France Has Nothing on the RI Public Sector
Folks are rioting in France because they feel retirement at 60 to be a birthright. In Rhode Island, public-sector unions promote the birthright of retiring much earlier, collecting pensions, and starting second careers. That’s what was on Mark Patinkin’s mind yesterday:
Sarkozy is worried that 60 is a ruinously young age for pensions in France, and yet we have 43-year-olds collecting on the back of taxpayers. The question isn’t whether firefighters deserve it, it’s whether taxpayers can afford it. We can’t. The result, said Van Noppen, is that cash-poor city governments have been forced to reduce the count of employees who do work in order to pay the pensions of 43-year-olds who don’t. At least they don’t work for the taxpayers; they’ve gone on to second jobs even as they collect pensions. It’s an irony: The point of pensions was not to feather the nests of productive workers, but to support those too old to work, or who earned a cushion for their legitimate golden years. I’ve never seen 43 — or 54 — described as the start of the golden years.
This system has to change dramatically. Now.