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The Truth About Public Employee Pensions

Friday, January 07, 2011

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's a Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer ShowGreg Floyd president of Teamsters Local 237, responds to Governor Cuomo's State of the State address as well as the Committee to Save New York's plans for government reform.

What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

That is what Greg Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, said in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address calling for a one-year pay freeze for state workers. Teamsters Local 237 represents 24,000 public employees in New York City, including school safety agents and maintenance workers.  

Floyd said pensions are not the problem, and the one-year state worker wage freeze in addition to the tough talk about lowering the pension costs is scape-goating public employees for problems that they did not create.   

He traces the problem fifteen years back, to former Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani, who reduced pension withholdings by three percent because they thought the pension fund was overfunded. “You have to maintain a certain level, and we didn’t do that.” No one had the foresight to predict the economic collapse — but Floyd finds the government remiss in not maintaining a sufficient surplus. Despite all this, public employee unions are not the enemy.

We’re willing to make sacrifices, but we don’t want to be sacrificed.

As evidence that public employees did not cause the crisis, Floyd pointed to Texas, where, despite tough conservative policies and a public employee work force largely barred from unionization, the state budget crisis looms large – larger than New York’s, in fact. Paul Krugman writes about the situation in depth in today’s New York Times. Floyd had a better solution for using pension funds to ameliorate the crisis. 

We can make smart investments, fund infrastructure projects, create retail jobs, we can create a legacy and put people back to work. Once there is a bigger tax base, then this will help solve our revenue problems.

So is there a fundemental pension problem? Floyd says no. 

I am a trustee of the new york city pension fund – we are not having trouble… Did we take a loss, yes. We have made a lot of that back. We are not underfunded, we are not New Jersey…we’re not there. New Jersey has a different problem.

What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

For more, listen to the entire interview with Floyd above.

What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

That is what the president of Teamsters Local 237Greg Floyd said in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address in which he called for a one-year pay freeze for state workers.  Teamsters 237 represents 24,000 public employees in New York City, including school safety agents and maintenance workers.  

He said pensions are not the problem, and the one-year state worker wage freeze in addition to tough talk about lowering the pension costs is scape-goating public employees for problems that they did not create.   

He traces the problem to former Governor’s Pataki and Giuliani, who reduced pension withholdings by three percent because they thought the pension fund was overfunded. This problem started many years ago. “You have to maintain a certain level, and we didn’t do that.” No one had the foresight to predict the economic collapse but Floyd finds the government remiss in not maintaining a sufficient surplus.   

“We’re willing to make sacrifice but don’t want to be sacrificed”

 He sights as an example Texas, where, despite tough conservative policies and a public employee work force that is largely barred from unionization, the state budget crisis looms larger – larger than New York’s, in fact.  Paul Krugman writes about the situa

What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

That is what the president of Teamsters Local 237Greg Floyd said in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address in which he called for a one-year pay freeze for state workers.  Teamsters 237 represents 24,000 public employees in New York City, including school safety agents and maintenance workers.  

He said pensions are not the problem, and the one-year state worker wage freeze in addition to tough talk about lowering the pension costs is scape-goating public employees for problems that they did not create.   

He traces the problem to former Governor’s Pataki and Giuliani, who reduced pension withholdings by three percent because they thought the pension fund was overfunded. This problem started many years ago. “You have to maintain a certain level, and we didn’t do that.” No one had the foresight to predict the economic collapse but Floyd finds the government remiss in not maintaining a sufficient surplus.   

“We’re willing to make sacrifice but don’t want to be sacrificed”

 He sights as an example Texas, where, despite tough conservative policies and a public employee work force that is largely barred from unionization, the state budget crisis looms larger – larger than New York’s, in fact.  Paul Krugman writes about the situation in depth in today’s New York Times. Floyd has a better solution. 

“We can make smart investments, fund infrastructure projects, create retail jobs, we can create a legacy and put people back to work. Once there is a bigger tax base, then this will help solve our revenue problems.”

 Does that mean there is no pension problem?  Floyd says no. 

I am a trustee of the new york city pension fund – we are not having trouble…did we take a loss, yes. We have made a lot of that back. We are not underfunded, we are not new jersey…we’re not there. Jersey has a different problem.

 What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

That is what the president of Teamsters Local 237Greg Floyd said in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address in which he called for a one-year pay freeze for state workers.  Teamsters 237 represents 24,000 public employees in New York City, including school safety agents and maintenance workers.  

He said pensions are not the problem, and the one-year state worker wage freeze in addition to tough talk about lowering the pension costs is scape-goating public employees for problems that they did not create.   

He traces the problem to former Governor’s Pataki and Giuliani, who reduced pension withholdings by three percent because they thought the pension fund was overfunded. This problem started many years ago. “You have to maintain a certain level, and we didn’t do that.” No one had the foresight to predict the economic collapse but Floyd finds the government remiss in not maintaining a sufficient surplus.   

“We’re willing to make sacrifice but don’t want to be sacrificed”

 He sights as an example Texas, where, despite tough conservative policies and a public employee work force that is largely barred from unionization, the state budget crisis looms larger – larger than New York’s, in fact.  Paul Krugman writes about the situation in depth in today’s New York Times. Floyd has a better solution. 

“We can make smart investments, fund infrastructure projects, create retail jobs, we can create a legacy and put people back to work. Once there is a bigger tax base, then this will help solve our revenue problems.”

 Does that mean there is no pension problem?  Floyd says no. 

I am a trustee of the new york city pension fund – we are not having trouble…did we take a loss, yes. We have made a lot of that back. We are not underfunded, we are not new jersey…we’re not there. Jersey has a different problem.

 What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

 

tion in depth in today’s New York Times. Floyd has a better solution. 

“We can make smart investments, fund infrastructure projects, create retail jobs, we can create a legacy and put people back to work. Once there is a bigger tax base, then this will help solve our revenue problems.”

 Does that mean there is no pension problem?  Floyd says no. 

I am a trustee of the new york city pension fund – we are not having trouble…did we take a loss, yes. We have made a lot of that back. We are not underfunded, we are not new jersey…we’re not there. Jersey has a different problem.

 What you are hearing in the media is not true. The pension funds are not underfunded.

 

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Comments [40]

Stepheneng from Brooklyn

Once municipalities and states agreed to future pensions, they had the responsibility of funding those obligations. This, they have refused to do. Pension funds were used as "piggy banks" to artificially lower taxes in good times, and even this year, as Christie rails against pension deficits, he has refused to make this year's payments--compounding the mess for some future governor. Pensions were part of employees' wages--to be paid at a later date. Breaking that pact is simply criminal.

Jan. 24 2011 07:20 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Well said, Helen Northmore from New York. As she states and substantiates, dealing with state budgets and public sector workers is complicated and must be drilled down on to highlight the truth vis-a-vis public sector unions.

Too bad that many are blaming or scapegoating public sector workers, their unions, and unions, in general. It seems that everyone forgets that negotiations and compromise on all sides took place in every instance over the last 50 years, proving that this demonization of (public sector) unions is just a constant, anti-union theme that pervades the U.S without looking at the facts.

I guess the anti-union crowd has never heard of negotiation or renegotiation that result in legally binding labor contracts. Renegotiation of current contracts is something I GUARANTEE public sector unions across the country are willing to undertake.

Jan. 10 2011 10:54 AM
Helen Northmore from New York

Alex, you’re correct that teachers in NYC can make upwards of $100,000 a year. It’s a well paying job. After 22 years on the job, and after getting a Master’s Degree, and studying for an additional 30 college credits, the top level of pay is $100,049. A starting teaching with just a Bachelor’s Degree makes $45,530 a year. The salary schedule can be found at this website: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/72DE1FF1-EDFC-40D7-9D61-831014B39D1E/0/TeacherSalarySchedule20083.pdf

You write that “many of us want equality - a government that is not paid separately and differently than the rest of us.” In “Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensated Public Employee”, a study on the Economic Policy Institute’s website, “the findings were that on average, state and local government workers are compensated 3.75% less than workers in the private sector.”

“The study analyzes workers with similar human capital. It controls for education,
experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability and
finds that, compared to workers in the private sector, state government employees are
undercompensated by 7.55% and local government employees are undercompensated by 1.84%. The study also finds that the benefits that state and local government workers receive do not offset the lower wages they are paid.” Source: http://epi.3cdn.net/8808ae41b085032c0b_8um6bh5ty.pdf

When citizens (including those who choose: "Not to Vote") can elect their own governments, they are responsible for the quality of government they get, the laws that are made, and the treaties and the contracts that are negotiated. Not all governments have handled their budget planning responsibilities (including those budgets’ future implications) well. Some governments have been ignoring the future financial implications of their pension contracts for years. A study posted on the Pew Center’s website includes: “In 2000, just over half the states had fully funded pension systems. By 2006, that number had shrunk to six states. By 2008, only four—Florida, New York, Washington and Wisconsin—could make that claim.” Source: The Pew Center on the States at - http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=56695

If a community’s past negotiations have included future pensions as part of the compensation package to its public employees, then the pensions are legal obligations. Whether any of us like it or not, that’s the starting point of any future negotiations about already agreed to pensions.

Jan. 08 2011 10:52 AM
Alex

Helen Northmore writes:

“The market values of NYCERS’ assets, particularly those of equities, had been adversely impacted by the market conditions during fiscal years 2008 and 2009. While the results of fiscal year 2010 have been favorable, the Plan only recouped about 30% of the losses of the prior two fiscal years.”

I think there is little doubt that the financial condition of the last two years impacted the public pension funds negatively. But that does not address why the taxpayer should be on the hook for the loss. My retirement took a serious hit over the last two years but public workers aren't compensating my retirement, it's not clear why I should be compensating theirs. Teachers in NYC can make upwards of $100,000 a year. That's a lot of money. In many small towns teachers are often the most highly paid individuals in the community. It's not clear why the community should be taxed to support them in their retirement years.

What many of us want is equality - a government that is not paid separately and differently than the rest of us.

Jan. 07 2011 01:56 PM
david ores from Lower East Side

Why is the expense of invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan NOT part of the USA budget or deficit? Trillions of dollars. And they don't have 1.4 million for organ transplants. Or medicaid. Or schools. Or jobs in the USA. Or roads. Or anything else. How insane is that? And much worse, Americans citizens are too dumb to stand up an shout about it. A tragic national embarrassment.

Jan. 07 2011 12:27 PM
Helen Northmore from New York

To find out the actual facts about the New York City public pensions, including its relationship to financial markets, a link to “The 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the NYC Employees’ Retirement System” is at:

http://www.nycers.org/(S(wecx0455netw2qrddktkimvd))/about/CAFR.aspx

The report includes the retirement system’s: lists of fees paid to financial advisors and consultants; brokers’ commissions; lists of equity and bond holdings; cash receipts and disbursements; and several tables describing the number of pension recipients, their years of service, final average salaries and retirement benefit.

Two excerpts at the beginning of the Report linking the financial meltdown to the fortunes of the retirement system: 


“The investment portfolio must be regarded as a major contributor to the system.”

“The market values of NYCERS’ assets, particularly those of equities, had been adversely impacted by the market conditions during fiscal years 2008 and 2009. While the results of fiscal year 2010 have been favorable, the Plan only recouped about 30% of the losses of the prior two fiscal years.”

Jan. 07 2011 11:43 AM
Patricia from Manhattan

Yes, it's very obvious that unionized workers are being scapegoated. One can hardly find a newspaper or other media story that isn't screaming about public employee pensions destroying our economic system, completely ignoring the real problem, which is the manipulation of our economic system by the wealthy and the politicians they control (witness the repeal of the commuter tax by George Pataki and Sheldon Silver, not to mention the current economic meltdown caused by the large banks).

It's been going on for years and It is very sad that so many Americans are so easily persuaded to demonize the labor movement , which created the most prosperous middle class as well as what is arguably the most powerful economy in history.

Jan. 07 2011 11:21 AM
Xtina from E. Village

While the explosion in pension costs over the last ten years is obscene, freezing salaries is a symbolic move that will barely make any debt at all in the budget. Instead, they should target the pensions if they are bloated, and at the least outlaw 'double dipping' which would have the double beneficial effect of creating a job opening and lowering unemployment, should the double dipper decide to take the pension and not the job.

Jan. 07 2011 11:07 AM
Alex

It's unwise to tell people to ignore their actual, lived social experience in favor of economic studies or projections. The typical plumber who makes $60,000 a year and has 3 kids in college knows that he (or she) is not going to be able to retire until he's in his late sixties, if he's ever able to retire. The teacher across the street is retired in her late fifties with a vested pension plan for life that will likely pay more than the plumber's salary. He knows this is wrong and he should be supported in his social experience, not insulted by being told that such and such a report says he's actually making more than the teacher does.

The public pension plans shouldn't be reformed, they should be eliminated. Public employees should save for their own retirements, just like the rest of us.

Jan. 07 2011 11:06 AM
Edward from NJ

Greg Floyd was right to point out that there was always someone on the other side of the negotiating table. During good times state and local governments wrote made a lot of deals that we're paying for now. It's ironic how many of the same people demanding union concessions now argue for the supreme importance of upholding contracts under most other circumstances.

If there's something wrong with unions today, it's that they're slowly committing suicide by selling out their younger members. Older members invariably refuse to make concessions to prevent layoffs. They save their own benefit packages by agreeing to lower benefits for new hires. In the long term, as new members don't see the union fighting for them, this is self defeating.

Jan. 07 2011 10:53 AM
mp from NYC

I hope that government workers are able to defend their position and their pensions. The state can reform and reshape the programs that are costly but more than anything the wealthy need to pay their share because they are benefiting the most from the society that feeds into their wealth. Cuomo is not persuasive and not true. He talks about major interest and yet he is protecting the wealthy and going after what? passing the burden to the workers? anyone can do it? this is nothing new.
Reducing the pay for 5% is silly; until rich start paying their share we will continue to sink into poverty and huge debt.

Jan. 07 2011 10:41 AM
Vlad from Essex, NJ

I'm a factory manager in NJ and recently I've had to lay off workers and hire temps because of slow production and a diminishing budget. It was hard to do, but it's what needed to be done to keep the factory afloat. Now if the privet sector has to do it, then so does the public sector. Outsource some of the jobs, streamline the processes and work within the new budget. Otherwise, we'll never get out of the hole that we are in. MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICE, NOT JUST THE POLITICALLY SAFE CHOICE.

Jan. 07 2011 10:38 AM
Elaine Shinbrot from Helmetta, NJ

The war on public employees and their pensions is truly disgusting.

Of course it's class war, and the public employees happen to be the latest target of convenience.

Note that during the cold war, the easiest target of convenience was also public employees -- at that time, the object became their loyalty rather than their pensions.

The easy acquiescence of the US media (not only lately, but over time) is horrifying. I am considering canceling my support of WNYC because of the latest flap and firing of an NPR official over her firing that lout, Juan Williams.

Jan. 07 2011 10:36 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

The unions don't care about anyone but their memberships and management, that should be manifestly obvious after the last snowstorm debacle (which WAS planned and carried out by disgruntled sanitation union managers). Don't believe the hype, the unions are corporate lackeys who have conspired to destroy the middle class with their employers (public and private) in order to secure their own futures. They made a deal with the devil and they're getting burned, I think it's great. When is the last time a union DID ANYTHING to promote broad social justice - as was the original intent of union organizers like the IWW. They are just another vampiric special interest out to tax the middle class to make their $.

Jan. 07 2011 10:33 AM
Tara from Brooklyn

The public employees are too expensive in this state. There are far too many people in the 5+ figure range, there are expensive perks tht last a life time. There is the wink and nod when overtime is accumulated in the final years for life time tax free payouts at the tax payers expense. I can go on andf on - all this needs to stop. Property taxes and income taxes are the highest in the nation and we cannot support this any longer. There are localities that have more retired people than active workers. There is no reason for a public employee union - they are not factory workers, or miners - most are desk or professional jobs.They refuse to even accept a simple freeze when the rest of the state is suffering?! They feel they have a right to other peoples money at an ever increasing rate forever?! ENOUGH!

Jan. 07 2011 10:32 AM
bernie from bklyn

the core of the problem with unions and their relationship with the rest of society is that they have been are extremely corrupt. they do as much damage to it's members as outside forces do. union leaders have pushed,pushed and pushed for their own benefit and created a "boy who cried wolf" with the rest of society.

Jan. 07 2011 10:31 AM
"Executives"?


"Executives" -- everyone seems to be invoking these shadowy robber-barons -- Executives work 80-hour weeks. Who ever heard of a Union worker who put in 40? Unions drive up the cost of bad service from lazy, corrupt bottom-feeders who prefer a day's strike to a day's work.

Jan. 07 2011 10:31 AM

The war on public employees is apiece with the war on public services and so-called "entitlements" that we pay for ourselves with our own hard-earned money.

I'm not even sure you can call this "war," it's just robbery, but there has been a very concerted campaign over the last thirty years to get us to this state of near collapse.

Now it's moved into a new phase: robbery at gunpoint. Give it all up, or else they'll let everything collapse.

Jan. 07 2011 10:31 AM
jade

What an ass this guy is. Not their fault? What about the unemployed? Is it their fault? This isn't about fault, it should be about all pitching in. These guys get such sweet deals, especially pension-wise! Public employees should, as part of getting such good deals, bare the risk of public ire. All this guy is doing is defending his own. If you were to say to him, okay, let's give the new folks coming in, and the folks who've been recently hired, and give them a different deal, I bet this guy would fight tooth and nail to stop it.

Jan. 07 2011 10:31 AM
escapefromyonkers from yonkers

too many variables.
Yonkers for example , at 20 years police and firefighters retire , many are collecting over $150,000 some over $250,000 a year in pension. It is not just the boots on the street. There are Judges and high ranking officials that are triple dipping in the pensions, they are collecting 3 pensions with 30 years of service. Totals over $200,000 plus
i believe this speaker is telling the truth, that his pension fund is NOT underfunded. However it will be, most likely the govt will steal money from their pension fund to pay for their other mistakes and their over funded bureaucracy.
I am tired of hearing about social security and medicare, the is govt has stolen our safe box, our contributed FICA wages, also be aware that in social security . if i work for a company , my FICA taxes are matched by my employer. If i am self employed i pay double since no matching tax contribution. However we both get the same ss benefits.

Jan. 07 2011 10:30 AM
lesterine from wash hts

more times than not, when i come into contact with public employees, i experience a lack of motivation, civility and professionalism in their attitude and demeanor. i have very little empathy for the woes of nearly any union worker that doesn't risk physical harm on a daily basis (i.e., police, fire, etc.). they and the city officials together worked to make this mess as a way to benefit themselves. budgeting is a fairly straightforward process. get over the politics and egos and class wars and fix the problem.

Jan. 07 2011 10:30 AM
Tom from Park Slope

I totally agree that public employees are being scapegoated.

The ax should have fallen on those who shirked their responsibility, who continue as if they had learned nothing.

Jan. 07 2011 10:29 AM
John from NYC

They should invite someone from the Citizens Budget Commission as a guest to balance the discussion.
Can you comment about the NYTimes investigation about the LIRR Retirees - No More Free Golf for the Not-Quite Disabled which was published in May 2010

Jan. 07 2011 10:28 AM
CL from New York

The subject of municipal and state pension funds is far more fiscally complex than this "discussion" suggests. BL and his producers are woefully underprepared for this show.

Jan. 07 2011 10:27 AM
MG from NYC

I agree with Regina & Bernie - rather than attack the people who are fortunate enough to have pensions, everyone else should clamor for pensions themselves, which would probably mean getting unionized. Bill Maher is dead on when he praises the few unions that remain, because there is no one else out there to watch out for the working population. We have sacrificed any decent way of life for middle class people and those who would like to be middle class on the altar of worshipping Wall Street fatcats, and letting the free market sort it all out. Pensions should be sacrosanct - they are a promise that the employer makes, a contract to provide those benefits after the employee had worked long and hard and finally gets to retire. It is horrendous to suddenly change track & pull the rug out from under people by suddenly asking for a massive do-over. It is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Jan. 07 2011 10:25 AM
Sheldon from brooklyn

There is indeed blame to lay - it is the politicians, the politicians, the politicians. They gave unions unfunded promises in exchange for votes. Now we the taxpayers all have to pay the piper.

Jan. 07 2011 10:24 AM
NYC from NYC

Public Employees unions are sucking the life from state budgets, they are relics of the progressive movement that no longer promote social justice and only serve the elevated, unrealistic demands of their members and the gilded elite (junior corporate management) that manage them for their own gain. IMO all Public employee unions should be abolished, there are advantages to working for the government that NO private job can match. I hate to side with the right on this one but after the corporate elite the unions (their lickspittle errand boys) are the 2nd biggest factor destroying the middle class in this country. The rich are doing it by avoiding taxes and the unions by taxing their private sector counterparts to death. I'll be fglad to see these working class turncoats twist in the wind awhile!

Jan. 07 2011 10:23 AM

First, instead of finger pointing at unions, why aren't anyone mentioning the BILLIONS in subsidies that private companies have been getting from the government for years???

Second, the only reason why the public pensions are now a problem is due to Wall Street. The pensions are invested in the stock and bond markets. If the markets do well, the pensions do well and the municipalities pay less. If the markets do bad, then the taxpayer is on the hook for pension payments. Thank Wall St. for this mess.

Third, the real problem isn't pensions or taxes. The problem is that we live in a state that has done absolutely nothing to attract and maintain the middle class. The middle class has fled and so did the tax base that came with them. The deficit has been caused by the remaining two demographics that are both highly subsidized by the gov't - and that's rich people and poor people.

Jan. 07 2011 10:21 AM
Helen Northmore from New York

As the speaker suggests, there are several public employee pension funds for public employees in NYS.

For example:

Average pension for ERS retirees (not policemen or firemen) in FY 2010: $18,300

The NYS Comptroller has a snapshot at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension/snapshot.htm

Jan. 07 2011 10:21 AM
Angie from NJ

My friend who works for the state in NJ got a raise this year and my cousin, a teacher in NJ, is participating in teacher protests because of her wage freeze. Both situations seem ridiculous and at least in NJ, public workers need to deal with the compromised economy just like everyone else.

Jan. 07 2011 10:18 AM
Elsie

To point a finger at public employees instead of Wall St. is an age old American tradition - blame the people in the middle (and the bottom) to divert attention from what the people at the top are doing. If we compare who is causing more destruction to our economy (both locally and globally) would we be able to say with a straight face that union members are costing us more money than Wall St? This is absurd, but the Right and the wealthy have been very effective at obscuring the real problem here. If we want to fix our economy, tax the wealthy (who put us into this mess). Defunding public resources (including our public employees) is not only not a solution but a very dangerous path that will lead America right down into the abyss. No rich people will want to live in a city/country where there is no sanitation, education or affordable public transportation. If only we were half as critical of how Wall St. spends its (our) money. Members of the union should stop defending themselves - it's undignified and makes it look as if they've done something wrong which is only diverting attention away from what is really going on.

Jan. 07 2011 10:18 AM
Rusty-Dab

It isn't "scapegoating"; it is "class war."

Jan. 07 2011 10:18 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

As for Martin, why would there be anything wrong with teachers being able to retire? They do pay into the pension funds. What about the top echelon of the financial markets who got us into this financial mess. Do they DESERVE the enormous golden parachute packages that could probably pay for the pensions of thousands if not more than that? Why are the professions that actually serve to improve the lives of children scapegoated, while the professions that merely concentrate wealth into the hands of the few, left to operate as usual because somehow they deserve what public employees supposedly do not. By the way, I happen to be selfemployed myself.

Jan. 07 2011 10:17 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Baloney, Mr. Floyd!!

Your pensions were predicated upon an unrealistic consistent annual return of 8% (!). The taxpayers are going to pay for this lie.

Jan. 07 2011 10:17 AM
Regina from Brooklyn

It's insane that the public, rather than demand that everyone have pensions and health coverage - funded through equitable, progressive income tax rates such as existed in the 1960s - has been brainwashed into attaching those who took public sector jobs with these benefits. The public gets essential services from public employees - it gets nothing from wealthy individuals whatsoever.

Jan. 07 2011 10:15 AM
Tom H from Brooklyn

This is typical: monied and empowered forces pitting the underclasses against each other again.

Jan. 07 2011 10:15 AM
Susan from NYC

Neither public nor private employees caused this ghastly mess, but assigning blame is irrelevant. The state is bankrupt, unemployment is astronomical, private sector emplyees who still have jobs haven't gotten raises (and often have gotten cuts), and we simply cannot afford to go on with our heads in the sand.

Jan. 07 2011 10:14 AM
bernie from bklyn

as corrupt as most unions are, people take these jobs under the condition of receiving this pension and healthcare etc in exchange for low salary, usually.

Jan. 07 2011 10:11 AM

we get what we pay for!

Jan. 07 2011 10:07 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I always enjoy reminding parents and taxpayers that the UFT runs a $200 million operation (NYPost May 3, 2010, page 2) with 630 paid employees, 68 of whom make more than $130,000. It also paid $183,603 in rent on an office in BOCA RATON (!) to "serve its retirees". (And how are retired teachers living in Boca Raton??!! Nice pensions!!)
But remember...this is "all about the kids."

Jan. 07 2011 10:05 AM

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