The Fifth Risk

Michael Lewis’ new book is a love letter to three federal government departments (Energy, Agriculture, and Commerce) that he researched thorough interviews with high-level Obama appointees. The upshot is that these government employees do vital work which is being threatened by the Trump people brought in through a sloppy transition process. Excerpts follow (including some insight into how the the solar panel scam got kick-started):

As Nancy Cook later reported in Politico, [Steve] Bannon visited the transition headquarters a few days after he’d given [Chris] Christie the news, and made a show of tossing the work the people there had done for Donald Trump into the garbage can. Trump was going to handle the transition more or less by himself. Note even Steve Bannon thought this was a good idea. “I was fucking nervous as shit,” Bannon later told friends. “I go, ‘Holy fuck, this guy [Trump] doesn’t know anything. And he doesn’t give a shit.” (pages 31-2)

The $70 billion loan program that John MacWilliams had been hired to evaluate was a cause in point. It had been authorized by Congress in 2005 to lend money, at very low interest rates, to businesses, so that they might develop game-changing energy technologies……Fracking – to take one example – was not the brainchild of private-sector research but the fruit of research paid for twenty years ago by the DOE. Yet fracking has collapsed the price of oil and gas and led to American energy independence. (page 63)

Politically, the loan program had been nothing but downside. No one had paid any attention to its successes, and its one failure – Solyandra – had allowed the right-wing friends of Big Oil to bang on relentlessly about governmetn waste and fraud and stupidity. A single bad loan had turned a valuable program into a political liability. (page 64)

Anyway, when I had asked [MacWilliams] for the fifth risk, he had thought about it and then seemed to relax a bit. The fifth risk did not put him at risk of revealing classified information. “Project management,” was all he said. (pages 68-9)

Here is where the Trump administration’s willful ignorance plays a role. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview. (page 77)

Indeed, if you are seeking to preserve a certain worldview, it actually helps to gut science. Trump’s budget, like the social forces behind it, is powered by a perverse desire – to remain ignorant. Donald Trump didn’t invent this desire. He was just its ultimate expression. (page 80)

If the Trump administration were to pollute the scientific inquiry at the USDA with politics, scientific inquiry would effectively cease….Research grants will go not to the most promising ideas but to the closest allies. (page 114)

As a private citizen [Barry] Myers devoted considerable energy to making the National Weather Service seem worse. As a public servant he could do much more. “Barry is uniquely dangerous, in a way a Scott Pruitt is not,” said a Senate staffer. “Scott Pruitt does not understand the agency [Environmental Protection] he’s trying to destroy. Barry’s skills make him more effective in dismantling NOAA. There are a million little things he could do that we will never understand.” (page 174)

82 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on November 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Quoting …………..

    “Here is where the Trump administration’s willful ignorance plays a role. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.”
    —————————————-

    The above describes (VERY well) El gaupo’s approach and views ……………. ignoring the ludicrously excessive value of his NJ Police pension & benefits, and his endless fact-less attempt at justification.

    Reply

  2. Posted by boscoe on November 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Tough Love, here’s some tough love: give it a break already. Your one-track obsession with NJ pensions and your favorite foil El Guapo, make your commentary on almost any other subject irrelevant. This posting had nothing to do with either. Stop riding the third rail just for a day or two. With affection….

    Reply

    • Actually that quote I picked out because it did relate to pensions – specifically politicians not wanting to wise themselves up about how contributions can be so low for the benefits promised. It’s a blind faith in actuaries who are hired on the unspoken condition that they will try as best they can to keep those contributions down by however many gimmicks they can think up.

      Reply

      • Posted by boscoe on November 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

        That’s a pretty cosmic if tenous connection. But I guess great minds (e.g., Michael Lewis, Tough Love and the owner of this site) think alike. Sorry, El Guapo; I tried, but it’s your f***ing fault after all. So sad….

        Reply

    • Posted by El Gaupo on November 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      She is obsessed with me isn’t she. I thought it was just me.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on November 2, 2018 at 6:05 pm

        No, but I have a strong aversion to BS, and your commentary re your pension & benefits is LOADED with it.

        Reply

      • Posted by MJ on November 3, 2018 at 6:08 am

        Although most of TL’s points are valid, I do believe he/she is overly obsessed with this pension nonsense….…….and yes El Gaupo she is obsessed with you and your comments……..she goes on the attack

        Reply

        • Posted by El Gaupo on November 3, 2018 at 8:21 am

          She would, unlike you, prefer to not hear a contrasting viewpoint. Or even one that shares her viewpoint but doesn’t go far enough for her. When she does hear it, she “shoutes it down “ and insults. Even when she is wrong. No one is right every single time.

          Reply

          • Posted by MJ on November 3, 2018 at 8:23 am

            El Gaupo, I agree, TL goes on the attack, shout down and insults when someone doesn’t agree or has a different viewpoint…..sounds just like our President whom she obviously doesn’t like either……birds of a feather

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 3, 2018 at 10:31 am

          (a) It’s not pension “nonsense”. I understand MUCH more than all other on this Blog about the true expected cost of pensions of the magnitude granted El gaupo …….. and 25+% HIGHER than the figures I have been posting if his COLA increases are restored.

          The Public Sector pension problem is from nonsense and will lead to a financial calamity in NJ unless this is addressed VERY soon in a VERY material l way………….. which certainly includes freezing (or at least VERY materially reducing) the accrual rate for the future service of all CURRENT workers.

          Ending or very materially reducing retiree healthcare subsidies will likely come firs, having far lower legal protections from reduction.

          (2) I am not “obsessed with anyone on this or any other Blog. My strong advocacy for corrective action simply includes responding to what I see as incorrect facts, material omissions of important/pertinent facts, distortions of the true picture, and of course often simply a lack of knowledge. And some of those are knowingly put forth by Public Sector Unions/workers to fend-off the desperately needed reform based on greed, self-interest, and a the-hell-with-the-Taxpayers attitude.
          —————————-

          That said………….. I’ll give some thought to “toning it down” a notch.

          Reply

          • “desperately needed reform based on greed, self-interest, and a the-hell-with-the-Taxpayers attitude.”

            Way to tone it down.

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

            SD/EARTH,

            Re-read that quote a few times. Got a problem with the truth ?

            Go ahead and try convince me (and others with a brain) that “greed, self-interest, and a the-hell-with-the-Taxpayers attitude” on the part of Public Sector Unions/workers isn’t a MAJOR impediment to implementing clearly needed financially-material reforms.

            E.g., ……….CA Fireman SUING to keep “air time” pensionable …….. lol

          • Whose truth?

            Still room for civility.

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm

            We see how aggressive Public Sector workers can be when their pension & benefits are a risk of being lowered.

            I have PERSONALLY witnessed a disgusting display of Police Officer INTIMIDATION at a Town Hall meeting discussing a potential merger of several Town Police forces …… looked like 90% of the entire Police Force from all of the Towns (likely ALL Officers that weren’t assigned to Patrol at that time) taking up the ENTIRE perimeter of the large Hall (excepting the front stage of course) ……….. with EVERY ONE OF THEM with their arms crossed over highly puffed up chests and STAREING down at those attending, VERY clearly an INTIMIDATION message ….”I dare you to speak-up and SUPPORT ANTHING that will lessen ANY element of our compensation or job security.”

          • Whose truth?
            Still room for civility.

            LOL…. Right!

          • Res the Wonder Hog.

            Like your new avatar.

    • Posted by In God we trust. on November 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      Tough love is captivated in ignorance regarding the Police and Fireman’s pension system. I truly believe he has a negative view do to a personal problem. Perhaps he was arrested or received tickets or applied and was turned down. His beef is personal and therefore he should be ignored.

      Reply

      • Posted by PS Drone on November 2, 2018 at 5:38 pm

        Not personal. While repetitive and thus occasionally tiresome, her points are correct: The LEO and FF pensions, both in $ amount and in actuarial benefit period are ridiculous. They will eventually collapse of their own weight because no one wants to force the necessary corrective measures. Kind of like trying to “fix” Medicare, Medicaid and SS before the country fiscally sinks like the Titanic.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm

          Exactly !

          Reply

          • Posted by MJ on November 3, 2018 at 8:29 am

            TL….yes some of your points are valid but I don’t see the need for constant attacks and insults if someone disagrees…it takes away from your credibility.

            Just sayin…….

          • Posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm

            It’s boredom therapy?

        • Posted by MJ on November 3, 2018 at 8:28 am

          PS Drone…..agreed that TL does have valid points but if the LE community can’t see it for themselves and are willing to risk the benefits and retirements of the younger workers and half way through workers then so be it……and guess what there ain’t a damn thing any of us can do about it.

          Personally, I don’t give a crap if they get everything they were promised or not…..won’t affect my life in any way and frankly what these cops have to put up with today with these lunatics running the streets, not sure I begrudge them a whole lot.

          Maybe some reforms but again the employees aren’t concerned about it and they are fully confident that they will get everything promised to them for 30-40 years of retirement, more power to them!

          Peace and love:)

          Reply

          • Posted by El Gaupo on November 3, 2018 at 12:08 pm

            Thank you MJ.

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm

            Quoting ………………

            “but if the LE community can’t see it for themselves and are willing to risk the benefits and retirements of the younger workers and half way through workers then so be it”

            No, I disagree with you.

            The financial well being of NJ and it’s Taxpayers should NOT rest on Longer-Service/Older Police Officers (and other such Public Sector workers) WILLINGLY agreeing to givebacks of the needed magnitude. There’s not “a snowball’s chance in hell” that they would do so. Self-interest (justified by repeating to themselves “but it was promised” ) will outweigh any sympathy for those that follow them, convincing themselves that it’s NOT “their” problem but the Taxpayers “problem” to address.

  3. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 3, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    PS Drone…

    “The LEO and FF pensions, both in $ amount and in actuarial benefit period are ridiculous.”

    MJ…

    “Now I have always maintained that the cops in Phila., Newark, Camden and the like deserve every penny they get including a pension”
    —————————
    So, which is it?

    Tough Love…

    “No matter how dug in your are in you beliefs, the now ludicrously level of compensations (wages + pensions + benefits) for Police (and with few exceptions, all other Public Sector workers) is not necessary…” yadda, yadda, yadda… 90%… unaffordable… entitlement mentality… etc.

    Hyperbole, they name is Tough Love. His beef is with Bergen County cops, as if they were average or typical of cops everywhere. They are not. As in California, the lightning rods are the cops who make $150,000 a year (with OT). Away from the coastal cities, cops make half that, ergo with smaller pensions.

    For whatever reason, Camden NJ or Modesto CA do not pay their safety workers as much as do more prosperous cities nearby. Who gets to decide how much is too much?

    Let us separate pension reform from the wages any particular city decides is proper to meet it’s recruitment and retention needs. Even the cops who make half as much, with half the pensions, need true reform to make their pensions “sustainable”.

    Reply

    • Posted by PS Drone on November 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      SD – active officer (not FF) compensation should reflect the combat zone conditions that they work in. I would imagine that it does in most cases and I am fine with that. My problem is with PENSIONS. They get them about 10 years too soon and at probably double the $ that they should get.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on November 3, 2018 at 8:03 pm

        Yes they DO (“get them about 10 years too soon and at probably double the $ that they should get.”), and EACH doubles the “value” of a Police pension ………. and those Two x Two make the overall value 4x greater than the retirement security typically grant the COMPARABLE few Private Sector Taxpayers lucky enough to still be accruing credits under a (non-frozen) Final Average Salary DB Pension Plan.

        And that 4x multiple is assuredly HIGHER if compared to the ONLY retirement security offered MOST Private Sector workers today ………… 3% to 4% of pay into a 401K Defined Contribution Plan.

        Public Sector workers deserve NO MORE in total compensation (wages + pension + benefits) than what they would get if working in the Private Sector in a job that requires comparable experience, education, skills, and knowledge (even if in a different field of work).

        Reply

    • Average safety pensions in CA range from $49,000/yr. (Fresno) to $90,000 (San Jose, 2012.)

      Not reflecting combat zone conditions, but more like local Cost Of Living and ability of the jurisdiction to pay.

      In Fresno, the county is apparently able to attract workers with lower wages (and pensions) than San Jose can.
      Same as Camden.

      Yes, safety workers retire earlier than most non-safety. It’s ubiquitous, not just in the U.S., but in most OECD countries. And It costs more than non-safety retirements. I can’t right now find the commission study, but like safety, the military wants employees to retire earlier to keep the average age lower and more robust, while at the same time allowing for promotion for those who are capable. How does one induce employees to retire earlier, without causing morale problems or impairing recruitment and retention?

      Trick question… it’s money, and apparently most jurisdictions are willing to pay.

      Willing… maybe not happy.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Tough Love…

    “the now ludicrously level of compensations… for Police”

    ” (and with few exceptions, all other Public Sector workers) ”

    Reply

  5. Posted by geo8rge on November 3, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    DoE loan program by techology:
    https://www.energy.gov/lpo/portfolio/portfolio-projects-technology

    Most of the loan program had a similar theme, the successes of the loan program are mostly due to Fed Gov mandating that consumers buy the products in the loan program. Fed gov requires 10% ethanol in gas, and loaned money to businesses to produce ethanol. Fed gov requires very difficult to meet fuel efficiency standards and loans money to develop high compression turbocharged engines, EcoBoost, to meet the standard. I think private lenders would be skeptical about loaning money long term to a project that only satisfies a possibly short term whim of the Federal Government. The Solyndra failure in this context was because Fed Gov was unable to mandate minimum solar use the way minimum ethanol use was mandated. Fed Gov may have been motivated to be especially punitive toward VW Diesel technology to support the EcoBoost program.

    A second theme in the loan program is geographic diversification so as to maximize congressional support. There is a loan program for each region so you have Electric cars(elite coasts), Solar Power (elite coasts), ethanol (rural ag areas), EcoBoost engines (upper midwest) and Fracking (Texas, OK, Penn. ect).

    Cato rebuttal of the loan program.
    https://www.cato.org/publications/testimony/department-energy-loan-programs

    Eric Peters has an interesting perspective on autos and regulation:
    EcoBoost engines were part of the loan program https://www.energy.gov/lpo/atvm :
    https://www.ericpetersautos.com/?s=ecoboost

    Fed gov hates diesel even though it is both fuel efficient and cheap.
    https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2018/11/01/free-at-last-and-headed-to-a-vw-dealer-near-you/

    Reply

  6. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    TL @ November 3, 10:31am

    “(2) I am not “obsessed with anyone on this or any other Blog. ”

    Clearly a lot of people think El guapo’s wages and/or pension are excessive.

    If the NJ.com is correct about median pay of about $85k/year (and commensurately lower pensions) in Camden and other counties, do the other commenters consider them excessive also?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 6, 2018 at 1:47 am

      Not sure how much lower the cost of living is in the (better-than-Camden where Officers would likely live) communities, but if not TOO MUCH lower that in Norther NJ, I guess a full-scale Officer should make more. How much ??? Are Officer “A”s assignments much more risky (on a REGULAR basis) than Officer “B”? Can get quite complicated to determine the incremental pay commensurate with the incremental risk ……. varying by Officer (e.g. the Officer riding the desk IN CAMDEN shouldn’t get ANY increase in wages).

      However, after increasing WAGES to reflect any REAL incremental risk, his/her pension and benefits should STILL be NO GREATER in “value upon retirement” THAN what a similarly situated Private Sector worker typically would get if retiring with the SAME wages, years of service, and age at retirement.

      The NET result of all those considerations is that OFFICERS in high-crime communities deserve a somewhat smaller net REDUCTION than the VERY MATERIAL (via VERY material pension & benefit reductions) that Taxpayers rightfully DESERVE from those who work in “Safer” communities like El gaupo.

      Reply

      • Posted by El Gaupo on November 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm

        The safer communities can afford to pay for quality people like myself. Enough of our tax money goes to the cities TL. Good cops transfer out of the city. You’re conversing with one it never goes the other way around. Schools are better in the suburbs. That’s the way it works. Better thyself and you can afford to buy in a better neighborhood. Doesn’t matter what you say—-slightly incremental increases and other nonsense from that thread. Suburbs pay enough to the cities thank you very much. I’d like my tax dollars to go to my own force instead of one in Passaic.

        Reply

  7. ” Can get quite complicated to determine the incremental pay commensurate with the incremental risk ……. ”

    You can say that again. More like impossible. The average Joe in New Jersey makes about $57,000 a year. I can see El guapo being a lightning rod for taxpayer ire. But is the average Joe really upset when he learns that most police earn a lot less? I’m sure there are smaller, cheaper, safer neighborhoods in NJ. What is the average pay and pension for all of NJ?

    Bergen County is an outlier. .. extreme. In CA, it’s SanJose, LA, and other large coastal cities that make the big bucks. Inland and mountain cities earn less… Less taxpayer envy. But who has the wisdom or the right to tell Bergen County, or San Jose, they shouldn’t pay more? They pay what they need to get the workers they want.

    What about it, MJ, whether in a quiet small town, or a shithole ghetto, if an officer’s final average salary is closer to $90,000 and pension closer to $55,000, would you consider that excessive?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 6, 2018 at 4:09 am

      You made one hell of a leap when you stated …………… “… that most police earn a lot less”………. referring to El gaupo.

      Most of NJ is FAR more like where he works (in VERY low-crime areas), with only a SMALL handful of areas that have significant (violent-type) crime that entails significant risk (like Camden).

      And If you want to FAIRLY compare to El gaupo’s wage, then include ONLY those 2 years from retirement (likely with 23+ years of service), like El gaupo.

      Adjust for BOTH of those, and a large share of your wage differential likely disappears.

      “Moderation” (SD/EARTH) is tryng to MISLEAD us again.
      ————————————

      SD, you’re just not familiar with NJ. When including ALL of BERGEN County, it’s not much different income-wise than 10 of the other 21 Counties in NJ, all of whom have a few VERY wealthy TOWNS. E.g. the “horse country” near Trump’s Bedminster NJ golf club. A a COUNTY, it NOT really that much of an outlier.

      Reply

    • Posted by MJ on November 6, 2018 at 7:24 am

      SD,

      I live in in a wealthier (I guess ) seaside community and our police and FF make well over the 90,000K as do the teachers. Most of these occupations are tenured staff so they are paid quite well. and way more than 90K.….don’t know about new hires and what they start at (this has been a point of contention during the years (trying to consolidate or share services) but fear always wins out in that the year rounders who skew older are afraid that no one will come when they call….IDK

      No I do not think that 90K is a lot if it is the median salary of an entire police force as I’ve frequently stated I think that police and fire need to be paid living wages if we want them to live and work in our communities

      Little if any crime here, I feel perfectly safe walking my dogs at 11:00pm at night, few street lights, there are transients and low income areas whatever that means but for the most part I feel safe although this year I have started to lock my doors due to odd incidents that residents report on local websites including thefts out of unlocked garages, bikes left outside, tools and equipment being stolen……..

      IMO no reason for police to retire at 53 or 55 as the job is just a job and for the most part not dangerous or life threatening at all
      …as far as FF I can’t remember the last time we had a fire here but one never knows when there will be one

      It’s all a big sham, who’s more important than who, but I will say that the cops are very nice in my town so I guess that should count for an extra few bucks:)

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on November 6, 2018 at 1:55 pm

        Quoting ………………

        “IMO no reason for police to retire at 53 or 55 as the job is just a job and for the most part not dangerous or life threatening at all
        …as far as FF I can’t remember the last time we had a fire here but one never knows when there will be one ……….

        ————————————–

        Well Stated. If Police/Fire want to retire in the 50s, fine, but JUST LIKE SS does, permanently reduce the annual payout by an actuarial % that reflects the TRUE VALUE of collecting at an earlier age than is commonplace in the Private Sector (65, or SOMETIMES 62 with 30 years of service), SS uses 6% PER-year-of-age that you begin to collect before your NRA(now usually 66).

        Private Sector Plans do this ……. usually using 5% (sometimes 4%) ………. what makes Police/Fire so “special” that THEY should be “excused” from a reduction that would eliminate a very-unfair-to-Taxpayers DOUBLING of the value (and hence COST) of their pensions ?

        Reply

        • Posted by El Gaupo on November 6, 2018 at 3:38 pm

          I can do one better TL. How about if you want to retire fine, but you can not collect one dime until 57 (resist the temptation to insult me please). Early retirement is a factor in police work all over the world. I’m sure MJ wouldn’t want a 60 year old and his 58 yr old partner who never advanced chasing the guy who stole the leaf blower from his yard. It is a young mans game. Experience is so important. No question!!! But the guys actually in the trenches should be 20s and 30s. Maybe early 40s. By then you should be supervising. No to mention the new officers make less. A lot less. And usually don’t qualify for health care anymore into retirement(which May make them stay a lot longer) or Longevity pay. In my town the disparity will be about $35,000 or so in 20 years between the last hire to have longevity and the first one to not. Btw that will also reduce pension of the newer(although tier 3 guys are capped as to how high their pension can be— first $128,000 of salary in 2018). Look for that to disappear as S5 moves forward and tier 3 guys make up the active board members. Beleive it or not a guy in the next town is over that limit, and they still take 10% of his pay out of his whole salary including the amount over the limit. Smart to take it out. The limit is tied to SS contribution limit. They (the feds) will at some point drastically increase that amount making all this extra salary pensionable for these guys as the law is written now (S5 will protect current benifits). At least the contributions would be already there.

          Reply

          • Posted by MJ on November 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

            El gaupo…if somebody steals my leaf blower they can have it, I can afford another one 🙂 🙂 I don’t need the 60 year old cop to chase them but isn’t that why they have the K-9s????

            Age 57 or 58 sounds maybe okay for retirement but IDK maybe retire but reductions on the pension if its before early SS age of 62

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm

            Quoting …………….

            “Age 57 or 58 sounds maybe okay for retirement but IDK maybe retire but reductions on the pension if its before early SS age of 62”

            Some of the non-safety worker pensions include provisions for % reductions for early retirement but, being another SCAM perpetrated upon on Taxpayers, the reduction is often about 1% per-year-of-age when the ACTUARIAL Equivalent is about 5% or 6% (SS using 6%).

            IF (and that’s a big if) Taxpayers would agree that Police Officers should be allowed to collect an UNreduced pension at age 62 (the EARLIEST age at which one can collect REDUCED retirement benefits under SS), the per-yer-of-age % reduction for EACH year-of-age below 62 should be the SAME as SS …………. 6%.

            Taxpayers are TIRED of always be treated as the “sucker” in the room.

        • MJ @ 7:24am

          “IMO no reason for police to retire at 53 or 55 as the job is just a job and for the most part not dangerous or life threatening at all”

          I suppose I will never convince you otherwise.

          It is a valid question, especially considering how much the earlier retirements cost.

          TL says I am trying to “JUSTIFY the unjustifiable ……….”

          Perhaps…

          I say TL uses way too many caps locks and personal insults. These are both just opinions.*

          I say I am curious. There have been dozens of debates on web sites about early retirement. It is very clear that the reasoning that safety workers die younger is shown to be false. And police and fire are not even in the top ten of dangerous jobs. (In 2016, CDC found that police, firefighters, and correction workers have the sixth highest suicide rate (31 per 100,000) So, yes, it is stressful, but that’s not really very compelling, either.

          So why, I wondered?

          “Like U.S. police departments, U.S. fire departments are usually structured in a paramilitary manner. Firefighters are sworn, uniformed members of their departments. …”
          Wikipedia

          Like the military, police and fire also have earlier retirements, not just in every state, but in most OECD countries. Why? Best answer I can find, and it appears logical to me…
          ———————————————————————–
          The non-disability military retirement system has evolved since the late 1800s to meet four main
          goals.
           To keep the military forces of the United States young and vigorous and ensure
          promotion opportunities for younger members.
           To enable the armed forces to remain competitive with private-sector employers
          and the federal Civil Service.
           To provide a reserve pool of experienced military manpower that can be called
          upon in time of war or national emergency to augment active forces.
           To provide economic security for former members of the armed forces during
          their old age.

          Congressional Research Service
          Military Retirement:
          Background and Recent Developments
          Kristy N. Kamarck
          ————————————————————————-
          “To keep the military forces of the United States young and vigorous and ensure
          promotion opportunities for younger members.”, to me means, not to just keep 60 year olds from trying to apprehend younger criminals, but to keep more 40 and 50 year olds off the streets, also, by providing room for advancement.

          May be I’m all wet. May be it’s just tradition. May be it’s the result of police intimidation and that “cabal” thing. May be.

          But, police departments do want an average younger force. They can accomplish that by mandating early retirement and/or encouraging earlier retirement by use of the almighty dollar. As ubiquitous as early retirement is, one would think there would be more articles or studies on the subject. Maybe none have been needed because it is axiomatic.

          In any case, I doubt there will be any significant changes in our lifetime, unless there is extremely convincing data showing it is not cost effective. Good luck with that.

          ” the overall value 4x greater than the retirement security typically grant the COMPARABLE few Private Sector Taxpayers lucky enough to still be accruing credits under a (non-frozen) Final Average Salary DB Pension Plan.” is interesting, perhaps, but not convincing of anything meaningful.

          *Opinions are like………………… (Fill in the blank.)

          Reply

    • Posted by MJ on November 6, 2018 at 7:26 am

      SD in addressing the shit hole qhetto police salary IMO if 90K is the median then too low for what police have to deal with on an everyday basis which can be traumatic as well as life threatening

      Reply

      • “… if 90K is the median then too low for what police have to deal with on an everyday basis…”
        When you add in their benefits it is more than DOUBLE their base salary, if you add in overtime it can be quadruple base salary. The $90K number is meaningless without adding n the fringes, and that $90K number alone is triple the median per capita income for the state of CA, which is certainly higher than NJ.

        Reply

  8. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 6, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    TL…

    “You made one hell of a leap when you stated …………… “… that most police earn a lot less”………. referring to El gaupo.”

    “Moderation” (SD/EARTH) is tryng to MISLEAD us again.”
    ——————————–
    Nonsense..
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey patrol officers are the second-highest paid in the country, behind only California.

    “the median salary for more than 19,000 municipal police officers was $105,106 as of the end of 2016.” So, yes, most cops, even in NJ, make a lot less than El gaupo.

    “The data also shows that the towns with the highest median salaries were wealthier suburban towns with very little crime and higher costs of living, and were mostly in Bergen County.”

    Yet Camden and others have much lower pay… And well known problems recruiting and retaining LEOs. If wealthier communities are able …and willing… to solve their recruitment problem by paying more, who is to say they shouldn’t?

    It’s the American way.

    What is the average pension for recent, full career police retirees in all of New Jersey? A lot less than El gaupo is expecting. He is an outlier. Above average. Check through the stats and you will find a group of outliers on the other end… Recent full career retirees with pensions perhaps half as much as those in Bergen County. It’s the way of the world. We can’t all be average.

    I think you are chasing a red herring trying to determine “the incremental pay commensurate with the incremental risk ……. “. Especially in large cities, there are certainly some districts which are much more dangerous than others, yet as far as I’ve heard, the pay is all the same. The best an officer can do is try to get enough seniority to transfer to a quieter district.

    Or put in an application for Bergen County.

    We can’t all be average.

    Reply

    • Posted by El Gaupo on November 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Absolutely right. Way to much of her income tax goes to areas outside of her town. In should not be any worse. My town funds 93% of school taxes thru property tax. The city of Passaic is the reverse. 7% they property tax and 93% thru state aid. (TL, MJ and my state income tax deductions). No need to make it worse by subsidizing it even further at our expense. The schools in my town are very good. I am paying for that and for me right now, it is worth it. In 3.5 yrs my freshman. Will graduate and I may be whistling a different tune. I pay $14g a year in property tax and that may be hard to swallow after I pull the pin with the Pd.

      Reply

      • Posted by Stanley on November 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

        You will NOT be paying $14G per year in real estate taxes when you retire. Probably be more like $30K per year and maybe even $45K. The robber baron police officers will be eating your lunch, don’t think they won’t. Unless of course the whole mess hasn’t completely tipped over by then, which is well within the rage of possibilities.

        Reply

        • Posted by El Gaupo on November 7, 2018 at 10:11 pm

          Haha. You’re delusional if you think I’ll be paying that much in 1.5-6.5 years. They would have to double or triple. The “robber baron” police officers will be enjoying there pensions. The new officers will in no way enjoy the standard of living i do. And home values in my county have remained strong. (Ask TL, she lives in jersey too. There is a reason she stays, great schools(if she has kids who knows, she kinda cold like ice, lol) and of course higher wages. If she decides to sell her home, she can enjoy a higher standard of living and rest easy knowing her kids were well educated. Never said the taxes weren’t high. Always said worth it if you have kids. Makes sense to consider moving when you do indeed retire. Very few states can match NJ when it comes to education and better salaries. Per capita income is very high, so is the cost of living. Hence why I make $150,000 plus OT while my counterpart in bumblefuck no where makes $45,000

          Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 6, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      I’m going to focus on one paragraph because it shows how misleading you can be ……

      Quoting ……………….

      “What is the average pension for recent, full career police retirees in all of New Jersey? A lot less than El gaupo is expecting. He is an outlier. Above average. Check through the stats and you will find a group of outliers on the other end… Recent full career retirees with pensions perhaps half as much as those in Bergen County. ”

      That a paragraph on NJ, and you very clearly stated ……………. “Recent full career retirees with pensions perhaps half as much as those in Bergen County.”
      ——————–

      Yes, you did included the word “perhaps”, but I’m not willing to let that be your escape.

      El gaupo’s pension will be about AVERAGE for recent retirees from the “Bergen COUNTY Police Force ….. a COUNTY-wide Police force”, indeed (and as I stated in another comment) a higher-paid police force that most (if not all) of the surrounding TOWN Police Forces, but DOUBLE the average for recent full-career retirees at the lower end ???? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

      DEMONSTRATE with actual data (that we can confirm) that that is a true statement.

      I don’t believe it, and I don’t believe you.

      Reply

      • Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 6, 2018 at 11:29 pm

         “perhaps”

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 7, 2018 at 2:28 am

          Ok …………then readers should assume you just made that up (aka LIED).

          Reply

          • Brother Love,
            I said I don’t care, but in your heart of hearts, you know I do. (Moderation, you know. In all things.)

            My “perhaps” comment of Nov. 6 refers back to my post on Nov. 5 @ 7:08pm

            “… Did El guapo say his wages were around $150,000? So pension at 65 percent would be roughly $97,500?”

            “Median police pay in Camden county, though, is roughly $85,000, (for officers with median service of 18 years) which would give pension of $55,000.”

            “Would we still call that excessive?”
            —————————————————————————
            Which was “inspired” by a nj1015.com article

            “A cop who starts at a $55,000 salary and retires 25 years later being paid almost $88,500 would contribute about $176,200 into the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. His annual pension would be $43,370 – meaning it would take just over four years to recoup the payments into the system.”

            http://nj1015.com/nj-public-retirees-can-recoup-career-of-pension-contributions-in-4-years/

            Mea culpa. The numbers are not exact, they never are. And nj1015 gave the guy a 50% pension, I gave him 65%.
            —————————————————————————-
            Now, if you would like to claim that no “full career” cop has wages as low as $88,000. Be my guest.
            Butt…

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 7, 2018 at 8:33 pm

            Quoting Stephen Douglas ……………

            ““… Did El guapo say his wages were around $150,000? So pension at 65 percent would be roughly $97,500?”

            “Median police pay in Camden county, though, is roughly $85,000, (for officers with median service of 18 years) which would give pension of $55,000.””

            ——————————————
            El gaupo has 23 years of service, so while he can retire NOW, few do so before 25 years.

            Your Camden County figures are associated with 18 Years of service……. so ANY pension accrued so far is irrelevant, because those with 18 years cannot retire yet. ROUTINE late-career promotions, Scale increments, Longevity pay, etc, will ALL increase the Camden figures (WAY beyond inflationary raises) when those now included that average $85K wage reach 23 years (EQUIVALEMT to El Gaupo) ……… and it would be THOSE (MUCH HIGHER) UNKNOWN wages that should be compared to those of NJ’s Bedroom Community Police (NOT just what El gaupo makes).

            The comparison you put forth is beyond misleading, iit’s plain STUPID …….. the readers on this Blog cannot so easily be mislead and hoodwinked.

            You’re either a charlatan, an idiot, or have no common sense and thinking ability.

      • Earth to Douglas:

        Damn, Douglas. This is serious!

        “Perhaps”, he’s not willing to let that be your escape.

        Reply

        • “… if 90K is the median then too low for what police have to deal with on an everyday basis…”
          When you add in their benefits it is more than DOUBLE their base salary, if you add in overtime it can be quadruple base salary. The $90K number is meaningless without adding n the fringes, and that $90K number alone is triple the median per capita income for the state of CA, which is certainly higher than NJ.

          Reply

        • Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 8, 2018 at 2:36 pm

          RIGHT ON, DOG!!!

          Except… California per capita personal income in 2017 was over $58,000. New Jersey per capita income was higher than California… And, there’s no such thing as “median” per capita income.

          https://www.statista.com/statistics/303555/us-per-capita-personal-income/

           

          Reply

  9. You got me, Brother Love. Fair is fair.

    I don’t believe your so-called demonstrations either.

    I don’t believe them, and I don’t believe you.

    No one has come forward to confirm your conclusions.

    You say, since no one has come forward to deny them, either, they must be valid.

    I say…
    “Check through the stats and you will find a group of outliers on the other end… Recent full career retirees with pensions perhaps half as much as those in Bergen County.”

    Unless and until someone comes through with data to show it is not true, we can assume it is.

    We can wait for answers on both. I have plenty of time.

    In the meantime, absence of proof is not proof of absence.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 7, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Only slightly off topic…

    “To be, or not to be”

    Fired… Or Dead…

    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/09/17/when-trying-to-help-gets-you-fired?ref=collections

    Seriously. You couldn’t pay me enough for this crap.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 7, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    With all due respect, you sound like Seesaw Junior in drag.*
    Not the least bit constructive. Moderation is trying to help you out here, believe it or not.

    Early retirement for safety workers is a fait accompli. Has been for decades, almost everywhere. If you want to change that, it will require very persuasive arguments and relevant data… Lots of data. Not irrelevant math and repetitive kvetching.

    Once again, you are your own worst enemy, unless the process of complaining is more important to you than the goal of material reform; in which case, carry on, Brother Love.

    *Or vice versa if Seesaw Junior (AKA “Wildgurl”) is actually a gurl.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      Stephen Douglas,

      Because it’s likely your comment above coming 20 minutes later than my above comment, I guessing it was that comment from me that resulted in your above comment. So to make sure readers have the full picture, I’m repeating my earlier comment below.

      ***************************************************************************

      Quoting Stephen Douglas ……………

      ““… Did El guapo say his wages were around $150,000? So pension at 65 percent would be roughly $97,500?”

      “Median police pay in Camden county, though, is roughly $85,000, (for officers with median service of 18 years) which would give pension of $55,000.””
      ——————————————
      El gaupo has 23 years of service, so while he can retire NOW, few do so before 25 years.

      Your Camden County figures are associated with 18 Years of service……. so ANY pension accrued so far is irrelevant, because those with 18 years cannot retire yet. ROUTINE late-career promotions, Scale increments, Longevity pay, etc, will ALL increase the Camden figures (WAY beyond inflationary raises) when those now included that average $85K wage reach 23 years (EQUIVALENT to El gaupo) ……… and it would be THOSE (MUCH HIGHER) UNKNOWN wages that should be compared to those of NJ’s Bedroom Community Police (NOT just what El gaupo makes).

      The comparison you put forth is beyond misleading, iit’s plain STUPID …….. the readers on this Blog cannot so easily be mislead and hoodwinked.

      You’re either a charlatan, an idiot, or have no common sense and thinking ability.

      Reply

      • Posted by El Gaupo on November 7, 2018 at 10:19 pm

        TL. The Bergen county police (who had it in their contract that they would be among the highest paid in Bergen) were disbanded about 5 years ago when Donavan lost the executive job. The county force was absorbed into the Sheriff dept led by the recently resigned Saudino (who was Donavan’s foil). No love lost there.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 7, 2018 at 10:30 pm

          Yes, I know that ………….. but their wages were NOT reduced to those of the lower paid “Sheriffs Officers”. And their pensions are based on those HIGHER wages.

          Forgot to mention that ?

          Reply

      • The comparison you put forth is beyond misleading, iit’s plain STUPID …….. the readers on this Blog cannot so easily be mislead and hoodwinked.

        You’re either a charlatan, an idiot, or have no common sense and thinking ability.
        Typical of public employees IMO, with their “entitlement mentality”.

        Reply

  12. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 7, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Brother Love…

    “ROUTINE late-career promotions, Scale increments, Longevity pay, etc, will ALL increase the Camden figures (WAY beyond inflationary raises) when those now included that average $85K wage reach 23 years (EQUIVALENT to El gaupo) ……… and it would be THOSE (MUCH HIGHER) UNKNOWN wages that should be compared to those of NJ’s Bedroom Community Police…”

    “(MUCH HIGHER) UNKNOWN wages”

    Seriously?

    Remember…

    Come back when you have “actual data (that we can confirm)” not just in Camden, but “Camden and others have much lower pay…”

    The article cited above refers to “A cop who starts at a $55,000 salary and retires 25 years later being paid almost $88,500”

    25 years… $88,500 (almost)… $43,370 pension (“probably half”) say it ain’t so (with links)
    ——————————————————
    On another subject..

    “You’re either a charlatan, an idiot, or have no common sense and thinking ability.”

    Do you kiss yo mama with that mouth, Brother?

    I have a pretty thick skin, and I consider the source, but…

    As Moderation Douglas says, it’s counterproductive.* As another wise man said…

    “TL goes on the attack, shout down and insults when someone doesn’t agree or has a different viewpoint…..sounds just like our President whom she obviously doesn’t like either……birds of a feather”

    * And boorish.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 8, 2018 at 12:22 am

    por ejemplo

    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.
    —————————————-
    A disagreement. A different viewpoint. Did anyone attack, shout down or insult you?

    Nyet. Just the facts.

    And the helpful suggestion…

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

    “…..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.”

    See… still just trying to help. It’s not all that difficult to be civil.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: