January 4, 2009

Retiring England and New England, Alike

Justin Katz

The editorial board of the Providence Journal notes a familiar problem in the old country:

Last month, Britain's biggest business group, CBI, released a report contending that the total liability for public pensions in the country had reached at least a staggering 900 million pounds — about $1.4 trillion. Some 5 million unionized public employees in Britain may retire at 60, at two-thirds of their highest salary, while 21 million private-sector employees face much less plush retirements, and the prospect of working (if they are lucky) until 70 to make ends meet.

Of course, there are myths and statistical imbalances to be overcome if the untenable situation is to be remedied:

The public employees contend that they get plush pensions in exchange for earning less than their private-sector counterparts. But a study by the Office for National Statistics found that isn't true; public employees received higher pay than those in the private-sector at all but the highest levels.

Under the Labor Party, the number of public employees in Britain exploded by more than 23 percent between 1998 and 2006, while private-sector employment — which covers most of the cost of government — inched up only 3.3 percent.

Creeping socialism begins to look like a concerted plan, doesn't it?

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First, a minor point: the Projo must have had a typo. 900 million pound sterling is the US Dollar equivalent of $1.4 Billion, not $1.4 Trillion, as the current exchange rate is ~1.5 USD per 1 Pound Sterling. I believe the 900 Million pounds should have been 900 Billion, which equates to $1.4 Trillion.

In any event, this is just another example of where "labor" just does not get it.

They live in an unsustainable fantasy world of Entitlements, spurred on by brainwashing Union propaganda.

One need only look at the garbage spewed forth by the NEA.

They are constantly telling their flock of mindless sheep that they are underpaid and that their wages have not kept up with inflation.

Witness the classic Pat "I Struggle with Basic Math" Crowley diatribe that was published in papers accross the state this time last year in which he asserted with confidence that the rate of growth in "instruction expenditures" (the lion's share of which is teacher pay) had not kept pace with the rate of inflation.

In fact, the dope (Crowley) was dead wrong. Instruction expenditures had outpaced Inflation by 42%! Duck-boy incorrectly compared 5 years of Expenditure growth to 7 years of Inflation growth. He was clearly taught his math "skills" by one of those high performing Union "teachers" he so admirably advocates for.

The shame of it was that not one School Committee accross the state wrote in to correct the moron. Thus, his flock went forth believing the false rhetoric.

Similarly, we've often discussed the fact that the Average Teacher salary in RI of $54,703 (as of 2005/2006) is considerably MORE than RI's Median Household Income of $52,421 for the same period. Said differently, ONE single Teacher in RI earns far more than the ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD of many RI households.

This disparity is even worse when you factor in the near free Healthcare the Union members receive, along with the nut-bag Pensions they are "entitled" to, not to mention the number of days "worked" by our teachers.

Indeed, the Union has done a masterful job of keeping alive the myth of low teacher pay.

Unfortunately, the public foolishly allows the Unions to control the conversation and the "facts", as opposed to exposing them for the damaging frauds they are.

Kind of like embracing without challenge the NEA's Bob Walsh's screwball "Walshian Assumptions" and believing that we can continue providing Guaranteed benefits (i.e. Defined Benefits) in return for minimal employee contributions and retirement dates before age 65 in a world where there are NO guarantees of economic prosperity.

Posted by: George Elbow at January 4, 2009 11:20 AM


Could we start the new year, please, with a resolution to decrease the degree to which we allow ad hominem to detract from factual argument? Your facts are strong enough. Why burden them with off-putting put-downs?

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 4, 2009 11:43 AM

There's more than one way to convert a country (and its economy) from an individual-liberty / free enterprise based system to a collectivist / democratic-socialism system / communism.

One is through outright political takeover (e.g., the Bolshevik revolution).

The other is unannounced, incrementally, through “compassion” and “community organizers” (such as our President-elect).

Over time so few notice and opposition doesn’t arise, create more and more public sector employees, who become what might well have been called “employees of the state” under an announced collectivist regime.

Over time so few notice and opposition doesn’t arise, create more and more de facto government employees (“employees of the state”) – “unionized” daycare workers who feed off of the welfare system; nursing home / home care workers (same); “community service” organizations financed by public funds.

Create more and more dependents of the state: welfare recipients and seniors via Social Security and Medicare, which in turn fuel more demand for #2.

Use the union funds (and voting self-interest of those in 1-3) to elect allied politicians of the agenda, who will in turn enact more programs of the 1-3 ilk. Once 1-3 reaches the critical mass of a voting majority, no true opposition will be electorally viable (thought there may be token “opposition” parties to maintain the pretense of choice, even though they themselves won’t work against the status quo, other than lip-service at election time. See, e.g., the RIGOP and California GOP).

Without taking title (too obvious), de facto nationalize entire industries via funding, bailouts, ever-increasing regulation and tax policy. Healthcare (single payer schemes) and automotive and banking, for instance. Once the government becomes a company’s or industry’s funding source, the government de facto owns and runs the company – the management and shareholders become mere props to maintain the façade of a free-market system.

Once the above become a majority of GDP the state will, in effect (and as Karl Marx wanted) “own the means of production.”

Consider that in RI government is the single largest employer, and that doesn’t even include the poverty industry’s “contractors” or recipients. It is likely the case that welfare in its myriad forms is Rhode Island’s single-largest industry.

When former GE CEO Jack Welch said on the Stephanoupolis show a few months ago that if one wants a preview of how bad the country’s economy will become under an Obama administration merely look at dysfunctional Rhode Island, he “knew whereof he speaks.”

Posted by: Tom W at January 4, 2009 12:57 PM

>>Create more and more dependents of the state: welfare recipients and seniors via Social Security and Medicare, which in turn fuel more demand for #2."

To elaborate, do this by undermining the pillars of western civilization by changing the dialogue under the name of "compassion."

Take away the stigma of single motherhood, and over time undermine the family unit of mother, father and children.

Eventually, after taking away the stigma, then define deviancy down by making it acceptable. Then normal.

At the same time, use the government welfare system to render fathers financially irrelevant.

Take away the stigma of being on welfare.

Then make it acceptable.

Then normal.

To accelerate this, tell the recipients that they are victims, that it isn't their fault, that they can't do anything about it and so need not be responsible for themselves - government will be responsible for them.

Turn welfare from a temporary helping hand, to acceptable, to normal, and then to a a right / entitlement ... a multi-generational one.

Posted by: Tom W at January 4, 2009 6:08 PM

Hm, how soon will it be until Directive 10-289 is forced upon us?

Don't kid yourself, it's coming.

Posted by: Chris at January 4, 2009 7:41 PM

I wish I had a cloaked valley in Colorado in which to take refuge ...

Posted by: Tom W at January 4, 2009 8:11 PM
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