Upclose on New Jersey Pension

    There was only 2-1/2 minutes dedicated to the New Jersey pension mess on the Eyewitness News Upclose program this morning but some of what came out was notable, and possibly even true:
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  1. DiVencenzo and Norcross being the two political bosses who gave the OK on the 2011 pension reforms (I’m guessing – if anyone out there knows better or can confirm, please tell us).
  2. New Jersey has the most underfunded state pension system?  It’s possible and Bramnick did not dispute it, though Kentucky and Illinois might, but the real scandal is we don’t know for sure.  There are no objective standards that states are required to use to report their liabilities (and assets) that would allow for honest comparisons.
  3. When is someone going to challenge that ‘more money into the pension system than any other governor’ misdirection by asking which governor has skipped the most payments into the pension system?

27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on July 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    John Better than you #3 would be…..

    “When is someone finally going to say that paying the FULL annual ARC “ASSUMES” the promised pensions were FAIRLY OBTAINED and REASONABLY FAIR to NJ taxpayers, and without BOTH being true, they are the WRONG funding goal. NJ’s Public Sector workers are only “entitled” to pensions& benefits that would have been granted in the absence of the collusion between the Public Sector Unions and our elected Officials (with the former BUY the necessary affirmative votes of the latter with campaign contributions and election support), and “fair” to the taxpayers (which CERTAINLY precludes the current Public Sector pension promises, typically 3x-4x greater in value at retirement than those of the Private Sector counterparts).”
    —————————————————————————-

    They’re ALL afraid to address the ROOT CAUSE of the problem (past and ongoing, digging the financial hole we are in deeper every day) ….. excessive Public Sector pension & benefit “generosity”. They ALL afraid of the insatiably greedy Public Sector Unions and the loss of contributions and election support if they go there.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 5, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    TL doesnt get it, they arent scare, they know what they are doing. she will never get it

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 5, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Oh I get it. What I want accomplished is for NJ’s non-Public Sector taxpayers to finally “get it’….. and DEMAND an end to this attempted THEFT* of taxpayer wealth.

      * interestingly I said “attempted” theft, because to date, NJ’s taxpayers haven’t yet actually PAID-FOR much of these grossly excessive pension & benefit promises …… and I strongly advocate that there is ZERO justification that we EVER SHOULD.

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 1:11 am

        “attempted” theft,

        Apparently the state is much better at theft than the local governments, who seemed to come much closer to meeting their ARCs these many years.

        Interesting concept, though. Usually “attempted” murder, or robbery, etc. draws a lighter sentence than successful crimes. It’s like you’re rewarded for being inept. I wonder what CC’s reward will be?

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on July 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

        she thinks that they have to be brave, they know what they are doing and they have no intention of stopping and they know sucker like TL think they will do the right thing eventually, what a joke

        Reply

  3. Posted by Tough Love on July 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Below is a longer (more thought-out) version of my above comment, which I posted as a comment to the linked Eyewitness News article.
    ———————————————————————————

    When is someone FINALLY going to stand up and say that paying the FULL annual ARC “SHOULD BE BASED ON” promised pensions that were FAIRLY OBTAINED and REASONABLY FAIR to NJ taxpayers, and without BOTH being true, paying the currently calculated FULL annual ARC is a WRONG-HEADED and UNFAIR (to NJ Taxpayers) funding goal.

    NJ’s Public Sector workers are ONLY “entitled” to a level of pensions & benefits that would have been granted in the absence of the COLLUSION between the Public Sector Unions and our Elected Officials (with the former BUYING the necessary affirmative votes of the latter with campaign contributions and election support), and “fair” to the taxpayers …… which CERTAINLY precludes the current Public Sector pension promises, TYPICALLY 3x-4x greater in value at retirement than those of their Private Sector counterparts.

    Do you think Public Sector pension (per year of service) “formula factors” 50% greater than what the lucky 10% of private Sector workers who still have ANY DB pensions get from their employer-sponsored Plans, and retiring at FULL/unreduced ages 5-10 years younger than their Private Sector counterparts comes cheap ? Social Security reduces your otherwise-calculated pension by 6% for EACH YEAR OF AGE that you retire younger than your FULL retirement age of 66 or 67. WHY are Public Sector pensions not similarly reduced ? And adding COLA increases (to an otherwise identical Plan w/o COLA) increases the Plan’s “value” by 25-35%. While COLAs are now “suspended” in NJ, the workers/retirees are suing to get them reinstated.

    Public Sector Union/worker/retiree “Greed” is insatiable, and their disdain and arrogance to the Taxpayers is palpable.

    —————————————————————————-

    ALL of NJ’s Elected Officials (except Gov. Christie) are afraid to address the ROOT CAUSE of the problem (past and ongoing, digging the financial hole we are in even deeper every day) ….. that being grossly excessive Public Sector pension & benefit “generosity”.

    They are ALL afraid of the insatiably greedy Public Sector Unions and the loss of campaign contributions and election support if they address this ROOT CAUSE head-on.

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 1:03 am

      “ALL of NJ’s Elected Officials (except Gov. Christie) are afraid to address the ROOT CAUSE of the problem…”

      No need to exclude the Gov. He stated several times the “ROOT CAUSE” of the problem is that he inherited a financial mess because past governors did not fund the pensions. He has consistently stated that he would pay “every nickel”……..if he could.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 1:18 am

        Well then I glad he CAN’T find the money ….. because there is no justifiable reason for NJ’s taxpayers to pay for the results of the Union/politician horsetrading of contributions and election support for greater-than-necessary, just, fair, or affordable pensions & benefits.

        Reply

        • Posted by BH on July 6, 2015 at 10:31 am

          See!!! You’re simply jealous. You could care less if the money was there or not. You’re a disgrace TL. I can’t wait until you “don’t get” what you so wish for.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 9:22 pm

            Think Greece ….. that the RIGHTFUL pension/benefit future of your family members working in or retired from the Public Sector.

  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    TL what about the $900 million in fees paid to investment advisors who are Christie campaign contributors. Where is your proof to support collusion by public officials and unions?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Quoting … “what about the $900 million in fees paid to investment advisers who are Christie campaign contributors.”

      I know few details about this. Excessive? Perhaps. To make a determination, the fees NJ paid would need to be compared with what THESE advisers changed other clients and what are TYPICAL fees rates. WereNJ’s in line with theother? Higher ? Lower ? You can’t simply look at investment “performance” (with hindsight).

      ———————

      Quoting … “Where is your proof to support collusion by public officials and unions?”

      The pensions granted NJ’s Public Sector workers are 3x-4x greater in value at retirement than those granted similarly situated (in pay, age at retirement, and years of service) Private Sector workers….. a relationship I have DEMONSTRATED via commentary on the blog. While “proof” in the form of cigar boxes full of cash is certainly unlikely, one would need to be blind not the see the trading of Campaign contributions and election support for favorable votes on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits.

      Does that meet the “legal” burden of “proof” ? Likely not, or NJ’s Union officials and our Elected Officials would be sharing jail cells…… BOTH of which would be a VERY positive outcome for Nj’s Taxpayers.

      Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 12:54 am

      Corpus delicti

      Before you can prove a party is guilty of a crime, you must first prove a crime has actually been committed. “3x-4x greater in value at retirement” won’t cut it. We’ve already shown that’s a specious argument. You can ” DEMONSTRATE via commentary” all you want (obviously.) That don’t make it so. You are comparing one factor of the total compensation. Every major economic study has concluded that public workers earn less in wages, and more in benefits than the private sector. It is deferred compensation. The difference in compensation is constantly changing over time and is not constant over the various income groups. Unquestionably, some public workers earn more than the private sector, and some earn less. Are those who earn less also guilty of collusion?

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 1:11 am

        S Moderation Douglas,

        I have indeed “demonstrated” that NJ’s Public Sector pensions are multiples greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts…. the last time in the 95-th and 96-th of the 99 comments attached to a John Bury Post of a few weeks age found here:

        https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/its-embarsaing-and-im-tired-of-hearing-this-i-want-what-i-was-promised/#comments

        ————————————-

        Quoting … “Every major economic study has concluded that public workers earn less in wages, and more in benefits than the private sector. It is deferred compensation.”

        Yup, but (per the AEI study noted in comments on this Blog many times … by BOTH of us), the New Jersey Pubic Sector “wage” disadvantage” is only 4%, while the Public Sector “Total Compensation” advantage is 23% (34% including the greater Public Sector job security.

        That’s a REALLY REALLY “BIG” advantage.

        And YES, it’s an “average” (with some earning more and some less) …. but the NET TOTAL RESULT is the 23% Public Sector Total Compensation…….. no matter how hard you try to downplay it.

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 1:48 am

          I know, right? “23%”

          Or, according to Brietbart: “The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced on March 12th that the total cost of employing a state or local government worker is 45% more than an equivalent worker in the private sector.”

          Or, according to Ed Ring, 100% more: “Those taxes are to pay government employees twice as much, or more, as ordinary private citizens.”

          Rush Limbaugh: “The average public sector employee makes almost twice when you factor benefits into the picture what a private sector person makes.”

          Who you gonna believe?

          Economic Policy Institute?

          Boston College?

          Moderation. ….In all things.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 2:03 am

            Yup … 23% ……… no matter how hard you CONTINUE TO try to downplay it.

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 4:13 am

            Or 34. In for a penny, in for a pound.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 8:21 am

            S. Moderation Douglas,

            Absolutely, The “value” of the MUCH greater job security in the Public Sector is real and financially measurable. And in the AEI study, measurably worth 34%-23%=11% of an employee’s cash pay every year ……..(and yes, “on average” for those with no degree, BS, MS, PHDs and Professional Degrees).

            Being out-of-work for months (or perhaps years) in total over one’s “PRIVATE” Sector working-years, and concept of “at will” employment routine in the PRIVATE Sector (where you can be terminated without even being told why and for no “cause” on your part) is an anathema to workers in the PUBLIC Sector.
            —————————————————

            I’m sure you will come up with many more spacious reasons to deny that such “value” is real …. because it doesn’t fit well with your self-interested agenda.

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

            You are correct, of course. I always have more spacious reasons.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2015 at 1:43 am

            S Moderation Douglas,

            Catching a typo (specious not spacious) is not a response ……….

            There is very significant financial “value” in the far greater PUBLIC Sector job security.

  5. Posted by Anonymous on July 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    TL facts flawed, politicians will continue to steal and raise taxes especially very soon. TL will complain. Pensions will get paid one way or another. Taxes will go up, they have to, NJ is in trouble. Cant go bankrupt.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 6, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      NJ (as a State ) cannot “FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION” …. but it sure can become insolvent and be unable to pay it’s creditors…… and it’s Cities, Towns, Boroughs, Villages, and Townships can do BOTH.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Neil Larsen on July 7, 2015 at 3:14 am

    I believe the only truth in this regard albeit mentioned, but nevertheless understated, is that we the people, more specifically the state of New Jersey elected our representatives in accordance to our constitution. Those representatives made promises on our behalf whether we agreed or disagreed with them; we nevertheless keep electing them or their similar ideology. Therefore, it is we the people who have only ourselves to blame for this quagmire. Regardless of how one stands on the issue; those who believe public employees get too much or public employees who believe they have been wronged one’s feelings are never right or wrong they are that of the individual. So we must atone for any mistakes we have collectively made as a State; that is to do what was promised and collectively promote a stable pension system going forward. Personally, this will require constitutional amendments; it will require that we the people do our jobs as citizens and stop blaming politicians, unions or their allies for they by far are the minority.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Quoting … “So we must atone for any mistakes we have collectively made as a State; that is to do what was promised and collectively promote a stable pension system going forward. ”

      If by the above, you are supporting materially reduced pension accruals (and older full retirement ages, or anything else that lowers promised benefits, and hence their costs) for the FUTURE service of all CURRENT workers, we are in agreement. Without such changes we WILL simply be “watching” the Plans spiral into insolvency.

      Reply

      • By and large at this juncture, it would appear that the reductions you suggest would be manifestly appropriate; any increase in retirement age would have to apply directly to occupation. Nevertheless, what ever we decide collectively as a State should be written into our Constitution, especially the funding, which should be a mandatory budget line item that’s paid on time every fiscal year, no more excuses. What’s done is done; the past is the past and we don’t live there anymore. Whatever amendments we choose to remedy this current crisis must thoroughly be vetted and guard against future crisis’. In other words they must be balanced between costs and content; we only get what we pay for! Like in much of our nation’s history things have been done to right our wrongs and in a lot of cases we have a tendency to over correct. We cannot afford such tendencies; we must be fair and we must be balanced. No villains, no rhetoric, no philosophy, no talking points, just answers! Simply put, it’s we the people; we have the power and until we choose to fully exercise it; so be it!

        Reply

    • Politicians in NJ have lied and continue to lie to everyone; both public employees and the taxpaying public. They do this first to get elected and then to remain in office. It is a simple thing to over promise because when the bill for such largesse has to be paid, they will long since be retired themselves (and be enjoying the benefits of their own bloated promises). The self serving BS in this state is legendary. Greed and corruption thy name is New Jersey.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2015 at 12:37 am

        Accurate …. and would seem to justify material reductions in PAST as well as FUTURE Service Public Sector pension accruals.

        Reply

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