This pension scam is a lot more complicated than I realized

19 Mar

Dude sent me an interesting article recently that sent me on a snoop.  It’s taken me days to plop out this post because I just kept reading more outrageous stuff. 

https://www.dailynews.com/2018/03/12/new-retirees-in-gardena-pasadena-and-riverside-make-200000-pensions/

We now have pensions over $200,000/year – pensions – money given to people for sitting on their asses with their mouths open like seals at the San Diego zoo. 

“Transparent California released the figures Monday as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the growing costs of California’s pension system, according to Executive Director Robert Fellner. The total amount spent on retirement benefits rose to nearly $21 billion last year, a 43 percent increase from 2012.”

“‘It is siphoning resources from public services, it is driving taxes higher,” Fellner said. “The real driver of this cost is the generosity of these benefits.'”

I immediately think of Chico’s worsening streets, the disgraceful condition of Bidwell Park, and the bums overrunning all of our public spaces.   If we complain we are told we need to pay increased sales tax, with more bonds and assessments from the school and rec districts. 

And like Fellner says, it’s the benefits – both pensions and health benefits. We’ve talked and talked about the pension deficit here – but I’ve never gotten around to the benefits deficit… it makes me sooooo dizzy.

Southern California seems to have the most egregious offenders.

“In Pasadena, pension costs have nearly surpassed the cost of current employees in the city’s Police Department, according to Mayor Terry Tornek. “

Even though Pasadena and other cities have started new hires paying more, it’s not enough – there are too many old employees. I predict many cities, like Pasadena, will have sales tax increases on this November ballot.

“when the retiree payroll is bigger than the current payroll, it’s not a good situation,” he [Tornek] said. The skyrocketing costs of pensions is one of the reasons Pasadena plans to ask voters for a sales tax increase later this year. Employees already pay more toward their CalPERS contributions and more than $5 million of that burden has shifted from the city to employees, Tornek said.

“Obviously, we’d take some legislative or some legal relief, but we still want to be fair to our employees and we want to be competitive in the marketplace,” Tornek said.”

Fair? That’s a load of crap. In Chico, former City Mangler and current CARD board member Tom Lando floated a memo to City Council in 2006 that tied salaries “to revenue increases but not decreases…” Read that again Pollyanna. When I asked then city council member and current county supervisor Larry Wahl why he would sign something that stupid, he told me he didn’t understand it.  How does someone that dumb get elected, Larry?

When the voters finally figured that out, Lando’s salary, for example, had gone from around $65,000/year to over $150,000/year, in just a few years. Current City Mangler Orme now makes over $220,000, just in salary. He pays less than 10 percent of his share of pension.

Furthermore,  “ those already in CalPERS prior to Jan. 1, 2013, are not subject to the act’s limitations. The “classic members” are largely why pensions of more than $200,000 are still somewhat common even after the reforms, said Dane Hutchings, the league’s legislative representative.”

“Classic members” – like Ann Willmann at CARD.  

So, the next one of these people that uses the word “fair” in reference to these pensions had better not be standing in my arm’s length, I’m done with their BS.

In Butte County, we have agencies I bet you never heard of that will have us on the hook for pensions. I found three of them on “Pension Tracker”

http://www.pensiontracker.org/agencySummary.php?id=157#summary

Did you know we pay the director of the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control over $100,000/year, and he pays less than 5 percent of his pension? I bet you never even heard of the California Interscholastic Federation, but you pay their pensions.  Then there’s BCAG, BCAQM, and many more. Through these agencies the taxpayers pay out hundreds of thousands a year in pensions and benefits for, many times, less than 10 full time employees per agency.   I  think there’s five at the mosquito abatement office. There are less at BCAG. They all have boards, they get to make their own rules, and until we start rattling their chains they will continue to loot the cookie jar. 

Workers, like the guys who actually drive around spraying the mosquitoes or mowing the play fields, are not full time and do not receive benefits. Only management get benefits in these agencies, which furthers poverty in our county. Can you imagine, doing a job like spraying mosquitoes, and having no health insurance or pension coming? Being kept as a “seasonal worker” – these people have to turn to welfare to make ends meet, and that’s not good for our economy, it’s just a further drain on the taxpayer.

When I looked at Pension Tracker, I saw the words “actuarial” and “market” valuation, and the term “smoothing.”  I’ll put it in a housewife’s terminology – and then I have to get some tortilla dough going – they have tricks to make the pension deficit look smaller to doofusses like us. I found a good blog about that –

http://neighborhoodeffects.mercatus.org/2012/06/07/actuarial-camouflage-part-i-asset-smoothing/

– I’ll try to pick it up there next time, on “Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle, with This Old Lady”.

 

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6 Responses to “This pension scam is a lot more complicated than I realized”

  1. bob March 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

    How much do these bloodsuckers want? The sales tax is already 9.5% in Pasadena. If these parasites are allowed to, they will literally bleed the people white.

    As Crane said, “State revenues have gone up about 30 percent over the last decade, but state spending on virtually everything other than retirement costs and medical spending – like universities, courts, parks and welfare – is flat to down.”

    And even with all the siphoning off to the pensions and even with the greatest bull market in history the pensions are still woefully underfunded.

    And going forward CalPers is counting on a 7% return. This bull market is already one of the longest in history. So far this year the market is down. So maybe it is now coming to an end. What happens if we have a bear market? (That means at least a 20% draw down.) We are long over due. And heck, even if the bull market continues but gets under 5% these pensions get obliterated in the next several years. In my opinion even 5% for the next several years is a pipe dream and the day of reckoning is fast approaching.

    And how will the politicians, bureaucrats and special interests like the public employee unions react? Well, you’d better hold on to your wallet for dear life because these blood suckers are coming after it with everything they have. Before this all implodes, people are going to realize that government is one of the biggest rip-offs there is.

    • Juanita Sumner March 20, 2018 at 7:53 am #

      Yes, whatever happened to the concept of ” government of the people, by the people, for the people” ?

      I’ve heard from my old relatives – including my cousin who was on the Vallejo City Council back in the 1960’s – that small town government actually used to exist. But, he said, Vallejo and cities all over California gave city managers “executive powers” – that essentially turned city councils into rubberstamp committees – $taff runs the show now, and they run it to their own benefit.

  2. Jim March 19, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

    Eventually the city will only be able to afford one employee. That person will administer the pensions.

    • Juanita Sumner March 20, 2018 at 7:54 am #

      Good one Jim!

      • Jim March 21, 2018 at 8:03 am #

        I stole it from Rudy Giuliani, He said that about New York City.

      • Juanita Sumner March 21, 2018 at 8:17 am #

        a point well made deserves repeating

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