Who Is Talking About Fairness
I’m beginning to wonder whether all of the stories are like this or whether there’s some other reason so many of the people who step forward to be faces of the pension crisis seem unlikely to evoke sympathy. Here’s one from the hearing at which Central Falls Receiver Robert Flanders asked public-sector pensioners to agree to a cut in their benefits:
Michael Long, a retired police sergeant who said he suffered a neck injury when he was run over during a shooting, got a big round of applause and later a standing ovation when he asked Flanders, “Where is the fairness?”
Long, now a practicing lawyer, said that the retirees are being asked to surrender up to $20,000 of their pensions that are in the $35,000 to $40,000 range. Bankruptcy, he suggested, might be a better option.
“We will take our chances,” he said.
Well might Long take the risk of bankruptcy, considering that he’s got another income as a lawyer. According to this posting Long was on the force for just eleven years, and as reported in the New York Times, he’s 54 and lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
A reasonable guess would be that Long has already collected his pension for about twenty years, perhaps twice the number of years that he worked as a police officer. Justifiably, he used the resources offered to build a new career as a lawyer (and moved or remained outside of the punitive state from which his pension is drawn). So where’s the fairness for the Rhode Islander who cannot find work and has no tax-free disability pension to support a change of occupation? Where’s the fairness for those who expect never to be able to retire at all thanks to the government albatross dangling from the economy’s neck?