American Oligarchy (1) – Pension Stuff

A book on the permanent political class naming names has some pension related excerpts.

Upon retirement from Congress, members who have served at least twenty years receive an average of $59,000 annually in pension benefits. All federal workers including representatives have access to the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k) type investment with fees of 0.03 percent, far lower than the fees paid to the average 401(k). (page 16)

It was Obama’s bad luck (or his lack of engagement) that allowed Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee and a nominal Democrat in bed with business interests, to construct his signature health care reform. Critics later said that Obama took the political capital from his inspirational victory in 2008 and handed it over to Max Baucus.* (page 75)

[John D.] Arnold has extended his reach into such institutions as the Public Broadcast System, giving $3.5 million to New York’s WNET to do a one-sided series on pensions (the station gave back the money after criticism) and an “education grant” to Brookings (probably $500,000) that eventually produced a report on the “unsustainability” of public pensions. (page 89)

In his 2009 campaign [Chris] Christie vowed to protect public employees’ “sacred” pensions. Four months after taking office he discussed pensions at the conservative Manhattan Institute, run by one of his money men, hedge fund manager Paul Singer: “Our benefits are too rich,” he said, “and out employees aren’t contributing enough either.” During that campaign, too, he attached Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine for unethically investing retiree money on Wall Street. In office, Christie awarded pension management contracts to his own Wall Street friends; in 2011 Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Associates, received a contract to manage $200 million in state public pension funds. Then in 2014 Christie, facing a fiscal crisis, put $696 million into the pension fund instead of $1.58 billion, and the next year $681 million instead of $2.25 billion. Meanwhile, he increased taxes on the working poor and vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.50. No wonder when Christie delivered a speech at a secret meeting held by the Koch brothers, David Koch, whom no one would mistake for a populist, introduced him as “my kind of guy.” (page 122)

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* Before watering down Obamacare Max Baucus tasked one of the three pension actuaries working in Montana (Judy Miller) to come up with rules that made Defined Benefit plans more attractive for one-participant plans and easier to administer.

25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by A on May 16, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    “No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women who serve in the U.S. military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their base pay. While politicians hold their political positions in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full pay retirement after serving 1 term.โ€ states the post, which has been shared more than 73,000 times on Facebook alone.

    Reply

    • โ€œNo one has been able to explain to me why Dougieee’s brain never fully developed, giving him the brain power of a circus chimpโ€๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on May 16, 2021 at 8:17 pm

      I’m guessing that you realize the Congressmen/women do NOT get a pension anywhere near that ….. and via a LESS-generous pension formula than most State & Local Public Sector workers (and WAY WAY less than Police).

      And wrt 50% military pensions collectable after 20 years at ANY age?

      “ONLY” ????

      Being able to collect such a pension often starting in your early 40s is VERY VERY generous.

      Reply

      • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 16, 2021 at 11:58 pm

        And wrt 50% military pensions collectable after 20 years at ANY age?

        โ€œONLYโ€ ????

        Being able to collect such a pension often starting in your early 40s is VERY VERY generous.
        It was/is VERY COMMON for men to join the military at age 18-19 and then retire at age 38-39 with a 50% pension, and then go to work for a law enforcement agency for 10-12 years and “retire” A 2ND time and get a 30%-40%pension from the muni/county, which is much bigger because unlike the military where lower ranks make peanuts, GED cop is $100K/year base pay.

        Reply

  2. Posted by A on May 16, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Inquiring minds want to know why members of the military (and –uniformed– NYC sanitation workers) can retire after 20 years and receive 50 percent of base pay, for life. No private sector workers can do that(!)

    (“Working as an NYC sanitation worker is considered the fifth most dangerous job in the US. The DSNY (New York City Department of Sanitation) fulfills various duties like waste disposal, street cleaning, snow removal, and enforcement duties.”)

    Reply

    • Posted by geo8rge on May 17, 2021 at 7:42 am

      “NYC sanitation worker is considered the fifth most dangerous job ” Looking at the source for that claim it does not say NYC, it only says Sanitation Workers. It is not clear NYC sanitation workers have more or fewer deaths than average. Do private sector sanitation workers get early retirement?

      A bigger issue is, as far as I can see, every category of government worker gets early retirement. In particular early retirement for teachers seems counter productive, assuming you are trying to create a functioning educational system.

      An internet search gives a fair number of hits, especially traffic accidents. Which is like truckers.

      From business insider:
      5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
      What they do: Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into truck.

      Fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 44.3

      Reply

    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on May 17, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Take it with a grain of salt. I happened upon that anecdote years ago, and found it “interesting” (note; only ‘uniformed’ sanitation workers get early retirement.)

      That was then, this is now. 22 years are now required. “Twenty and out” seemed to be mostly an East Coast thing for some reason. Military is changing also. Since 2018, new hires will get 40 percent with 20 years service instead of 50 percent; plus a 401K type feature. Current service members may opt in, but there seem to be few takers.

      Some said 50 percent at 20 years was too “generous”. Others say reducing pensions limited recruiting and retention, especially in an ‘up’ economy.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Reply

      • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 11:48 am

        Some said 50 percent at 20 years was too โ€œgenerousโ€.
        Not when you KNOW what the Armed Forces base salary is you tin foil ninny. I remember when the Marine families at @Camp Pendleton were on FOODSTAMPS. The SAME with enlisted Navy @Miramar, @Coronado and @32nd Street. And ALL members of the Armed Forces use the exact same pay grade/s, back then when this was national news the Navy E1’s were making like $12K/year (25 years ago?). A 50% pension of a poverty level wage (in a job where you can be killed and are forcibly moved every 24 months) is a little different from a 50% pension of $100K-$200K base salary in LE. Wake up you babbling buffoon.

        Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on May 16, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    John Bury use to be smart. Not now. Someone, I don’t know who, put a tin foil hat on his head. What a shame.

    Reply

    • John Bury use to be smart. Not now. Someone, I donโ€™t know who, put a tin foil hat on his head. What a shame.
      Ouchie- that was so sharp it hurt me… But I think this person has his people mixed up, this comment can only refer to one person, and almost certainly refers to Dougiee, the tin foil hat comment sealed the comparison …..๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on May 16, 2021 at 8:18 pm

      Were you EVER ever …… “smart” ?

      Reply

      • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 12:02 am

        Were you EVER ever โ€ฆโ€ฆ โ€œsmartโ€ ?
        Was Dougiee ever โ€œsmartโ€? Is this a trick question? Poor Dougie was hit one time too many with the stupid bat ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฃ

        Reply

  4. New Comment Policy:

    Not sure of the impact but two changes to comments:
    1) you must be logged in to comment; and
    2) you need to have one pre-approved comment to get future comments approved automatically.

    This was to (a) possibly get more signed up to the blog and (b) get Rex comments up automatically since for some reason all his comments need to be approved.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Stephen Douglas on May 17, 2021 at 3:39 am

    For some reason.

    Reply

  6. Posted by geo8rge on May 17, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Harvey Illinois fire dept pension wants to ‘intercept’ Harvey Ill federal covid rescue money.

    Harvey, Illinoisโ€™ ARP relief dragged into pension fund conflict

    A Harvey, Illinois, pension fund claims itโ€™s entitled to share in the Chicago suburbโ€™s American Rescue Plan funds and wants to block the distribution of aid until a judge decides.

    https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/harvey-illinois-arp-relief-dragged-into-pension-fund-conflict

    Harvey is 75% Black and has a declining population. 35.1% under the age of 18
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey%2C_Illinois#Demographics

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 11:52 am

      A Harvey, Illinois, pension fund claims itโ€™s entitled to share in the Chicago suburbโ€™s American Rescue Plan funds and wants to block the distribution of aid until a judge decides.
      Chicago and their Muni’s are going to be the first State to implode by pension debt. It is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. I predict within 24 months of the start of the next recession/downturn.

      Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      If you think Harvey is in trouble, wait until CA hits a downturn:

      “Our auditors at OpentheBooks.com found truck drivers in San Francisco making $159,000 per year; lifeguards in LA County costing taxpayers $365,000; nurses at UCSF making up to $501,000; the UCLA athletic director earning $1.8 million; and 1,420 city employees out-earning all 50 state governors ($202,000).”
      Wow!
      Oh wait, where is Stooge Dougieeee to tell us that the public and private sector make the same??? Waiting for Monkey Boi to show us the private sector $160K/year truck driver, or the nurses making half a million….๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒ

      Reply

  7. Posted by Stephen Douglas on May 17, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    Tough Love Says:
    May 5, 2010 at 12:23 am
    Not one more taxpayer dime should be used to fund a Public Sector pension until those pensions for CURRENT, as well as NEW employees, are reduced to a level no greater than than of the AVERAGE PRIVATE SECTOR taxpayer.
    ………….

    OCO Says:
    May 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm
    It looks like the myth that state and local government workers here in California are overcompensated is just that โ€” a myth.
    ===========

    No, it looks like a public union hack agency just got their lunch eaten by the truth.

    Please show me where a GED can get a $200K+ comped job in the real world Dr. Mark Shapiro-like cop and ff.

    Still waiting.

    Didnโ€™t think so.

    https://calpensions.com/2010/05/04/government-pay-lower-than-private-sector/

    We know Tough Love is… an oxymoron. But who, or what, is OCO?

    “…for some reason all his comments need to be approved.”

    Note to OCO: The plural of anecdote is not data.

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      https://calpensions.com/2010/05/04/government-pay-lower-than-private-sector/

      We know Tough Love isโ€ฆ an oxymoron. But who, or what, is OCO?
      OCO= Orange County Observer. LOL!!!!!!
      .
      On man, those posts go back more than 11 years ago~!!! Orange County Observer (OCO) was my online partner in crime back then, we would both tag team Dougieeee’s alias “Teddy Steals”, and poor Dougie would get clowned so bad by me and OCO back then that he would whimper home with his puny tail tucked between his skinny little legs and cry to Mommy … Those are MY comments under OCO though, which was the acronym for Orange County Observer. I don’t know why I posted under his name, but all of those are mine, BUT THOSE WERE THE DAYS ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’– I miss OCO. And the sad thing is everything me and Orange County Observer posted then, 15+ years ago, is still true today. All the bullshit whoopers the public unions used then is still in play today, even though I have been shooting their BS down for the last 20 years now. I loved it when I would body slam Dougie and his Pals to the curb with the fact that then LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had his entire fucking family on the public welfare train, all working at LAPD. FIVE family members! And that is not the end of it because it is SIX if you include good old Charlie HIMSELF because he was a gifted nepotism hire thanks to his Pops, a Captain at LAPD back in the 50’s … Not uncommon for no education, high paying FF and Cop jobs in public employment to have nepotism so bad that several generations have been living off the public welfare train. San Francisco FD was so bad it took a class action lawsuit in the 70’s to put an end to it.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Gina WOOD on May 17, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Is Tough Love an oxymoron?

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 17, 2021 at 10:04 pm

      Is Tough Love an oxymoron?
      ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™€๏ธ

      Reply

  9. Posted by MJ on May 17, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Wow this is enlightening

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 18, 2021 at 7:07 pm

      Hey MJ, is “Gina WOOD” your sock puppet alias here, same avatar ๐Ÿ˜บ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜บ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜บ

      Reply

  10. What’s a sock pocket alias?

    Reply

    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog!๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ on May 19, 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Whatโ€™s a sock pocket alias?
      I only mentioned the sock puppet because MJ and Gina WOOD had the same avatar.

      1) Sock PUPPET (not pocket, my fault!) account = Sock Puppet- A false identity adopted by trolls and other malcontents to support their own postings. “She brought in six friends to back up her story, but five of them turned out to be sock puppets.”

      2) Alias Account= Definition of alias- an assumed or additional name that a person sometimes uses. Alias Account โ‰  Sock Puppet Account … Rex the Wonder Dog is my alias, not my real name, but Rex is NOT a sock puppet. I also have one other online alias account, but like Rex I never use it as a sock puppet.

      Reply

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