A Local War Against Reality

In keeping with the War on Reality theme, our state’s most egregious propagandist has been striving to insert another grain of sand into the minds of Rhode Islanders who don’t like to think too hard:

The key feature of the pension system is that the bulk of the funding comes not from the taxpayers but from the workers themselves and the investment decisions made by the pension fund. This is why for every one dollar spent by the taxpayers on the public retirement fund there is $4.56 generated in economic activity — money that is spent in local economies and in local businesses. A return on investment like this is something the state should celebrate, not denigrate.

Luckily, even the General Assembly is not wholly amenable to Patrick Crowley’s charade:

“That dollar comes from someone,” [Rep. Laurence] Ehrhardt [R, North Kingstown] said. “Doesn’t it then have the same effect on the other end?”
“No, it doesn’t” Crowley responded.
Ehrhardt listened to the explanation but gave no ground.
“I have a graduate degree in economics,” he said when Crowley had finished. “I completely disagree with you.”

Need this be explained? Every dollar that a union member puts into the pension fund comes directly out of the economy in the form of taxation or spending that he or she might otherwise undertake. The same is true of every dollar that the taxpayer contributes. (Actually, the taxpayer contributes it all; one major aspect of Crowley’s scam is to treat these as separate contributions.) Where those dollars would be spent, rather than invested, they necessarily take away from expenditures on which Rhode Islanders place a higher value, whether dire necessities or quality of life indulgences, and where they would be invested, anyway, there’s no reason to assume that a pension fund will have better returns.
I fear too many of our fellow residents, especially those who occupy seats in government, will be all-too content to store Crowley’s grain of imaginary sand and allow it to turn into a pearl for unionized public sector workers and bankruptcy for the state.

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michael
michael
11 years ago

“The same is true of every dollar that the taxpayer contributes. (Actually, the taxpayer contributes it all; one major aspect of Crowley’s scam is to treat these as separate contributions.)”
Pat Crowley’s letter may be a little over the top, but no more than this little tidbit. I like to look at opposing views from two extremes and try to find the truth somewhere in the middle.
If the taxpayer contributes “it all” where the heck is my weekly 9% contribution going?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

It’s nice that the NEA picked Pat Crowley as their lobbyist.No more obfuscation.Crowley puts it right out there.I have a certain admiration for people who don’t hide what they’re about.It’s not like I agree with them or anything.I am just about as subtle.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Michael,
With limited exceptions, every dollar that public sector workers make in pay and benefits comes in some way from taxpayers. Furthermore, when unions negotiate their contracts, they take everything into account; sometimes, for example, they take another percentage point in pension contributions for some increase in healthcare benefits or salary. That’s not an extreme position; it’s the nature of the beast.

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
11 years ago

What would be better Justin is if you read the reports my statements were based on.
http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=189&Itemid=48
That, of course, would take going to sources and resources that don’t fall in line with the idea that everyone who works in the public sector is a leech. Your rhetoric doesn’t match reality.

michael
michael
11 years ago

There is a vast difference between contributing and paying for something. Therin lies the problem. The masses are brainwashed into thinking they are giving public employees something, when in truth they are purchasing something.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

michael,
Despite the assurance to the contrary by your union heads, the 9% you put into the system comes nowhere close to covering the benefits you take out.
Contrast that if you will, with the 6.25% contributed by those in the private sector towards social security, and the benefits they get. After reaching a minimum age of 62.5, the most one might get from social security is 1820 per month (equivalent to 2620 per month if they put in 9%) – after working for 40 years. You work just 20 years and get what?
I like your disdainful tone – “If the taxpayer contributes “it all” where the heck is my weekly 9% contribution going?”
More accurately – what the heck is your 9% really contributing? Not much!

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Michael,
I don’t dispute your characterization of an exchange. Indeed, that perspective helps to illustrate just how iniquitous public-sector unionization is: Through political donations and activism, unions influence those who purchase their services. That’s quid pro quo corruption in simple terms.
But the point on the table is that taxpayers should give more because, in addition to the good that they purchase, they’ll get an ROI with respect to pension fund investments. Including union member contributions in the ROI does not change the fact that the union member got that contribution from the taxpayer.
—-
Pat,
Just because you want to pretend that we don’t all know this game doesn’t mean that we don’t all know this game. We’ve been through this exercise multiple times for several years, now. You’re a dishonest propagandist, and I’m very busy. Perhaps if somebody with more credibility than you cites the data from this report, I’ll take a look.

michael
michael
11 years ago

It may seem like a small point, the difference between “contribute and pay for,” but wording like that is epidemic in editorials, letters to the editor and talk radio. It is a subtle form of brainwashing, and it works. People with zero idea of what public sector employees do or make feel emboldened enough to harass us, unprovoked on blogs and in person. It’s sport to some, our livlihood to us. Sometimes I just let it go, other times I have to speak up. I’m sure the comments to follow will lead me to abandon this topic, but for now it seems important to me.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

“People with zero idea of what public sector employees do or make feel emboldened enough to harass us,”
Contrary to what you think, michael, we have a damn good idea of what you do and make. And this we know – firefighters in many towns are all volunteer, and in others they are paid outrageous sums.
When someone does a job for free, that is the barometer of its’ value. Paying through the nose for it is the result of corruption, fraud and deceit.
It is merely this realization on the taxpayers part that emboldens them to harass you. Who can blame them?

Mivkeyfinn [AR codenamed: Assigned Pest]
Mivkeyfinn [AR codenamed: Assigned Pest]
11 years ago

Mike Capelli, sometimes you are funny, other tines just plain assanine. If someone is willing to do a job or free it somehow lowers the value if that job. Is that what you are trying to communicate. I know carpenters who are willing to help me build my deck for free. I know teachers and coaches who volunteer time. How about people who blog for free. Does that mean that everyone should be paid less to do those things due to the fact that some will do it for free.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

“I know carpenters who are willing to help me build my deck for free. I know teachers and coaches who volunteer time. How about people who blog for free. Does that mean that everyone should be paid less to do those things due to the fact that some will do it for free.”
Actually, yes, it does by definition. Basic laws of supply and demand. Did you sleep through economics in high school?

michael
michael
11 years ago

The next time U2 tours I’ll do Bono’s job, or maybe the Edge, and I’ll do it for free.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

When one looks at the “Institute” that Mr. Crowley relies upon (and may / may not be citing out of context to boot), one sees that it is a union front-group, similar to the “Economic Policy Institute,” “American Rights at Work” and ACORN (or to some degree the “Poverty Institute” and its efforts to keep all of those “social work” graduates feeding at the public trough).
His mention of most of the investment returns and “worker contributions” – and failure to mention taxpayer contributions — is also fallacious (gee, what a surprise).
The investment returns come from the pooled monies of taxpayer and “worker” contributions, and with compounding of returns and sufficient time can grow far larger than the original investments / contributions.
But what Crowley leaves out is that the taxpayer monetary inputs dwarf the “worker contributions” (on top of JK’s point that those funds originate with the taxpayers too). ALSO note that many public sector workers are freed from “contributing” to Social Security and its massively inferior “benefit.”
IF THE “WORKER CONTRIBUTIONS” AND THE INVESTMENT RETURNS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THOSE MATCHED THE BENEFIT, THEN BY DEFAULT THE SYSTEM WOULDN’T BE 7-10 BILLION DOLLARS UNDER-FUNDED!
The fact that the system is so under-funded in spite of “worker contributions” and hundreds of millions (if not billions) of taxpayer contributions and the investment returns conclusively demonstrates that the pension benefits are way in excess of what the “workers contribute.”
And of course, these figures don’t include the billions more in unfunded liabilities for state / municipal retiree healthcare.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575017182296077118.html
“As the governor noted during his $83 billion budget roll-out, over the past decade pension costs for public employees increased 2,000%. State revenues increased only 24% over the same period.
“My hope is that these and other reforms find support in unlikely places. Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a well-known liberal voice, recently wrote this in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The deal used to be that civil servants were paid less than private sector workers in exchange for an understanding that they had job security for life. But we politicians—pushed by our friends in labor—gradually expanded pay and benefits . . . while keeping the job protections and layering on incredibly generous retirement packages. . . . [A]t some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact.”
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, another prominent liberal Democrat, told a legislative hearing in October that public employee pensions would “bankrupt” the state. And the chief actuary for the California Public Employees Retirement System has called the current pension situation “unsustainable.”

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Pat Crowley, he of the infamous lie that “the cost of teaching has gone up at a slower rate than inflation”, dispensing advice on anything financial is laughable.
Why the GA even engages him is beyond me.
Perhaps Andrew should break out his handy-dandy Pension Simulator and explain / demonstrate to the Michael’s of the world what a Public employee contributes to a Pension plan over their typcial 20-25 year career versus what they take out over their typical 30-40 year Retirement.
Don’t talk to us about the “investment earnings” unless the Pensioners are willing to take the risks associated with those earnings. Compare what they put in versus what they take out, that simple. The difference has to be made up by the taxpayers. Earnings may or may not help.
Very simply, the Benefits provided to the likes of Michael & Co. are simply unsustainable. He knows it and that is why they fight tooth & nail to maintain the status quo.
By the way, where is the Elbow when we need him??

michael
michael
11 years ago

I’ve heard from the moment I started my job that the pension is unsustainable. I’ve also heard that the reason for this is the city leaders have failed to fulfill their obligation to the pension fund, thus making it unsustainable. I’ve then heard the taxpayers can no longer afford to support my lavish pension. Then I heard the city is broke and the pension will collapse in ten years. Then I heard the greedy union pigs are to blame. Then I heard…I just don’t care anymore. I don’t believe anybody. I’ll be taking my pension that I earned and you have paid for-and received fair work in return- and move on. And the talk will continue, and insults will follow, and the recession will end and nobody will care about the public sector unions when their pockets are full again, until the next one.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

And if that doesn’t happen, Michael, if the state continues to flounder and productive residents continue to go elsewhere, is it “screw you, I got mine”?

michael
michael
11 years ago

I’m not vindictive. I just choose to remove myself from the whirlwind of controversy, for the most part anyway. If there is one thing I’ve learned, through numerous editorials, letters to the editors, blog posts and commentary and a few talk radio calls, the majority of people are not aware of, nor do they care of anything but themselves. All of my talk about city resourses being squandered, of public safety being compromised, of society as a whole disintegrating has been ignored.
I’ve got a lot to do. Can’t be bogged down with the rhetoric. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy putting my two cents in now and again, but in the big scheme of things, my two cents is worth just that. Two cents.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

First of all, don’t even bring up Elbow’s name like he’s needed to weigh in on this discussion. He is posting derrogatory posts on ProJo.com using my name. He’s not only anonymous but he impersonates others in order to discredit them. Also, most of you don’t need Elbow to hurl the insults around regarding those who you have no idea about…that’s right, Mike Cappelli, you don’t know anything about our job as firefighters or what we make or what our benefits are other than the half and half lies and fact that comes from ProJo, talk radio and right-wing blogs. The fact that the pension system is underfunded does not reflect the so-called fact that we’re taking more than we pay as much as it reflects that city and town governments defer their required matching contribution (which they would have to make in a 401K plan also). They defer the payments indefinately and then claim that the system is underfunded and not self reliant. It’s like a household that’s continually living on credit (defered payments for present purchases) and being buried by the debt and interest ON TOP of the normal payments…and then blaming the creditors. We PAY 9.5% of our salary every week into the pension system. We “work” for the city and therefore the city pays us. It is OUR money (which we’ve worked for) that we pay. There are other unions besides Prov FF’s who pay 8% for the exact same pension benefits. There are other retirement plans which allow people to retire at full pay. We have a middle of the road pension plan…not the best and not the worst. Yes, we’ve negotiated for benefits in lieu of raises in the past, Justin, but the benefit we negotiated for in exchange for the additional 1.5% p/week… Read more »

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

[Please rewrite, sans ad hominem. — JK]

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

The union guys keep harping on about the politicians not doing their part to provide funding.
While this is true, let’s not forget that the union bosses have a seat at the table when budget decisions are made in the backrooms, whereas taxpayers do not.
It is so the unions that have bought (campaign support) and coerced (primary challenges) those politicians into doing their bidding, including “negotiating” totally ridiculous pension benefits.
As the private sector folks that actually pay taxes are living in a post-pension / 401k world, it’s long past time, and only fair, to bring the public sector into alignment.
The retirement ages should be aligned with Social Security retirement ages, and the pension plans should be frozen, as has been done in the private sector. Whatever pension benefit has been accrued as of the freeze date will be honored, but not no additional accruals will occur after.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

There are two fundamental problems here: The vast majority of pension plans (including the Social Security system) are actuarially unsound. That is, there is no realistic rate of funding them that will sufficiently fund future benefit payouts. That is the fundamental reason for private industry’s nearly complete conversion to defined-contribution systems. With improvements in lifespan, public sector workers give about one-quarter of their lifetimes, or one-third of their adult years, to their careers in relatively cushy and well-paid government jobs. They then enjoy quite high pensions, rising to adjust for inflation, for two-thirds of their adult lives. This is madness. There is no way these people could produce enough economic value during their careers to fund retirements that last twice as long as their careers. It would be rare in industry; in government, which produces very little economic value, the idea is laughable. So public-employee pensions really are just a Ponzi scheme on the taxpayers. Today, the taxpayers are beginning to realize that, and in their role as voters, they will change the system. Unions would be smart to recognize this trend and participate in transitioning to an economically viable system. The alternative is state bankruptcy and the cancellation or severe reduction pensions even for current recipients. The UAW was confronted by this reality at GM and Chrysler and they exercised their last silver bullet – using political pressure to overturn the bankruptcy laws and cheat secured creditors out of their legal rights, and cutting the shareholders out of the companies. In these companies, there are no silver bullets left – if those companies do not succeed in a historic turnaround, the negotiated level of union benefits will disappear because there is no more money. Unions can spin all they want, but the spin stops when it hits the brick… Read more »

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

–“Unions would be smart to recognize this trend and participate in transitioning to an economically viable system. The alternative is state bankruptcy and the cancellation or severe reduction pensions even for current recipients. The UAW was confronted by this reality at GM and Chrysler and they exercised their last silver bullet – using political pressure to overturn the bankruptcy laws and cheat secured creditors out of their legal rights, and cutting the shareholders out of the companies. In these companies, there are no silver bullets left – if those companies do not succeed in a historic turnaround, the negotiated level of union benefits will disappear because there is no more money.” Which is why I intend to never purchase a UAW assembled vehicle again; there are plenty of (better) quality vehicles assembled by non-UAW Americans. The sooner that the UAW companies disappear, the sooner they stop feeding off of the taxpayers. But I digress … From the Wall Street Journal — disclosure as to why the union / Democrat sloganeering about representing “working families” is crap, because they really represent public sector employees exploiting working families — including unionized private-sector working families: Majority of Union Members Now Work for the Government http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704509704575019552907349936.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTSecondBucket “New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that a majority of American union members now work for the government.” “What is newsworthy, however, is another figure reported by the BLS: 52 percent of all union members work for the federal or state and local governments, a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008.[5] A majority of American union members are now employed by the government; three times more union members now work in the Post Office than in the auto industry.[6] While the fact that the majority of union members are government employees is… Read more »

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

[[[ With improvements in lifespan, public sector workers give about one-quarter of their lifetimes, or one-third of their adult years, to their careers in relatively cushy and well-paid government jobs. They then enjoy quite high pensions, rising to adjust for inflation, for two-thirds of their adult lives. ]]] While I somewhat agree with some of your statements, BobN, you make too many misleading ascertations about public employees pay, work conditions and length of service vs. retirement. I am a firefighter in Providence. I do not have a “relatively cushy, well paid job”. I have a tough job. While I may be “well paid” for my services your insinuation (at least in the way some people will interpret that statement) that my pay is overly generous is just plain wrong. I speak from experience on this, not from some misleading government report. I (and many/most of my friends) am not working for 1/3 of my adult life and collecting a pension for 2/3 of it. When I leave the fire department (my plan is 2013) I will have worked for the PFD for 33 years. To fit your model I would live until I was 121 years old. I’ll be EXTREMELY LUCKY to collect a pension for 33 years. That would make me 92. Most firefighters from urban departments don’t live as long as their retired counterparts from other careers due to long term exposures to toxins and carcinogens. As for “quite high pensions” take a look at the average firefighter pensions and not the Chiefs of Departments (who are not union members and whose base pay is negotiated seperately by the mayor/town manager). Do not take into consideration the very few retired Prov firefighters who were awarded outrageous COLA’s by the courts. Neither the City nor the union has any… Read more »

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Michael writes: “I’ll be taking my pension that I earned and you have paid for-and received fair work in return”.
Actually Michael, you received a more than fair weekly paycheck (with much contrived overtime …but that’s another subject) for the work you did.
To think that you somehow earned the right to receive a guarnateed Pension that grows by 3% per year, plus free or near free healthcare, for more years than you actually worked is the height of the union entitlement mentality that is so pervasive accross the state.
And to Tom Kenney, if you really believe that your piddly 9.5% contribution into the Pension fund entitles you to the unsustainable benefit payout that you will receive, then you have obviously had the same incompetant math teacher that Patrick Crowley apparently had.
Also, if there is so much mis-information out there, why don’t you selflessly provide us with the facts. Start with the base pay paid to each FF, add to that the trumped-up overtime, the healthcare, the clothing allowance, the vaction time, holidays, pension, etc.
Then we’ll talk about wheather you could possibly achieve such unsustainable pay and benefits in the real world if you didn’t have the collective bargaining / arbitration rules artificially proping you up that your beholden friends in the General Assembly have foisted upon us …and yes, I know Gordon Fox, like you, believes that “gov’t employees are different”. They sure are indeed.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

Tom, thanks for approaching the point reasonably. But you are likely an exceptional case; of course it is difficult to argue these issues in absolutist terms because there are always some exceptions like you. The news is replete these days with stories of state and town workers – not only firefighters – who retire in their forties and go on to new careers or to Florida with full pensions in hand.
By citing your own example and doing the math you have created a reductio ad absurdum that is not representative of the state worker population, and therefore it does not prove any point.

michael
michael
11 years ago

Looks like George “I can’t be myself” Overtaxed figured a way around his exile.
“Actually Michael, you received a more than fair weekly paycheck (with much contrived overtime …but that’s another subject) for the work you did.”
What is this? The world according to George?
You and Mike Capelli are the type of people I refered to earlier in this comment thread, those who care about nothing but themselves. It’s not about what is right, or just; it’s about your taxes and nothing else. That and some inner need to degrade those who have worked for and accomplished a good living doing a good job at a fair wage, with benefits equal to those of comparable private sector occupations. You can’t stand that some people consider us heroes, that most respect us and that most importantly, we respect ourselves, and earn that respect every day we put on the uniform.
You want everything for nothing. You want everything your way. You want people to serve you, because in your pathetic view nobody deserves more than you.
Why not turn your bitter, predjudiced thinking around and do something productive.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

I don’t know anything about the specifics of teachers pensions or state workers pensions. From what I can ascertain, their pension benefits are better than mine…higher base, anyway.
I’m not going to debate their pensions or your (or anyone else’s) opinion of such.
I’m pointing out my own case, in particular, and Prov FF’s overall. Just like I know little of state worker’s pensions most posters know little of the specifics of mine yet it is commonly thrown out there that I have a cushy job, overly generous salary and pension, and that I’ll retire in my forties.
First of all, with regard to Prov FF’s, not many of us can retire in our forties unless we’re forced off the job by injury or disease. And…if we do retire after 20 years of service our pension is only 50% of our BASE pay…no overtime is included in calculating pension benefits.
And “Over-taxed”, or should I say Elbow, nice statement just thrown out there “… you received a more than fair weekly paycheck (with much contrived overtime …but that’s another subject) for the work you did”. MORE than fair weekly paycheck? Says who? …you? And your remark of “much contrived overtime” is pure B/S. You may think you “know” this to be true but you’re wrong…but hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good insult if it helps to prove(?) your point.

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Michael / Tom, You’re both from another planet if you think your pay & benefits are fair, equitable and sustainable. They are artificially propped up by a rigged system of collective “bargaining” and binding arbitration put in place by a compliant and pandering General Assembly who’s sentiment is clearly described by Majority Leader Gordon Fox’s absurd proclamation that Gov’t employees are different (a view you two entitlement-minded folks clearly ascribe to). It is real simple, fellas. Are you willing to let cities and towns do what they do with everything else that they procure, such as firetrucks, police cars, copy machines and paper clips? That is, are you willing to allow cities and towns to come up with a reasonable job desription / qualifications & specs for their personel needs and put those requirements out to bid, allowing the city to procure their needs (as long as the specs are met) at a value that is determined by the free market? Are you willing to compete on merit, needs and affordability …as opposed to extortion via BS collective “bargaining”? When you are willing to do that, then you will earn the respect you think you so deserve. With regard to overtime, we all know what a racket that little game is. Just ask your union president who played the game for 3+ years …on show up to work when he could grab OT. Or ask the NP FFs who famously got together at the end of the year to discuss & plan who and how they would grab the remaining budget via overtime before the year ended. Don’t even try to defend the game that you all play when it comes to overtime. Michael – thanks for the compliment, referring to me as the Elbow. Unfortunately, like most things that… Read more »

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Over-taxed,
Make no mistake…the only person who would consider being called George Elbow as a compliment is George Elbow.
You know it, I know it and if you were required to give the administrators your “real” name they would know it too. You’ve been banned from this board and banned from ProJo.com. No inteligent person would think that you would just go away peacefully.
I will not debate you or your ridiculous, unsubstantiated accusations. You, sir, are not worth my time.

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Tom K.,
As you are prone to do, you won’t debate anyone that deals with facts.
You prefer to write puff pieces about your self-perceived heroism, difficult job and how you’ve earned the right to collect guaranteed pensions for typically more years than you actually worked.
You doth protest the assertion that overtime is a racket for FFs, yet of all people, you have first hand experience in the racket that it is. Your beloved union president, Paul Doughty, spent 3+ years staying out of work while collecting a paycheck and benefits, only to show up when he wanted to collect overtime.
Thru his inexcusable abscense, he created a man-power shortage that had to be filled via overtime. How conveniant.
If ever there was an example of the overtime racket employed by FFs, this is it. Yet you have the balls to suggest there isn’t a game being played with overtime.
As you used to do when the Elbow beat you like a rented mule, we don’t expect you to debate the indefensible. Instead, like a little spoiled child, you collect your toys and stomp home. No problem …you weren’t bringing anything of value to the table in the first place.
And don’t worry about sharing all those facts with us, we alread know the score, which is that you and your coddled union friends are over-paid compliments of the extortion that is allowed via collective “bargaining”.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

I’ll debate anyone over the facts. I won’t debate you over the lies you put out there that have been explained on numerous occassions here.
If someone wants to question, argue or disagree with my posts I welcome it!

mangeek
mangeek
11 years ago

A few points: 1. According to the study itself, for every dollar the ’employees’ contribute, the ’employer’ contributes two, so Michael, your 9% contribution accompanies an 18% contribution from the rest of us, a -FAR- better deal than any private plan I’ve ever heard of (I put in 8% and get an additional 6% from the boss, and that’s considered -awesome-). It’s debatable how that’s presented as well, since you can arbitrarily move the slider between ‘your’ contribution and ‘your employer’s’… It’s all still really coming from the same place (taxes). 2. The same pie chart on the study shows that the other 70 percent of the payout is made up of interest earned on contributions. Oops. I guess we should have funded that years ago. What happens when there’s no cash there invested, and the guaranteed payouts need to happen? It’s called ‘going ponzi’, tax rates will -skyrocket-. The private system is already creaky holding up 20% of the public system, we can’t pile on another 70%! If you’re not happy that the government screwed you by not putting your money away, perhaps the fire associations should contract privately for their retirements, where the municipalities can’t rob your nest egg. 3. As far as longevity and fairness… I work a skilled trade (I.T.), I started saving for retirement at 21, and I’m putting-in between 6% and 12% of my income until I’m 65 or so, at which point I’ll be able to retire on a little less than half my final income. That’s the picture of someone who works hard and gets a -really good- deal from his employer. Your deal looks a -lot- better than mine. I remember wanting to be a fireman as a child, and how happy my parents were when I picked up technology instead.… Read more »

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Tom K.,
On the one hand you tell us that it is BS to suggest that FF’s overtime is “contrived”.
Yet, when presented with a factual example of contrived overtime in your own dept (i.e. the extra o/t created as a result of your beloved union president’s inexcusable 3+ year absence, except to collect o/t), you brush it off as being “explained”.
There is nothing to explain Tom.
For someone that seems so concerned about “credibility”, you quickly throw it all away by trying to rationalize the BS that goes on with OT in your own dept, never mind other depts accross the state.
You know, I know, we all know that overtime in fire departments is a notorious racket. Don’t make a fool of yourself and pretend it isn’t.
Perhaps you could put aside your usual desire to dodge substantive issues & questions and answer this one: if you can work 33 years, why is it that we provide lucrative Pensions to FFs after just 20 years on the job? You are living proof that you can work at least 33 years.
Lastly, is there any chance of you responding to the idea that we put your job out to bid in the same manner as we do for all other goods and services procured accross the state? Are you man enough truly compete for a job, as opposed to being artificially kept afloat via collective bargaining / binding arbitration? And don’t bore us with the safety crap, the job specs would cover that.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

[[[ You know, I know, we all know that overtime in fire departments is a notorious racket. Don’t make a fool of yourself and pretend it isn’t. ]]]
It’s not a racket. Is that clear enough?
But I know….you know more about my job and department than I. Just stating things over and over doesn’t make it so.
I can state over and over that you’re a reasonable human being but that won’t make it so.

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

[[[ …According to the study itself, for every dollar the ’employees’ contribute, the ’employer’ contributes two,… ]]]
What study? Where? I may be showing my ignorance of my own pension system but the city only contributes the same as us.
[[[ …It’s all still really coming from the same place (taxes)… ]]]
Are you kidding? My (and Mike’s) 9.5% is coming from my pocket…pure and simple. I earned it as a fair wage and I’m paying it into my pension system. I love how many of you seem to think you own public employees because you pay taxes.
[[[ …The same pie chart on the study shows that the other 70 percent of the payout is made up of interest earned on contributions. Oops. I guess we should have funded that years ago… ]]]
Yeah, I guess you (your city, town or state) should have contributed right along. But they didn’t and now it’s the worker’s fault…we’re bankrupting the system. lol

michael
michael
11 years ago

Mangeek, please, don’t join the Elbow crowd. You have written some well thought out commentary here, constructive, amusing and maybe even true, definately worth contemplation. Sarcasm isn’t working for you, especially when your facts are completely wrong.
We (firefighters) have a great job and a great pension. I too wanted to be a firefighter when I was a kid, and always kept the dream alive. I was 25 when I realized I’d have to take a substantial pay cut to switch careers (I owned a small cleaning company and tended bar on nights and weekends)I was 29 when I made it, well into my second home, kids growing, bills paid and satisfied. If not for the health care and pension there is no way I could have afforded to make the switch. Sure, somebody else would have done it, but of thousands of applicants after a rigorous testing procedure that lasted months I finished at the top.
Doesn’t make me a better person, but the City of Providence hired somebody with better tools to become a better firefighter. Nineteen years later my body is broken, I’ve got more saves under my belt than would have dreamed possible and more nightmares than I care to admit.
Call me a coward, call me weak, a union thug, hack, drone-whatever, I don’t care. I’ve served my time and it is time to go. Ten more years would simply be impossible for me at this time. My friend Tom is different. Doesn’t make him better, tougher or anything, he’s just cut from a different cloth. Thirty years plus works for him. I thought it would work for me. I’m thankful I have the option of walking out with my head held high before they have to carry me.

Over-taxed
Over-taxed
11 years ago

Tom K.,
We got it. In your world, an artificial and contrived need for over-time created by an inexcusable 3+ year abscense by your beloved union president is normal course. It is not a racket or a game. We get it. Crystal clear indeed.
Now that we have that settled, any chance you can give us your thoughts on the other two issues raised?
Are you and Mikey willing to let the free market determine your worth, as opposed to cowering behind a union and the trumped up collective bargaining laws?
Is there a reason we must pay Mikey and others a Pension for more years than they worked? Does the carpenter or steel worker or fisherman or ditch-digger or mason or roofer or truck-diver or janitor or cook or pizza deliveryman or plumber get to say “my poor little tender body is broken, therefore I am entitled to a guaranteed pension that grows by 3% per year for more years than I heroically worked”?
I guess when your world view is “You’re a Chump if you don’t get yours”, the overtime racket, the union coddeling and the unfair and unsustainable healthcare & pensions make sense. Right?

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

To the not-quite-so-completely-banned Over-taxed,
Stop beating the dead horse of my union president. It’s been explained and you don’t buy it…who cares…
I would gladly let my value be determined by a free market. I’m a lot more valuable as a 29 year fire officer that some 30-year-old with a great body and no experience.
As for the pizza maker, etc. Yes he can. It’s called social security disablity (which Mike and I are not covered under).

Tom Kenney
Tom Kenney
11 years ago

Unfortunately, George…I mean Over-taxed, although I’d be a much bigger asset to a fire department than that thirty year old I mentioned, you’d offer him a smaller wage the me and if he said yes you’d throw me out the door and put him in the front seat of a fire truck. So much for a “fair” free market. That’s why we need a union.

michael
michael
11 years ago

Great work, George “The Liar” Overtaxed. Keep writing, your words expose you for the lying fraud you are.

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