending" retirees?

It would remain in the pension fund.

Kirk Parker said...

Freeman,

Those folks on Facebook are idiots--everyone knows the proper term is "Christianist"! (Or maybe everyone doesn't? Good grief, don't people read Andrew Sullivan any more???)

garage mahal said...

Yes. Yes, those benefits need to be slashed as well. Your point is that unions are unnecessary to create obscene retirement arrangements

Taxpayers are coerced into paying private sector companies for services provided as well. Spectrum in Madison even received millions just for agreeing not to move out of Wisconsin. No services provided at all.

As a TAXPAYER, I would like a peak at their charter, and would like a say in their obscene compensation packages. I'm entitled, as a TAXPAYER, right?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The point (trying to be) under discussion here is that the state as employer is going to be putting in y% less!

And ...so? It still doesn't affect GROSS pay.

I also used the term total compensation. I agree their total compensation is going to be decreased.

Not to mention that if we are talking about govt employees, a real pay cut would potentially cut their benefits (ie, less 401k or equivalent money put in/taken out (if they match), if they retire with a lower salary their benefits might have been based on that, etc..)

Government employee's retirement benefits are based on their gross or net or on a unit method, depending on how the plan is structured. The benefit is DEFINED, meaning set at a certain amount no matter what the performance of the investment pool.

A 401K plan is based on defined contributions and the ultimate benefit IS based on investment performance.

The danger in DBPs is that disconnect between the benefit and the investment performance.

When the investments don't do well, as has been happening lately, the plan administrator has to kick in MORE and MORE money to cover the losses to actuarially guarantee the future benefits.

So in other words in a DBP when the market goes down the taxpayers have to pay more money into the plan.

In a 401K when the market tanks, the value of the account goes down and it is up to the employee to add more or make better investment choices.

Almost ALL government and union plans are the dinosaur DBPs. This is why the Government, States, Cities and General Motors are going broke.

We just can't afford to guarantee pension benefits under the current system. A system which lends itself to corruption and graft.

Michael said...

GM:

The State could elect not to meet the requests of the company and the company would either decide to stay and provide jobs or take their company and their jobs elsewhere. If you do not like the decision of the state to entice businesses then you should, as you are trying, to change leadership.

No, but you can buy shares in the company and voice your opinion that way. You vote on the compensation package pursuant to the say on pay provisions of the SEC.

If Spectrum is a public company you can do more than have a "peak (sic)" at their "charter", you can delve into their financials, their pay practices and so forth. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires public companies to file various reports on a timely basis. You can go to SEC.gov and look up any public company's "charter" to your heart's content. You will have to know how to read a balance sheet for much of it to make sense.

gadfly said...

@garage

As a TAXPAYER, I would like a peak at their charter, and would like a say in their obscene compensation packages. I'm entitled, as a TAXPAYER, right?

So Garage is pointy headed. Maybe he is qualified, in his own sinister (lefthanded) sort of way, to benefit from those supposed lush salaries at Spectrum.

Welcome to the 53%, Garage.

MadisonMan said...

DBQ, the problem with DBPs in most states is that Legislatures saw that "unused" money as a gigantic piggy bank to "borrow" from.

Of course, in government parlance, borrowing means never having to repay. You don't get good returns if there is no money to work with.

TT tried to engineer such a raid here in WI, and the Courts smacked him down.

garage mahal said...

@Michael
Skip the charter. I don't want to buy their stock.

As a taxpayer coerced into sending Spectrum millions of dollars against my will, I want more than that. As you said, I want their benefits slashed.

It's about time they experience what the public sector has already experienced in Wisconsin.

Jay said...

It's about time they experience what the public sector has already experienced in Wisconsin.

*GIGGLE*

Contributing 12% to your health insurance premium is some nasty experience!

You idiots are so off the rails outside of reality it is sad.

garage mahal said...

Contributing 12% to your health insurance premium is some nasty experience!

Then it should be no problem for Spectrum to contribute 12% more. And anyone else the state hires off the backs of TAXPAYERS.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

It would remain in the pension fund.

How much does it cost the state taxpayers to produce those "free spending" retirees? Is it free? If so, just think how popular a Governor would be if he gave all residents a pension. And just think about the economic benefit from that. It boggles the mind!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

It's about time they experience what the public sector has already experienced in Wisconsin.

If they are like any privite sector company I've worked for in the last twenty years, they already have. And then some.

Henry said...

I want their benefits slashed.

One man's slash is another man's diddley.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

As a TAXPAYER, I would like a peak at their charter, and would like a say in their obscene compensation packages. I'm entitled, as a TAXPAYER, right?


The fact that you don't know what is in an SEC filing is comical.

Jay said...

It's about time they experience what the public sector has already experienced in Wisconsin.

I love how you pretend the private sector, under the leadership of the President with the worst jobs record since the great depression, is in some sort boom.

gadfly said...

Althouse says:

It's just a pay cut. That's how it needs to be understood. You have to think in terms of pay packages. If we have to "contribute to [our] own retirement," when we did not have to do that before, we get less take-home pay.

I just retired from the private workforce with a social security check and a severely diminished 401K fund (thanks Obama!) -- so cry me a river about the overpaid public employees with overgenerous defined-benefit pension plans being hurt a reasonable requirement to pay five-point-something percent toward their own retirement.

For-profit companies routinely require employees to work reduced hours or for reduced wages when the shit hits the fan -- but that is a whole bunch better than loss of job.

Synova said...

"It figures that civilians are unaware that the vast majority of people in the Armed Services will never see combat but rather are merely REMFs."

I think that the modern term is FOBBIT.

In any case, smarty-pants, where is the RE in Iraq or Afghanistan?

It's been a decade since we gave up the notion of "behind the lines" and started both training and arming our supply clerks.

Jay said...

Remember, liberals are for progress!

"Layoffs too often became permanent, not part of the business cycle. And these changes didn't just affect blue collar workers. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs and the internet," President Obama said at a campaign event in Kansas.

I could wade through a 5th grade classroom and find someone who knows more about economics than that idiot.

damikesc said...

Then it should be no problem for Spectrum to contribute 12% more. And anyone else the state hires off the backs of TAXPAYERS.

Will I get my money back from GM?
Solyndra?
The other assorted politically motivated "investments" in brutally unprofitable green companies?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"It's about time they experience what the public sector has already experienced in Wisconsin."

Time to bring the 'intellectually inert brats' tag back.


"I could wade through a 5th grade classroom and find someone who knows more about economics than that idiot."

Jay, anyone that has run a bake sale or a lemonade stand has more knowledge than jug ears.

Jay said...

If you were a...phone operator

Wow, how about Obama's reference there.

So current.

Troubled Voter said...

pot meet kettle, the author of this blog and ESPECIALLY the commenters.

just saying!

Jay said...

Jay, anyone that has run a bake sale or a lemonade stand has more knowledge than jug ears.

True.

How in the world did this guy get elected?

Freeman Hunt said...

Just now there was a new Facebook post about the coming evangelical theocracy. Not fundamentalist this time. I imagine the idea is to confuse the ideas of evangelical and fundamentalist. Then, having established fundamentalists as crazies, one can paint a greater percentage of Christians as crazies.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"How in the world did this guy get elected?"

People that write things like this:

"pot meet kettle, the author of this blog and ESPECIALLY the commenters.

just saying!"

And this:

"There is a brain drain in state service." (with regard to Wisconsin)

And this wisdom:

"grunt on, Annie Acres"

Michael said...

GM:

I would advise you not to use the word "charter" when demanding information about a public company. It does nothing to obscure the fact that you are a fool.

Oh, you demand as a taxpayer that you get say on pay on a company you don't own stock in because your state provided incentives to the company to stay in the state? Well, demand away.

What you want doesn't matter.

Synova said...

It's fine with me if our state and federal governments didn't give any money to any business over another and limited themselves to making sure that the general atmosphere was good for business.

This would immediately solve the problem of Solyndra and like companies.

No, our tax money shouldn't be going there.

Now, back to garage's initial point which was equating a private company with public entities and trying to claim that the public entity ought not have to answer to taxpayers or have accountability to the public...

That was your point, right, garage?

garage mahal said...

Oh, you demand as a taxpayer that you get say on pay on a company you don't own stock in because your state provided incentives to the company to stay in the state? Well, demand away.

You don't own unions and yet you feel you can dictate how they are structured and how their members are compensated. Even in states you don't live in or pay taxes in. I do pay a lot of taxes in this state. These special tax credits, grants, and loans are unsustainable. And, we're broke!

State tax credit program doesn't always create jobs

Since 2007, the state Department of Commerce, which has been restructured to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. under Gov. Scott Walker, has awarded more than 200 job-creation tax credit agreements with companies. Those agreements are worth more than $320 million in credits, although many have not been collected by businesses, according to state data. Most of them remain active, meaning the businesses still can add jobs to get the tax credits.

Other than the 15 businesses that have completed their agreements, just 16 of the other 191 tax credit agreements still active have delivered the number of jobs promised. Many of the businesses have not added any jobs yet, data show.


I'm shocked that tax credits aren't creating jobs.

Meade said...

AJ Lynch said...
"There is a brain drain in state service."

That is the funniest thing ever written here.

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

LOL. You may be right, AJ

Michael said...

GM. Public unions should not exist. It is absurd to extoll the virtues of govt and then treat govt as if it were some monster employer. Funny if it wasnt causing states and the fed to go broke.

Sorry if businesses have to be bribed to stay in your state. You might ponder why that is.

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