MPRA – More Political Revenue Anticipated

HR83 which included the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) was passed by the House on 12/11/14 (219-206), the Senate on 12/13/14 (56-40), and enacted on 12/16/14 for reasons that were obvous to me at the time but I may have missed something.

Among the ‘friends of labor’ who voted for the law:

  • Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Patrick Leahy (VT)
  • Harry Reid (NV)
  • Barbara Mikulski (MD)
  • Bob Casey (PA)
  • Donald Norcross (NJ)
  • Barack Obama

I mention this because, after four multiemployer plans took advantage of the benefit suspension provision, there was a protest this week in Washington DC:

Some 400,000 retirees who worked in the trucking, parcel delivery and grocery supply industries face drastic pension cuts on July 1 as a result of a little-noticed measure attached to a huge end-of-year spending bill passed in December 2014.

Many members of Congress say they were not given the time to read the provisions or did not grasp the ramifications at the time, and they now say they would not have voted for the legislation.

According to Kyle N. Brown at the EA meeting (also this week) there has been an “incredible focus over the last year or so” on MPRA by the IRS which could mean that labor unions are seeing the results of what, to them, might have been unanticipated consequences, and are now marshaling their political capital (euphemism for bribing politicians more) which, as with many other laws, was the anticipated consequence for those who wrote the law.

34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eric on April 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    John:
    These morons in Congress never would have read the law. Most read at the “See Spot Run” level.They are all told how to vote, and do as they are told. They are malleable morons, as corrupt as the day is long.
    Whenever I see a member of Congress in my travels, I ignore that person. I have utter contempt for them. It does not matter if the person is a Democrat or a Republican. They are just different crime families as far as I am concerned.
    Obamacare was never read. Nancy Pelosi, in her moment of brilliance, stated let’s pass it to find out what’s in it in her reference to Obamacare. I know a classmate of hers who indicated that she was a solid C student. This was also a second rate school.
    Eric

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on April 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    The groups impacted by MPRA are FAR FAR different than Public Sector workers, where pensions are so absurdly generous (and so fraudulently obtained from Union-BOUGHT Elected Officials) that they were NEVER justifiable ….and SHOULD BE materially reduced.

    These workers have run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.
    ————————-

    Congress SHOULD look to remedy this situation …. but by forcing the profitable companies still in these Plans to pony up, NOT with a taxpayer-funded bailout.

    Reply

  3. Posted by George on April 16, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    “euphemism for bribing politicians more” I don’t think they have any money, so coerce or beg might be a better way to describe it.

    I can’t tell exactly which states are central states, but it looks like the Senators you listed are not from central states. One criticism of the Central states union I read in comments was that they did not adjust their member compensation enough to allow new young members to enter the union and get work, I do not have a link so I may not recall correctly.

    Western Conference of Teamsters Pension claims to be 91% funded.
    http://www.wctpension.org/forms-documents-webcasts/plan-documents/funding-status

    In other news: Fight’em over there in Puerto Rico, or you will have to fight’em over here in Illinois!!!!!!! (and by extension NJ)

    Center for Individual Freedom TV Spot, ‘Out of Money’
    http://www.ispot.tv/ad/A5Ev/center-for-individual-freedom-out-of-money

    Reply

  4. Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    “Patrick McFarlane, 64, retired after 31 years in the trucking industry. His pension check is set to be slashed in half to $1,550 a month.”

    “Retiree Bill Hendershot stands to lose $2,104 a month if his pension fund gets its way. ……. If that happens, his remaining check will be $1,396.” (35 years as a truck driver)

    $3,100 after 31 years?
    $3,500 after 35 years?

    Far be it from me to inject actual data into this debate, but my “opinion” is that a NJ state public sector truck driver after 35 years will have a …smaller… pension. Certainly not … MULTIPLES LARGER…

    But that’s just an opinion. Show me the data.

    Of course, it might be that private sector drivers are “putting in 16/hrs a day WITH PASSION for weeks on end”? Still, I think the public sector drivers should get …something… for the attractive factor. And taller. That should be worth something.

    Speculatively, I am going to posit that the reason private sector truck drivers have larger pensions than the public sector (if, in fact, they do) is not because they have better pension formulas, but because they have been receiving consistently higher pay for their entire working career.

    If so, that would be what we call a “twofer”: Pay me now …and… pay me later.

    Moderation has yard work and pool maintenance pending, so please, somebody do the math, and I will check back later.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on April 16, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Quoting SMD ….

      ““Retiree Bill Hendershot stands to lose $2,104 a month if his pension fund gets its way. ……. If that happens, his remaining check will be $1,396.” (35 years as a truck driver)

      $3,100 after 31 years?
      $3,500 after 35 years?

      Far be it from me to inject actual data into this debate, but my “opinion” is that a NJ state public sector truck driver after 35 years will have a …smaller… pension. Certainly not … MULTIPLES LARGER…”

      ——————

      For a proper comparison, we DO need to make those Public and Private Sector pensions Apples to Apples to adjust for “provisions” with VERY differing values.

      For the Moment, let just SUPPOSE that the the salaries are the same and the pension formula-factor is the same (which assuredly is NOT true).

      Let’s also “assume” (yes, I know what happens when you “assume” !) that BOTH retire after 35 years at age 60. I’s VERY likely that while the Public Sector pension would NOT be reduce for retiring at age 60, the Private Sector worker’s pension likely would be, by about 25% (5% for each year before the typical full Private Sector retirement age of 65). hence to get it’s true “value”, the Private Sector worker’s otherwise calculated pension must be multiplied by 75% or 0.75.

      Additionally, while the Public Sector worker’s pension is assuredly COLA-increased, it is VERY VERY VERY rare for employer-sponsored Private Sector Pension Plan to Include Cola increases. And since adding a COLA provision is worth about 30% MORE than an otherwise identical Plan w/o one, the Public Sector worker’s pension must be multiplied by 130% or 1.30, to get a true measure of it’s “value”.

      So where are we.

      The Public Sector worker’s pension on a APPLES-TO-APPLES basis (simply adjusting for differing “provisions”) with that of his/her Private Sector counterpart becomes $3,500 x 1.30 = $4,550/month, while the Private Sector worker’s pension becomes $3,500 x 0.75 = $2,625.

      So before we even compare the formula-factor under the Private and Public Sector trucker’s pensions, the Public Sector Trucker’s pension STARTS OUT $4,550/$2,625 = 1.73 or 73% greater in “value”.

      Yea, and I’d bet dollars-to-donuts that greater Public Sector “formula-factors” easily bring the value of the Public Sector worker’s pension to more than (likely MUCH more than) DOUBLE that of his/her Private Sector counterpart.
      ————————–

      Now it COULD BE that Private Sector workers work far more hours than Public Sector truckers.

      And if they do, and that reduces that 2+ times Public Sector pension “advantage” described above, do they not deserve it for the extra hours worked?

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 17, 2016 at 12:19 am

        The extra hours argument is hogwash TL and you know it. Otherwise, to be consistent you would need to include overtime in pension calculations(not done for ANY public sector employees) to achieve balance. Truck drivers are eligible for ot under flsa. Unless of course, you have a problem with EQUAL!?!?!?

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 7:41 am

          So let’s put aside the extra hours part………

          How do you “justify” the Public/Private Sector pension “provision” difference which result in a 73% Public Sector pension advantage even IF the formula-factors are identical ?

          Please enlighten us as to exactly WHY Taxpayers should fund a better deal for Public Sector workers.

          Reply

          • Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm

            “How do you “justify” the Public/Private Sector pension “provision” difference which result in a 73% Public Sector pension advantage even IF the formula-factors are identical ?”

            Go ask Alice, Love. 73% exists only in your mind. This private sector workers pension is not reduced for retiring at 60. Not by 25%. Not by 5%. Not by nothin’. The formula is 35-and-out. At any age.

            This private sector truck driver earns more while working than a New Jersey state truck driver. And has a higher pension.

          • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm

            Just as a FYI, UPS is no longer in a multi-employer plan …. they left, quite a few years back anticipating the financial mess sure to come.

            But yes, IF a Plan allows retirement after 35 years at ANY age and one begins working by age 25 (and stays for the 35 years), there would be no reduction for early retirement at age 60 in the example I gave above.

            That being said, do you know what percentage of Private Sector workers are in Unions with THAT type of Plan …structures mostly for blue-collar workers?

            6.7% per the US Gov’t BLS.

          • Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 17, 2016 at 7:55 pm

            TL @ 2:06

            “That being said, do you know what percentage of Private Sector workers are in Unions with THAT type of Plan …structures mostly for blue-collar workers?”
            6.7% per the US Gov’t BLS.

            Berry good. Except those are precisely the workers you were discussing when you said:

            “The groups impacted by MPRA are FAR FAR different than Public Sector workers”

            “These workers have run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.”

            (TL @ 5:02)

            Public sector pensions are not all alike. California pensions are more generous than New Jersey. Private pensions are not all alike. In the Maryland Local 992, If a driver starts at age 20, he can retire at 55 with $4,200 a month.

            A New Jersey state truck driver with 35 years can retire at 60 with $2,566 a month. Even with 3% automatic COLAs, it would take him over 17 years to get to $4,200 a month. 11 years to catch up with the $3,500 a month pension
            ___________________________________
            “run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.”

            You’re shooting from the lip (again). In virtually every instance, you automatically assume the public worker is overcompensated.

            Calm down. Check your facts …before… you rant. It’s no skin of my nose. It’s your credibility on the line.

          • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 10:26 pm

            Well I’ll have to admit I have far more experience with the retirement savings offered the 100%-7.6%=93.3% of Private Sector workers who do not belong to Private Sector Unions ………….. and who, without doubt, are abused and disturbed by being called upon to pay for the multiples greater Public vs Private Sector pensions

            The Multi-employer pensions are but are middle-ground which gives some fodder for your continued “Smoothing”..

          • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm

            Transposed the digits … 7.6 should be 6.7.

          • Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 18, 2016 at 1:18 am

            Never give a inch.

            This “fodder” is all on you. You felt compelled to use this case to repeat your usual rant about   “fraudulently obtained” and “absurdly generous pensions” and “Union-BOUGHT Elected Officials”

            All I did was what I usually do, check the facts. Pensions for the private sector truckers are roughly equal to, or better than, the public sector. Maximum salaries for the public sector are $48,400 (starting salary $34,600). Annual mean wage for truckers in the New Jersey area is $48,000 to $50,000.

            To me, that looks “roughly equal” and doesn’t support the claim of fraud or collusion.

  5. Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 16, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    “So where are we.”

    Well, where we have always been, “assuming”, “supposing”, and betting (dollars to dognuts) without actually verifying ONE DAMN FACT!!! And then performing mathish perversions on top of our assumptions. What could go wrong?

    Private pensions (much like public pensions) are like snowflakes. No two are quite alike. Here is a selection of various plans (under the heading “UPS Pension Comparison”.

    http://www.tdu.org/tags/pension_and_benefits?page=18

    Sample:

    Hagerstown, Maryland (Local 992)
    $3,000 for 25-at-57.
    $3,600 for 30-and-out.
    $4,200 for 35-and-out.

    (30-and-out and 35-and-out are “any age”
    _________________________________________

    New Jersey State

    Truck Driver. Tandem axle. 2016 Salary range 12 …( $34,628.13 – $48,398.13)

    Pension = years of service (35) divided by 55 times  FAS   ($48,398.13) = $30,798.81, or $2,566.56 per month

    And the reason we always (should be) skeptical of math is, we don’t know the formulae or the final salary for the private sector workers. Or whether their published pensions are the full unreduced pension,  or actuarially reduced for survivor continuance.

    Anybody?

    Bueller?

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 17, 2016 at 12:23 am

      She sucks bro…..crickets from her. She is wrong as often as she is right….useless drivel. Public sector can do no right bullshit. She is a hater. Somehow a public pension of $ 40000 is outrageous but notfor a private sector union man. Cry me a river….

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 7:59 am

        No, a $40,000 (or ANY $ amount) taxpayer-funded Public Sector pension is “outrageous” when it is (in NJ) ROUTINELY 3 times (5 times for safety workers) greater in value at retirement than those typically granted Private Sector workers who retire at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and the SAME years of service.

        Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Quoting SMD…..

      ““So where are we.”

      Well, where we have always been, “assuming”, “supposing”, and betting (dollars to donuts) without actually verifying ONE DAMN FACT!!! And then performing mathish perversions on top of our assumptions.”

      Really ?

      Earth to SMD, examples REQUIRE “assumptions”. Tell me which were not appropriate or reasonable ?
      —————————————————-
      And quoting SMD … “And then performing mathish perversions on top of our assumptions. ”

      Really? If you had math talents beyond grade-school level, you would be able to be identify ant such “perversions” should they exist. Please do so, we’re waiting.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    So, here we are, again.

    Posted by Tough Love on April 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    The groups impacted by MPRA are FAR FAR different than Public Sector workers, where pensions are so absurdly generous (and so fraudulently obtained from Union-BOUGHT Elected Officials) that they were NEVER justifiable ….and SHOULD BE materially reduced.

    These workers have run-of-the-mill pensions, clearly very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers.
    ____________________________________________________
    TL 7:56 am

    “Earth to SMD, examples REQUIRE “assumptions”. Tell me which were not appropriate or reasonable ?”
    _____________________________________________________
    Really?

    Aristotle’s error:

    “Observation versus Authority: To modern educated people, it seems obvious that matters of fact are to be ascertained by observation, not by consulting ancient authorities. But this is an entirely modern conception, which hardly existed before the seventeenth century. Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.” 

    Back to 2016. You do not prove that one has a pension MULTIPLES LESS, by SUPPOSING that the the salaries are the same and the pension formula-factor is the same.

    “(which assuredly is NOT true)”??? What the hell??

    If you want to compare pensions, you do not have to …assume… anything. Several published examples of the Teamsters pensions are given. The state pension is easily calculated using actual facts that are easily obtained. Using 35 years, to match the private driver, the public workers pension is $2,566.56 per month. The private pension is given as $3,500, which is clearly not MULTIPLES LESS than $2,566.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on April 17, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      SMD (and John ,,, see request at the bottom) ……..

      All you need to do to compare Private vs Public Sector Plan generosity assuming both have DB plans (noting that it is rare to be accruing new benefits today in Private Sector Plans today, most already having been frozen), is to compare the “formulas” (meaning the per-year-of-service “formula-factor”), and the Plan “provisions” (the material ones being … (a) are the benefits COLA-increased, and (b) what is the youngest age at which participants can retire without an actuarial reduction in the otherwise calculated pensions.

      You do NOT need to know the salary …..period ….. no matter how many time you assert otherwise. And in an example at the bottom, I won’t even use a Salary but simply an “S” as a placeholder for ANY salary you choose.

      And here’s the math (for those with an ABOVE grade-school level of math-competence). And while relationship in CA (SMD’s home State) is even WORSE for Taxpayers (because CA’s Public Sector pensions are even richer than those in NJ), I’ll stick to NJ’s situation:

      (1) Public Sector formula factors are typically 50% greater than those of their Private Sector counterparts for non-Safety workers and 100% greater for Safety workers..

      That gives us adjustment factors of 1.50 for non-Safety and 2.00 for Safety.

      (2) While now suspended in NJ, Public Sector pension Plan COLA-increases were in place for decades, and the expectation is that the COLA-suspension will be overturned (and they are still in place in CA and almost everywhere else), while it is extraordinarily rare for a Private Sector Plan to include a COLA-increase provision..

      Adding a COLA-increase provision to an otherwise identical pension typically increases the pension’s “value” by 25 to 30%, with the value being higher with younger retirement ages. That gives us adjustment factors of 1.25 for non-Safety and 1.30 for Safety.

      (3) Private Sector Plans typically have a “Normal Retirement age” (NRA) of 65, meaning that if you retire and elect to begin COLLECTING that pension before your NRA, your pension will be reduced by about 5% per-year-of age.

      If we assume (Yes SMD, a “reasonable” assumption that needs to be made … even though you will likely reference it’s use it in your “Smoothing” response sure to follow) that Non-Safety Public Sector workers can retire at age 60 WITHOUT any reduction in their pension, and Safety workers can retire at 55 WITHOUT any reduction in their pension, and that Public Sector workers do in fact retire at those ages (as MANY do), what adjustment factors do we have?

      The retiring age 60 non-Safety worker gets their FULL pension while the Private Sector worker who retires at age 60 would typically get a (65-60) x 5% = 25% pension reduction. That makes the non-safety worker’s pension worth 4/3 of the Private Sector worker’s pension or an adjustment factor of 1.33

      The retiring age 55 Safety worker gets their FULL pension while the Private Sector worker who retires at age 55 would typically get a (65-55) x 5% = 50% pension reduction. That makes the non-safety work’s pensions worth TWICE that of the Private Sector worker’s pension or an adjustment factor of 2.00
      ———————————————————–
      Lets now bring together to impact of all the apples-to-apples-appropriate adjustments factors (from (1), (2), and (3) above) …………

      The non-Safety worker’s pension with final salary “S” (the SAME as that of the Private Sector worker ….. for ANY value of “S”) is:

      1.50 x 1.25 x 1.33 = 2.49 TIMES greater in value at retirement than that of the similarly situated (in pay, age at retirement, and years of service) Private Sector worker.

      And the Safety worker’s pension with final salary “S” (the SAME as that of the Private Sector worker ….. for ANY value of “S”) is:

      2.00 x 1.30 x 2.00 = 5.2 TIMES greater in value at retirement than that of the similarly situated (in pay, age at retirement, and years of service) Private Sector worker.

      ======================================

      Lastly……….

      John, I sense you prefer to stay out of the VERY differing positions I and SMD have taken on the “value” of Public vs Private Sector pensions.

      But as the actuary-expert as well as host/moderator, how about chiming in. If you think I’m wrong please say so, but if you agree that the value-differences I’ve stated above is essentially correct (obviously noting that specific differences with vary with the specifics of the Plans being compared), please state so as well.

      I’m sure many of your readers don’t know whom to believe ……. you owe it to them to respond, given your expertise and experience.

      Thanks in advance.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on April 17, 2016 at 10:40 pm

        TL,
        Let me save John the trouble, he thinks your wrong. Lol. He avoids directly corresponding with you almost always. He, lIke the rest of us on here, probably thinks your just a little bit shall we say….off. This issue apparently rules your life. Multiples, and non safety pensions, and truck driver hours and so on and so on….you dominate this thread to such an extreme. Not a day goes by when you don’t copy and paste…and add a little original commentary. Nothing productive. Just white noise about some cops pension. ….or what have you. Lol.

        Reply

      • Posted by PatB on April 17, 2016 at 11:50 pm

        Of the actuaries and accountants who must read this blog, I can remember no one defending your math. Maybe this is the time for them to come to your rescue, for the sake of truth, which there seems to be so little of in public pensions.

        Who can really understand the opaque rules and numbers that make up these pensions? Obviously not the pols, since they have not made a sound pension decision since before 1990. Not the unions, since they don’t want to be bothered at who will pay for the promises. And certainly not the members, who only understand what is promised, and believe in “the full faith and credit” of government to deliver.

        So if anyone supports your math, speak now. If they agree but find fault in it, they should say so, maybe we can all learn something. And if its mostly BS, I hope you can handle the truth.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on April 18, 2016 at 12:19 am

          Well said …. and I can deal with honest criticism.

          Reply

          • Posted by Smooth Moderation Truth on April 18, 2016 at 1:30 am

            LOL!!!

          • Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2016 at 8:20 am

            Wow. TL. I am impressed. All kidding aside, thst was a mature response. Welcome on both sides of this argument. Enough with “greedy takers” or “just keep paying while I relax on the beach” etc. Doesn’t do anyone any good. Good day to you , ma’am.

        • Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm

          Uh Oh!!!

          What if there are no actuaries or accountants reading this blog?

          What if it’s just us nuts ….and now retired Pat?

          What if this is “as good as it gets”?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2016 at 10:42 pm

            uh, excuse me? Now retired Pat is basking in luxury and has no complaints! Who do you disparage and take umbrage with my happiness?

  7. Posted by George on April 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Do pensioners get a better deal than working-age people?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35879785

    Reply

  8. Posted by Smooth Moderation Difficult on April 18, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Yes, by all means, check the math. Except, I have never questioned the math per se. It is the logic which is faulty. TLs claim is that public pensions are more generous, therefore public employees are overcompensated. It is common knowledge that public pensions are more generous than private. That’s a given (almost*). The question has been whether the bigger pensions are offset by lower public pay.

    The answer has always been; with pensions and benefits, lower skilled/educated public workers earn more than those in the private sector, higher educated public workers earn less than those in the private sector, and somewhere in the middle, they earn roughly the same.

    To see how illogical it is to use pension generosity only as a determinant that public workers are overpaid, instead of comparing the eighty-plus percent of public workers with DB pensions to the approximately eighteen percent of the private sector who still have them, show me the “math” on comparing a typical public DB pension to anyone of the eighty percent of private workers with NO pension. What does that math look like? Absurd. Whether the pension is twice as generous or six times, the only legitimate comparison is total compensation. Does the greater pension make up for the lower pay?
    ___________________________
    * That’s a given (almost*).
    TL is correct in one thing. I don’t buy all his “assumptions”; like the value of a COLA. Mine is CPI or two percent, whichever is higher. Some COLAs are a constant three percent (even with no actual inflation), and some are CPI or five percent. Pensions are like snowflakes, no two are quite alike. The question of “full” pension at 65 vs reduced pension at any age is a mare’s nest due to all the graduated formulas.

    Particularly, the case we are referring to in today’s story is different in that the pension formula does not seem to be related to final average salary at all. Nor to “full retirement age” in the way we usually consider it. In this case, if we can use TLs methods to determine the relative generosity, to show the public pension is more generous, on a practical level, if you were 60 today and offered a choice of $2,556, $3,500, or $4,200 a month for life …which would you choose? Yeah, me too. Even if the $2,556 were COLA enhanced at two or even three percent.

    They are not “…very modest (and MULTIPLES LESS) than those granted Public Sector workers”

    Reply

  9. Posted by Smooth Moderation Smoother on April 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Sorry, you will never have EQUAL

    I submit this with a caveat: take it with a grain of salt. I don’t know about the track record of indeed.com. These salaries may be typical or may be inflated or exaggerated, I don’t know.

    http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Truck-Driver-l-New-Jersey.html

    Leaving aside the pension question for the moment, at $48,000 a year, maximum, are New Jersey public sector truck drivers overpaid or underpaid? Or “roughly equal”? BLS figures are more or less erratic also. Around the Northeast they vary from a “mean annual salary” of $45k to $55k. Depending largely on whether the job is in a major metropolitan area.

    The …secondary… reason I strongly encourage reading Biggs and Richwine State by State comparison of public compensation is their fairly detailed description of methodology. The process of determining private sector pay and benefits is rife with error. There are several databases available with salary and benefit information, but each one has it’s own strength and weakness. NONE of them is specifically designed for this kind of comparison. The researcher has to use his judgement in each case as to which data is more relevant or “truthful”.

    It’s why I have told TL and others, you will never have EQUAL. Not because unions are a cancer or politicians are crooks, or public workers are greedy, (ain’t we all?) but you will never be able to define “equal”, and if you ever could, it would change tomorrow.

    Transparent California.com has a listing of (almost) every state and local government worker in California, with their salary, benefits, overtime, and when they retire, their pensions. The State Controllers Office has a similar database, but without names attached. No one has a similar list of private sector workers for comparison. Far be it from humble Moderation to criticize TC or tell them how to operate, but their databases are always sorted by “total compensation ” -highest to lowest, which, intentionally or not, (sarchasm) maximizes the shock value. Por ejemplo:

    Tough Love says:

    April 13, 2016 at 5:37 PM

    The latest from “Transparent California”….. Palo Alto’s top ten (2014) COLA-INCREASED PENSIONS …..

    $197,447
    $189,292
    $177,896
    $174,930
    $172,457
    $168,234
    $162,015
    $161,098
    $156,768
    $155,838

    (Unionwatch, April 12, 2016)

    Wow!!! (Wow???)

    Of course, TCs database can be resorted by the user to list retirees alphabetically, by date of retirement, years of service, or by lowest pensions first, etc. But that would spoil the effect.
    The list, by either compensation or pension is admittedly scary bad, especially to the “average taxpayer” in California who earns $53,000 a year, and another $22,000 in benefits.
    So be it.

    My postulation is that, for balance, if one could compile a similar database of private sector employees, with or without names (I prefer without, for either private or public employees), it would figuratively knock your socks off. It would make the list of public sector compensation look like the kiddy pool.

    In 2012, the General Accounting Office did a “study of studies” looking at six compensation studies using three different methodologies. The result, colloquially, was: “no one approach is definitive”. These particular studies were of federal workers, but the process is similar with state and local. One report found federal workers behind by 24 percent, on average. Another found that the shortfall runs in the other direction by that much or more. The CBO essentially split the difference with a report finding federal employees ahead by 2 percent on average.(Statistically insignificant)

    “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”

    Donald Rumsfeld
    ___________________

    We really can’t know, overall, if public workers are overcompensated. But some of us apparently don’t know that we don’t know.

    How can you ever have EQUAL if you don’t know what it is?

    Reply

  10. Posted by Smooth Moderation Smoother on April 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Very well stated, Moderation. Thank you for all the thought and research you have invested in this topic over the years. You have shown much light on the issue, and …just enough… heat.

    (Do NOT check the IP address on this post!!!)

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on April 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      No (Tough) Love lost Smooth, you da man Douglas – keep the Moderator running! All blogging should NOT have a presumption of Priva(cy)tes and therefore is for Publics consumption!

      Reply

  11. Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Somebody had to say it.

    Reply

  12. The truck driving industry in for significant changes in the comming decads. The lower unemployement rate and increased amount of people just not willing to work is creating a shortage of individuals will to do the work.

    Reply

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