Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Robbing Thy Pension

Today's New York Times has a good investigate article about budgetary deception and the siphoning of the teacher's pension fund in the state of New Jersey. "I'm from Jersey" jokes aside, New Jersey is a wealthy state, in per capita income not far behind Connecticut and Massachusetts, ahead of New York, and way ahead of California. So it's particularly ominous that the state has been robbing its teachers to pay its contractors, or its pension consultants at JP Morgan - or somebody, who really knows. This is not a conspiracy against middle-class social services - it's just part of the overall disdain and carelessness regarding public sector resources that create a phony sense of their inefficiency and, more literally, gradually destroy their solvency so after lots of sighing, lamentation, and handwringing our "responsible" public officials - usually Democrats - can clean up the mess by cutting payouts, taking new employees out of the pension altogether, and increasing everyone's insecurity. Actually this downsizing of public pensions and benefits is the specific goal of business roundtable-like organizations like the Rich Citizens Public Budget Complaint Committee, known more formally as the CBC, which constantly argues that public employees don't deserve good pensions because their wages aren't as grossly substandard as they used to be. Well too bad, it's your fault for choosing public service when you could have been an IP lawyer . . .

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