Sunday, February 02, 2014

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

I called out this birdbrained editorial from the Reno Gazette-Journal regarding the disclosure of individual public employees' pension benefits:

You are such a liar, Kelly. The ONLY reason you have asked for those records is to create jealousy among those who are so unfortunate as to not have a "cushy" pension and distract people from the fact Wall Street has declared open warfare on pensions and Social Security so they can privatize them and make off with the spoils. We saw that happen when private pensions were gutted, thanks to loopholes in ERISA, in favor of scam 401(k)s, which were NEVER intended to be pensions and are NOT pensions. This is all politically-motivated hogwash. Groups like ALEC and Pew-Arnold (with John Arnold having been affiliated with ENRON) are out to destroy pensions among public employees. They are waging 24/7 propaganda, aided and abetted by the media, to claim states can no longer "afford" these "cushy" pensions and it's time to privatize them and give them to the crooks on Wall Street to pilfer. Too many people in the private sector just lap this garbage up because they didn't see this class warfare by the few against the many years ago when 401(k)s were replacing pensions and are whining that because they don't have pensions anymore, why should anybody else? What they should be demanding is a secure retirement income for ALL.

I also have got news for you, Kelly. Every public employee in Nevada does NOT pay into Social Security. States cannot be required to pay into SS because of constitutional prohibitions against the federal government levying a tax on state and local governments, and FICA is a tax (states and local governments can and do opt in, and most do, but they can't be required to). Those relatively few people who have worked some 25 or 30 years in Nevada employment get little or nothing in Social Security, including spousal survivor benefits, thanks to federal "offsets" that steal from these public employees in some silly notion that they are "double dipping." Those of us who worked in public employment in midlife and paid into Social Security for years and years but don't have 30 years (you can tell the offset regulations were instituted in the late 1970s, when careers of 30 years with one company were fairly common) in "substantial employment" in the system get the shaft regardless of how little money we get in PERS. Yours truly gets a mere 300 a month pension, but when I am forced to collect early Social Security in three years thanks to finding it next to impossible to find full-time work, I will have at least 50 or 60 a month of SS STOLEN from me because I have just a few years of public employment in Nevada. I will likely have less than 1k a month TOTAL, far, far less than what many people get retiring from private sector work and retire just on Social Security and with no spouse to cushion the blow. Many people are shafted even worse because of these offsets.

You want the retirement records of individuals to create division and jealousy from private sector employees against public sector employees. Be honest for once. This is politically motivated.

On a related front, let's also tell the truth about public employees--they do not work for the "taxpayers," since they, too, are taxpayers. Public employees work for the agencies that employ them. Anybody who employs such nonsense about how public employees are "working for the taxpayers" is just spewing ALEC talking points.

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