Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Governing Funding Ratios

The Tax Foundation picked up on recently released data from The Pew Charitable Trust on funded ratios of state pensions (based on data reported by the states themselves) and came up with a handy chart:

State pension plan, pension plans, pensions by state, pension fund

The Tax Foundation did the same thing a year ago and in most cases the ratios went up, significantly in some states that also happened to get new governors around the time the new numbers were calculated.
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NJEA Wastes Murphy

Why go to the trouble of buying politicians when you don’t know how to use them?

That’s what struck me after reading David Wildstein’s blog this morning:

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We Can’t Do Worse

That’s the Republican slogan for the 2019 legislative elections as enunciated by NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt (picking up on an article warning on a $1.2 pension time bomb*) where he “offered the following solution” (see if you can find it):

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Posturing to Fix the Unfairness

To justify that $928 in annual dues their members pay the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) put Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) to work right before announcing their legislative endorsements. The bill, S-5815, is not yet on the state website but insidernj had some thoughts on timing if not substance.

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President Bernie’s Pension Plans

Item 11 of Bernie Sanders’ 18-point workplace democracy plan would:

Protect the pensions of workers. As President, Bernie will protect and expand pension benefits of employees in both the public and the private sector.  Because of a 2014 change in law instituted in the dead of night and against the strong opposition of Senator Sanders, it is now legal to cut the earned pension benefits of more than 1.5 million workers and retirees in multi-employer pension plans.  As president, Bernie will sign an executive order to impose a moratorium on future pension cuts and would reverse the cuts to retirement benefits that have already been made.  In addition, President Sanders will fight to implement the Keep Our Pension Promises Act [KOPPA] he first introduced in 2015 to prevent the pensions of up to 10 million Americans from being cut.  Instead of asking retirees to take a massive cut in their pension benefits, Bernie will make multi-employer plans solvent by closing egregious loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans in this country to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  If Congress could provide a multi-trillion bailout to Wall Street and foreign banks in 2008, we can and we must protect the pensions that were promised to millions of Americans.

Perhaps in anticipation of a bailout, applications for benefit cuts under MPRA have slowed considerably so that might not be an issue by inauguration day. However, in 2017 when KOPPA was trumpeted by Sanders (with Senator Al Franken me-tooing), I had my doubts.

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Pay to Play

A 2009 book by Elizabeth Brackett subtitled “How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow” that I stumbled upon at the Westfield Library looking for picture books on Chicago that a good part of my family visited over the last week and which turned out to have a lot of parallels to my experiences in both New Jersey and Union County.

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Ciattarelli Against Californication

Jack Ciattarelli will run for governor of New Jersey in 2021 against Phil Murphy (unless he – Murphy, that is – gets that Treasury job in a Booker administration) and last week he explained why:

Though much of Murphy’s constituency would prefer Californication, especially the salaries involved, regardless of the number of the world.

As for his thought on the Path to Progress: