May 2, 2011
Public employee pensions are under attack. Since 2008, public workers in approximately 37 states have experienced pension cuts – either through being asked to contribute more of their own money to pensions, or by having benefits lowered.
This year, it’s worse. All 50 states are considering bills to reduce pensions or require workers to pay more.
The politicians say that pensions are too generous. That’s a lie. The fact is, pensions average around $20,000 a year, often less, and state workers in 19 states get no Social Security. Pensions are under attack because the pension funds are underfunded. Politicians in the states stole from these funds, then used the money for other things.
According to a recent study by the Pew Center on the states, states have been “failing to make annual payments for pension systems at the levels recommended by their own actuaries.”
Instead they took the money and gave it to Big Business in lucrative state contracts, tax breaks to corporations and privatization. There has been a huge transfer of wealth from the states to private companies, and much of that money came from workers’ pensions.
Public employees kept up their side of the bargain. They taught the students, they provided public services and maintained public safety. They worked hard. But they are now being told that their benefits should be cut because the politicians stole the money and gave it to business.
Well, take the money back. Repay the pension funds. The money is there. There is no reason a single pension should be cut.