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AP Admits Public Sector Gets Sweet Deal

From, of all places, the Associated Press:

Anger brews over government workers’ benefits

By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press
March 8, 2011

When Erin McFarlane looks at public workers, she sees lucrative pension benefits she doesn’t ever expect to get. And it makes her mad.

"I don’t think that a federal employee or government employee is worth any more than anybody else who does their job and does it well," said the Slinger, Wis., woman. She’s been working a couple of bartending jobs since January, when she was laid off from her job at a Harley Davidson plant after almost a decade.

She’s not alone in seeing public servants as public enemies in some ways. It’s a case of pension envy

Still, would the Associated Press make jokes like this about union workers? Also, is it even true? We’re not so sure that people feel "envy" when they look at what spoiled public union members receive in terms of wages and benefits and retirement plans.

It is more of a resentment at our having to pay them so much for so little work. To borrow from Mr. Churchill. ‘Never in the field of human endeavor has so much been paid by so many to so few.’ And we might add – ‘for so little.’

A USA Today/Gallup poll last month found show that Americans largely side with the employees, though about two in five that want government pay and benefits reined in.

You can’t have it both ways. There is no way the states will be able to rein in spending without curbing the unions. This isn’t rocket surgery.

Barbara Davis, a retiree from Cherry Hill, N.J., has been watching public workers in rallies in Madison, Wis., as well as Trenton. She says the protesters are wrong about tightening benefits hurting the middle class.

"I’m sorry, but what they’re doing is telling off the middle class," said Davis, 76, and a co-chairwoman of the Cherry Hill Area Tea Party. "The middle-class people don’t get all the goodies that they do."

Those vicious Tea Party types.

At its heart, the issue is this: Some public workers get a sweet deal compared to other workers. And it’s taxpayers who pay for it.

Imagine finding such a simple and obvious truth spelled out in an AP article!

That’s set off resentment in a time when economic doldrums have left practically everyone tightening their belts. Many people have found their tax bills rising even if their earnings haven’t

"It’s the government sector worker who’s the new elite, the highest-paid worker on the block," said David Gregory, who teaches labor and employment law at New York’s St. John’s University.

More amazing reporting from the AP. — Imagine having a professor of labor law say things against public sector unions!

For instance, most non-uniformed public employees who have worked in New Jersey for 30 years with an ending salary of $85,000 can look forward to retiring at 55 with an annual pension of about $46,000. Working until age 60 and a salary of $90,000 can bring a pension of $57,000. And many of the New Jersey’s public-sector retirees have no or low premiums for their health insurance.

For a private-section worker who retires at 55, relying solely on a 401(k) without an employer match, it would take a $100 contribution to a plan every week for 30 years and getting an annual return over 7 percent to get to the same level of pension benefit as the public worker retiring at that age. Those benefits would run out after 25 years for the 401(k) retiree

And still more astonishing reporting. (Better late than never, we guess.)

National data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that public-sector workers do better when it comes to pensions and benefits…

The government entities spent 1.7 times as much on health care per employee-hour worked and nearly twice as much on retirement costs. Public-sector workers — who are more often represented by unions — are far more likely to have defined-benefit pensions with promises to pay for the retirees’ whole lives

Stewart, 36, the director of contemporary worship at a Methodist church in suburban Toledo, says he has a hard time conjuring up sympathy for the government workers he’s seen protesting because of all the time he’s spent working with struggling immigrants.

"These are middle class people who have a house, who have enough food, who are complaining they don’t have enough," he said. "Instead of fighting for their piece of the political pie, they’d be better looking at how to live within their means."

The AP is even citing a Minister who works with immigrants! Surely a sanctified person, by the AP’s standards.

Jeff Nash is a Democrat elected to the county freeholder board in union-heavy Camden County, N.J., who has come to believe that public employees need to sacrifice.

"The days of government workers receiving free benefits and pensions without risk, those days are coming to an end because everyone else who pays for government services is paying more for their health insurance, like myself, and running the risk of a 401(k) as part of their retirement savings. Government is changing to match what the rest of middle-class America is enduring today."

"It’s not a matter of fairness," he said. "It’s a matter of evolution."

Man alive. The AP is even citing elected Democrats – from New Jersey!

Public opinion must be running even stronger against the public sector unions than even we had imagined.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “AP Admits Public Sector Gets Sweet Deal”

  1. tranquil.night says:

    Well, there’s been concessions when it comes to The New Reality, and it mainly involves sacrifing some pension and insurance benefits. Notice how the AP doesn’t go as far as to credit collective bargaining as the reason such entitlements get ratified.

    They think they’ve won over popular sentiment with their “moderate concession” and so now the AP is milking it while still looking to protect their base from the more necessary aspects of the reform agenda.

    How much of a “concession” – at least politically – are increased contributions to benefits ala the Christie Plan?

    Well, Pro asked in another thread what’s the credit status of California (23 billion deficit, hundreds of billions in unfunded pensions), the only State the Marxists have fully conquered?

    It’s the worst in the nation at A-, according to LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-20110117,0,4813733.column?page=2

    They also conducted a poll in which a majority said they would pay an extension on tax increases rather than the see massive education cuts being threatened, but when asked specifically, near super-majority’s said both they didn’t trust the State with the money and were demanding public sector reforms specifically.

    So point is even out here enough people are upset at the class gap. It’s just too obvious, unavoidable, and unsustainable. That’s why Brown is going to miss the deadline for his moonbeam budget to an impasse. For now.

  2. JohnMG says:

    …..”Man alive. The AP is even citing elected Democrats – from New Jersey!…..”

    Is this guy gunning for Scott Brown’s seat? He just may get it, then. He’s got the requsite “D” behind his name.

  3. Mithrandir says:

    NEW YORK TEACHER SALARIES: http://www.myshortpencil.com/newyorkteachersalaries.htm

    Look at the column titled, “Top_Sal”


    I think their trick is, is to negotiate crazy things like Viagra, 0% investment of their own retirement, etc, so that when the public FINALLY gets frustrated with the scam, they have something to bargain with.
    “Fine! We will give up the request for free Viagra, are you all happy now?!”

    • BigOil says:

      The most interesting number in the table was not the $65,000 per year average annual salary, but the % increase in average annual salary of 17.5% over a two-year period. That is an 8.75% per year raise. Who gets raises like that in the middle of a recession? Especially from a state that is on the verge of bankruptcy.

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