I’d say it’s a case of pure envy. Not knowing the exact statistics, I’d venture to make a guess that only 1 % of public employess have that kind of a pension, most, like my mother who worked for the state for 30 years gets only $40,000 a year. I’d venture to say that is the rule rather than the exception. I am a retired public school teacher who gets only $36,000 year after teaching 25 years, so please, those of you who worked in the private sector and made no plans or saved for your retirement are just envious. I had to contribute 8% of my income towards my pension and more into my healthcare and I do not collect Social Security even though I paid into it for twenty years, so, now tell me what’s fair, here.
Plenty of civil servants do not get health care with their pentions – as a city of Long Beach employee, this is not provided. Retirees pay the full premium of their health care plan, at group rates, thank goodness. I agree that there are some abuses out there (double dipping, for instance), but there is a lot of unfair and mean-spirited misinformation going around aimed at public servants right now, whose salaries are generally lower than private sector jobs with equivalent education and skills. Some correction are needed, but the real cause of government insolvency are regressive tax structures that enable the country’s wealthiest citizens and corporations to siphon off the wealth generated through the efforts of working folks, dragging down their wages and reducing their long term financial security. Clever how the people who really live off the fat of the land manage to pit regular wage earners against each other.
Private sector wages at higher end positions are generally greater. However, for most positions below professional occupations, that is not the case. If you are paying a full premium for health care, then that’s an exception. However, “group rates” usually entail a contribution by the employer. so I suspect your plan is subsidized to some extent. That’s fine as long as too much is not pushed down on the general fund.
Concerning the tax rates, we need to scrap the current system and install something similar to a flat rate with few or no deductions so no one gets away without paying a fair share. Unfortunately, that will not happen in our lifetimes.
I sat on the city’s health insurance committee for over 10 yrs, and know that their retirees premiums are NOT subsidized by the City – however, pooling retirees in the same plan with current employees does bring down the cost of retiree premiums, which is the way insurance is supposed to work.
Regarding private/public salary equivalency, I do understand that those at the bottom public rungs (refuse collectors, clerks, etc) get better compensation than similar tasks pay in private, but these are still full-time people supporting families on $25 -30,000/yr. How hard do we have to race to reach bottom?
And flat tax schemes are the most regressive of all. Please address the enormous and increasing income disparity between the average working Joe or Jill and the richest 5% of americans (earning and holding more than 60% of the wealth of the country – not sure of the latest statistic, but it’s probably higher than that). Tax stuctures already too flat and the 15% capital gain rate are causing this.
You do not understand how flat taxes work. First of all, no one below a poverty level pays. Therefore it does have a built in progressive structure to it. Secondly, with no deductions or loopholes, people at the higher end will tend to pay more. Right now, the top 50% are paying 90% of taxes. The rate will determine how many more people will be paying, but it will be far more than 50%. Filing taxes will become relatively easy and far less costly.
No matter how you cut it, though, you cannot expect tax revenue to increase to a point where we are subsidizing public union employees at the expense of private sector taxpayers.
It’s wonderful if the City of Long Beach has the employees pick up the tab for health, if in fact that is true, but that is not the case elsewhere where workers are paying anywhere from 0-5% of their earnings for healthcare.
As far as earnings as low as $25-30K, you’ll find that unskilled labor in the private sector are earning that as well, too.
Just to be clear, the City of Long Beach does pay the bulk of employees health car premiums (after the employee pays a monthly premium varying between $52 – $277, depending upon plan chosen, and the various copayments for services). They do NOT pay retiree’s health care premiums.
I agree that supporting public employees at a different level than private workers is unfair and unsustainable. I think our society needs to rethink and restructure our national economic picture until it works fairly decently for all of us. And I definitely agree that the tax regs need to be rewritten to make the rules comprehensible and to close many of the myriad loopholes… but I am afraid that the “flat tax” concept is a bit too simplistic….
mahjamama has the attitude that is demonstrated in the movie clip. “i worked for 25 years as a teacher” the taxpayer paid her salary and also her pension and healthcare costs. Her let them eat cake attitude is just their problem. Because you work for a public agency does not mean you are entitled to a golden parachute. Public agencies should contribute 3% into a fund you direct and when you retire you get that an out the door. The vast majority of public employees especially teachers in LAUSD could not get a job in the private sector. They don’t have to produce anything.
I know this is true because my father was a state employee and received such a pension. He also had the good fortune to have retired from the military so he actually had two pensions. He divorced my mother leaving her only social security which is barely sufficient to survive.