Monday, May 17, 2010

Mort Zuckerman: The Crippling Price of Public Employee Unions

From Mort Zuckerman at US News:
The American public feels it is drowning in red ink. It is dismayed and even outraged at the burgeoning national deficits, unbalanced state and local budgets, and accounting that often masks the extent of indebtedness. There is a mounting sense that taxpayers are being taken for an expensive ride by public sector unions. The extraordinary benefits the unions have secured for their members are going to be harder and harder to pay.
For those that think that comparing this country to Greece is comparing apples with oranges - think again!  The same thing that is happening in Greece is beginning to happen here and if we don't get a handle on all the spending on programs like pensions for public sector employees then we will be in the same situation as Greece.  It is already happening in New York and California.  Indiana is in better shape (at present) but that can change.  What is troubling is the fact that the Indiana Public Employees Retriement Fund consists of  the following pension programs :

■Public Employees' Retirement Fund;

■1977 Police Officers' and Firefighters' Pension and Disability Fund;

■1977 and 1985 Judges' Retirement System;

■Prosecuting Attorneys' Retirement Fund;

■Legislators' Retirement System (Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans);

■Excise Police and Conservation Enforcement Officers' Retirement Plan;
Now I don't begrudge those public employees the opportunity to earn a retirement benefit, however  the question  becomes - at what cost to the rest of us tazpayers?  And are we getting our money's worth?  What type of services will have to be cut by reducing the costs of government and the costs of government employees?  Can we afford this if the current economic conditions persist or get worse?  These are all question we need to consider as we elect new representatives. - SP

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