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Friday, April 13, 2012

I Don't Have the Benefit of Voicing My Opinions on the Seattle Times Op/Ed Page. That Is a Fairness Problem

Posted by on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Just remember: promoting class warfare is bad, except when you're warring on the working class:

Seattle pensions give early retirees benefits much more generous than they have earned... This is a fine benefit, but most taxpayers will never have such a benefit themselves. That is a fairness problem.

Uh-huh. And you know what other benefits most taxpayers don't enjoy? Mercer Island waterfront homes. Custom-crafted tax breaks. The rare privilege of inheriting a daily newspaper and then running it into the ground.

That is a fairness problem.

I'm guessing that the Seattle Time's recent obsession with editorializing in favor of slashing public employee pension benefits has something to do with the shoddy job Frank Blethen has done managing his own employees' pension fund. Total speculation here, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Frank attempt to use contract negotiations or bankruptcy in an effort to skip out on a big chunk of his pension obligations. And when he does, don't be surprised if he offers an excuse somewhat like this:

This is a fine benefit, but even public employees will never have such a benefit themselves. That is a fairness problem.

Note to elected officials: Frank Blethen is a crappy businessman! Don't take financial advice from this man!


Comments (18) RSS

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Dr_Awesome 1
See, here it is again, the myth that somehow retiring early returns more benefits.

Goldy or Eli, you'd be doing a service by explaining how the pension system actually works, and busting the myth that early retirement somehow earns one more than a later retirement. Publish that, and I'll mail it to the editorial board at Fairview Fanny.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on April 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Hernandez 2
@1 I'd love to see that as a feature article in an upcoming Stranger issue. Blog posts are one thing, but this particulary bit of Blethen idiocy deserves a retort in a broader-reaching forum.
Posted by Hernandez on April 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Goldy 3
@1, You're right. I've only tangentially touched on that in past posts. But actuarial stuff is complicated, so I need to study up.
Posted by Goldy on April 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 4
Goldy, I just picked up a retirement handbook (State Department of Retirement Systems) and it's a pretty clear description of how the system works, and how the payouts are amortized.

Want my copy? I won't be needing it for several more years, I can mail it to you at The Starnger.

Posted by Dr_Awesome on April 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
@4 which of the systems? PERS 1,2,3,4 or the UWRP and other plans? Different groups get different handbooks.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 6
Hey hey, the Seattle times pushes Op/eds that are against public and labor rights, and FOR slashing public assistance and labor rights. See, they take both sides' opinions even-handedly.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
The issue, as explained by the report linked from the Times editorial, is fairly straightforward: If you retire early, your payments are reduced somewhat. However, the reduction in benefits is smaller than the increase in costs the city incurs by virtue of having to pay you for a longer period of time. This doesn't necessarily mean that early retirement is a relatively good deal for employees, but it does mean that it's a relatively bad deal for the city.
Posted by Sean P. on April 13, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Goldy 8
@7: But you also need to add into that equation the fact that older workers cost the city more money in higher wages and significantly higher health care costs.
Posted by Goldy on April 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
Jenny from the Block 9
I love the rhetoric distinguishing public employees from taxpayers. The county, state, city, and unversities employ a large percentage of people in this area. So many of the taxpayers DO get the benefit of generous pensions.
Posted by Jenny from the Block on April 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
Surprise, the Blethens want public sector employees to be paid shit wages compared to the private sector, and be served a shit sandwich of pension reneging. Because you know, retaining high quality employees in the public sector will happen thanks to the accolades conservatives and the Blethen Cage Liner will shower on them for their service. Or are the Blethens going to start advocating for salary parity of public sector workers to like jobs in the private sector?

For people that yammer about the greatness of markets so much, they never understand how they work.
Posted by Mike Silva on April 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 11
@10: "For people that yammer about the greatness of markets so much, they never understand how they work."

Of course they do. Their rhetoric doesn't give a shit about how the market works out for ~you~.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Hey, no complaints about the corporate myth-media, after all, both Comcast and Time-Warner are both heavily involved with the Koch brothers' American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is stridently involved with voter suppression, anti-arms control programs, the overall destruction of ALL workers' rights, privatization of eduction, etc., etc., etc.

And don't forget all those entitlement programs ! ! !

Those Aptly Named Entitlement Programs

Super-sized bank bailouts: first, those TARP bailouts, which banksters claimed to have repaid, but they simply paid back the majority owed by accessing other government funds, according to a recent GAO study; and secondly, those super-sized Federal Reserve loans to all the banks and corporations, both in America and throughout the world ($16.1 trillion) --- wonder how they were paid back?

Further backdoor bailouts to the private insurance companies, which happen to be owned by the banksters.

QEI and QEII (Quantitative Easing I and Quantitative Easing II), from the Federal Reserve to the banks to speculate commodities (oil/energy and foodstuffs, etc.) upwards.

That oil depletion allowance

Corrupt tax code which favors the super-rich (endless Louis B. Mayer-type clauses, plus that anti-worker IRS Tax Rule 401 (a) (5).
Posted by sgt_doom on April 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
American Interests? Or multinational control?

We are constantly lectured by pseudo-experts proclaiming that all actions taken are in America’s interest --- many or most of those murderous and bloody actions seem to always profit the economic elites, while dismantling economic structures which benefit the majority and undermine the fabric of society --- regardless of the countries involved.

There has been a continuum of actions by America in the Middle East and Near East which, although sometimes appearing illogical, move inexorably in the same direction.

With the Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama administrations, the overall thrust is to strengthen the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, secondarily, while promoting multinationals’ strength and profits, primarily.

Yes, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan appear to weaken Sunnis while empowering the Shia and establishing the Shia Crescent, but it succeeded in capturing oil and other resources for transport to China and India to benefit the multinationals and, by extension, the economic elites in those two countries.

Wikileaked cables have exposed the inside wrangling to appoint America’s – or the multinationals’ – choice for director general (a Japanese national) of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has aided the Obama administration’s falsifying their inspections in Iran.

The Bush administration falsified intel on Iraqi WMDs; the Obama administration does the same with Iran --- the perfect continuum!

Iran has the oil and the radium, and after years and years of American and multinational interference in their internal affairs, Iran has the temerity to switch from US petrodollars to a different means of financial exchange.

The economic/numeric indicators later this year (7/12 to 12/12) appear seriously grave, contrary to what the pseudo-expert talking heads prattle on about; the logical outcome of offshoring American production assets (jobs, factories, production facilities, etc.) and American capital assets (financial investments, plus US foreign aid to build those factories, production facilities, etc., for the multinationals, with some of that foreign aid being laundered to return to America as focused political campaign contributions).

Should a war on Iran occur in the second half of this year, it would certainly obscure this reality and be used as the current economic excuse.

A report has recently appeared from within the Pentagon (by a Lt.Col. Davis), suggesting that senior officers, general ranking officers, mislead the government on logistical aspects of the Afghanistan war. (In other words, the war was simply "mismanaged.")

This is simply more ludicrous, specious, superfluousness!

It is akin to arguing the details of evil once perpetrated by serial killer, Ted Bundy; why he once tortured a woman to death over a nine-day period, as opposed to another gruesome murder where he only tortured another woman to death over a three-day period!
Evil is as evil does ---- whether perpetrated by a psychopathic Ted Bundy, or by the psychopathic multinationals!
Posted by sgt_doom on April 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 14
This is a fine benefit, but even public employees will never have such a benefit themselves. That is a fairness problem.

Considering how easy it appears to be for private employers to bugger out of their pension obligations, I'm glad I'm not going to get that "benefit". And the way public pensions are now used as a political football (and the way Republicans salivate over using that money to give tax cuts to millionaires), I'm also glad I don't work in the public sector.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
internet_jen 15
How much a pensioner gets paid is pretty simple math. The University of Washington has lot of the pay details of all their employees public and online, though buried deep on HR websites. How retirement funds are funded might be the complicated bit. Currently I pay 4.64% of gross pay, UW pays 7.25% of my gross pay. I also have access to a 403(b) (I believe it operates like an IRA but I can contribute as a pre-tax deduction).

There are only Pers plan 1, 2, or 3. Pers 1 is closed to new members. Pers 3 is basically taking your life into your own hands. Majority of employees are in the Pers 2 plan:

Service retirement
You are eligible to retire when you are 65 and have at least five service credit years. This formula will be used to calculate your monthly benefit:

2 % x service credit years x average final compensation

Average final compensation is the average of your 60 consecutive highest paid service
credit months. Any severance pay, or lump sum payment for unused sick leave or vacation/annual leave, is not included.

Pers 2 handbook:…
Early Retirement publication:…
Job Specs. & Pay Scales for Classified Staff :…
Posted by internet_jen on April 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
If you want to work for a real newspaper so bad, Goldpussy, then suck Blethen's cock like his son does. It should come naturally now that you "work" at the Stranger. And don't worry about that complicated actuarial stuff. Just tweet on your rape whistle some more and shriek like the cunt you are.
Posted by Betaraybilly3 on April 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this

If you haven't, go to the DRS website. They have great brochures there that explain in detail how the various systems work, including the really retirement provisions. It's not necessarily a good financial deal for the employee to take early retirement. But I know that the Times and other sources aren't really looking for facts, so none of this probably matters.
Posted by Bax on April 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 18
@16: Whereas you couldn't even get successfully hired to write copy for a porn site.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this

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