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NY Suicide Caucus Votes Down Cuomo Pension Reform

If you needed more proof that arithmetic-deficient politicians and dysfunctional government are largely to blame for the disastrous state of New York’s finances, Albany Democrats have just supplied it.

New York’s Assembly Democrats have voted down Governor Cuomo’s pension reform plan, hammering yet another nail into the state’s financial coffin. The Assembly refused Cuomo’s suggestion to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 even though the governor stressed that his plan would save hundreds of billions of dollars in costs toward a pension plan expected to consume 35 percent of the government’s budget by 2015. In 2001, it was 3 percent.

Cuomo is a canny politician and is vested with strong executive powers; he has hinted that he may still push his plan through by forcing a government shutdown and implementing pension reform by supra-legislative means. But his common sense – he makes his case by explaining that without pension reform, now, thousands of public employees will be laid off, once the state’s funds run dry – isn’t enough to keep New York’s legislature focused on the needs of the people they allegedly serve.

Wars against arithmetic don’t end well.

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  • Emerson

    As long as there are people with a dime there will always be nickels for people with no money. It’s called sharing. I learned that in kindergarten!

  • Kris

    What?! Raise the retirement age for government employees? Inhumane! Unthinkable! Instead, we shall necessarily raise taxes, which means taxpayers will have less money to put away for their retirement, which means they will have to delay their retirement. A most reasonable solution, no?


  • Bruno Behrend

    This is all you need to know about public employee unions and their paid for minions in the legislature…

    They are like the scorpion in the Aesop’s fable of the “Frog and the Scorpion.” They know nothing other than to kill the host they feed upon.

    They are locusts. There is no negotiating with them. It truly is us, or them.

    If you aren’t breaking public sector unions and outlawing them, you aren’t saving Western Civilization.

  • Jim.

    Wait, wait, I know the answer — we’ll just grow our way out! Just get the economy to grow 1000%, and we’ll be fine!

    Or no, wait, just raise taxes 10x! That will work!

    Of course, I’m being silly. All we have to do is boost the economy (and/or taxes) by 32%, and hand ALL of it to retirees.


  • Gringo

    IIRC, the state of Rhode Island,another state run by Democrats, just passed a pension reform act. There was a lot of educating before it was passed: these are the numbers, we are not pointing fingers, and we need to do something.

    I don’t know how the educational effort in NY compared to that in RI. Perhaps there was more of a “too big to fail” point of view in NY, compared to how the smallest state would look at things.

  • MarkJ

    “[Cuomo] may still push his plan through by …by supra-legislative means.”

    That’s nice and probably even necessary. However, if p***ed-off Albany Donk party hacks have their way, it also means two things:

    1. Cuomo will not get reelected as NY Guv.

    2. Cuomo will never measure the WH Oval Office windows for new drapes.

  • Nosmo

    Being the head of HUD under pres. Clinton, Cuomo was the architect of the housing collapse…

  • Mike T

    Instead of raising the retirement age, Cuomo should have proposed lowering it. I am sure the Greeks (oops, I meant Democrats) would have voted for that. After all, aren’t there rich to go soak? Aren’t there still profitable businesses to extort?

    And, if all else fails, won’t Obama bail out New York?

  • Steve White

    The Assembly Speaker is quoted in the cited article as saying that the governor must work out the pension issue with the unions before the Assembly will vote. Good luck with that one.

    I live in Illinois: here the unions say “we just want to negotiate the issue”, which means, they want to talk it to death, or at least talk until you give up and give them what they want (but I repeat myself). The NY Speaker would prefer the unions stonewall this for him so that he and the Dems don’t have to vote at all.

    They’ll likely succeed, and when the layoffs come they’ll blame Cuomo and the Rethuglicans.

  • teapartydoc

    It may be difficult to view firemen, policemen, teachers, and municipal and county employees as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, but that is exactly the role they are playing right now. Things didn’t end all that nicely for the former ruling class, and I have my doubts they’ll end well for this one, either.

  • Kurt Rosell

    The problem, of course, is that New Yorkers have no one to blame but themselves. Until NYers stop voting for Democrats in the legislature, this is the problem we will have. Does anyone seriously believe we couldn’t enact reform if Republicans controlled the legislature?

    When even a Governor named “Cuomo” realizes that we have no choice but to reform public employee pensions but the legislature says no, it’s time to accept reality and vote the Democrats out of office.

  • John Frary

    I had long considered continuing as an academic drudge until age 70, if only because of curiosity about how low higher education had yet to sink. In the end the urge to escape the tropical hell of NJ and get back home to Maine prevailed, so I cleared out at age 63 with a handsome viaticum to speed my retirement. Even so, there would have been no physical impediment to continuing, Chalk and eraser don’t qualify as “heavy lifting.”

  • Jim,MtnViewCA,USA

    I wound up leaving the Dem party when it became clear that eventually all the plans hitting “The Rich” wind up targeting “People With Jobs”.

    CA is going down this road too, sadly.

  • NY Parent

    I just wrote my Assemblywoman and gave her a piece of my mind, not that it will matter much. I asked her if she thought the good citizens of other states around the country will be willing to bail us out when the time comes. I don’t expect an answer.

    I will say that Cuomo has been very impressive to this conservative. I know he has higher aspirations, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. He is very popular right now with everyone but the unions. I think he doesn’t care about reelection because he is on a clear path to 2016 and a presidential run. Taking on the unions here is good for Flyover, USA later. Plus, I don’t think he will lose here in 2014 if he manages to right the ship – I doubt Republicans will bother to put up a decent candidate.

  • Korla Punditq

    I think they should raise the retirement age to a million, and just scrap the whole idea that you can retire. Because when this economy crashes, it’s going to be ugly. There will be no pensions. There will be no Social Security. The safety net has always been a hologram, and we’re all gonna hit the ground hard. The “trust” fund was already spent on “Green” energy, Pink Slime school lunch programs, striped bass mating studies and airport bathroom diversity sculpture programs.

  • Jeffersonian

    Well, we can definitely see who is whose catspaw here, no?

  • Mwalimu Daudi

    “As long as there are people with a dime there will always be nickels for people with no money. It’s called sharing. I learned that in kindergarten!”

    Kindergarten-level intellectualism. That would explain why the legislature thinks there are several billion nickels to be had from a single dime. It’s called deficit spending, and I learned it as a taxpayer who is ordered to support the greedy parasites who want the nickels.

    No wonder we are screwed.

  • Korla Punditq

    How about hiring fewer NYC cops. We already have too many of the morbidly obese, waddling, ticket quota filling, stormtroopers driving around looking for taxpayers to shake down, making up laws on the spot, throwing their bloated blubber around like the sun shines out of their anus.

    NYC doesn’t need an armed force larger than the standing armies of most NATIONS in the world! It’s just a strongarm tool of the overly powerful Mayor Mike Munchkin.

    They are all a big corrupt club of brownshirts with blue uniforms, retiring early for “health conditions”, raking in huge pensions based on fake phony fraud “overtime” instead of based on actual salary.

    They should all be laid off, except they have been part of the corrupt city government since the Five Points days.

  • JohnBoy

    It is awesome to see blue state Democrats have to face reality. Rhode Island managed to enact reforms, but New York will be fascinating to watch. It is not a question of if but when – the numbers are irrefutable.

    The unions who head the public pensions need a strategy other than sticking their head in the sand.

    Also – I wonder when the media will stop distorting the facts when Republican governors are forced by math to DO THE EXACT SAME THING as the Democrats.

  • Allen Mitchum

    So long as public unions exist, this problem will never go away.

  • John Cunningham

    A truism in biology is that if the parasite waxes too large, the host weakens and dies. Public sector employment is at that level in many states.

  • Mark in Texas

    The thing I have found when discussing basic economics or the arithmetic of state budgets with New Yorkers is that they genuinely don’t believe that those rules hold in New York although many of them will concede that economics and arithmetic might well operate in places that are less special than The Empire State.

    Because I prefer to avoid unpleasantness, I no longer ask New Yorkers if they believe they are also exempt from the laws of physics.

  • Kris

    JohnBoy@19: “I wonder when the media will stop distorting the facts when Republican governors are forced by math to DO THE EXACT SAME THING as the Democrats.”

    No no no, it’s DIFFERENT! Democrats cut because they have no choice, while Republicans do so while gleefully twirling their Snidely Whiplash mustaches, solely to sock it to the proletariat.


  • pmacb

    It’s worse than you think. The pension changes (called Tier VI) will only effect FUTURE hires. If you’re already a State employee and/or union member your current retirement package won’t change.

  • megapotamus

    Ah yes! The War on Numbers which are more eternal even than matter.

  • Mike

    I don’t work my [donkey] off every day to make a living just to give half of it to someone else, just to be “fair”. You want something, go out and work for it. If you can’t find a job where you are, move to where the jobs are. Get an education that actually prepares you for work, not studying so much of the [crud] that constitutes higher education today –

  • Mike

    I don’t understand why politicians don’t get it – you can only spend as much as you have. Deficit spending doesn’t work. It’s simple. If you don’t have the money, you can’t have the program.

  • SukieTawdry

    Emerson says: “As long as there are people with a dime there will always be nickels for people with no money. It’s called sharing. I learned that in kindergarten!”
    March 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    You mean as long as NY taxpayers have a dime, there will be nickles for public sector union members? Is that what they taught you in kindergarten? Of course, if you went to kindergarten in NY, it might well be.

  • John

    As an escaped New Yorker, I roll my hands with schadenfreude every time I see greedy socialists torturing themselves into insolvency.

    Their pain is especially delightful since I was once on the receiving end of it.

  • Korla Punditq

    “As long as there are people with a dime there will always be a union thug saying ‘That’s a pretty nice family you got there. Be a real shame if somethin were to happen to em.’ It’s called corruption and intimidation. I learned that in real life!”

  • Rob

    Isn’t ironic that the people who screwed-up the pension system are the same people brainstorming & negotiating to fix it.
    Bottom line is, the politicians and the unions are both to blame for this pension mess. The politicians let the unions negotiate pensions that, for many, resulted in 150 and 160 percent of individual’s top salary. How many of us making 100k a year are entitled to a pension of 160k. On top of that, how many retirees are out on disability because their pinky finger hurts. OK! I may be exaggerating a little, but my point is there are crazy amounts of people out on unwarranted, tax-free disabilities from New York. But now Cuomo wants to punish all new city workers with an unfair pension plan. I worked in private industry for 26 years and got screwed on my pension. For years I was enticed to stay in a company that offered great retirement potential. But, then the mergers and acquisitions occurred, the people at the top got theirs. All others were left behind. People should not have to work for an Employer for 10 years to get vested in their pension, especially during a time when your likely to get laid-off or decide to transfer to another job. Both the politicians and the unions just keep screwing it up for us hard working people.

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