Mass Retirements As Panicking Public Employees Seek to Dodge Rule Changes
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  • Charles R. Williams

    This is not panic. This is a simple calculation of financial interests. States are cutting early retirement provisions and by retiring sooner people can avoid the cuts. Even if they are grandfathered, the incentives for staying on are much reduced. Let’s say a teacher can retire at 57 at full pay with medical benefits. There is no incentive for staying on when you can work 10 years in a private school and qualify for social security. So maybe they won’t take anything away you are entitled to. There is much less incentive to stay on.

    One reason teachers are leaving who can is the tidal wave of crap coming down from Washington and state departments of education.

  • John Burke

    Good. As the most senior employees decide to retire, states and municipalities can replace them with younger people who have lower salaries and generally are offered less expensive pension deals at lower “tiers” that were in place widely even before the current crisis.

  • There should be as few new hires as possible.

    State and municipal employment needs to shrink permanently. Remember that 3.1 of the 6.3 million people in K-12 public education are “administration and support.” Losing 30% wouldn’t drop a single IQ, SAT or ACT point in the nation.

    Here in IL, the state could get rid of “Forest Preserve Police,” METRA police (mass transit), and whole slews of needless public employee dross.

    Local government across America has proven it is nearly incapable of making itself efficient. The model is one of building political fiefdoms and hiring along the “friends and family” plan.

    The only discipline capable of working is to freeze local tax levies constitutionally.

    We won’t be out of the woods until costs are cut by about 30%.

  • Greg Q

    This sounds like a win-win to me. First of all we can get rid of a bunch of high senior and greatly overpaid government workers. Some of them will be replaced by younger workers who do a better job and get paid less, others will just have their positions eliminated.

    Then, in a couple of years, we can change the rules on them, and slash the piggish benefits the politicians promised them.

    I will laugh myself sick when that happens.

    And when they whine about their “promises” , I will gleefully point out how often politicians promised to protect the taxpayers when running for office, and how often they screwed us over, to the benefit of the public employees, once they got in to office.

    Defined benefit pensions are an abomination. I look forward to their failure.

    You want to have a retirement? Great! Then support a booming economy, one that’s growing, not shrinking, burdened by government mandates and regulations.

  • Corlyss

    Speaking as a long term government employee, I can assure everyone here that given what government does, i.e., regulate and enforce, there’s few analogues in private industry that do what government employees do. That’s always been at the heart of difficulty in calibrating government employee compensation to that of the private sector. Some genuinely comparable professions, e.g., scientist and mathematicians, were so woefully undercompensated that agencies employing scientists had to get Congressional approval to stray off the government pay reservation to hire people qualified for jobs more complex than washing test tubes. Figuring out a compensation scheme that will attract people who could make more money in private industry without establishing islands of extravagant benefits amidst oceans of sober middle class white collar workers ain’t easy

  • Corlyss,

    I don’t focus so much on Federal employees as I do state, and IL is a particular focus, as I live there.

    I also focus on K-12 education, where government employment is all there is (along with some greedy private interests gaming the school codes in all 50 states).

    If all 6.3 million K-12 employees where raptured up to pension heaven tomorrow, we would easily and simply replace them for the same (or better) outcomes, at lower cost.

    For education, money should follow the child to the best options, and let each educator become a professional on the open market.

    You may be right about certain grades and how to effectively compensate, but for state and local governments, state and local in particular, it’s a feather-bedded cesspool of patronage piggery.

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