The Actuary’s Dilemma

I recently came across the L.A. Theatre Works George Bernard Shaw Collection and it has monopolized my ipod for 5 hours so far*.  Among the gems (this from The Doctor’s Dilemma Act I):
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The actual text:

RIDGEON So that’s why they made me a knight! And that’s the medical profession!

SIR PATRICK. And a very good profession, too, my lad. When you know as much as I know of the ignorance and superstition of the patients, you’ll wonder that we’re half as good as we are.

RIDGEON. We’re not a profession: we’re a conspiracy.

SIR PATRICK. All professions are conspiracies against the laity. And we can’t all be geniuses like you. Every fool can get ill; but every fool can’t be a good doctor: there are not enough good ones to go round. And for all you know, Bloomfield Bonington kills less people than you do.

RIDGEON. Oh, very likely. But he really ought to know the difference between a vaccine and an anti-toxin. Stimulate the phagocytes! The vaccine doesn’t affect the phagocytes at all. He’s all wrong: hopelessly, dangerously wrong. To put a tube of serum into his hands is murder: simple murder.

Which I related to public plan actuaries and recent events:

SIR PATRICK. And a very good profession, too, my lad. When you know as much as I know of the ignorance and superstition of politicians, the mass media, public employees and their unions, you’ll wonder that we’re half as good as we are.

RIDGEON. We’re not a profession: we’re a conspiracy.

SIR PATRICK. All professions are conspiracies against the laity. And we can’t all be geniuses like you. Every fool can set up a Defined Benefit Plan; but every fool can’t be a good actuary: there are not enough good ones to go round. And for all you know, Timothy W. Sharpe kills less plans than you do.

RIDGEON. Oh, very likely. But he really ought to know the difference between the GAM71 mortality table and RP-2000. Projected death rates after age 110! Any mortality factors for those would be miniscule. He’s all wrong: hopelessly, dangerously wrong. To put an ARC calculation into his hands is murder for plan benefits: simple murder.

Those recent events were a Mary Williams Walsh story Wednesday about problems with the pensions for La Grange safety employees that included an astounding defense by the prior actuary of his methods that one would only dare utter if the expectation was that your audience were to consist entirely of unquestioning fiscal-troglodytes pretending to know (a situation that the actuary might have become accustomed to having worked primarily in the public plan area).

The next day the Actuarial Standards Board considered whether to update, or elaborate on, the existing actuarial standards for public pensions which led to another story from which the quotes in the rest of this blog are taken:

“Everything I look at, I have found to be a study in obfuscation,” said Bradley D. Belt, a former pension regulator, who spoke near the end of a four-hour hearing by the Actuarial Standards Board.  From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Belt led the federal government’s pension insurance program, which covers company pensions but not those offered by states or cities. He acknowledged that he was not an actuary but said he had spoken with many of them who often told him they were pressed by politicians into reverse-engineering their calculations to achieve a predetermined result.

The Actuarial Standards Board’s public hearing on Thursday was rare, reflecting mounting concern about the promises made to state and municipal retirees and the risk that actuaries might be blamed for fiscal disasters in places like Detroit, Chicago and New Jersey, where the promises now far exceed the money set aside. Puerto Rico recently reported that its main pension fund has only seven-tenths of a penny for every dollar the commonwealth has promised its public workers.

As the population ages, many places are coming up short, and Robert C. North Jr., who retired last year as chief actuary of New York City’s pension system, was among those who thought actuaries and their methods bore some of the responsibility. “I don’t think the actuaries are entirely innocent on how we got to where we are today,” he said. He said that in some cases, actuaries were picking assumptions, like mortality rates and investment returns, that served the interests of elected officials. The profession’s code of conduct requires actuaries to serve the public.

“There’s no real policeman in the public sector to make sure the ‘right things’ are being done,” said Mr. North. Under current circumstances, he said, it was no longer enough for actuaries to think that all they had to do was supply a contribution amount every year.

Gordon Latter, chairman of the American Academy of Actuaries’ Pension Finance Task Force, told the board that actuarial methods were moving pension plans further and further away from reality.

“When interest rates go down from 8 percent to 2 percent, these plans get very, very expensive,” he said. “No sector of the economy can escape the hard rules of the capital markets. Billions of dollars around the world trade on these numbers. What makes United States public pension plans so special that they don’t have to adhere to these rules?”

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* In putting together this blog I found two fantastic websites for locating literature in the public domain in audio and text formats.

69 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Quoting the last sentence …. “What makes United States public pension plans so special that they don’t have to adhere to these rules?””

    Or more to ROOT CAUSE ….. “What makes “PUBLIC” Sector workers so special that they deserve pensions that ROUTINELY have a “value at retrenchment” 3x-4x greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts.?””

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    The inherent problem in solving this or any situation involving human nature and politics. People hear what they want and definitely don’t want to be told the truth.

    Time for P&B Commission reform implementation. Freeze current DBP with a dedicated revenue source to fund it until its natural demise, however long it takes.

    No DBP no actuaries.

    Any idea what the Federal P&B (non entitlements) unfunded liability for its various covered employees/retirees?

    Reply

  3. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    a “value at retrenchment” 3x-4x greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts.?”

    Math that BS up for me again. It is still GIGO.

    Moderation says: “Leave my retrenchment alone!”

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      S. Moderation Douglas,

      Since you and I have discussed these issues MANY times before, clearly you were WELL AWARE that where I typed “value at retrenchment”, it was supposed to be “value at retirement”.

      The “math” I have offered (on this blog) in demonstrations of the multiples greater PUBLIC (than Private) Sector pensions is “right-on-the money”, and while you have pulled your GIGO comment out of your hat many times, not once have you been able to identify ANYTHING incorrect in those demonstrations. Why is that ?

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2015 at 10:41 am

        In a free market negotiated labor agreements are what they are. So TL is caught up in a pension fantasy that is counter to our fee market system.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm

          Hardly. It’s not … ” free market negotiated labor agreements” …. when 2 parties (the Public Sector Unions and our Elected officials) colluded via the promising of outsized pension & benefits in exchange for campaign contributions and election support, with the betrayed and beleaguered Taxpayers told they THEY are the uninvolved 3-rd party being suckered to pay for those outsized promises.

          Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      SMD: if it’s everything in moderation, I’m assuming that includes taxes so what’s the answer?

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 12, 2015 at 11:28 pm

        Yes, moderation in taxes too. CalPERS is by no means out of the woods; there will probably be some tax increases in the future. From what I’ve been reading, it may be too late for New Jersey. I hope you guys figure it out.

        Reply

  4. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 12, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    You weren’t listening.

    “Public Sector pension are ROUTINELY 3x-4x greater in “value at retirement”* than those typically granted Private Sector workers retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and the SAME years of service.

    I believe I have mentioned more than once; you are short one “SAME”.

    If you have a private sector lawyer and a public sector lawyer (the missing “SAME”), and both have the same pay, same years of service, and same age at retirement, …..and the public sector lawyer has a pension worth 4 times that of the private sector; then you have a case.

    But….all the data says that won’t happen. The private sector lawyer, on average will make 59% more pay, not the same. And he should well be able to fund his own retirement at a level the public lawyer could only dream of. His total compensation, on average, will be greater.

    If, on the other hand, you have a private sector engineer and a public sector lawyer, you very well could have two workers who earn the SAME pay, retire at the SAME age, and have the SAME years of service. And the public lawyer may well have a value at retrenchment 3x-4x greater. But …..he’s a lawyer. Not the “SAME” as an engineer.

    Deferred compensation. And. Deferred does …not… always mean excessive.

    ——————
    Of course I knew you meant “retirement”. But I’m entitled to my own amusement.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Quoting ….. S. Moderation Douglas,

      “If you have a private sector lawyer and a public sector lawyer (the missing “SAME”), and both have the same pay, same years of service, and same age at retirement, …..and the public sector lawyer has a pension worth 4 times that of the private sector; then you have a case. But….all the data says that won’t happen. The private sector lawyer, on average will make 59% more pay, not the same.”

      We have been through this before, with you “picking” an occupation that may indeed have higher Private Sector compensation. While this “may” be accurate, what financially impacts the Taxpayers is the average for ALL occupations combined, and per that AEI study referenced numerous times by BOTH of us, in NJ (for all occupations combined) Public Sector workers have a 4%-of-pay “wage” (i.e., cash pay) DISADVANTAGE that swings the other way to a 23%-of-pay Public Sector “Total Compensation” ADVANTAGE once their ENORMOUSLY generous (and hence costly) pensions and benefits are included ……. and with that 23% advantage rising to 33% when the incremental value of the MUCH greater Public Sector “job security” is also included.

      Bottom line, your point is relevant that different occupations SHOULD be fairly compensated vis comparable Private Sector workers, but OVERALL Total Compensation from all Public Sector workers (as a group) should justifiably be reduced by 23% (or 33% ??). Maybe we need to increase lawyers compensation by 10% (or more) and perhaps reduce the compensation of the thousand of significantly overcompensated blue collar workers by 30% (or more).

      As the gov’t appointee trying to solve the GM insolvency stated after reviewing the GM worker’s compensation ….. WHY am I paying the guy who cuts the lawns $65/hr (in pay & benefits) …… just because a Union demands it ?

      Taxpayers deserve and have a right to demand an OVERALL 23%-of-pay reduction.

      Reply

      • Posted by BH on July 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        All you want to do is bring everyone down to you, instead of bringing others up!! Such a stupid philosophy or goal. You despise unions and ridicule all those who, in your eyes, benefit from one. But you never speak of the positive things that came from unions…. And here’s not the time or place.
        You are unfortunately just one of those people that complain about everything. Everyone should be equal and all is fair!! You chastise these hard workers. You call them names and think all unions are a cancer!! What a crock of sh*t!!
        I actually read your posts because for one, I feel sorry for you. And… it’s pure entertainment. Well, at least it was. Reading the same crap over and over does get boring. I’ve seen your posts on other forums and other comment sections. Most people counter you or disagree. This blog may be the exception.
        I’ve no doubt there will be some type of reforms. I pray the safety professions are kept out.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

          This is no “bringing up” because unlike in the “PUBLIC” Sector, where you get to choose (i.e., ELECT) your own bosses (who then return the favor in the form of unnecessary, unjust unfair, and unaffordable pension & benefits), Private Sector workers don’t choose their own bosses and can’t “demand” grossly excessive pensions and benefits ….. as is ROUTINELY granted to Public Sector workers.

          I despise only “PUBLIC” Sector Unions …. a CANCER inflicted upon civilized society.

          Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2015 at 8:27 am

          As to your pray being answered, its fallen on deaf ears.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm

            Perhaps your cry for help in your deepest time of need shall fall on deaf ears too!! Ever consider that?
            But that will never happen because regardless of how bad you sold the safety sector out…. They have backbone and courage to be there for a stranger. Even though that stranger is screaming that they are a cancer and undeserving of their negotiated salaries and benefits.
            Wish we could do like the ‘Purge’ for a week….. Watch the weak and powerless suffer a bit.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

            fyi, personally I think the majority of the general public is on your side and especially other publics. Except when you don’t stick together (remember strength in numbers even though job/P&B is different) and throw others under the bus.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 15, 2015 at 8:40 am

            Don’t stick together??
            Are you not aware that the NJEA met with this administration for months with the hopes of making a backdoor deal??? Even without telling their own membership???
            It wasn’t until they were found out that they realized how messed up they were.
            Their system is the worst. They paid the least…. Their on their own.

  5. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 13, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Perhaps you’re catching on. 3 times or 4 times the pension means nothing if you are not talking about similar employees. The Fireman Fallacy, 5.62x whatever, is meaningless, as is the comparison between a policeman and a brain surgeon who retire at the same age. These things are misleading and provocative.

    23% (34% with job security) is a meaningful comparison. If it is not oversimplified. The “average” aspect is very important in determining what, if anything, to do about it. You probably don’t want to reduce the future accrual of everyone by 50% if some are already under compensated.

    That is, if the 23% (34% with job security) is actually accurate. Yes, we’ve been here before and yes, I still believe Biggs is at least as biased as either Keefe or Munnell.

    And, we’ve been here before also, whether you like it or not, 23% is based on data 3 to 6 years old. There has always been volatility in the compensation differential between the sectors. Even more so since 2010-2011, with ch 78 in New Jersey and AB340 in California.

    And that’s the easy part. What if I told you the public professionals were under compensated by 20%, and that’s actually not a problem? Or if I said the public sector clerks and janitors make 40% more than those in the private sector, ………….and that is not a problem either.

    Better save that for later.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 2:51 am

      Quoting ……..” 23% is based on data 3 to 6 years old”. It takes a LONG time to gather, cleanse, studty and report results. The NEWEST Published studies use data several years ‘old”.

      Change is patterns of statistics like “Total Compensation” (from such LARGE groups) move REAL slowly (like turning a cruse ship)…… there would be very little change over this period. Besides, it takes a LONG time to gather, cleanse, analyse and report results. The NEWEST published studies are always based on data several years “old”.

      It’s fine for the comparison under study. Like everything else you complain about, you just don’t like it because SUPPORTS a 23% OVERALL AVERAGE reduction in Public Sector Total Compensation.
      ——————————————————

      I bet you think date from 3-6 years ago would be just peachy if it called for INCREASES in Public Sector compensation.

      Reply

  6. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 13, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Repeating:

    ” There has always been volatility in the compensation differential between the sectors. Even more so since 2010-2011, with ch 78 in New Jersey and AB340 in California.”

    Look at the charts. The differential can easily change 10% in one year. And these are relatively normal times (1983 -2008.)

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=gVujVZ_nH4r1oASEr4LICA&url=http://www.mnpera.org/vertical/Sites/%257BCB6D4845-437C-4F52-969E-51305385F40B%257D/uploads/%257BDBA0E14A-9DD0-49C3-8B6B-B1C3F756F1A2%257D.PDF&ved=0CBwQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNHycsZdgJ4r_NWi0ezbL_SpfdWSIw&sig2=6AxEflNm_S_dS86rBzaz7w

    Or don’t. Either way, it’s all just peachy with me, brother.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Since almost all of the changes in both the CA and NJ laws apply only to “new” workers, the savings generated will come in very slowly over the next 35 years.

      The impact-to-date vis study data from 3-6 years ago would be negligible.

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 13, 2015 at 4:04 pm

        My previous supervisor had $250 a month deducted for pension. Now it’s $500. He doesn’t consider that negligible. And his salary is lower than “average”.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

          I’d wager that if he paid in at that new higher %-of pay for his full career, the accumulated sum of all of his contributions at retirement (INCLUDING investment returns) would buy no more than 10-20% of his VERY generous pension.

          Reply

    • Posted by PatB on July 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Oops, already linked.

      Reply

      • Posted by MJ on July 13, 2015 at 7:13 pm

        So the state had over $2b in damages and settled for 500m collection 403m after lawyer fees? Better than nothing but chump change in the bigger picture.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm

          I guess but it’s higher dollar amount and percentage settlement than say “Exxon settlement”.

          Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 10:50 pm

          REAL “damages” occur when a consultant/adviser recommends a purchase/expenditure that costs more than it’s true worth due to the consultant’s mistake.

          Actuarial pension consultants recommend the annual amount necessary to fund a PROMISED LEVEL OF BENEFITS that is NOT impacted by the funding amount determined by the consultant. “Funding” (and the actual pattern/slope thereof) only impacts the TIMING OF PAYMENT FOR the promised benefit, not the AMOUNT of the promised benefit….. hence there are no REAL “damages”. But granted, conceptually, because a VERY VERY honest and ethical Public Sector Plan Sponsor would only promise a level of pension benefits that is truly “affordable”, such an entity could argue that the consultant’s mistake led to the city promising a greater level of benefits that it would have promised in the absence of that mistake, and THAT would indeed be the source of REAL “damages”.

          But we all know that (besides a VERY VERY honest and ethical Public Sector Plan Sponsor being an oxymoron), the actuarial consultant all too often tweaks their assumptions to “back into” to funding amount that the client desires (and has quietly called for). In such cases, there are no REAL “damages”.

          But unfortunately, there is a GREAT deal of money riding on the outcome of such lawsuits, and the lawyers are EXTREMELY skilled at confusing modestly intelligent/educated jurors to believe that there are “REAL damages (when there really aren’t).

          I guess this is one of the prices we pay for poorly educated citizen-involvement in deciding such claims.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 11:03 pm

            I should have added another sentence at the end of my 3-rd paragraph above as follows:

            And of course there are no REAL “damages” for the real-world reason that pension benefit levels are determined by political horse-trading and Union lobbying, with affordability RARELY more than an incidental afterthought.

  7. Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    On a different subject, Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker just announced his Republican party candidacy for President of the USA:

    http://www.aol.com/article/2015/07/13/walker-i-will-win-and-fight-for-you/21208865/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl1|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D606956516

    From the article …

    “Walker left little doubt that his successful, if divisive, fights with labor unions would serve as the foundation for his presidential campaign. ”

    Go WALKER !

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Walker on by, he’ll never get enough undecided votes to win it because of what he’s done in WI – too conservative, sorry. But just one person’s opinion so we’ll see!

      Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Yeah Johnnie Walker for happy hour, godd for a laugh.

    Reply

  9. Posted by fouls123 on July 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Here is a good question for TL. If the public sector unions are so almighty powerful, how is it that they have allowed their members to be under compensated on average in salaries as you have admitted yourself? How is it that public sector lawyers are so under compensated on salaries? How did the unions ever stand for it? And if public sector workers are so over compensated overall including pensions, why aren’t public sector jobs the highest in demand? Somehow I have never seen a public sector job on any list of the best places to work. Working a civil service job doesn’t seem to be high on the list or even on the list in surveys? why is that, TL and why haven’t you switched so that you can obtain a better compensated job? If all of your baloney were true, the private sector would have to raise their compensation overall or they would be losing the best and the brightest to the public sector. Or maybe that is what happened. all of the best and the brightest took the public sector jobs because they recognized that they would be more fairly compensated. You and all of us know that your rhetoric is a bunch of garbage spewed by a frustrated and jealous person. If you want to be a doctor, become a doctor, if you want to be a public sector worker and reap the so called benefits you are welcome to apply and have always had the opportunity to do so. It is your choice. Stop complaining like a petulant little child..

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 14, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      My old buddy Tom West pointed out long ago the argument: Public sector workers “claim” they are underpaid, so why do they stay in the public sector?

      Private workers claim public workers are overpaid; so why don’t they take those “better paying” jobs themselves?

      Following that line of reasoning, it’s tautologically impossible to *ever* be ‘screwed on pay’, in either the public or private sector.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    (1) Quoting fouls123 … “If the public sector unions are so almighty powerful, how is it that they have allowed their members to be under compensated on average in salaries as you have admitted yourself?”

    Well, according tho Figures 1, 6, and 13 of the following linked study (one of the very few that gives state-specific statistics) …….

    https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/-biggs-overpaid-or-underpaid-a-statebystate-ranking-of-public-employee-compensation_112536583046.pdf

    overall, for all occupations combined, NJ’s Public Sector workers have a 4% “wage” (i.e., “cash pay”) DISADVANTAGE vs their Private sector counterparts (per Study Figure 1), which swings the other way (when pensions and benefits are included as well as cash pay) to a 23% Public Sector “Total Compensation” ADVANTAGE (per Study Figure 6). And, if the incremental value of the much greater PUBLIC Sector job security is included as well, that 23% Public Sector “Total Compensation” ADVANTAGE rises to 34% (per Study Figure 13).

    So fouls 123, getting back to your above question …… are you saying that the workers should be UNHAPPY with this situation? I’d be tickled-pink if my compensation (including pay, pensions, and benefits) was 23% greater than others doing comparable work. Pensions and benefits have REAL quantifiable “value”, little different than cash (and are often MORE VALUABLE than higher “wages” due to preferential tax treatment).

    (2) Quoting fouls123 … “And if public sector workers are so over compensated overall including pensions, why aren’t public sector jobs the highest in demand?”

    Perhaps you and I are reading different news articles, because from what I see, hear, and read, it seems quite routine for hundreds of applicants apply for each Public Sector position than becomes open, with that being ESPECIALLY true for safety workers with the MOST EGREGIOUS (i.e., generous and hence costly) pension and benefits.

    (3) Quoting fouls123 … “If all of your baloney were true, the private sector would have to raise their compensation overall or they would be losing the best and the brightest to the public sector.”

    While the FAR higher Public Sector “Total Compensation” is indeed a huge Public Sector “draw”, many find other aspects of Public Sector employment objectionable, the politics, the unfair hiring & promotion of friends and family, and the protection afforded incompetents being just 3 of many reasons. In addition, those following the pension crisis in NJ may sense that the draw of the very generous pensions & benefits currently promised may be illusory due to a growing probability of being materially reduced.

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 14, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Ku-rack me up.

      “from what I see, hear, and read, it seems quite routine for hundreds of applicants apply for each Public Sector position than becomes open, with that being ESPECIALLY true for safety workers with the MOST EGREGIOUS (i.e., generous and hence costly) pension and benefits.”

      McDonalds Hires 62,000, Turns Away Over 938,000 Applicants For Minimum Wage, Part-Time Jobs

       Tyler Durden on 04/28/2011

      Does McDonalds have MOST EGREGIOUS pensions and benefits, too?

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

        Being minimum (or near minimum) wage-base jobs, with near zero benefits, McDonalds Hires are hardly a relevant comparison ……….. but I’m not surprised that YOU brought it up, as relevance is certainly not a consideration in your zeal to find reasons (and argue at every turn) that pension reform is not necessary or justifiable.

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 14, 2015 at 10:59 pm

          Earth to Tough Love: There are many applicants for most private sector jobs also. There are still a lot of people unemployed or underemployed.

          “it seems quite routine for hundreds of applicants apply for each Public Sector position than becomes open,” means nothing if there are also hundreds of applications for private sector jobs.

          ————————————————————–
          Here is one ……….anecdotal………example of private sector jobs:

          http://www.city-data.com/forum/job-search/2026887-hiring-managers-how-many-applicants.html

          Random quote: “I’d put that at about 1/3 of the applicants. Most do not meet the minimum qualifications specified in the job announcement. I’d never interview more than 15-20 people out of over 100 for one opening.”

          (Hemlock 140 in response to “how many …….qualified……. applicants per job?)

          Or: midtown mile girl

          “Back in the fall, I applied to a job and then went to the company’s booth at a job fair to meet with the reps, thinking that would help me. The girl told me that there were 500 applicants for that 1 job opening, and she swore that they looked at each application.”

          Keep throwing out that propaganda, though. Maybe some of it will stick.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2015 at 11:23 pm

            Like I stated above, just ore of ….. “your zeal to find reasons (and argue at every turn) that pension reform is not necessary or justifiable.”

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 14, 2015 at 11:34 pm

            Like I stated before: “500 applicants for that 1 job opening.”

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2015 at 12:51 am

            S. Moderation Douglas, I don’t spout “propaganda”, but me being a “nobody” (of importance) it’s it’s for you to just “claim” such. So take shot at refuting someone who’s not a “nobody”, here:

            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/02/nine-fallacies-used-to-defend-public-sector-pensions#_ftn5

            Go ahead, take your best shot at refuting Mr. Richwine’s ….”Nine Fallacies Used to Defend Public-Sector Pensions.

            The readers anticipate your responsive … now don’t disappoint us, we’re waiting ….

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 15, 2015 at 1:40 am

            “from what I see, hear, and read, it seems quite routine for hundreds of applicants apply for each Public Sector position than becomes open, with that being ESPECIALLY true for safety workers with the MOST EGREGIOUS (i.e., generous and hence costly) pension and benefits.”

            Propaganda

            “pensions that ROUTINELY have a “value at retrenchment” 3x-4x greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts.?””

            Propaganda

             “PUBLIC” Sector Unions …. a CANCER inflicted upon civilized society.”

            Propaganda

            “It’s just “greed”, insatiable greed.”

            Propaganda

            “As you can see, I use MY (written) slingshot quite often … but only when/where I deem necessary and appropriate …”

            OK, that’s not propaganda. That’s just batshite Don Quixote crazy.

            Do you still claim that you can logically determine that a position is overcompensated based solely the number of applicants? And why are you trying to change the subject………again?

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2015 at 2:13 am

            S Moderation Douglas,

            You are the unadulterated champion of defending Public Sector pensions, so let’s hear your rebuttal to Mr. Richwine’s ….. ”Nine Fallacies Used to Defend Public-Sector Pensions.”

            Repeating the link:

            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/02/nine-fallacies-used-to-defend-public-sector-pensions#_ftn5

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 15, 2015 at 2:29 am

            Do you still claim that you can logically determine that a position is overcompensated based solely the number of applicants? And why are you trying to change the subject………again?

    • Why do you waste your time and do so much research to respond to these morons? Any reasonably intelligent person knows that most state and local jobs consist of mind numbing, useless work invented by bureaucrats. Such jobs can only be successfully performed by those who are willing to go through the motions of pretending they actually do something useful, put the time in and wait for retirement which can’t come soon enough. That is why they have spent so much time, energy and resources bloating their pensions. They “deserve” them after wasting their adulthood on a useless “career”.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2015 at 1:15 am

        I write rather quickly and don’t need to do much “research” as I know a great deal about pension design, funding, etc. And BS commentary is recognized in seconds.

        But I too doubt that the time spent is worth it now that a large portion of the masses that I wanted to “wake-up” as to the financial “mugging” being perpetrated upon them by our insatiably greedy Public Sector workers and our bought-off elected officials who allowed this to happen. …. are now WIDE AWAKE.

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 15, 2015 at 2:27 am

          LOL !

          Mayhaps you have heard of the boy who cried “wolf”? You may just be your own worst enemy. The exaggerations and misstatements you regularly churn out have already undermined your credibility.

          You do appear to write rather quickly. Do you realize that in either the public or private sector, you simply cannot sacrifice accuracy for speed? Typos, misspellings, grammar, and syntax errors can occasionally be overlooked, but not in the volume you commit them. You wouldn’t last two days in either sector.

          Facts: don’t leave home without them. You may know a great deal about pension design, funding, etc. ; but you often make assumptions that are simply not true. In my never to be humble opinion; you frequently fabricate your own facts, then…..my personal favorite, run them through your “mathicator” and regurgitate them ad nauseum in defiance of any common sense or logic.

          But at least your manner is always considerate, cordial, and congenial. Or congenital.

          Reply

  11. Posted by Anonymous on July 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

    http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/15/07/13/christie-to-public-employee-unions-no-contracts-in-place-no-step-increments-for-salaries/#comments
    Beware “working class” Americans who depend on their pensions from local, State, and federal sources. This includes social security and Medicare, think you’re save better think again!

    Reply

  12. Posted by PatB on July 15, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    List of the 10 most active special interest groups in NJ, with the league of municipalities rating #1. In TL’s world, these would be the most collusive organizations in NJ. I also don’t see any public employee unions on the list.

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/07/who_were_the_busiest_special_interest_groups_that.html#incart_river

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      PatB,

      I doubt that Public Sector Unions are classified as a “special interest group” (with the special interest of getting their members MORE pay, BIGGER pensions, and BETTER benefits).

      If they were, and especially if MONEY SPENT on their activities was the ranking criteria, those Unions would likely be # 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 on that list.

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 15, 2015 at 10:56 pm

        Can you substantiate that, mi amigo, or is that just “what you heard”?

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2015 at 11:15 pm

          It’s common sense …. when you click through the links to get to the LIST (complied by the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission) of the 10 most active special interest groups in NJ, it is highly unlikely that ANY of these groups spent anywhere near the $ millions the Public Sector Unions routinely spend from dues lobbying the Legislature.

          Logic suggest that these Unions are not on the Commission’s list simply because they are not classified as “special interest group”.

          Reply

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 16, 2015 at 12:33 am

            In other words, you can’t substantiate that. It’s a murky area; if anyone has a good source, I would like to see it. What I have gathered so far is that labor unions are some of the largest *single* donors, but in aggregate are grossly outspent by business and industry.

            It has been pointed out to me that labor unions tend to donate almost exclusively to Democrats, while business and finance seem to donate to both parties. Is that a good thing? If a business donates to both parties in a race, is that responsible citizenship, or is that hedging your bets/buying access?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

            A quote from OpenSecrets.org :

            “The broadest classification of political donors separates them into business, labor, or ideological interests. Whatever slice you look at, business interests dominate, with an overall advantage over organized labor of about 15-to-1.”

            15-to-1

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 16, 2015 at 1:25 am

            Quoting S. Moderation Douglas ….

            “What I have gathered so far is that labor unions are some of the largest *single* donors, but in aggregate are grossly outspent by business and industry. ”

            Like YOU said to me above ….

            “Can you substantiate that, mi amigo, or is that just “what you heard”?”

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on July 16, 2015 at 1:50 am

            https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/

            Sector totals. 2013 2014

            Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. ……$507,+ million

            Labor…………..$140.6 million

            Misc. Business….$228+ mill

            Etc., etc., etc.

            “It’s common sense…..”

            Labor unions take in millions of dollars a year. Business interests take in trillions.

            Like Willie Sutton apocryphally said: “That’s where the money is.”

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