The three-blade razor— designed for people who’ll believe anything (SNL commercial parody, 1975)
In a desperate attempt to have the findings of his commission stay on the radar Thomas J. Healey had an op-ed in the Star-Ledger last week that included this bar graph:
with this explanation:
The commission does not propose reducing current funding levels, but spending the money more wisely than it has been spent to date providing the costliest public employee health benefits in the nation. Employees and retirees will get a bigger “bang for the buck” by using funds currently wasted by excesses in the health benefits system to instead bolster retirement funding…..The proposed reforms would save the retirement system by controlling health benefit costs – moving from unaffordable “platinum” plans to high-quality “gold” level plans that are more fairly in line with the private sector – without affecting quality of care. It is a win-win for everyone.
In a rebuttal letter to the editor this week Brian Wahler, mayor of Piscataway and president of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. and Donald Webster Jr, president of the New Jersey School Boards Association, made the point:
We are concerned that the proposed savings resulting from the commission’s health-care proposals are unlikely to offset the shift of the unfunded liabilities to the local level. ….We have not seen the data behind the commission’s assertion that reforms to the health benefits would “more than offset” this transfer of liability.
Nobody will ever see that data because it does not exist.
The Manhattan Institute released a report today on reforms in public pensions since the Great Recession which, according to njspotlight, cited New Jersey as an example where there has been meaningful pension reform. It’s not.
By any reasonable measure the New Jersey retirement system is already bankrupt so it is not the $1.2 billion in restored Cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) that concerns politicians:
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) told The Star-Ledger’s editorial board Thursday that a victory for the retirees and the restoration of COLAs would bankrupt the pension system, but he predicts the state will prevail.
It is what overturning the COLA theft means for future ‘reforms’ which, if not allowed, WOULD move the system to pure pay-go.
Why is Donald Trump packing stadiums while Christie’s people are checking out Denny’s breakfast specials to anticipate the size of his crowds? Maybe it has to do with the Howard Stern effect:
Chris Christie was on Face the Nation this morning guaranteeing a top-ten placing for the next debate – video link – and giving his entitlement reform spiel – no video link on the CBS website since there was nothing new and people either don’t want to hear it or understand that Christie is getting it wrong.
The main fallacy* of New Jersey Senate president Stephen Sweeney’s federal loan proposal for public pensions is believing that a government in need of cash primarily because of a demonstrated penchant for fiscal incompetence will benefit from an open-ended stream of cash.
As it stands now were New Jersey to get an extra $50 billion to filter through their pension system the political infrastructure in place might even raise pension benefits by 10% again as the the plan would be overfunded to their way of thinking.
The two main reasons for the imminent collapse of New Jersey public pensions are the massive benefits promised but unfunded that the state can’t walk away from and the junk that now sits in the pension ‘trust’ made up of all those ‘alternative investments’ acquired for their inflated carrying values. On Monday Moody’s and the Carlyle Group pulled aside the veil a bit more.
Four years ago as part of a reform of public pensions in New Jersey Governor Chris Chritie pledged to make the predetermined contributions into the pension system. That didn’t quite work out.
On Tuesday he made another pledge.