Bar Graphs That Deceive

The three-blade razor— designed for people who’ll believe anything (SNL commercial parody, 1975)

In a desperate attempt to have the findings of his commission stay on the radar Thomas J. Healey had an op-ed in the Star-Ledger last week that included this bar graph:

healey chart

with this explanation:

The commission does not propose reducing current funding levels, but spending the money more wisely than it has been spent to date providing the costliest public employee health benefits in the nation. Employees and retirees will get a bigger “bang for the buck” by using funds currently wasted by excesses in the health benefits system to instead bolster retirement funding…..The proposed reforms would save the retirement system by controlling health benefit costs – moving from unaffordable “platinum” plans to high-quality “gold” level plans that are more fairly in line with the private sector – without affecting quality of care. It is a win-win for everyone.

In a rebuttal letter to the editor this week Brian Wahler, mayor of Piscataway and president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. and Donald Webster Jr, president of the New Jersey School Boards Association, made the point:

We are concerned that the proposed savings resulting from the commission’s health-care proposals are unlikely to offset the shift of the unfunded liabilities to the local level. ….We have not seen the data behind the commission’s assertion that reforms to the health benefits would “more than offset” this transfer of liability.

Nobody will ever see that data because it does not exist.

Let’s look at two numbers from the graph: $3.84 billion that New Jersey is paying for health benefits for state employees and all teachers and $1.38 billion that the state would be paying for only state employees after teacher health benefit costs revert to the localities.  Participant data from the latest pension actuarial reports shows this breakdown of public employees and retirees as of July 1, 2013:

nj parts
Total state employees and teachers: 396,912

Total state employees only: 153,514

Assuming proportional benefits per capita that would mean that of the $3.84 billion approximately $2.35 billion is for teacher health benefits leaving $1.49 billion for other state participants (instead of the $1.38 billion forecast).

There are 363,060 participants on the local level and again assuming proportional benefits that would mean $3.51 billion that property-tax payers are already paying for health benefits.  Adding on another $2.35 billion for teachers would bring the total property tax tab to $5.86 billion for health benefits alone (without even considering the extra costs of pension payments and the employer potion of Social Security).

According to the Census Bureau, in 2010 property taxes in New Jersey totaled over $25 billion and represented 48% of all State and local tax revenue. Add on $2.35 billion for health benefits, $750 million for Social Security, and $1 billion for pensions raises those property taxes another $4.1 billion.  Of that $29.1 billion new total $5.86 billion ($3.51 billion that localities are already paying plus $2.35 billion in teacher benefits that they would be paying for health insurance alone) would be the cost for health insurance.

Page 11 of the Roadmap outlines the the Pension & Benefit Study Commission’s thinking:

…because local health benefits costs are so high, even moderate reforms would result in huge local savings. If aggregated, these savings could permit a higher overall level of post-reform benefits and more equitable State/local allocation of benefit obligations at no additional cost to local taxpayers.

For there to be “no additional cost to local taxpayers” health benefit premiums for 606,458 participants that are $5.86 billion have to decrease by at least $4.1 billion – 70%. Put another way, an average annual premium of $9,663 has to go down to $2,902. Who would believe that can ever happen, outside of the world of mindless bar graphs?

59 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on September 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

    The successful applicant for job answered ‘ How much do you want 2 + to be?’

    Reply

  2. Posted by skip3house on September 3, 2015 at 9:27 am

    2 + 3………

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2015 at 9:30 am

    The data did not include NJABP members and retirees who receive health benefits.

    Reply

  4. Posted by skip3house on September 3, 2015 at 9:43 am

    We are gonna’ soon need a reference for all these abbreviations, for newbies and the likes of me……
    Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) – State of New Jersey
    http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/abp1.htm
    New Jersey
    Jul 17, 2015 – The Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) is a tax-sheltered, defined contribution retirement program for certain higher education faculty, instructors ..

    Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2015 at 11:05 am

    The 2011 reforms left many NJABP retirees in limbo. The NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits has taken 3 years to readily the state statutes that govern this pension program. It appears they wanted to eliminate early retirement, up the retirement age to 65, increase the dept. administrative duties for increased revenue, have a larger role in payouts, cap lifetime payouts to a max. of $ 138000 per year and eliminate faculty transition to retirement programs. These attempts for the most part were to no avail because of the ” exclusive benefit clause” in federal 401a and 403b retirement laws. Excluding the faculty transition language as of May 2015 the NJABP legislation was readopted, with age 60 for those retired and age 65 for those still employed. At no time during the description process did the Division inform the retiree, that lifetime income from insurance products was connected to the 2011 reforms. When the retirees submitted their paperwork to their employer HR pension administrator, the provider and the Division of Pension and benefits. No one said, you will receive an interim payment in July 2011 until the reform legislation was develop, included in the existing legislation and transported which began in 2011 and ended May, 2015. This is a public employee sponsored defined contribution program. Where was the NJEA when this was happening? I blame them for not understanding the legislative impact of the reform process on their members standard of living. The NJABP vested contributionforced for the “exclusive benefit of the employee and their beneficiaries” not the depleted NJ Treasury. I want to be clear, since July 2011 NJABP member seeking lifetime income from their 401a and 403b accounts have received initial payouts, pending the description of the NNABP legislation. The NJ Division of Pensions and Benefits never told the retirees that their payments would be in limbo for 4 years. The contracted providers did exactly what the policyholder told them to do. If I can figure this out why couldn’t the well paid NJEA executive and their legal representatives. They need to fix this.

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on September 3, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Census Bureau, in 2010 property taxes in New Jersey totaled over $25 billion
      “…..Fair-minded people now recognize that the next advance in property tax relief has to involve ending the State’s taking of Energy Tax Receipts and CMPTRA funds that are meant to be distributed to municipalities for property tax relief. …..”

      Reply

  6. Posted by Tough Love on September 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The Financial mess NJ is in can be split into into several pieces. Granted the STATE’s finances are a mess and they don’t even have the money (w/o very significant tax increases or unacceptable additional cuts in services) to fund the PAST service accrued pension liability, let alone allow the liability to continue to grow every day by keeping the current grossly excessive & unaffordable DB pension plan structure in place.

    As the NJ pension Commission has recommended, there is certainly justification to FREEZE these DB Plans (going forward) to stop the unfunded liability from growing due to ADDITIONAL unaffordable pension accruals, and THAT part can and SHOULD be done even without the shift of the State Plan obligations to Teachers to the Localities.

    The taxpayer-funded “active” worker and (especially) retiree healthcare is undeniably MUCH greater than that provided in the Private Sector and should be reduced to a level EQUAL to that provided Private Sector taxpayers ….. but doing so need not be tied to a shift of the State’s obligations to the Localities. In fact, LOCAL taxpayer should be the beneficiaries of the savings (via reduced property taxes) from eliminating unjustly high healthcare benefits in place today.

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on September 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Murky compromise open to abuses by State,………

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Agreed given the circumstances!

      The referendum must clearly delineate ALL aspects of the P&B reforms including a dedicated funding source. The most likely funding source is GIT (or Sales Tax), with any TPAF health care savings shortfall picked up by the State.

      We can expostulate ad nauseam, bottom line this is about the best workable solution possible – unless someone knows of a mega billionaire willing to make an hellacious donation.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on September 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm

        Ok Anon ………. now who has about 1 Million pounds of Xanax that the Public Sector Unions/workers/retirees would need to take before accepting this …. or ANY proposal ….. no matter how necessary, reasonable and justified ?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2015 at 11:11 pm

          I don’t know but something or somebody got to knock some sense into them. I’m not sure if it’s denial, lack of trust, or ignorance – maybe a little bit of each and then some. I wish I had the answer, possibly a D and R contingency with at least a small Union buy in supported by (yes I know not another one) an “independent” review on the P&B current state of affairs.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 3, 2015 at 11:51 pm

            Quoting Anon …. “I don’t know but something or somebody got to knock some sense into them.”

            As BH would say …… “good luck with THAT!!!”

          • Exact!!!!!
            Article and reports showing that the reforms will do some good but you bash them anyway. There is no compromise you are willing to accept unless it brings these workers equal to you. Way to lower the bar.

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

            BH, Right now the typical non-safety NJ Public Sector pension is about 3 times greater in value at retirement than that of their reasonable comparable (in risk, education, experience, knowledge, and skill sets) Private Sector counterpart. For Safety workers that multiple is 4 to 5 times greater.

            Yes, I believe that EQUAL is the proper goal.

            Please suggest what you believe is fair and appropriate (separately for non-safety and for safety workers) ….. e.g., is it 4x, 3x, 2x, something else?

          • I think the state should pay back all the money it owes! I know it’s never going to dawn on you that this problem is not because the benefits are too rich…. It’s because the state failed to pay. You cannot just change the rules mid game. Yes its occurred in the private sector… And it’s wrong there too.
            I think the state plans should be separate from the local plans.
            The local plans are not a sinking ship. Allow ch78 to work because… it will
            I think instead of you trying to destroy the public worker…. You should bring up the private sector. When we bring one group down because another has less… We only lower the bar for everyone.
            I think you should advocate for less tax breaks and subsidies for corporate giants who milk the system.
            I think we should eliminate double dippers.
            I think we should eliminate healthcare and pensions for part time public employees.
            I think I think we should seriously look into the reasons healthcare premiums increases 20-30% per year.
            I think we should seriously look into these financial advisors that manage the pension funds.
            I think there should be a constitutional amendment requiring the state to pay the ARC.
            I think we should realize that reforms were done instead of acting like they weren’t.
            I think we should realize that there will no longer be:
            “Boat Checks”… As there are caps in place now
            Free healthcare does not exist….as workers pay 35% of the premium while working and into retirement. Forever!!!!
            Pension contributions have increased across the board…. With the PFRS paying the most once again…. Like they always have.
            Retirememt age increased….. No more 70% of final base salary. The most is 65% after 30 years…..
            Using final 3 years as an average….
            Many huge things have changed!!!!!! But it’s not enough for you. Perhaps it ultimately will never be enough. But ch78 took away benefits for future, current and retired workers!!! Like no other state has done. Not enough for you and your minions!!! Of course not.
            Regardless….things were done!!!! So stop acting like nothing changed………

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 1:49 pm

            BH, Thank you for the reply …

            Several of your points are valid and I agree with these:

            “I think you should advocate for less tax breaks and subsidies for corporate giants who milk the system.
            I think we should eliminate double dippers.
            I think we should eliminate healthcare and pensions for part time public employees.
            I think we should seriously look into these financial advisors that manage the pension funds.”
            ————————————————————————————-
            Others such as this are simply wrong (where do you get such ridiculous information?

            “I think I think we should seriously look into the reasons healthcare premiums increases 20-30% per year.”
            —————————————————————————————

            Most of the your other points are extremely misleading because the pension/benefit changes you noted apply ONLY to workers hired AFTER the year 2011 CH78 changes. Taxpayers (for now) are stuck with the excessive and oppressive provisions for all other CURRENT workers until they terminate or retire …. 30+ years in the future for some.
            —————————————————————————————
            And MOST importantly, you said:

            “I think the state should pay back all the money it owes”

            I’ll interpret that as answering my direct question above by saying that you believe that the 3x greater pensions (for non-safety workers) and 4x-5x greater pensions (for Safety workers should continue for the future service of all CURRENT (pre-ch78) workers.

            Please correct me if you meant something other than that …… as I consider such a position more evidence of your insatiable greed and a to-hell-with-the-taxpayers attitude.

          • Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

            Anotber dump idea, can we get consensus agreement on mediation/arbitration?

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

            “3x greater pensions (for non-safety workers) and 4x-5x greater pensions”

            Is, always has been, and always will be pure mathematical sophistry. It means nothing.

            We already know that there are many in the public sector with much greater pensions than their private sector counterparts, who at the same time earn much less in total compensation than the private sector.

            No insatiable greed.
            No to-hell-with-the-taxpayers attitude.
            No dispute.

            We don’t “know” how much a policeman or firefighter is worth. On the one hand there is Tough Love’s opinion, and on the other hand there is the government of Stockton, or Newark, who have the actual responsibility attract and retain a qualified workforce to protect their city.

            Hmmm….. duly elected representatives, or ranting dogmatist?
            Whom should I believe?

          • Posted by dentss@yahoo.com on September 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

            I guess nobody look at the unemployment numbers ,there are the same number employed today as in 1977 ,93 million unemployed .Our tax base just isn’t there anymore besides the people that are employed haven’t seen increases in years ,the private sector is getting crushed .

  7. BH – when are you going to get it through your thick public sector head that working 30 years (say age 25 to age 55) and then beginning to collect 70% (or as you predict 65%) of your average last three years’ compensation at 55 years and one day DOES NOT FINANCIALLY WORK!! Ratable vesting is ok, but NOT IMMEDIATE COLLECTION of vested benefits. SS from day one did not kick in until age 65 (now 66) unless haircuts were imposed and then you can only get it starting at age 62 (“early retirement” – another concoction brought to us compliments of the public sector who harangued JFK to repay them for their votes to elect him).

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      United States Army
      United States Navy
      United States Marine Corps
      United States Air Force

      Retire after 30 years with 75% of final pay, and family healthcare for life. Retirement and immediate pension as early as age 48. (Or possibly younger)

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm

        Enlisted pension:

        E-7 with 30 years: $3,750 mo/ $45,000 year starting at age 48.

        For life.

        With family healthcare.

        Reply

      • Military pensions are in difficult financial straits themselves for the same reasons so your “point” is meaningless. Plus the military is not as greedy as our furry firemen friends:

        http://www.contracostatimes.com/daniel-borenstein/ci_28753388/daniel-borenstein-public-pension-spiking-bay-area-fire

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

          “Financial straits”? Do you think for one second that any military pension will go unpaid?

          Yeah, it’s a lot of money we owe them. It will be paid.

          Like the supposedly “unsustainable” public sector pensions. “Unsustainable” being a euphemism for “we have the money, but there’s other things we’d really rather spend it on.”

          There is a point. The military needs trained experienced personnel. They also need a constant influx of younger recruits trainable for new technology. They can have both, but they have to compete with the private-sector in compensation.

          Reply

          • You should do your due diligence on the whole federal pension system including the military. Another set of government programs that is in sad to dire shape so don’t put a whole lot of stock on what will and “won’t” be paid. That of course includes SS, Medicare and Medicaid. Tough times coming whether you and your trough feeding ilk want to believe it or not.

          • Posted by george on September 5, 2015 at 9:27 am

            For an interesting view of Roman pensions and the fall see [armstrongeconomics rome] and [armstrongeconomics rome unfunded]

            I would not be surprised to see a federal wealth tax. The set up is the worldwide collection of taxes on US citizens by fed gov.

            Military pensions could possibly be funded by reductions in personal and weapons like F-35.

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

      According to “themilitarywallet.com”

      “It is reasonable to assume that the average officer should be able to retire at 20 years at the rank of O-5.”

      Base pay for O-5 is with 30 years is $ 8,762.44 mo.

      Retiring at 30 years will give him/her a pension of over $6,500 a month, or $79,000 a year, beginning at age 48.

      With family healthcare.

      ….for life.

      Reply

      • Posted by anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        So I guess you are enjoying your 79000 a year pension with family healthcare …. for life. so what is the problem? you were a “public servant” whose contract was honored for your honorable service as it should be. thus public service should be just as respected and contracts honored. the fed gov’t pays your pension as a military retiree, based on your service and contract that you signed when you enlisted. a public police officer, prison administrator or teacher is the same. honored service honored contract. the problem is that the state has not properly funded the pension. rather it gave the money to private projects, things like the revel or xanadu in north jersey. now they don’t want to honor their contract. what would happen if the fed gov’t decided not to fund or pay military pensions? would you agree to not pay the military retirees or cut their pensions. perhaps I misunderstood. your comments they seemed to be criticizing the fact that pensions where 79000 and that health care had been earned by military officers. yet you say you yourself have been there and done that. are you saying you don’t deserve your benefits? I guess you are saying you didn’t earn them or sign a contract when you enlisted? what was your point?

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm

          “Been there, done that, got the shirt.”

          Was my response to anonymous (at 4:32 pm) telling me to see my local recruiter.

          I got the shirt, but only for four years; no retirement.

          The military retirement data was responsive to PSDrone at 2:09:

          ” working 30 years (say age 25 to age 55) and then beginning to collect 70% (or as you predict 65%) of your average last three years’ compensation at 55 years and one day DOES NOT FINANCIALLY WORK!! ”

          Yes, it can work, though the military is a pay as you go system.

          The public defined benefit system can work, also. Only if the state contributes the arc as required.

          Reply

          • Posted by anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 11:03 pm

            actually I agree with you and completely misunderstood your point. as you say military pensions must and should be paid. as should public sector pensions that were contracted and service rendered. sorry for the confusion on my part. my point was as you state above public defined pensions are in financial need because they have the money but have other things they would rather spend it on and obligations are obligations that many on this site would rather ignore. Monday morning quarterbacking stating that benefits were too generous when given but reality is when they were negotiated the climate at the time meant that public sector actually gave up raises and colas for retirement benefits. they gave the service first with compensation to be forthcoming later in life. tell the people you owe money that sorry I decided to go on a vacation rather than pay you and besides which you charged me too much back in 1975 for that service so it is too excess for me to pay anyway. again sorry for my misunderstanding.

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      PSDrone, The 3 biggest drivers of Public Sector vs Private* Sector pensions are (1) much richer Formula factors, (2) Younger/unreduced retirement ages, and (3) COLA increases (now suspended but being challenged in Court in NJ, while universal everywhere ONLY in PUBLIC Sector Plans).

      In the Private Sector, about 6% of workers still accrue Traditional-Style (“Final-average-salary”) DB pensions of the type universally granted Public Sector workers. My comments here are referring to that small LUCKY group, noting that the FAR more common Private Sector DC Plans (401K) and Cash Balance Plan are always much “LESS” generous. Therefore, the Public Sector “advantage” described here materially UNDERSTATES the true Public Sector advantage, which is much GREATER when comparing Public Sector DB Plans to the retirement packages of over 90+% of Private Sector workers.

      For that small lucky 6% Private Sector group (still accruing pension under Traditional DB Plans), the typical per-year-of-service formula factor is about 1.25% vs 1/55=1.82 for NJ’s non-safety workers, and 65%/25yrs = 2.6% for (pre CH78) Safety workers retiring after 25 years. This element ALONE yields FAR greater Public Sector pensions ….. noting that for safety workers it is (being 2.60/1.25=2.08) 108% MORE than that of Private Sector workers. For non-safety workers, the Public Sector advantage is 1.82/1.25= 1.456 or 45.6% MORE.

      Next are the younger/unreduced retirement ages … very typically 60 for Non-safety workers and 55 for safety workers. These are 65-60= 5 and 65-55=10 years younger than the ages at which Private Sector Plans typically provide unreduced pensions. While Social Security reduces the pension by 6% for each age that you begin collecting before your Normal Retirement age (NRA), Private Sector Plans usually use a 5% reduction. Therefore non safety workers are “escaping” having a 5×5%=25% reduction in there otherwise calculated pension, and Safety workers are “escaping” having an 10×5%=50% reduction in the otherwise calculated pension. This element ALONE gives Public Sector safety workers 200/100=2.00 or 100% MORE (in “value”) than the pensions of their Private Sector counterparts and 100/75= 1.33 or 33% more (in “value”) for non-safety workers.

      Last we have COLA increases. They should be considered here because while now suspended in NJ, that is a recent development over NJ’s LONG history of including COLA increases, the suspension is being challenged in Court in NJ, and COLA increases are Universal to PUBLIC Sector Plans just about everywhere. The inclusion of a COLA provision to an otherwise identical Plan W/O such provision increases it’s “value” at retirement from 25% to 35% depending on the age at retirement (with the higher % applying to the younger retirement ages such as Safety workers).

      So lets summarize the TYPICAL PUBLIC Sector pension “advantage” …. meaning the multiple of THEIR pension compared to a reasonably comparable Private Sector worker retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME years of service, and the same wages. …. using the results from my above paragraphs:

      For non-safety workers, the PUBLIC Sector advantage is:

      1.456 x 1.33 x 1.25 = 2.42 ….. a pension with a “value” at retirement 242% of the pension TYPICALLY granted the lucky few Private Sector workers still accruing pensions under Traditional DB pensions.

      For Safety workers, the PUBLIC Sector advantage is:

      2.08 x 2.00 x 1.35 = 5.61 ….. a pension with a “value” at retirement 561% of the pension TYPICALLY granted the lucky few Private Sector workers still accruing pensions under Traditional DB pensions.
      ——————————————————————————–

      There is ZERO justification for this when the annual pension contributions of the workers, accumulated (WITH investment income) to the date of retirement, rarely accumulate to a sum sufficient to buy more than 10-20% of their VERY VERY rich pension. TAXPAYER contributions and the investment earnings thereon (earnings that in the absence of the need to fund these grossly excessive promised pensions would have stayed in THEIR pockets, perhaps to help fund their much SMALLER retirements) are responsible for the 80-90% balance.

      ——————————————————————————

      PSDrone, I put the above together for the readers to have a fuller understanding of the elements that combine to make Public Sector pensions so generous, and hence so costly. In your comment, you seem to focus on just one element …. collecting an unreduced pension at very young ages. While this is indeed a problem, it is but ONE of the 3 big drivers of the very rich Public Sector pensions. Thank goodness overtime is NOT included in pensionable income in NJ, as this is a huge ADDITIONAL driver in the Public Sector Plans in certain other areas of America.

      Of course the are OTHER problems that need to be addressed. One being the absurdly easy-to-meet requirements for a Disability retirement for Safety workers …. a farce is the only way to describe 90+% of such disability approvals. Another being the “Platinum+” active and retiree healthcare coverage. For active workers is should be materially lowered to the level typically granted Private Sector workers (and with comparable premiums).

      And since employer-sponsored retiree healthcare subsidies are all but GONE in the Private Sector, I do not see ANY justification for taxpayers to subsidize retiree healthcare coverage for Public Sector workers .

      EQUAL, but not better.

      Reply

      • I agree wholeheartedly that the level of benefits, particularly for “uniformed” personnel (including sanitation workers in NYC believe it or not) is egregious as well. But we need to get immediate change in when these greedy SOB’s can collect and then work on reducing their pay and their pension benefits. All of this will happen when the US dollar collapses anyway, but that does not mean we should discontinue the efforts to correct what I believe has been grand larceny perpetrated on the ignorant taxpayer for the past 30 to 40 years.

        Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Wah, wah, wah, wah , wah.. Stop crying PSDRONE and TL and the rest of you angry, jealous people. We are all paying $100 million a year for state expenses to help out the New York giants and Jets through bonds for infrastructure for their stadiums so that owners and players can earn millions. The private sector is taking advantage of taxpayers here and are providing no public service whatsoever. Maybe the state should walk away from responsibility on those bonds too? why not? The state could use that money elsewhere like they do with the pension payments. But no, the state chooses to pay that $100 million every year without fail.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      amen to that. sport stadiums and ceo’s are just examples private sector ripping off the taxpayers.

      Reply

    • Posted by anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      amen to that. sports stadiums and ceo are just one example of the PRIVATE sector ripping off the taxpayers. so psdrone and tl just keep attacking the public sector worker who actually WORKED for a living for 30 years and are mostly getting retirement income of less than 30 grand. yes that equals fairness.

      Reply

      • 30 whole years?! Unbelievable!! I have never heard of such a consistent work ethic for such a long time. Three whole decades of public service!! Whoa! They must be in their early to mid 50’s when they have completed their arduous journey of hard work! They surely deserve a 40 year vacation in Florida on the taxpayer dime for such devotion!

        Reply

  9. Posted by lukeu on September 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    another public ripoff are the NY/Nj and Delaware river port authorities which are nothing more than bridge toll funded slush funds for both political parties Why should bridge tolls in the billions be collected and distributed to fund anything other than bridge maintenance?The world Trade Center and many other projects of these authorities have been funded through tolls to benefit private interests They are the biggest taxpayer ripoffs of all time and one of the reasons the politicians run for office, so they can dole out to their friends the fist full of cash the bridge tolls generate. This is why the tolls on NY/NJ bridges are now $14 which is totally obscene. The private sector corporates are the true instigators of spending the public’s money at every turn. No public service results from their so called public /private partnerships except to enrich themselves and their cronies. Public workers aren’t getting rich on your dime, but some people are. maybe you whiners on hear will open your eyes and direct your anger in the right direction. these same corporate types use jealousy and fear to divide the middle class and have them fighting among themselves while they steal you blind. It has been going on since the time of the Rocefellers, Morgans and Carnegies and it has made a resurgence since Ronald Reagan in the ’80s. Tax cuts to the rich and the use of public funds for private interest have brought about the inequality we have today. And TL is ppromoting a race to the bottom by supporting ripping off middle class public workers to drag them down. If private sector benefits are less than public, why not promote increasing private sector benefits instead? People like the Koch brothers love people like TL and PSDRONE. With their support the rich can continue to gobble up most of the pie, leaving the crust to the peons in the middle class who are too stupid to see what they are doing to them. The rich love that unions are on the decline and wages are stadnant. If they allow the public workers to do okay won’t the private sector peons want more? So far they have kept people like TL and PSDRone fighting other peons for the crumbs instead of demanding a real share of the pie. Too bad.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Read my above LONG comment.

      How does ANYTHING you stated here justify non-safety Public Sector pensions that are ROUTINELY 2.42 times greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts … with that 2.42 multiple rising to 5.61 times for Safety workers?

      Yes, there are OTHER societal “wrongs” that need to be addressed, but not having gotten to all of them in no way lessens the need to VERY materially reduce the grossly excessive Public Sector pensions in place today, and for the future service of all CURRENT (not just new) Public Sector workers.

      Reply

      • Posted by lukeu on September 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm

        I think you missed the major point again. I don’t think virtually any middle class workers are overcompensated wnether they be private or public sector. If you feel that private sector workers are under compensated as compared to public sector workers as a whole, I am not certain I agree. But if we begin with that assumption then I believe we should be pushing to improve private sector compensation. I don’t have a problem with that and in many cases I already support that concept. I support raising the minimum wage to #15 hr. which would help many in the private sector. and I support large companaies who compensate their CEOs with millions restoring DB pension plans for their workers. I would like to see all workers with a DB plan and healthcare in retirement. Maybe we would finally get to your so called equal. There of course wouldn’t be enough money left over to continue to compensate the elite with millions and in cases billions as is the case right now. Let’s begin to push for improved benefits for middle class workers across the board instead of fighting to split up the crumbs. If you want to start that kind of movement I will join you. The more you shrink public compensation the more you will see private sector compensation shrink as well. It is a race to the bottom which I don’t want to see. I am hoping that the private sector will improve their pensions for my daughter’s sake. Bringing public sector pensions down makes it easier for employers to reduce compensation for all employees. The reduction in pensions continues to increases the inequality that already exists and has been growing in our society. I have to assume you are a republican. It has been republican policies including fighting the minimum wage increase that has allowed inequality to grow. As union power has been hurt so has the level of compensation in the private sector especially as regards pensions. Republicans like to call it the free market for compensation, but honestly, we know it is far from a free market. Unions used to help private sector employees to get a fairer shake and healthier work conditions, but many people who know little of the history of the union movement don’t understand that they are only hurting themselves when they don’t support unions. and Americans have been suffering as a result of it since the 1980s. The public sector has at least recognized that they are powerless without organizing. Maybe that is why they have been able to retain decent pensions. Maybe thr should take note.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Lujeu,

          If you were to calculate the total pensions that would be payable if all Private Sector workers were granted pensions equal to those routinely granted PUBLIC Sector workers, you would quickly realize the financial IMPOSSIBILITY of what you are proposing. Specifically, where would the money come from (reducing Senior executive compensation wouldn’t even scratch the surface in the way of getting such funds).

          The PUBLIC Sector has (so far) gotten away with this because they only represent about 15% of the workforce AND because the the BULK of them (from the baby boom generation) have not yet retired. As they do so, the impossibility of even this smallish group getting all that they have been “promised” will become far more evident.

          Your argument to INCREASE Private Sector pensions (by a factor of 3, 4, 5 even 6 times) to the level typically granted PUBLIC Sector workers is a red herring, and is simply your attempt to divert attention from the urgent need to very materially REDUCE PUBLIC Sector pension accruals for the future service of all CURRENT workers.

          Reply

          • Posted by lukeu on September 4, 2015 at 9:48 pm

            Financial impossibility? Are you serious? Let me clue you in TL. The US Domestic income for 2014 was1.760119 trillion dollars. Let me repeat that number to you so you can grasp it. The annual gross domestic income of the US for 2014 was 1.760119 trillion dollars . We have 320 million people in the US. therefore, the annual domestic income per person was 550300 dollars. That is 550 thousand dollars per person, 550 thousand dollars per person. Financially impossible to increase the pensions for the private sector? Hardly TL. I am sure you didn’t realize these staggering numbers, but it is a cold hard fact. Look it up. And that is for one year. We can’t afford pensions for everyone? Are you kidding me? Wake up people.

          • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 11:14 pm

            Lukeu,

            Sorry, but $1,760,119,000,000 / 320,000,000 = $5,500.37 not $550,300.

            Care to try again ?

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 9:26 pm

          Quoting lukeu:

          “The more you shrink public compensation the more you will see private sector compensation shrink as well.”

          “Bringing public sector pensions down makes it easier for employers to reduce compensation for all employees.”

          “As union power has been hurt so has the level of compensation in the private sector especially as regards pensions.” 

          Three for three.  Congratulations.  A hat trick!!  This is especially true at the lower levels of public and private sector work.

          ———————————————————–

          And, for the bonus point, quoting lukeu:

          “Unions used to help private sector employees to get a fairer shake and healthier work conditions, but many people who know little of the history of the union movement don’t understand that they are only hurting themselves when they don’t support unions.” 

          Today, the song is: private sector unions are okay, …………but, public sector unions are, among other things, a cancer.  Fifty years ago, there were no public sector unions, and private sector unions were the cancer. And the cure for that cancer was baseball bats (for use not sanctioned by either the American or National League) fisticuffs, and brickbats.  Sometimes small arms fire.
          (Birdshot, usually, in our small town, more property damage than physical assault.)

          There was bitter disagreement and sometimes, literally, brother against brother.

           “First they came for the Jews” 

          Deja vu all over again.

          Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on September 4, 2015 at 6:45 pm

        Pi = 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375…. ad infinitum.

        Why do you carry your “demonstrations” to two decimal points when there is no empirical basis for the calculations?

        Still GIGO.

        Your calculations are still totally ignoring the concept of deferred compensation.

        Workers are like snowflakes. No two are identical. Even in the private sector, you can have two workers side by side performing identical tasks, and one could be earning, in total compensation, ten to fifty percent more than the other.

        Similar workers doing similar jobs for different companies could have even greater differences in pay.

        What’s wrong with EQUAL is that is a idealized abstract. You will never have it in the real world.

        “Read my above LONG comment.”

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 6:48 pm

          All nonsense ….. your greed as a Public Sector retiree in CA (and not wanting to give back any of your unjustly granted pension & benefits) is so very clear.

          Reply

          • Collapse of these imbecilic pension schemes is coming and all of these drones know it. Just jawboning in hopes that they can continue stealing from senior citizens who can’t pay their real estate taxes.

  10. Posted by Anonymous on September 4, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Hail to Tender Loving and his crusade against unjust, greedy, voracious public workers. If I have left out a derogatory adjective, I apologize TL, Im sure you have a few left. We must respect his shilling for the HONESTLY governor and his helicopter rides over the lowly private sector commuters that TL defends. (http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/new-jersey-playbook/2015/08/christies-helicopter-reimbursement-big-tunnel-meeting-amid-more-woes-consultants-favorite-nonprofit-019645) Doesn’t the HONESTLY governor show his concern as he hovers overhead empathizing with the hoi polloi who are stuck in ancient mass transit infrastructure trying to earn their private sector pensions. The HONESTLY governor wants those frustrated commuters to know that he cares, He just doesn’t know what to do. With TL’s advice, he does not pay into the public sector pension, and still his mismanaged state undergoes 9 rating downgrades. Whats a HONESTLY governor to do. He does not even rate a road smear in the latest presidential polls. Please Tender Loving, keep shilling, divert attention, maybe noone will notice but you and me. It will be our secret. Watch closely. Nothing up my sleeve.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 4, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Me, shilling for Gov. Christie ?

      That hilarious. I ONLY like that he stands up the to insatiably greedy Public Sector Unions …. NJ’s FIRST Governor with the GUTS to do so.

      BRAVO, Gov. Christie …… but Scott Walker for President ! Public Sector Unions are a CANCER inflicted upon civilized society, and should be outlawed.

      Reply

  11. Posted by lukeu on September 5, 2015 at 12:15 am

    TL you are correct. It was 17 trillion, not 1.7 trillion. And the 550 thousand was not correct, but it does equate to 71,841 dollars for all Americans age 18 or older. so in a family of 2 there is over 142,00o dollars available and if you happen to have a child of 18 you would have over 213,000 dollars available. If you had 2 18 year olds you would have over 284,000 dollars if all money in the US were allotted equally. It isn’t that it is a financial impossibility. The money is available , but it is so grossly distributed in the hands of the one percent.Increasing pensions for the private sector where the pensions are deficient would help to spread things more evenly, but I guess we would suffer by not being able to have any billionaires and we couldn’t afford to distribute millions annually to anyone, but it would be for the greater good and the country would be better off as a whole. If you can take from the middle class workers why not start taking from the one percent where the real money is. Talk about being over compensated. Obviously these guys are eating up your compensation dollars far more than anyone else. The money is available to raise middle class compensation for the private sector. The one percent are just looking after it for you.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 5, 2015 at 2:05 am

      Lukeu,

      Interesting, but $17,000,000,000,000 / 320,000,000 = $53,125. Seems you are now conveniently lowering the denominator above to include only those 18 and over rather than all 320 Million Americans. And then you introduced your (not initially mentioned) 2 worker-family assumption….. seemingly ignoring that pensions are granted per PERSON, not per FAMILY.

      You certainly are struggling to get that initial $5,500 per person figure UP to a level that lets you pursue your agenda …. arguing (incorrectly) that the country can afford to give ALL workers pensions as rich as those now granted Public Sector workers.

      Are readers also supposed to ignore that you are now trying to justify the SAME conclusion but with a figure almost ten times LOWER than your first attempt where you said:

      “That is 550 thousand dollars per person, 550 thousand dollars per person.”

      and

      “I am sure you didn’t realize these staggering numbers”,

      Reply

      • Posted by lukeu on September 7, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        Of course again you missed the point. The point wasn’t about paying pensions to 18 year olds or that pensions are paid to individuals.. the point was that there is indeed enough money to pay pensions to private sector workers who do not have a decent pension. Got it? I am sorry that I did not get the number correct the first time, but the income figure is 17 trillion and there is more than enough money to go around if it is divided up more evenly and not gluttonized by the one percent. but you probably know that and are a tool of the one percent anyway.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on September 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm

          Quoting lukeu … “the point was that there is indeed enough money to pay pensions to private sector workers who do not have a decent pension.”

          No, you were arguing that there is sufficient money to pay Private Sector workers pensions EQUAL TO the absurdly generous pensions that (via your Union’s campaign contributions and election supoort) you have succeeded in extracting from our self-interested Elected Officials.

          There isn’t, and you have even gotten close to any such demonstration.

          Reply

    • It is hard for me to believe that you are really at such a level of economic illiteracy.

      Reply

  12. Posted by george on September 5, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Since this is really a back door transfer of state obligations to the property tax, wouldn’t it be better to just be honest and create a state property tax. Again which bad choice do you want?

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on September 5, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Create another NJ bureaucracy to collect more cruel property tax? This is NJ, but it already has a fair system for collecting taxes, the based on ability to pay Income Tax, if more money is needed. Don’t see why though as bridge tolls mentioned of $14, lots of public money funding ball parks (must think this is Texas), and many officials taking unearned pensions.
      Just put a ceiling on pensions, sort of, by drastically compressing those over the typical NJ worker, about $40K…? Whatever, do not make NJ’s property tax problem worse!

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on September 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Seriously ?

      Another tax (ANY tax) just so the insatiably reedy Public Sector workers can CONTINUE to accrue that which was NEVER necessary, just, fair (to taxpayers) or affordable …… and clearly the result of collusion between the Public Sector Unions and our self-interested BOUGHT-OFF Elected Officials?

      Reply

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