Re: Law and Justice .. mutually exclusive
posted at 3/8/2013 10:08 AM EST
Reuben is part of the hackorama in Massachusetts, which has given Howie Carr more than enough material for a lifetime...
Ninety percent of public employees in the United States enjoy defined-benefit pension plans, meaning they will receive a guaranteed income, and usually health insurance, until death. These benefits are prohibitively expensive, and more so when they are tied to retirement ages that are atypically low. Given rising life expectancies, we could see a raft of public pensioners spending more years collecting retirement benefits than they spent working their government jobs, and in fact this isn’t uncommon already.
Thanks to the strength of teachers’ unions, the average retirement age for a public-school teacher in America is 59. In California, the oldest age at which some categories of state and local employees can retire is 60, though for most the age is significantly lower. It’s hard to generalize, because some unions have pillaged far more than others. For a sense of how extreme the demands of some can be, one more example will have to suffice.
Until recently, employees of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority enjoyed “23 and out” pensions. No matter when they began their careers, they could collect nearly full pensions after 23 years on the job. (That has been raised to the a punishing figure of 25 years, and now with a minimum age of 55 before they can collect.) Perhaps the most famous member of the organization that negotiated these benefits, the Boston Carmen’s Union, is Patrick Bulger, son of longtime Massachusetts state-senate president Billy Bulger. The younger Bulger retired from the Carmen’s Union at 43 and began collecting an annual pension of $41,000. Plus cost-of-living adjustments. For the rest of his life.
It’s hard to justify such benefits when the rest of America relies on 401(k)s, Social Security, and Medicare, making their effective retirement age, on average, 63 — and soon to rise. Public employees retire still very much in their working years. Even though they’re guaranteed financial security for life, some of them in “retirement” go on to lucrative jobs in the private sector — or, more disturbingly, back in the public sector. Take retired MBTA manager Michael Mulhern, age 48, who now enjoys a $130,000-a-year pension — and earns $225,000 a year as executive director of the MBTA’s retirement fund.