CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

Multimedia

En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Washington Post Reports that Most Retired California Public Employees Receive Lower Pensions Than Generally Believed

Washington Post Reports that Most Retired California Public Employees Receive Lower Pensions Than Generally Believed

Print
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 06:04

That was not the way that the Post framed the issue, but this is the implication of an article on public sector pensions in California that began with a discussion of the $520,000 a year pension received by the former administrator of a small city. The article cites the claim by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility that more than 15,000 retired state employees receive pensions of more than $100,000 a year. It then cites a spokesperson for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees saying that the average pension is just $19,000. 

If both numbers are accurate, then this means that roughly 3 percent of retirees account for almost 20 percent of total benefits (assuming an average pension for the over $100k group of $110k), which means that the average pension for the bottom 97 percent is a bit over $16,000 a year.

The article includes a statement from an economist blaming the public sector employees for not better policing their pension system. While this is a reasonable point, it is also reasonable to ask why the people supervising the pension systems, who are paid six figure salaries for this work, have not called attention to abuses like the one highlighted at the beginning of this article.

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by izzatzo, March 09, 2011 6:46
The article includes a statement from an economist blaming the public sector employees for not better policing their pension system.


However the article conveniently failed to mention that when it comes to those attempting to police obscene unearned concentrations of compensation and wealth in the private sector that brought down the economy, they are branded as commie pinko socialist scumbags.
The Tea Party Agenda - Forestalling Class Warfare
written by Ron Alley, March 09, 2011 7:20
One central item on the Koch Bros. (i.e. Tea Party and Corporate Party - Right Wing) Agenda is to forestall class warfare (low and middle vs. upper) by fomenting class conflict within the middle class and between the middle class and lower class. This article is a typical talking point.

The most telling statement in the article is:

Fueling the backlash is the fact that the retirement system for government workers, especially on the state and local level, has become by many measures a significantly better deal than that available to most people who work for the private sector.

"Defined benefit" plans - which guarantee a certain pension payment - are still the norm for state and local employees. But they have all but disappeared in the private sector, replaced by 401(k) systems that make the worker bear the risk of Wall Street's ups and downs.


The results are in. Defined contribution plans are not sufficient to provide a secure retirement. Only defined benefit plans will provide for a secure retirement. The fear is that private sector workers will demand defined plans (either directly through organized union activity or indirectly through increasing social security taxes). That is the objective of this Washington Post talking point article

police as the essence of social justice force
written by frankenduf, March 09, 2011 9:12
good call isthatso- the irony to me is that geithner admitted his corrupt worldview when he freely stated that he (the govt) did not have authority to regulate the bailout $, the ceo 'bonuses', the 100c on the dollar giveback via AIG, etc- thus decreeing that the financial corporations are above the law, in his mind- and this is indeed the corrupt propaganda for 'free markets'- that regulation (policing) is harmful- thus the contradiction u point out in the 'conservative' propaganda: we need more police to regulate the little people: public employees, city dwellers, young black men; but no police for the big fishes, who sign the campaign paychecks for poiticians who spout this nonsense
This is because pensions only grew out of control recently
written by zanon, March 09, 2011 9:49
please -- think about this more carefully.

most public sector pensioners retired a while ago. pension benefits started to skyrocket about 10 years ago here due to economics boom. So, people banking the huge pension are retiring now, and will continue to retire in the future because pension are defined benefit.

The $100K/year club is growing very quickly and will continue to grow.

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

busy
 

CEPR.net
Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

Archives