States expand lucrative pensions to more jobs

Source: States expand lucrative pensions to more jobs – USATODAY.com.

In Illinois, where highway maintenance workers earn up to $148,000 a year with overtime, early enhanced retirement can pay a $75,000-a-year pension at age 50 after 25 years on the job.

Every day lately we seem to hear of another State that is on the verge of bankruptcy so I just don’t understand how they can be expanding pensions for more workers.  I had a fairly lucrative salary when I was in the corporate world and retired after thirty years on the job but my pension doesn’t come close to the $75,000/year for a highway maintenance worker with 25 years on the job.

From the sound of this article this doesn’t seem to be something that is being pushed on to the State by some “greedy union” as my radical right friends always say.  I know highway workers have a higher risk job than many but their injury incident rate is not that much different from a factory worker.  I haven’t heard of a single pension fund that seems to be fully funded now days.  Why are States adding more of a burden to an already overburdened account?

I think the answer might be that most politicians, and particularly State governors, realize that adding to costs that will be realized years after they have left office won’t affect their chances of getting re-elected in the coming few years. This is pretty much like the CEOs who now look almost exclusively at the near term as they is where their salaries are determined. What happens down the road is of little concern to them.

This seems to go hand in hand with a Will Rogers quote I came across lately

As we become more enlightened we will extinguish our office seekers every two years. ¬– November 8, 1927 Will Rogers

If we could just manage to elect our officials and hire our CEOs with the future in mind this sort of thing would likely disappear.  Mitch Daniels, who was President Bush’s “my man Mitch” recently solved his budget problems  in my State by selling off a valuable State assets with a 99 year lease. He decided to sell our northern toll road to an Austrian company. For that action he has become one of the darlings of the Republican party. Never mind that his actions will result in billions of dollars in future revenue being lost after he is long gone from office.

If only as Will says “as we become more enlightened”. In the eighty-five years since this quote we are still not more enlightened and we probably never will be. Sorry Will, you missed on this one.

But what do I know….

3 thoughts on “States expand lucrative pensions to more jobs

  • I just finished reading the book, Boomerang. It details amazing greed and stupidity that put several countries on the road to bankruptcy in 2007-2010. One of my favorite examples is the case of the National Railroad of Greece. It grosses 100 million euros a year. It’s expenses are 400 million euros a year. Its workers struck for a doubling of their pension and got it. The theory is if you are already running 300 million euros in the red, what’s another 100 million? Besides everyone knows there is no money to pay the bills anyway.

    It is all a game, like the “which thimble is the pea hidden under.” It is all sleight of hand and deception with public money for the benefit of those who are closest to the trough.

    And, it is damm infuriating.

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  • Bob, I have been meaning to find some info on the Greece situation. Thanks for the reference. No wonder they are in the shape they are in! But if the States keep handing out our money for pensions we might not be far behind.
    My pet peeve in this area is all the holidays the federal workers get off. I think their yearly holiday count was bigger than all my vacation days.

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