Lecturing New Jersey Unions

This is the view most of us have of Americans coming together to solve what for others would be intractable problems:
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This idea of shared sacrifice was the selling point of the 2011 pension reforms in New Jersey with retirees asked (told) to give up cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) on their pensions. Now that a court has ruled that law illegal Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, warned that public employees and their unions will rue this decision:

“Unions may think today’s court decision represents a victory, but in the long run, they will regret a decision that unfreezes COLA,” said O’Scanlon. “The policy behind freezing this annual adjustment is to stabilize our pension system and bring it back to solvency. Reinstating COLA will have a devastating effect on the fund and put its survivability in question. Minor adjustments now in order to avoid eventual insolvency later are a small price that the members will regret not paying.

“At a time when we are dealing with a pension shortfall that must be fixed, today’s decision is a setback to rectifying this problem. In the future, when the pension system is still on the brink of insolvency, the plaintiffs in this case will know they helped contribute perpetuating this uphill battle. That is a hollow victory which provides little solace to taxpayers and future retirees.”

But we are not dealing with Thomas Mitchell losing an envelope of money to Mr. Potter thus endangering the short-term liquidity of an institution with a viable future.  In New Jersey we are dealing with a pension system willfully underfunded for political expediency through decades of deception as to the real cost of benefits in order to fuel a political spoils system that misappropriates at least 20% of tax money for its own maintenance.

Public employees and their unions should not be blamed for refusing to agree to cuts in contractually provided benefits especially in light of the fact that to properly fund the plans based on what New Jersey politicians are willing to contribute would require an across-the-board benefits cut in the 70% range.  What they should be blamed for is being blind to the rot in the system and also for  actively contributing to it.*

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* If you go to the link you need to hit the little box that comes up to ‘Display 100 at a time’.  This will show you come of the contributions related to the teachers union (NJEA) to New Jersey political campaigns which can’t be displayed on one page since, as of this morning, it stands at 3,444 records.

24 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

    John, Assuming that COLAs are reinstated, am I incorrect in stating that if the TYPICAL NJ Police Officer’s pension were cut back by that 70%, would it not STILL be greater than MOST employer-sponsored retirement Plans granted the typical Private Sector worker making the SAME pay, retiring at the SAME age, and having the SAME years of service ?

    Reply

    • That’s a complicated comparison especially with Social Security considered but generally private sector average benefits in defined benefit plans that have not been frozen, though there aren’t a lot of those left, would then be higher especially with Social Security on top.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 1:48 am

        The typical Private Sector worker isn’t in a DB Plan that is currently crediting for new service years, but only has SS (for which he/she directly pays 1/2 of the cost), and perhaps a 3% employer contribution “match” into a DC Plan.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2014 at 4:05 am

          TL asks a question and when she doesnt she doesnt get the answer she likes, she makes one up her herself! What an imagination! That is richer than the insurance industry for which she works and soaks citizens on a daily basis.. Every time TL burps, she exclaims, PARDON ME I MEANT TO PUKE! or I LL BRING THE REST UP AT THE NEXT MEETING! What a gravy sucking maggot She is, grossly overcharging all citizens for insurance year after year, and getting extremely rich in the process. Talk about insatiable greed and TL tops the list. She does her best spouting garbage in order to take the spotlight off herself. Newsflash, it isnt working!

          Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2014 at 7:18 am

          Its not easy being wrong but somebody has to do the job TL and it might as well be you. You are good at it.

          Reply

  2. Posted by truthnolie on June 28, 2014 at 12:55 am

    If George Bailey & the others in the run on the bank scene represent the public employees then Mr. Potter is an exact resemblance of Christie…..well, not exactly since Mr. Potter can fit in a wheelchair and is in much better shape.

    Inquiring minds want to know……will Sweeney turn out to be Clarence the Guardian Angel???? (of course only becomes possible when he throws his hat into the ring and wants PE’s/Union support in his run up for Gov.)

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 1:03 am

      When I hear such things as ….. seeking PE/Union support for an election, I want to puke.

      Public Sector Unions are a CANCER inflicted upon Civilized Society.

      Reply

      • Posted by Carlos on June 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

        I feel the same way with Americans for Prosperity. What they should call themselves is coddled elitists who don’t want to pay taxes and hate the middle class. Nothing prosperous about them accept for the uber rich pigs of our nation. Looking forward to when piggie isn’t here to protect the coddled elitists of the republican party. Time to pay your bills coddled pigs. I know for a fact that your taxes will be raised before my pension check stops. If you need proof of that just look at the bill they passed yesterday raising taxes on our coddled ones. Thank god for you piggie is there to pat your head and blow your nose with a veto. THAT WON’T BE THE CASE FOR LONG.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

          I mostly agree with your disdain for the coddled elitists, but as I’ve said before, THAT is a SEPARATE problem that need to be addressed.

          And in no way does the problem of the rich ripping off EVERYONE else..meaning BOTH the Public AND Private Sector middle class, justify the PUBLIC Sector’s ripping off the PRIVATE Sector middle class (via the incremental taxes necessary to fund your grossly excessive pension & benefits).

          You hide and distract the reader so that most do not see your insatiable greed and contempt for the Taxpayers.

          Reply

  3. Posted by truthnolie on June 28, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Watch and tell me that isn’t Christie and his bootlicker political entourage.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Is Declan giving up his legislator salary and benefits? Isn’t he entitled to a defined contribution pension as a legislator? Does he get a raise as a legislator? Same trowel different pig.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Pat on June 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I remember, years ago, our shop steward telling me that they just increased the pensions 9% but did not pay for it. She seemed baffled but must have thought that the economy would take care of it, and not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Turns out that horse had no teeth.

    Its probably not legally or politically possible, but could the 9% increase be reversed if all parties agree to it? Coming together to undo a bad decision might work if the unions are convinced that the sacrifice is necessary to save the plans.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Carlos on June 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Declan how about paying what you and the rest of the republican pigs agreed to in the law you helped pass. After you do that then you can speak.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 9:53 am

      How about YOU :

      (a) Agreeing to WAY pay more than the current 10-20% of the total cost of your pensions (which is all that you pay now), and
      (b) reducing your pension (now TYPICALLY 3x-4x times greater in value at retirement than what your Private Sector counterpart gets from his/her employer) to a level EQUAL to what they get for your FUTURE Service. Got a problem with EQUAL ?

      Reply

      • Posted by truthnolie on June 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

        And how about YOU:

        (a) Decline to ever accept the Social Security you will get or are getting – the system is in bad shape and every little bit helps.

        (b) Offer to pay more or have your interest rate increased on your mortgage to assist the bank in having more money to lend to those less fortunate.

        (c) If you are indeed in the insurance industry (talk about money robbing, integrity absent parasites!), investigate & make sure your company doesn’t overcharge/over-insure people, prey on their fears of dying by offering/selling high cost fine print life insurance, let doctors abuse the system by artificially inflating charges, prescribing only brand name medications (for which they “win” trips to the Caribbean for being able to move the product), etc., etc. – if any of this is found, make it public and be the whistleblower since you have so much integrity.

        (d) Shop, dine & frequent only places in Camden, Newark, Irvington, etc. and spend your money in those areas since those people don’t tend to have as much as others and can use it…….Funny…..I can’t see you coming down from your Ivory Tower to do this……what……problem with EQUALITY?????

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on June 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

          (a) SS is typically 1/4 of TYPICAL Public Sector pensions …… Ok, you give up 100% of your pension and I’ll give up 100% of my SS ….. or how about you just dropping YOUR pension to the average SS benefit?

          (b) I’ll pay any rate you feel appropriate that BOTH of us should pay on our outstanding mortgages.

          (c) the insurance industry is actually quite heavily regulated by State insurance departments. What we need is comparable oversight of Gov’t Sector accounting. GASB rules are absurd, and if Private Sector executives applied the nonsensical procedures ROUTINE in Gov’t sector accounting, they would be jailed. The foxes (with the SAME excessive DB pensions) are guarding the hen-house.

          (d) actually I don’t live far from one of them … nice place and nice people. To bad they too suffer with LESS, so that you can have MORE.

          Reply

  7. Posted by truthnolie on June 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    The people have voted & they are with us…….it’s a landslide!! :

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/06/poll_do_retired_public_workers_in_nj_have_a_right_to_cost-of-living_adjustments.html

    It’s really nice to know that Tough Love doesn’t speak for everyone, although she thinks she does…….no surprise……probably convinced from a very young age that she was special and better than everyone else (Also probably still wears the crown she wore when she visited Disneyworld/Cinderella’s Castle and had breakfast with the princess, that is – ate by herself since she was better than the acting princess ).

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on June 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    TL the Acid Queen

    Reply

  9. Posted by bpaterson on July 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    here are some interesting NJEA money transfers in the ELEC site: a $500,000 and a $75,000 “donation/xfer”

    http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/ActiveXViewer.aspx?ID=1036031
    http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/ActiveXViewer.aspx?ID=1083730

    and a bunch of $37.5k and $25k donations to county political committees, oddly all of the democrat party. Heres just one example:

    http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/ActiveXViewer.aspx?ID=1044434

    Reply

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