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What's happening to pensions in this country?

In case you missed it, Mark Sumner had an excellent post on pensions Sunday:

Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 08:00 AM PDT
First they came for your pensions...

by Mark SumnerFollow for Daily Kos

The reason that the right is so intent on attacking the pension plans of government workers is not because those benefits are unreasonable, or because they represent an excessive reward for a lifetime of work. Benefits given to government workers are attacked because corporate America has already sold the nation on the idea that giving people a safe and secure retirement can't be done. Government workers are in the way of the story. They have to be crushed to show that expecting a bare modicum of respect and fair treatment is unreasonable.

DailyShow had Ellen Schultz on recently talking about her definitive book out on what she calls the  "Retirement Heist"  which is part of 1% punking of the middle class over the last thirty years, and its still ongoing.

                       

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Stewart said it made him mad enough to take a bleep on a police car. Its really is sickening how the 1% have managed to keep this deception quiet over the years, all the while getting up to 6 billion in executive pensions in some companies...

They have taken out life insurance policies on workers and used this money to fund executive pensions.  Sorry for the lack of transcript, but you really should if at all possible watch Stewart's reaction on this interview. What has been done to pensions and executive compensation is some of the most egregious immoral activity of the 1%.

Now they are coming after government workers' pensions, pitting incoming workers against vested retirees.  This is mostly Republican work, but now it seems a big state Dem is joining in.

                       
Jerry Brown and The 'Retirement Heist' on State Workers

In California,  progressives could even see during the campaign that were not getting the same old Jerry Brown from days of old.  But now.....

Across the country we celebrated his win over Big Money Meg,  but don't think we ever would have guessed that a Democrat would get out in front and lead to 'reform' state pensions as a big priority.

Gov. Jerry Brown risks backlash on pension plan
The governor's proposed retirement system overhaul sets the stage for battles with fellow Democrats and his biggest supporters, public employee unions.

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WTF?  As the article points out that there are similar fail moves ongoing in other states.

Brown is following in the footsteps of governors across the country who have tried to restructure pensions and create less generous plans for new hires. But only four states have added elements of a 401(k) plan or raised retirement ages, according to Ron Snell, a senior fellow the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jerry Brown and Ricky Perry

Brown is doing what that *sshole Republican Governor Rick Perry and Republican legislative leaders in Texas are trying to do, increase unemployment by making state employees work longer, increase employee contributions, dramatically  raid the pension funds and include 401K aspects.  Fail.

Progressives should join the fight against pension 'reform' sell outs compromises, makes our party seem too much like the Republicans.

Brown briefed labor leaders on his plan Wednesday afternoon, and already they are preparing for a fight.

"The governor has indicated that labor will not like many of his proposals," Dave Low, chairman of the union coalition Californians for Retirement Security, said in a prepared statement. "He is right."

Low said many of Brown's proposals would circumvent collective bargaining, a cause Brown championed when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983.

Similarly, Yvonne Walker, president of the 95,000-member SEIU Local 1000, said, "If the governor tried to do this exclusively through the Legislature, we would fight it."

Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/...

Disclosure: I don't live in California, but his actions in regards to pensions smell too much like Wisconsin and Texas Governors to me.  


Recall not the way?

The idea of a recall effort as part of the push back on this fail plan popped into my mind after reading about efforts to recall Oakland's Mayor and  Wisconsin efforts to recall the Gov

Have read that recall process is what got CA teh fail Gov Big Abs...

I agree that recall might not be the way.

This attack on pensions is another example of our  Dem Party leaderships' third way style triangulating fail imo.

We need to get rid of that approach, stat.  We should start 'occupying' the daily life of those who would destroy or 'reform' our pensions and safety net.

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Originally posted to divineorder on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by California politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just say no (4+ / 0-)

    It is time to say we will not tolerate fixing a state's budget shortfall by slashing the pensions and benefits of public employees. That should be off the table. Screwing over workers will never help any economy. It is a false solution to the underlying problem- the rampant social disregard, fraud and theft perpetuated by the big banks who destroyed our economy.

    Imagine if the people had the political clout of the rich and powerful 1%.  If roles were reversed, this would never happen. It's time to change the balance of power.  We have to change the conversation, and I think we are slowly starting to.  But we can never give up because everything is at stake.

  •  Jerry Brown is right! and it is the old Jerry. (4+ / 0-)

    Jerry Brown offered Californians the chance to raise taxes to pay for government, and the polls showed they didn't want higher taxes.  They chose smaller government, and that's exactly what they're going to get.

    And some of these pensions are ridiculous!  If these people are part of the 99%, they are the top 1% of the 99%.

  •  Public employees respond to Brown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River
    Public Employees Respond to Governor’s Pension Proposals

    **For Immediate Release**
    October 26, 2011
    Contact: Steve Maviglio, Californians for Retirement Security

    SACRAMENTO – Following is a statement by Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, about Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension proposals:

    “We are disappointed that the governor is proposing pension changes that will undermine retirement security for public employees. It is unfortunate that he has proposed to increase the retirement age, shift greater costs to workers and impose a hybrid plan on new employees, when public employees already have agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in pension concessions at the state and local level. Workers across California have negotiated contributing more to their pensions and two-tier benefits. We simply cannot stand for imposing additional retirement rollbacks on millions of workers without bargaining.

    We will continue to work with the Governor and the Legislature on reasonable, common sense measures to sustain our state's retirement system. We will continue to act as partners with taxpayers in finding solutions to help rebuild our state’s working class. Our goal is simple. We must provide adequate retirement benefits, eliminate abuses and tackle fiscal realities in a balanced and fair manner.”

    Californians for Retirement Security represents 1.5 million public employees and retirees. Its executive committee includes: California School Employees Association; California Federation of Teachers; California Professional Firefighters; California Faculty Association; California Teachers Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Orange County Employees Association; Peace Officers Research Association of California; Retired Public Employees Association of California; SEIU California; SEIU Local 1000; California Association of Professional Scientists; Professional Engineers in California Government; Glendale City Employees Association; Organization of SMUD Employees; San Bernardino Public Employees Association; San Luis Obispo County Employees Association; Santa Rosa City Employees Association; Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, State of California; Long Beach Police Officers Association; Los Angeles County Professional Police Officers Association; Sacramento Deputy Sheriffs Association; Santa Ana Police Officers Political Action Committee

  •  Saw that in the paper this morning. WTF? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, Kitsap River

    God, with Democrats like Brown, who needs Republicans?  Going after public pensions seems to be turning into a national past time, and it's ridiculous.  Yes, a few public employees make out really well.  I've been a state employee for 16 years, and our pension system has been reformed twice in that time to cut our benefits.  Some of the old timers still have pretty sweet deals, but most of us won't be living in Fat City.

    •  Thanks. None should feel guilty. Are you kidding? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrostyKotex
      Some of the old timers still have pretty sweet deals, but most of us won't be living in Fat City.

      Compared to what?  Surely not to executive compensation in the private sector.

      Those pensions over the years came to encourage people to go into government service, usually at lower salary than would have made in private sector.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Stop the benefit cuts!

  •  This is the same old DLC Brown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    He was the original "new Democrat."  Before they even coined the phrase.  Before Bill Clinton and a decade before the DLC was even formed.

    He's been a fifth column for the right inside the Democratic party for over 35 years now.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

    •  Makes me want to puke to see this. We (0+ / 0-)

      have to get the money out of politics and stop this from the top down:

      from The Octangulator

      Then there was this NYT article:

          A Democratic Congressional adviser, granted anonymity to discuss party deliberations, said: "We’re at a loss to figure out a way to articulate the argument [for economic stimulus] in a way that doesn’t get us pegged as tax-and-spenders."

      Democrats could balance budgets until the end of time and still get tagged as tax-and-spenders. So this strategist's solution is to stand like an unblinking cow in the middle of the train tracks and do nothing? For this, he or she actually gets paid?

      I tend to catch some flak here when I'm critical of Obama, and this week will probably be no exception. I often feel trapped between defenders of bad policy and poor strategy from the Dems, and those who seem to have unrealistic expectations without taking context into account. And by "context," I mean that the cheese has fallen off our nation's collective cracker.

  •  Christie, Walker, Kasich and Brown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Look for piece of shit Brown to be praised by the Murdoch and wall street media.

    A star is reborn!

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 11:20:34 AM PDT

  •  Anyone who thinks CA pensions (0+ / 0-)

    Don't need some level of reform are either mathematically challenged,  uninformed, or true believers.   It is very much like the realities that face the labor movement in the global economy-  the decision between making some rational concessions or having no job.    Human nature being what it is, the pension systems of states counties and cities are vulnerable to scamming and they are in fact scammed by some who in effect ruin the system for all the honest participants. It's reasonable to close loopholes that allow that.

    Brown's plan is for new hires so far as I know, so no one who has paid in for years is going to lose their pension. That is not legal.  

    •  Not true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      The argument you make is the same one Republicans make with social security.  "It will only affect younger people."  Why should future hires be sentenced to a worse retirement plan?

      And existing pensioners can be subject to freezes in COLAs (I'm not sure if that's in Brown's plan) which means a deprecitating pension month by month.

      I have no problem asking workers to pay more (within reason) towards their pensions.  I do have a problem with turning defined benefit plans into defined contribution plans.  But wall street will love it.

      “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

      by Paleo on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 11:44:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  With millions unemployed, anyone whoever wants (0+ / 0-)

      to take time and focus on pensions is a big fail.

      Why pre cave and give legitimacy to the 1%ers who want to chop benefits.

      You do know that this is the way they worked for 30 years to undermine benefits is to put old vs young?

      See the release upthread:

      “We are disappointed that the governor is proposing pension changes that will undermine retirement security for public employees. It is unfortunate that he has proposed to increase the retirement age, shift greater costs to workers and impose a hybrid plan on new employees, when public employees already have agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in pension concessions at the state and local level. Workers across California have negotiated contributing more to their pensions and two-tier benefits. We simply cannot stand for imposing additional retirement rollbacks on millions of workers without bargaining.

      We need to push back on his plan.

    •  Why are you a Democrat? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      listen to you. This is not reality or inevitable it's messed up. Labor is not gonna sit back and become nothing but a profit loss and serfs for people who own the place? Take a look at the real scammers and what they do with our public money's. wow this is just nasty.  

  •  I think CA pensions are too generous. (0+ / 0-)

    But it's a contractual obligation that has to be honored no matter what.  That "no matter what" may well include a two-tiered system in which new hires get less generous pensions, or (more problematically) that current state employees get switched to that less-generous regime on a pro-rated basis.  

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 12:42:56 PM PDT

  •  do state workers have any defined benefits now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Jerry Brown proposes mixing 401K with 1/2 defined benefits package.... if the state workers have  only 401K now .... it would improve pensions to have 1/2 defined benefits amended into their retirement package;

    9-9-9 Is so simple it turns out to be a simple trick to enrich the 1%. - Flat Tax Proposals Are Perpetual Fount of False Promises. Underwater Pizzas, Upside Down Pizzas Etc. Etc.

    by anyname on Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 01:12:31 PM PDT

  •  Sad to see one of my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    first political hero's becoming everything I thought he wasn't. This is not the first bad news I've read about since he was elected gov. He seems decidedly ant-labor.  I  also somehow can't quite believe with 18 different CA law enforcement agencies participating in the ugly cramdown on Occupy Oakland that he was not involved or at the least knew it was coming and did nothing.

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