A Model for America

Governor Chris Christie is back on the horse doing his town hall meetings.  I have not attended one yet but what strikes me based on the coverage:

  1. Nobody cares to ask a question about what ‘extreme measures‘ would be necessary in regard to state pensions; and
  2. Fatter than ever

christie-fat USAtoday noticed (about the pension issue not Christie still being fat):

Three years after a wave of pension overhauls swept across America, many states find themselves still hemmed-in by ballooning retiree costs and budget-sucking liabilities, setting the table for more battles between states and public workers.

Which is because the reforms were either radical surgery that might not take without followup work (excising cost-of-living adjustments) or vague promises about lowering future costs and believing future taxpayers would be more willing to put in the necessary work and money. That plan has failed.  Public pensions in New Jersey are in worse shape than ever, as is our governor.

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20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on March 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Cutting out the COLAs in NJ is not sufficient.

    The combined impact of the much richer Public (than Private) Sector pension formulas, and “provisions” (such as the very young full, unreduced retirement ages, and the below-cost early retirement adjustment factors) STILL (even w/o COLAs) yields Public Sector pensions AT LEAST 2 times (and OFTEN 3+ times) greater in value at retirement than their private sector counterparts.

    REAL reform means elimination of that UNJUST and UNNECESSARY advantage … and it’s heavy tax burden on NJ’s citizens.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on March 21, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Should have been clear, but the JUST and NECESSARY pension reductions I mentioned above must apply to all CURRENT (not just new) workers.

      Reply

  3. Your personal remarks have no place in a civil discourse. I will give you two hours to remove those remarks otherwise your audience will be reduced by one.

    Joel L. Frank
    Pension Columnist
    The Chief-Civil Service Leader
    277 Broadway
    NYC 10007

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    You cannot be serious

    Reply

  5. Posted by truthnolie on March 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    JB….don’t know if you saw my cut and paste from NJ Spotlight in the previous entry but here it is:

    “Former state Treasurer David Rousseau, who implemented two pension reform measures under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine before Christie took office, dismissed Christie’s assertion. “There are no extreme measures,” said Rousseau, now the budget analyst for liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective. “It’s a red herring. There is nothing he can do unilaterally to change pensions for public employees.”

    Full article:

    http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/02/28/analysis-christie-sweeney-and-the-limits-of-pension-reform/?p=all#

    Also while I’m at it….can you fix the heading these entries fall under…..you have it as
    “New Jersesy Pension” which also shows up as the link when you Google Burypensions

    Reply

  6. Posted by haz on March 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    TL start your own forum. You will get more satisfaction!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Don’t have the inclination or desire. I find that those who protest my comment are (in 95+% of the cases) either Public Sector workers seeking to protect and continue the excessive pension accruals they now enjoy (understandable), or people who make a living in the DB pension industry (via Unions, consulting engagements, etc), A perfect example is commentator Joel L. Frank above. He and I traded rather extended commentary twice,

      here,….. https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/lesson-from-a-phony-pension-reform/

      and here …. https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/sos-christie-on-new-jersey-pensions/

      Now (assuming his comment was in response to my earlier comments), he not only incorrectly suggest my comments were “personnel” in some way, but seems to believe that those who feel that Public Sector pensions are grossly excessive (and the Root Cause of the pension mess) should be silenced to their opinion cannot be heard.

      Reply

      • Posted by Dentss dunnagan on March 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        TL your always welcome here ,I find you ,refreshing ,truthful with a skin as thick as nails ….keep up the fight for the taxpayers .

        Reply

      • Posted by Brian D on March 23, 2014 at 12:16 am

        i understood Mr. Frank to be referring to the characterization of the Governor’s physique as being a personal comment, and thus not attributable to you, TL. But then again, I did not know about your prior colliquy.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on March 23, 2014 at 1:31 am

          Looking at this again, I guessing that you may be correct. It was my earlier rather spirited debates (linked above) with Joel that led me to believe his comment was directed at me.

          Reply

  7. Posted by Javagold on March 21, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    1. Take away all health benefits. Put them all on Obamacare.

    2. See you later Joel. Your 2 hours is now up and is as useless as an Obama red line.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 21, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      Perhaps not as my last comment (a response to “haz” above) has been sitting as …. “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” for some time.

      Perhaps Mr. Bury has elected to silence me instead of letting Joel walk away.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Tough Love on March 22, 2014 at 1:32 am

    For anyone who believes my protestations against excessive Public Sector pensions & benefits are unfounded, please read the following from todays’ news (re NJ Transit workers costs) ….

    http://nypost.com/2014/03/21/nj-transits-real-jam-workers-benefits/

    Here’s just one sentence:

    “For every dollar it spends on salaries, NJ Transit spends more than 80 cents on fringe benefits; its average cost of employing a worker is about $100,000 a year.”

    80% vs the 25-35% of pay common in Corporate America.

    Reply

    • Exactly – the only thing for it is to “go Galt”. Things are way too imbalanced in favor of the public sector ticks (PSTs) to be sustainable much longer.

      That is what I did last year – I quit my NYC patent attorney job, and now I do as much or as little patent work as I want from a small farm in PA – occasionally crossing the river to meet with an occasional NJ client – many of whom still do want to start companies and bring new products to market. If these productive folks (in the private sector), and others like them, were to quit pulling the wagon for a while, it would grind things to an abrupt halt. It would certainly hasten the inevitable default on the so-called contracts made with the PSTs. In NJ, however, the private sector is already too small and continues to shrink so it is going to happen anyway – the writing is on the wall for all but the “I got mine, too bad you did not pass the entrance exam” PSTs to see.

      The stove heat is set to medium and there are still plenty of frogs on the pot of water called NJ. Which ones will stick around long enough to be found floating upside down in a rolling boil is the only open question.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on March 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

        Not sure PA was a good choice …..as their pensions are also in pretty lousy shape.

        I’ve often thought Nebraska should start a marketing campaign (for new business investment) as one of the VERY few (non-frigid-climate) states that has almost no debt and isn’t on track to be swallowed by the pension and OPEB costs of it’s workers.

        Reply

        • Well, a 3% flat income tax works for me, as does the fact that so long as I stay rural, my property taxes for a 46 acre place and a house of the same size is about 1/3 of what it was in NJ. In NJ, the inevitable “surcharge” on income (check the latest Illinios shenanigans) as soon as Christie is out of office is what led me to move sooner rather than later.

          Nebraska might be worth looking into but for now I am close to where my clients are and I work about 1/2 as hard for about 80% of the after tax income. This seemed like a reasonable trade-off to me since I don’t have a gold plated pension and health care for life (alas, if I had only taken the “entrance exam” so I could be living the life of a money grubbing public sector tick LOL).

          If I were going to make a drastic move, it would be to somewhere like TX or TN, but in the meantime, I have taken up beekeeping and raising chickens – one can never have too many survival skills…..

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on March 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm

            If you were a US Gov’t patent attorney in the OLDER CSRS (hired before 1986), the pensions were quite generous.

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