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Governor should leave pensions alone

March 21, 2012
Robert E. Dando, Jr. , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

The Governor's proposal to create a new pension Tier 6 is disappointing. Only two years ago Tier 5 was created and is expected to save taxpayers $35 billion over the next 35 years. Now the governor, without waiting for its effects to be evaluated, wants to reduce retirement so much that he is also proposing a 401(K). This we all know from experience is very vulnerable to Wall Street abuses and fluctuations. This will make it even harder for working people to make ends meet in retirement. The only people that will benefit are the Wall Street financial advisors who will have a new batch of clients to get rich off of. I am not a public employee, but I know many who are. They are my friends, relatives and neighbors and I can tell you they are not rich. They are hard working middle class people and yet they have been targeted as the enemy. It is not right and it is counterproductive. I, myself, in the private sector have a defined pension plan and as a union member it has been a struggle to maintain it. Also, pensions cover everyone in the group while a 401(k) is voluntary as is the contribution rate. In addition, too many in the private sector have already lost their pensions and the consequences have been devastating for both these modest income retirees and their communities. In the 90's when economic times were too good to be true, many pension plans stopped paying into the system. The thing to remember is that pension funds are grown though both investments and contributions. Maybe this is the area to look to for reforming, to have contributions go in even in good times instead of just the bad times. Our representatives in government should represent working people's need for financial security in retirement. Unfortunately too many people of power and wealth just don't get it, that our modest pensions go right back into our communities, creating economic productivity for everyone. Our brothers and sisters in the public sector are not the enemy. If we fall for that line we are only just hurting ourselves and putting the burden on future generations. Perhaps the legislators and employers who talk of reducing the hard earned pensions of the 99 percent should start paying their fair share in taxes and live on the pensions they are proposing. If they are asking for sacrifice shouldn't they include themselves?

Robert E. Dando, Jr.




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