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Be above reproach then…

January 18, 2011

An opinion piece by the head of a public employees union caught my eye today. The article wandered a bit

Paragraph one: the pension payments really aren’t THAT high – using data that the average contribution is $19k.

Question: what is the # for someone who’s been in the pension system from day 1 of their career – say over a 15 year span? Devil’s in the details to know if this is spurious or relevant data

Paragraph 2: Under funded pension systems are Wall Street’s fault (would we expect anything else?)

Question: What does that have to do with “state employees aren’t getting lavish benefits” unless it implies that the state budgets WILL indeed get strained because tax receipts are down & the unions will force them to pay out every penny they were promised even if it costs someone else in the state?

I notice he didn’t mention California however.

Here’s my favorite part:

Most public pension systems have been in existence for 60 years or more. …. They predated public employee bargaining rights…and few plans are subject to the bargaining process today

The Bible has a verse in it that talks about “be above reproach” and our company follows that principle in their code of conduct. Any action or statement – however innocent it really is – that gives the impression of favoritism or skirting close to wrong doing you simply DON’T DO. Motive doesn’t matter by itself – the perception the action creates matters too.

In that principle – here’s a good test for his view. If the public employees aren’t milking the system, it’s not their fault for the state of the state budgets and it’s an unfair impression that they vote in and vote out their own bosses instead of voting for good governance for all; if it’s not true that they threaten their management to where they are indeed unmanageable….either give up collective bargaining on future pay/pension increases OR relinquish the demand for a protected pension when no one else has access to that benefit.

Another alternative? If you aren’t really trying to game the system to take from others with no thought to the impact it has on the area you live in, give up union representation altogether & keep your pension system. Operate for the greater good while keeping your retirement security….

It allows them to “Be above reproach” and the suspicion of abusing the system for the profit of a few against the needs and opportunities of everyone else – freeing them from the burden of writing USA Today OpEd pieces.

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