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Pounding the pavement for pension reform
Original post made
on Apr 14, 2010
Lenny Ayyangar walks door-to-door in her Sharon Heights neighborhood, collecting signatures for an initiative drive aimed at scaling back pensions for future city of Menlo Park employees. ==I Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac==
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 11:46 AM
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:29 am
I am happy to engage in meaningful dialogue, however I would appreciate you avoid assumptions about me or "my people". For better or worse, you don't know about about my level of education, work experience, etc. The fact that you may not agree with my philosophically does not give you license to insult as assume. And no, I do not know or work with any of the people involved with the petition effort, don't know any of their grudges or past failings, but do think this issue needs lots of sunlight. Your post directed to me did not provide any.
For the record, I have done plenty of hiring and have worked in a wide variety of environments. I am not running any campaign, just stating my opinion.
So let's see, you tout your programs being cut, yet accuse me of mixing things together based on idealogy. Comingling budget management with pension issues. Please explain to me exactly how it works. Is employee compensation not part of the budget? If employee costs increase does that have no impact on what other moenis there are to spend? Are you trying to tell me that municipalities hire people and provides benefits, and yet someone else pays them? At some point, all the numbers need to fit into a budget, correct?
As far as a market and employment, again, I've done plenty of hiring in a variety of circumstances (different employers, different economic environment, etc.) and yes, there is a market, and based on what your budget is, you need to manage within it. If you want to hire a superstar, but the company up the road is paying more, and salary is all the person is concerned about, you can match it or hire someone else. If you are a private comapny, you have to live within your means. The same must be true for municipal governemtn employees. I find it hard to believe that with unemployment over 12% in California, that there are not people to fill jobs without going overboard on benefits. "Truth" would like to call union dominance a market, but in fact is is glorified blackmail. If you want real market conditions, get rid of government unions and let municipalities start over from scratch. Something tells me that "truth" wouldn't like that.
And as I've said in previous posts, the math is not difficult. If you provide much more in pension benefits than is paid in and don't save for it plus guarantee a return independent of market conditions, it will not be sustainable. Not sustainable is not an ideology, it is a recognition that if you are paying people more in retirement than the sum of what they have contributed plus returns on those monies, that over time what is left will not cover salaries for those who are not retired. And guess what, various communities will NOT have the same level of services. San Carlos will have a different level of police service than MP. Nobody is thumbing their noses, more like holding them as we are asked to pay for more, receive less, and be happy about it. If there is any nose thumbing, it would appear to be from government employees who were able to get great deals at public expense and apparently feel the right to demand the public pay an infinite amount, damn the consequences. I've seen this play out in the schools, you can see it play out in New Jersey, there are not infinite budgets and there are huge pension shortfalls. I agree that much of this is juvenile and clearly political, but I disagree about who is guilty of that. I am not a politician, but the attitude that there should be no accountability for tax dollars is government arrogance at its worst.
In the end, it is about markets and thought the tipping point is high, people will vote with their feet. Again, look at New Jersey and people who will live next door in Pennsylvania and commute to NJ to avoid the tax difference.