We Fucked Up The System and Now It Don’t Work No More!


Public pensions are like paper currencies: They work well when managed by principled fiscally responsible people, if you can find them, but are vulnerable to political decisions to boost spending, cut income, and leave the program unsustainable for future generations.

Pennsylvania is a prime offender: Under former Gov. Tom Ridge (R), the state in 2001 boosted pensions even as it cut taxpayer support. (Public workers also pay more than 6% of their paychecks into the fund, but it’s not enough to pay all the future checks.)

To replace lost state revenues, the plans hired hundreds of expensive private-sector money managers, some of them political donors, to jack up assets.

That hasn’t worked. The result is a multibillion-dollar and growing shortfall between what the pension plans have amassed and what they’re going to have to pay hundreds of thousands of surprisingly healthy retirees for decades to come; along with rapidly increasing demands on taxpayers that are driving local school taxes up, outraging citizens.

Outraging citizens, natch, at all those greedy teachers and cops and firefighters and whatnot, who SO TOTALLY HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THIS. Who should be punished for the shitty decisions made by politicians because hey, “we” all need to suffer, right? I mean, let’s share the pain, by which I mean you need to hurt so that I can feel properly superior to you.

The comments are perfect, too:

“Guaranteed-pensions” are unsustainable! Period. They are only “sustainable” due to the taxpayers. If they were only funded by those paying into them, they would be a small fraction of what they are currently, or not exist at all. Public school teachers especially are paid very well and have amazing health benefits. Why should the public also have to fund their pensions? The money that will be paid out by these pensions will far, far exceed the money that these employees will have paid in. A 401k or 403b is good enough for the vast majority of Americans, but not for the six-figure teacher in Lower Merion, Central Bucks, Council Rock, Wallingford-Swarthmore.

A country of assholes, indeed.


8 thoughts on “We Fucked Up The System and Now It Don’t Work No More!

  1. So at what point to we get what’s coming to us? I mean, there are millions of horrible assholes out there, and when the day of reckoning comes, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be precisely targeted just at the assholes.

  2. As the conservative side heavily emphasizes being “FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE”
    Why is one of the first things they do is go out and hire money managers who partipate in activities including hedge funds, Credit Default Swaps, bundling, and all the way up to Enron accounting?

  3. I wonder why no one ever gets pissed about the $400 million retirement pension some poohbah at Exxon got when he left his corner office? Really, that’s the way a permanent aristocracy (of money) is established.

  4. Not so very long ago states promised to pay their employees later for the work they did today.
    They negotiated health care plans instead of increased wages because charging employees more for benefits is easier than cutting wages.
    They negotiated retirement plans in lieu of increased wages because paying later is always easier to sell to the taxpayers than paying now.
    How soon they forget.

  5. See, because you are a rational logical entity what you aren’t getting about privatization is the Circular Reasoning of Mammon.
    Privatization is good because it opens gummint(socialist) programs and functions to competition. If costs go up/down that just proves that gummint is uncompetitive compared to the market.
    And that doesn’t even begin with the (work for the Gummint= lazy & expensive)/(work for the Private Secter doing the same job for same pay= productive & cheap) cognitive rabbit hole.

  6. Alger:
    And that doesn’t even begin with the (work for the Gummint= lazy & expensive)/(work for the Private Secter doing the same job for same pay= productive & cheap) cognitive rabbit hole
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hears that can says “um… WTF?”
    The part they don’t tell you is that if public employees are doing the same work for the private sector, there’s little chance they will be getting the same pay and benefits as if it was for the government. Ergo, government employees are “wasteful” or “overpaid”.
    Basically, most of those people are assholes who think that other people shouldn’t be paid one thin dime more than their employer can get away with—”the minimum wage is unconstitutional!”—while their skill set should be rewarded with blowjobs and/or ponies. (And, of course, that they are “free” to just magically hop from employer to employer until they get that desired BJ/pony combination, regardless of factors like a shrinking job market and high unemployment.)

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