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.