Power Multiemployer Bailout Campaign

It stands for Protect Our Workers Earned Retirement and their website provides this address:

@2018 POWER! P.O. Box 40616, Washington, DC 20016

and this generic video:

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Today the Power Now youtube channel uploaded state (and legislator) specific youtubes urging action be taken to get practical bipartisan and/or sensible solutions (without using the word bailout):

Ohio – 66,000:
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Michigan: 43,000:
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Wisconsin: 24,000
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Minnesota – 24,000:
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Tennessee – 15,000:
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North Carolina: 15,000
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West Virginia – many:
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Florida – many:
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North Dakota – many:
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40 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 12:09 am

    There is ZERO justification for ANY greater Taxpayer-Funded MEP pension protection than that now in place under the MEP PBGC provisions.

    NO bailout !

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Off topic; wonder what the annual cash outflow would be for PERS & TPAF with a retroactive annual pension cap of say $40k or even $50k?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 9:49 am

      While a “cap” would have a financial benefit, it misses the VERY important point.

      At EVERY (yes EVERY) income level the pensions & benefits granted PUBLIC Sector workers should be near EQUAL to (but no greater then) those granted comparably situated (in wages, age at retirement, and years of service) Private Sector workers.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 10:36 am

        Solution for moving forward …..discussed hybrid plan OR DCP only, even with the health care coverage changes, won’t be enough. Abstract discussions are not measureable!

        Does anyone have the ability to download and manipulate NJ’s public records dataset to determine potential savings from a retroactive cap on pensions at $40k?

        Equality between public and private workers at varying levels of government and varying sizes of business is not realistic. Unless an independent unbiased (if that exists) quasi-governmental entity is going to determine salary and benefits levels that Private entities, Federal, State, and Local governments are required to follow.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

          Quoting ……………

          “Equality between public and private workers at varying levels of government and varying sizes of business is not realistic. ”

          Why not ? Taxpayer contributions (pensions AND retiree healthcare subsidies) toward the retirement security of it’s Public Sector workers should be NO GREATER than what Taxpayers typically get from THEIR employers.

          Reply

    • Posted by NJ2AZ on August 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      based on the data Mr Bury posted recently, capping every annual pension at $40k would lower the annual payout from $10.9B to $8.8B.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Will never happen outside of a Bankruptcy proceeding which is not allowable at the State level.

        WHAT SHOULD be legal (and MIGHT be LEGAL …. needs to be tested) is to hard freeze NJ’s DB Plans for the future service of all CURRENT workers.

        The 1-st step in getting out of a deep financial hole is to STOP DIGGING.

        Reply

        • Will never happen outside of a Bankruptcy proceeding which is not allowable at the State level.

          WHAT SHOULD be legal (and MIGHT be LEGAL …. needs to be tested) is to hard freeze NJ’s DB Plans for the future service of all CURRENT workers.
          I hate repeating myself, but every time I see this comment, which is all the time, it kills me. STATES do NOT need “Bankruptcy” protection from ANYONE. NO ONE. NEVER. EVER. NADA. ZERO. States NEVER have needed it and they NEVER WILL need it. States are 100% IMMUNE from lawsuits; by citizens of other states as well as THE CITIZENS OF THEIR OWN STATE. States CANNOT be sued to enforce a “contracts”, including pensions (unless they ALLOW IT). Period. Not in State Court. Not in Federal Court. States can REPUDIATE any “contracts”, including pensions, with impunity. Why can’t the pubic wrap their arms around this fact? Pesky old 11th Amendment.

          Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        Thanks jn2az

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 5:07 pm

        Based on the proposed hybrid plan capping pensionable salary at $40k (savings TBD) and the health benefit changes (~$1.5B total savings ?) along with retroactively capping retiree’s pensions at $40k (~$2B savings per NJ2AZ from JB’s blog). I’ve seen the $6B number being thrown around for the ramped up ARC. The above proposed changes save, at a minimum $3.5B w/o the hybrid savings factored in. That’s a hell of a lot better for taxpayers than doing nothing. No one wants to get less or pay more for anything than they have to. We can continue to dig our self righteous heels into the ground until we Bury (no pun John) one another.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm

          The hybrid Plan proposal is ONLY for new employees and those with less than 5 years of service………… and VERY small piece of the problem.

          EVEN freezing future service accruals for those with 5+ years will entail a MONUMENTAL fight (and MANY legal challenges) with the Unions/workers (even IF our Union-owned Elected Officials chose to pursue this option).

          I don’t see any way outside of (the now unavailable option of a NJ State) Bankruptcy to “retroactively” cap past service accruals (for BOTH current actives and those already retired).

          Reply

      • Posted by Stanley on August 29, 2018 at 5:25 pm

        Capping pensions at $40K per year saves about 20% and while that would be an improvement, I have my doubts that that would be nearly enough unless it were accompanied with similar reductions throughout state and local government. There is a comment in one of the posts by anonymous that accuses TL of working to reduce public pensions so that she can concentrate on amassing her own fortune (I think that’s essentially it.) This is mistaken. Unsustainable payment schedules need adjustment now and the sooner they are made the less drastic they will have to be. It appears that they will be made in bankruptcy court and it won’t be a plan here or there that needs adjustment. It will be thousands of plans, probably almost all of them. I don’t know how this works out, but based on previous MOs I don’t believe it will be very orderly.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 5:38 pm

          And just so your clear for ALL pensions at ALL levels of government. Just to distance yourself from any self interests, correct?

          Reply

          • Posted by Stanley on August 30, 2018 at 11:14 am

            “And just so your clear for ALL pensions at ALL levels of government. Just to distance yourself from any self interests, correct?”

            Mister, we all have a very serious self interest in sound finance. Recruiting and retaining young people to serve in the military is one thing. Hiring people to lean on shovels is something entirely different so no, I do not advocate equality in whacking benefit schedules.

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 8:22 pm

          “Amassing my own fortune” …………. by strongly advocating as a NJ Taxpayer to end the now ludicrously excessive NJ Public Sector pensions & benefits ?

          Really ??????????

          Reply

  3. Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Responding to Anonymous……..

    I don’t know what you are calling “what a load of crap”, but my above statement is eminently just, fair, reasonable, and appropriate:

    “Taxpayer contributions (pensions AND retiree healthcare subsidies) toward the retirement security of it’s Public Sector workers should be NO GREATER than what Taxpayers typically get from THEIR employers.”

    If you are arguing otherwise, you (or a family member) very likely is (or will be) receiving one of these ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions and doesn’t want it reduced.

    Or …….. perhaps you’re receiving (or expecting) one UNDER your suggested cap. If that’s the case, how nice of you to suggest a change that protects YOUR pension but throws your so-called “brothers” under the bus.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      & to you TL – considering you’re in an ass uming state of mind. I’d say you’re not the typical taxpayer you proclaim to be protecting from these public worker’s P&B’s but rather a greedy individual trying to amass even more wealth than most of us, even public worker’s, have. And not to distract your limited focus but the changes, as you see them, are for ALL taxpayers at ALL levels of government OR not your self interested Federal military pension. Indeed!

      Reply

      • Posted by PS Drone on August 29, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        Could you please translate your comment into English?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 6:23 pm

          Funny guess you didn’t see Stanley’s comment – he(?) got it. You must be one of those overcompensated public worker’s – lol!

          Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 8:26 pm

        I have never been in the military ………… although I believe combat-employed troops deserve even pension $ that they have been promised ……. unlike NJ’s “bedroom community” police who are excessively “paid” and ludicrously pensioned/benefitted.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2018 at 9:31 pm

          Yeah right what a bunch of BS. No disrespect but only a small % every see combat and most are stateside or in, prior to Trump, ally countries. Contrary to what you’ve stated, your comments reek of self interested.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 29, 2018 at 9:41 pm

            Sorry, but trying to turn the tables on me is a futile effort.

            The “self-interest” among Public Sector workers trying to protect pensions and benefits that were never necessary, just, fair to Taxpayers, or affordable ……. is OBVIOUS.

            My ONLY involvement is being a NJ Taxpayer ………. and being financially educated and experienced enough to recognize the HUGE magnitude of the Public Sector pension/benefit RIPOFF ……… and to strongly advocate to VERY materially reduce these ludicrously excessive “promises”

            If it makes you happy ……….. believe whatever you want.

      • “I’d say you’re not the typical taxpayer you proclaim to be protecting from these public worker’s P&B’s but rather a greedy individual trying to amass even more wealth than most of us, even public worker’s, have”
        Oh Lordy, now I have heard it ALL. The trough feeder “Entitlement Mentality” in THIS public employee hits new heights! The only ones trying to “UNSKILLED/SEMI-SKILLED labor (cop/firewhiner) and are being compensated at the 1% level (all gov employees are compensated at or above the 5% level).
        Keep spinning, this is great entertainment 🙂

        Reply

  4. Anonymous at 10:36 am

    “Equality between public and private workers at varying levels of government and varying sizes of business is not realistic. Unless an independent unbiased (if that exists) quasi-governmental entity is going to determine salary and benefits levels that Private entities, Federal, State, and Local governments are required to follow.”

    Something our resident “financially educated and experienced” commenter can’t seem to comprehend.
    —————————–
    Federal vs private pay…

    O Among workers whose education culminated in a bachelor’s degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 21 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector.
    O Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.
    O Total compensation costs among workers with a professional degree or doctorate, by contrast, were 18 percent lower for federal employees than for similar private-sector employees, on average.

    Overall, the federal government paid 17 percent more in total compensation than it would have if average compensation had been comparable with that in the private sector, after accounting for certain observable characteristics of workers.

    https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52637-federalprivatepay.pdf
    ———————————
    Except…
    AEI (Biggs, again) says it’s more like 37 percent over.
    The CATO Institute says federal pay and benefits are 78 percent higher than private.
    BLS says feds are underpaid by 34 percent.
    The California Policy Center says public workers earn twice as much.

    Unless you have a supercomputer with unlimited access to data (how scary is that?) you will never figure out what equality is.

    (Ergo, I’m sorry, but “23 percent” is still bulls hit.)

    The biggest dichotomy in pay is not between public and private workers, it is in working for small or large employers. Those working for small businesses earn a lot less. Are we to bring public workers to that level?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 30, 2018 at 8:33 am

      What a load of one-sided/biased BS ……………. but no matter, none of that BS/bias will change anything as the math ALWAYS governs in the end-game, and the almost universally ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions/benefits now in place are CLEARLY unsustainable & unaffordable.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        Believe what you want if it makes you happy and supports your one sided opinions.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on August 30, 2018 at 4:52 pm

          One-sided yes, but unlike Public Sector workers/retirees with a HUGE vested interest in keeping their ludicrously excessive gravy train rolling right along, I’m on the JUST and FAIR side of the issue.

          Reply

  5. Posted by Stephen Douglas on August 30, 2018 at 11:04 am

    May I ask a question, if I precede it with a confession?

    Confession… I did not know until a few years ago that Social Security benefits are progressive. Most of my family and acquaintances are of below average income, and for several (most) of them, Social Security is their only retirement income. And that income is about a half or a third of maximum SS payment.

    But for people in the bottom fifth of the earnings distribution, the ratio of benefits to taxes is almost three times as high as it is for those in the top fifth.

    I didn’t know this for years, and it turns out that most of the people I ask were never aware of it either.

    Question, is this a bad thing? It is obviously a form of income redistribution, and was obviously intentionally designed that way.

    Is that a problem, for those who are aware of it? Is there any serious movement to change that redistribution (other than those who want to eliminate SS entirely)?

    If no one responds, I will assume there are no serious objections to the redistribution aspect of SS.

    Reply

    • Posted by Stanley on August 30, 2018 at 11:32 am

      There are so many very large problems that it is hard to put much time in contemplating the issue. There were times when I paid up my social security tax for the year and avoided further ss taxation until the next year. Everyone knows that there is a “welfare payment” aspect to social security.

      Steve, let me point out that capital accumulation is in the interest of everyone, especially the less well off. And also that capital in the most able hands is also in the interest of everyone, also especially the least well off. The well to do spend the smallest part of their wealth on consumption.

      The welfare state is not the road to prosperity for poor people. The welfare state is the road to Venezuela.

      Reply

    • Thank you, Stanley,
      There were times when I paid up my SS tax also, but that was 45 years ago, and I typically only got one or two paychecks with no SS deduction. There was some SS change in the mid-late seventies, and I never maxed out again.

      “Everyone knows that there is a “welfare payment” aspect to social security.”

      Most people on this board surely know, but in the general public, I don’t think most are aware.

      I infer from your comments that you consider that redistribution* a form of welfare, therefor not beneficial, even to the “poor”.

      Some might say (me, for example) that “… capital in the most able hands is also in the interest of everyone, also especially the least well off.”, but reliable income, even for the poorest, is also an economic advantage for all. Call it enlightened self interest, or “I’m producing all these goods (in the interest of everyone.) So why the hell isn’t anyone buying?”

      *is it really progressive?
      http://www.nber.org/digest/may00/w7520.html
      and

      https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/a-new-vision-for-social-security

      Reply

      • Posted by Stephen Douglas on August 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

        Not trying to start an argument on the progressivity issue. My Dad retired years ago on about $800 a month. Without the progressive aspect, that might have been $600 or less, so it was beneficial to him. But I have said before, I don’t make things up, I look them up. I don’t like to assert something if I am in doubt, and I recall reading at various times that SS is not progressive, or not as progressive as some think. Dad, for instance, had a higher income replacement rate, but collected for a shorter period because there is a significant difference in life expectancy between high and lower income workers, and, in this case, unfortunately, he was “average”.

        Reply

        • Posted by Stanley on August 30, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          “there is a significant difference in life expectancy between high and lower income workers…”

          In some cases it may be due to hereditary factors, but more often than not I suspect that it is due to life style factors. Very few people could not eat a better diet than they presently for a lot less money. Poor people go to the doctor more than the well to do and poor people keep their homes warmer during winter than the well to do. I may be incorrect on this but I suspect that poor people are more likely than those better off to still be smoking tobacco. On the recreational drugs and alcohol issue, I’m not sure how the problem breaks down but I am sure that practice isn’t doing either group any good. Obesity is becoming a huge problem and I believe that it is more concentrated in the lower income groups.

          With a good diet and fitness routine, almost everyone can peak at 80 or 85 and live for a long time thereafter, JMO.

          Reply

    • “Most of my family and acquaintances are of below average income, and for several (most) of them, Social Security is their only retirement income. And that income is about a half or a third of maximum SS payment.”

      Those born after 1957, in the wake of Generation Greed, are progressively more and more likely to end up in that situation. And are facing a 25 percent cut in benefits in the early 2030s as the program runs out of money.

      And while the progressivity of the program mitigates against this, the fact that median pay for later born generations has been 20 percent less at the same point in one’s life for those with similar education levels, in and of itself reduces Social Security benefit levels, which are based on those earnings. So it’s .75 times .8 — on average their benefits will be 60 percent of the benefits of prior generations.

      Those prior generations got pensions in addition to Social Security. Later born generations did not. And it is those later born generations who would be screwed to bail out those pensions, most of which got in the whole by retroactively increasing benefits for older beneficiaries during the dot.com bubble.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on August 30, 2018 at 4:49 pm

        NOBODY is taking a bigger (and clearly unfair UNFAIR) share of the pot than Public Sector workers/retirees.

        Reply

      • Posted by Stanley on August 31, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        ” And are facing a 25 percent cut in benefits in the early 2030s as the program runs out of money.”

        It isn’t easy to forecast how the financial problems and their resolution develop and many people would agree with your forecast, but I doubt it. I am thinking that the troubles will start in the next year or so and will be largely resolved by 2030. I am also wondering if it makes sense to evaluate the advantages of different groups entirely on wages and income. Or to make the evaluation at one point in the trade cycle, i.e. buying a house today is very different from buying one in 2010 or 2012. An important factor in determining what goes down will be the politics that thrive. If government continues to grow and take more and more from the economy, there won’t be much for the middle and lower classes. If government comes to be recognized for what it is and is reduced, if economic freedom and the market order prevails and a major war is avoided, younger people should have better lives than those who preceded them. All of the advantages are not on the side of older people, although many young people get stuck behind the nine ball with the disastrous student loan program.

        The 1970s were quite troubled and it was easy at that time to have thoughts similar to yours.

        Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on August 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Quoting ………… “Most of my family and acquaintances are of below average income, and for several (most) of them, Social Security is their only retirement income. And that income is about a half or a third of maximum SS payment.”

      Which means (especially after adjusting the “value” to reflect the MUCH younger ages at which Public Sector workers can begin collect their pensions vs Social Security) those SS payment to your relatives are assuredly less than 20% (and less than 10% for many) of what most Public Sector workers get in DB pensions.

      Hmm ………… certainly DOES suggest that Public Sector pensions are LUDICROUSLY excessive.

      Reply

  6. Earth to Stephen:

    Looks like you posed the question incorrectly.
    Back to the drawing board.

    For what it’s worth, I agree that the progressive SS benefits are good policy.

    Reply

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