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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Dolomiti wrote:
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Bamb00zle wrote:
As I said, it's going to get ugly... Oh wait, it already did get ugly.

And yet, you're still here. Hmm.

And again, where do you plan to go, that you imagine you can avoid increases in state taxes, or pension crises? California? Mexico? Belize? Somalia?


Quote:
Some taxes went down – estate taxes are being reduced to align with the Federal exemptions.

Uh huh... Not really a reason for you to stick around, though. Unless you are caring for a wealthy parent. (Remember, the inheritance tax didn't change; only the direct heirs get this exemption.)

Heck, you don't need to even live in NJ to benefit from that. Only the deceased person needs to be a NJ resident.


Quote:
But please understand, I'm not paying for someone's irresponsible promises.

First, the promises weren't irresponsible. They were perfectly sustainable, until Gov Whitman started the habit of underfunding the pension system -- in 1995.

Second, if you move somewhere else, you will still be paying for someone else's pensions. Oh, I mean "irresponsible promises."

Third, I don't know where you grew up. Those of us who grew up in NJ were actually educated by those teachers and protected by those police officers and sometimes even helped by state employees, and I have no problems paying what they are owed.


Quote:
And I don't think you or any else should either. There's nothing the state of NJ can do to prevent people from leaving and escaping the onerous taxes here. Thousands have already.

You sure about that?

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Quote:
My bags are packed ready and waiting by the front door....

Promises, promises


Quote:
There are plenty of interesting, fun places to go other than NJ.

And yet, you keep not leaving. Huh.

Don't get me wrong, I agree there are many other fine places to live, and I don't plan to live in NJ forever. However, I'm not planning to bolt the door in the slightly ridiculous attempt to avoid paying state taxes, especially since so many other states are facing the same issues, or making matters worse for their citizens by cutting taxes.


Yes, I am still here for the moment. I'll stay as long as it suits me, and when it doesn't any more I'll leave. Raising taxes to pay absurd pension promises will change the calculus for me, and for a lot of other people as well I expect.

Undertakings over the years from both sides – successive governors and unions - regarding pensions were irresponsible. So yes there's plenty of blame to share for this mess. But please understand, at this point it is immaterial to me who is responsible. I've paid enough over the years and I am not going to pay even more to fix this mess – my bags are packed.

A graph showing the population has grown is correct, and is also irrelevant. The facts that the population increased as thousands moved away are not inconsistent. It is undeniable these can happen simultaneously. What is also undeniable is the fiscal and economic outlook for the state is dismal. Consequently, the bank of “other people's money” (a chunk of which is mine) is just about out of cash.

Do I feel bad for those who planned their lives around the unrealistic promises and irresponsible actions? Absolutely yes, of course I do. The situation and outlook for these folks is awful, there is no doubt about it. But no matter how dedicated they may have been, I am not paying even more to fund the irresponsible promises and actions that created this mess.

I'm sure those who stay will find a way to address the problems without my continuing contributions. Be certain of this though, any solution is going to involve increased taxes and decreased benefits. It isn't going to be pretty, and it won't involve me.

Posted on: 12/10 21:23
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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JCMan8 wrote:
Here is a preview of our future.

Dallas's pension system is running out of money. They had to stop all withdrawals to prevent a run on the bank that would have collapsed the entire thing. It's only a matter of time before the gravy train ends.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas ... nk-stops-154m-withdrawals


Incredibly (not really) one of the pension board trustees is quoted as saying "both taxpayers and police and firefighters will have to share in the pain". I am not sure how they plan to get more money out of taxpayers in Dallas: no state or city income tax, so they will have to try and get some sort of property tax bump enacted. Good luck with that... Texans already pay very high property taxes, particularly in cities. For decades, politicians and bureaucrats gave away the house in exchange for the political support of powerful unions, often making impossible promises, and now the chickens have come home to roost. But, enough is enough. At the state level in places like NJ, where we are highly taxed as is, it is simply impossible to continue with the madness. At the federal level, there are some simple solutions to preserve SS and ensure its solvency for generations to come: get rid of (or, increase) the base wage limit and/or increase the SS payroll tax by one or two points.

What's what saying about running out of other people's money?

Posted on: 12/9 0:01
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Here is a preview of our future.

Dallas's pension system is running out of money. They had to stop all withdrawals to prevent a run on the bank that would have collapsed the entire thing. It's only a matter of time before the gravy train ends.

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas ... nk-stops-154m-withdrawals

Posted on: 12/8 23:34
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Interesting to know states cannot file for bankruptcy but the courts could still require them to sell assets in order to fund the pensions. After all as I stated, the teachers/state workers were contributing to their pensions, it was the various governors who put the money somewhere else.

Posted on: 12/7 19:20
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Bamb00zle wrote:
As I said, it's going to get ugly... Oh wait, it already did get ugly.

And yet, you're still here. Hmm.

And again, where do you plan to go, that you imagine you can avoid increases in state taxes, or pension crises? California? Mexico? Belize? Somalia?


Quote:
Some taxes went down – estate taxes are being reduced to align with the Federal exemptions.

Uh huh... Not really a reason for you to stick around, though. Unless you are caring for a wealthy parent. (Remember, the inheritance tax didn't change; only the direct heirs get this exemption.)

Heck, you don't need to even live in NJ to benefit from that. Only the deceased person needs to be a NJ resident.


Quote:
But please understand, I'm not paying for someone's irresponsible promises.

First, the promises weren't irresponsible. They were perfectly sustainable, until Gov Whitman started the habit of underfunding the pension system -- in 1995.

Second, if you move somewhere else, you will still be paying for someone else's pensions. Oh, I mean "irresponsible promises."

Third, I don't know where you grew up. Those of us who grew up in NJ were actually educated by those teachers and protected by those police officers and sometimes even helped by state employees, and I have no problems paying what they are owed.


Quote:
And I don't think you or any else should either. There's nothing the state of NJ can do to prevent people from leaving and escaping the onerous taxes here. Thousands have already.

You sure about that?

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Quote:
My bags are packed ready and waiting by the front door....

Promises, promises


Quote:
There are plenty of interesting, fun places to go other than NJ.

And yet, you keep not leaving. Huh.

Don't get me wrong, I agree there are many other fine places to live, and I don't plan to live in NJ forever. However, I'm not planning to bolt the door in the slightly ridiculous attempt to avoid paying state taxes, especially since so many other states are facing the same issues, or making matters worse for their citizens by cutting taxes.

Posted on: 12/6 18:50
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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JPhurst wrote:

The writer's group also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Jersey City's school board election to support the Jersey City United ticket.


In the interest of full disclosure of which you seem to be in favor, why not disclose your professional interest in this topic?

Posted on: 12/6 18:38
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Dolomiti wrote:

Well, good luck finding a state that pays relatively high wages, has decent job opportunities, offers decent public transportation, a rich cultural life, and doesn't sock taxpayers -- or isn't slashing spending to the bone. That leaves, uh... Houston?


Washington/Seattle. The state has no income tax and property taxes are roughly half of NJ's, slightly less actually. Seattle is booming - lots of job growth in attractive, high paying sectors. Great infrastructure and public transportation with a lot of new investments being made. Wide and deep offering of cultural opportunities and somewhere between 17 and 9,564x more physically attractive than NJ. Seattle does have a high sales tax (as high as 9.6% - it varies by zip code.)

Posted on: 12/6 18:36
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

Bamb00zle wrote:
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Dolomiti wrote:
lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Me...? Thanks for asking - I'm packed, ready to go.

Gas tax just went up. Send us a postcard from... where are you going, exactly?


Quote:
Sorry, I don't have any painless solutions to advance, nor have I seen any proposed here, or any place else for that matter. Any realistic proposal I've seen involves both raising taxes and cutting benefits. Neither of which will be fun.

And not unique to NJ.

Ironically, the states that are slashing their tax bills are running into different problems, namely they need to slash spending -- including on education -- because the don't have enough revenues. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


Quote:
It's the raising taxes part that has me most concerned. I pay enough tax already and I need my money....

Awwww poor baby

Well, good luck finding a state that pays relatively high wages, has decent job opportunities, offers decent public transportation, a rich cultural life, and doesn't sock taxpayers -- or isn't slashing spending to the bone. That leaves, uh... Houston?

But hey, at least you'll get a bigger apartment. W00t!


As I said, it's going to get ugly... Oh wait, it already did get ugly.

Some taxes went down – estate taxes are being reduced to align with the Federal exemptions. And I don't drive so the gas tax doesn't directly affect me. The miniscule reduction in sales tax, I'll take it. For the moment, I can stay put.

But please understand, I'm not paying for someone's irresponsible promises. And I don't think you or any else should either. There's nothing the state of NJ can do to prevent people from leaving and escaping the onerous taxes here. Thousands have already.

My bags are packed ready and waiting by the front door.... There are plenty of interesting, fun places to go other than NJ.

Posted on: 12/6 18:29
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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bodhipooh wrote:
Nice try... as I suspected, your quoted numbers are not for enlisted personnel. Instead it is averaging compensations of officers *and* enlisted personnel.

Good grief. Did you not read your own words? You said that both officers and enlisted were underpaid.

For those enlisted soldiers, at year 1: Base pay + BAH + BAS + tax credit basically equals $50k. 10 years in, if you do well, it's more like $70k.

That doesn't include health care, retirement, special pay, education while in service, educational assistance after discharge, etc.

And yes, that's very different than combining CEO and regular staff pay. These days, CEOs are getting paid anywhere from 250 to 350 times a typical employee at their company. And while I'm sure that the top brass are well compensated, I'm pretty sure they don't get paid $12 million a year in total compensation. O-10 is more like $200k.

Posted on: 12/6 16:52
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Bamb00zle wrote:
Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Me...? Thanks for asking - I'm packed, ready to go.

Gas tax just went up. Send us a postcard from... where are you going, exactly?


Quote:
Sorry, I don't have any painless solutions to advance, nor have I seen any proposed here, or any place else for that matter. Any realistic proposal I've seen involves both raising taxes and cutting benefits. Neither of which will be fun.

And not unique to NJ.

Ironically, the states that are slashing their tax bills are running into different problems, namely they need to slash spending -- including on education -- because the don't have enough revenues. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.


Quote:
It's the raising taxes part that has me most concerned. I pay enough tax already and I need my money....

Awwww poor baby

Well, good luck finding a state that pays relatively high wages, has decent job opportunities, offers decent public transportation, a rich cultural life, and doesn't sock taxpayers -- or isn't slashing spending to the bone. That leaves, uh... Houston?

But hey, at least you'll get a bigger apartment. W00t!

Posted on: 12/6 16:33
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Monroe wrote:
Tied into the retirement pensions for teachers is the lifetime benefit of health insurance, including spouses. This continues to rise each and every year and is a huge part of the obligation we pay for.


Good point. Nice to have some low hanging fruit we can immediately eliminate to save the taxpayers a substantial amount of money. The gravy train will be ending soon.

Posted on: 12/6 16:29
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Tied into the retirement pensions for teachers is the lifetime benefit of health insurance, including spouses. This continues to rise each and every year and is a huge part of the obligation we pay for.

Posted on: 12/6 16:00
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
[quote]
Dolomiti wrote:
[quote]One public employee that is definitely underpaid (ridiculously so) is the American soldier. Whether it is a commissioned officer, or an enlisted serviceman, those salaries are definitely too low and I'm glad to see a pension system in place for them.

You sure about that?

A 2010 study showed that the average compensation for a US active duty soldier is $100,000. 60% of this was non-cash (housing, medical etc).


Show me a study that calculates the average enlisted soldier is getting 100K in total compensation.

I already did. According to that study (page 39 of the PDF I linked), after taxes, each soldier costs the US $140,000 per year; some of that is deferred, e.g. VA benefits.

This is from 2007, and the years are a little earlier. Table 1, page 13 of the PDF. 5 different studies, showing compensation between $90k and $140k.
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/file ... ts/06-29-compensation.pdf


Nice try... as I suspected, your quoted numbers are not for enlisted personnel. Instead it is averaging compensations of officers *and* enlisted personnel. That's no different than averaging the salaries of executives and factory workers and claiming that is somehow representative.


Posted on: 12/6 11:01
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Dolomiti wrote:
lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Me...? Thanks for asking - I'm packed, ready to go. The minute my taxes go up any more I'm out. No need to be concerned for me.

Sorry, I don't have any painless solutions to advance, nor have I seen any proposed here, or any place else for that matter. Any realistic proposal I've seen involves both raising taxes and cutting benefits. Neither of which will be fun.

It's the raising taxes part that has me most concerned. I pay enough tax already and I need my money, so I'm all set to leave. But I understand thousands are stuck, waiting for a pension that is never going to come – at least not in the promised amounts. I certainly feel their pain.

As numerous Listers have noted in this thread, and elsewhere, it's a huge mess, with lots of blame to spread around.

Posted on: 12/6 7:34
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Killtown wrote:
States can't file for Bankruptcy, so it's apples to oranges.


(That was a reply to Yvonne)

Posted on: 12/6 6:43
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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States can't file for Bankruptcy, so it's apples to oranges.

Posted on: 12/6 6:40
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Frinjc wrote:
Can someone confirm the data on the annual fees Wall Street gets for the pension funds management? I thought it went from ~$250M under Corzine to ~$600M under Christie. As Maggy Thatcher would say, this is MY money.

AFAIK: Most pension funds manage themselves. What they do is buy a variety of financial instruments, some from Wall Street banks. So, the fees vary, and are included in calculations of returns.

Here's the state pension annual reports. Have at it:
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/annrprts.shtml

Posted on: 12/5 23:27
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Bamb00zle wrote:
Interesting string about an intractable issue...

Dolomiti says the state is legally obligated to pay that money.... and that's right, but allow me to finish that sentence so it's abundantly clear: The state is legally obligated to pay that money BY FURTHER INCREASING TAXES ON THE TAXPAYERS OF NEW JERSEY.

Yes, thanks for stating the obvious. Don't forget we would have faced much lower bills if governors had done their jobs in the first place. And that Christie also hiked the teachers' contribution requirements... and then reneged on his agreement to bolster the teachers' pension fund.


Quote:
And, just in case you haven't noticed, we already pay the highest property taxes, among the highest income and sales taxes, have the most under-funded pension, and second lowest credit rating of any state in the country.

Yep, kinda sucks. That doesn't change anything.


Quote:
My suggestion: leave the state – thousands have already. If you must stay, and own a place, sell it NOW and rent instead.

lol

Do you still live in NJ? If not, when do YOU plan to leave?


Quote:
Ask yourself, how attractive is NJ real estate going to be in a few years time under any plausible scenario – pensions paid or not.

Well, California was probably in much worse shape a few years ago than NJ is today -- in no small part because decades ago, the voters blocked regular increases in property taxes, which makes the state highly dependent upon more volatile sources of income. And yet, they seem to have largely pulled themselves out of it.

And of course, we see other states like Kansas, who are slashing taxes in an explicit attempt to encourage business... and are devastating state revenues.

And of course, numerous other municipalities and states have gotten themselves into the exact same type of pension problems.

So tell us, oh prophet: What state will be better off?

Posted on: 12/5 23:23
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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bodhipooh wrote:
Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
[quote]
Dolomiti wrote:
[quote]One public employee that is definitely underpaid (ridiculously so) is the American soldier. Whether it is a commissioned officer, or an enlisted serviceman, those salaries are definitely too low and I'm glad to see a pension system in place for them.

You sure about that?

A 2010 study showed that the average compensation for a US active duty soldier is $100,000. 60% of this was non-cash (housing, medical etc).


Show me a study that calculates the average enlisted soldier is getting 100K in total compensation.

I already did. According to that study (page 39 of the PDF I linked), after taxes, each soldier costs the US $140,000 per year; some of that is deferred, e.g. VA benefits.

This is from 2007, and the years are a little earlier. Table 1, page 13 of the PDF. 5 different studies, showing compensation between $90k and $140k.
https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/file ... ts/06-29-compensation.pdf

It's basically the same as with the private sector. If your employer is paying for part of your health insurance, and contributes to a retirement plan, and gives you stock options, that's all part of your total compensation.


Quote:
And, by the way, using a metric of "total compensation" that incorporates food allowance, housing allowance, medical benefits would make every welfare recipient that receives medicaid, food stamps and public housing an upper middle class person.

sigh

Public benefits, including AFDC, ACA, Social Security, housing subsidies, unemployment, etc ARE classified as income for statistical measurements. Some of those are taxable as well (SS, unemployment).

Yes, it absolutely makes sense to include housing, food, medical care, education and more as part of active duty soldier's total compensation. Aside from the fact that they don't have to pay for those things out of base pay, that is why it's called "total compensation."

And no, those safety nets today don't pay much. That's conservative propaganda.

You can make the case that $100k isn't enough for an active duty soldier. But you'd be deeply wrong if the only thing you look at is base pay.


Quote:
As for the other part questioning my assessment of subpar work ethic, and performance, I made that statement based on personal experience working with various NYC agencies employees on various projects.

So basically, no real data. Very persuasive.


Quote:
The stuff that goes on would be grounds for dismissal in the private sector.

I've seen lots of people in the private sector get away with stuff that would be grounds for dismissal, even at some of the best companies in the world. So how should we resolve our dueling anecdotes?

Oh, I know. By recognizing that anecdotes are not in fact proof of broader trends, and that you cannot possibly determine the efficacy of around 22 million public employees in the US.

Posted on: 12/5 23:12
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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JPhurst wrote:
How are the teachers' pensions any worse than the rest of the government sector pensions?



On the state level....

Police, teachers, fire, other... they are all equally fucked. The pensions for Gen X and Y retires will be defaulted on. No way around it.

On the federal level.. anyone in the Thrift Savings Plan (sort of a 401k) are going to be OK. The Thrift plan is solvent.

Posted on: 12/5 21:33
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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How are the teachers' pensions any worse than the rest of the government sector pensions?

As far as I can see, they aren't. But the writer of the article has an interest in attacking teachers' unions for reasons completely unrelated to pension matters.

The writer's group also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Jersey City's school board election to support the Jersey City United ticket.

Posted on: 12/5 20:17
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Can someone confirm the data on the annual fees Wall Street gets for the pension funds management? I thought it went from ~$250M under Corzine to ~$600M under Christie. As Maggy Thatcher would say, this is MY money.

Posted on: 12/5 18:25
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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MDM wrote:
It gets worse than that. Pension money has been chasing yield by going into riskier and riskier investments.


That's like taking cash advances on your credit card to go to AC and roll it up to make your mortgage payment! Can't miss, right?

Posted on: 12/5 15:45
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mfadam wrote:
the can is also kicked down the road with unrealistic pension return assumptions. Low fixed income rates and volatile equities make actuarial assumptions tough.



It gets worse than that. Pension money has been chasing yield by going into riskier and riskier investments. Some of that money is parked overseas in markets that could go up flames in the coming year.

Here is an example of the absurd lengths a pension fund will go to get yield.


Here is what happens when chasing yield backfires.




Posted on: 12/5 15:04
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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the can is also kicked down the road with unrealistic pension return assumptions. Low fixed income rates and volatile equities make actuarial assumptions tough.

Posted on: 12/5 14:43
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Dolomiti wrote:
The anti-union screed ignores a basic fact: For decades, teachers accepted a low salary in exchange for good benefits, including good pensions.


I hear this all the time, same as JC having "high taxes". It doesn't, relative to other NJ cities. And NJ teachers are paid near the top of national scale. Collective bargaining between unions prone to hyperbole and a governments worried about their next election has failed repeatedly to protect the people's interest. The lack of funding the pension is all part of the pattern of doing anything to kick the can down the road past the next election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/an ... e/?utm_term=.9dc76118fe20

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Check out our local situation. This is well above a lot of comparably qualified and experienced non-public jobs, with much better benefits.

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JERSEY CITY
HUDSON
Teachers
2787 with an average 14 years experience were paid $80,539 on average in 2015-16. The 2014-15 average was $76,953.
Highest: 49 years experience, $120,780 salary.
Administrators
128 with an average 20 years experience were paid $130,351 on average in 2015-16. The 2014-15 average was $ 121,427.
Highest: 48 years experience, $176,291 salary.

Source: NJSpotlight analysis of certificated staff salary
data provided by the NJ Department of Education. Find
individual salaries in the full database.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16 ... l-administrators-on-rise/

Posted on: 12/5 13:33

Edited by brewster on 2016/12/5 13:52:03
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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When the city of Detroit went bankrupt, the judge ordered them to sell some of their assets. The state of NJ will get out of this mess by doing some of the same things. Property is scarce is this state so selling assests would put a dent in this problem.

Posted on: 12/5 13:30
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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Back in 2010 AEI did a study on the viability of state pensions. Link below to a graphical interface to the study results:

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspo ... public-pension-plans.html


I am hoping they do an update soon. I doubt the situation has gotten any better over the past 6+ years.

Posted on: 12/5 13:16
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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And yes - exactly this.

Quote:

Dolomiti wrote:
The anti-union screed ignores a basic fact: For decades, teachers accepted a low salary in exchange for good benefits, including good pensions. The politicians of that time chose to delay the full cost of paying teachers.

Posted on: 12/5 12:40
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Re: How teachers unions drive Jersey’s pension crisis
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There's a great way to provide funding for increased pay to the military - scale the military back to a footprint that is more appropriate and use a portion of the savings to increase pay. Use of the term "defense" to describe the US military is a misnomer. The US plays a whole lot of offense.

Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:

One public employee that is definitely underpaid (ridiculously so) is the American soldier. Whether it is a commissioned officer, or an enlisted serviceman, those salaries are definitely too low and I'm glad to see a pension system in place for them.

Posted on: 12/5 12:38
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