January 16, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

Justin Katz

They'll call it jealousy, the unionists, but I think a caller in to Jim Hummel on the Dan Yorke show yesterday put it more accurately: "Why do the union members think they're better than us?"

I really do wonder if they know what the average (thinking) private-sector worker hears when they say such things:

But those who spoke yesterday decried the "unfairness" of charging state employees and teachers among the highest pension contribution rates in the nation — 8.75 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively — and then withholding a benefit for which they paid. Talking about "property rights" and "life decisions" made in anticipation of annual pension increases, Vincent Santaniello, a lawyer and deputy executive director of the National Education Association of Rhode Island, laid the groundwork for a potential legal challenge.

Plainly put, the circumstances of life change. Nobody gets to take a job in their twenties and then kick back in comfort that their entire financial future is set. Even without cost of living adjustments (and especially with a higher minimum retirement age), considering their pay, their benefits, and their free time, there is no reason that teachers and other public employees shouldn't be able to position themselves extremely well for retirement.

Rhode Island Federation of Teachers & Health Professionals President Marcia Reback speaks of "a permanent subclass of senior citizens who will be in poverty with no hedge against inflation." Yeah, right. Tell that to those of us who work our fingers to the bone yet are always one bill behind because our own taxes and the toxic environment that redirects opportunity away from our state prevent us from advancing in absolute terms, let alone against inflation.

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What makes these public employees think that they should be immune to the economic realities of life that those who pay their salaries have to deal with??

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at January 16, 2009 2:09 PM

Exactly, Justin. My wife, who is in a union, was just informed that her employer will no longer be contributing anything to her 401k plan. 100% of the contributions will come from her.

Where's that outrage??

Hey, at least she still has a job!

Posted by: pitcher at January 16, 2009 2:12 PM

>>“To do this now may be perfectly legal … but I’m not sure that it’s moral,” said Republican Rep. John Savage, a retired East Providence school principal, noting that “more than half the teachers in the state do not have Social Security.”

How high is HIS pension?

And doesn’t his wife work in the school system too?

Time for East Providence to elect a real Republican, not this NEA mole.

Boo hoo, please stop with this red herring argument. The Social Security tax that we pay is about the same as the “contribution” that teachers make to the state pension system. Yet Social Security benefits aren’t calculated based on 75% of our highest consecutive three years earnings, and there is no vesting in Social Security-those “benefits” can be cut at any time.

Posted by: Tom W at January 16, 2009 2:40 PM


What age is Representative Savage, and at what age did he start collecting his taxpayer financed pension?

Posted by: Tom W at January 16, 2009 2:43 PM

>>What makes these public employees think that they should be immune to the economic realities of life that those who pay their salaries have to deal with??

Because they get away with it.

Time to fight back - it's OUR money, not theirs.

Ir's OUR families that we should be supporting, not theirs.


I have.

There are more of us than them, and if we start "demonstrating" the way they do we can win.

We drive a few extra minutes to go to WalMart to save a few bucks, so taking a few minutes to sign a petition and write a letter, potentially saving your household thousands of dollars in taxes, should be a no brainer.

East Providence's fight is our fight. If the school committee wins there, it'll embolden committees throughout the state.

If they lose there, it'll embolden the greedy teachers unions.

They know that EP could be the first domino in their defeat, that's why they trucked teachers in from around the state to bully the school committee.

Posted by: Tom W at January 16, 2009 2:54 PM

Can someone explain this petitioning the judge thing? He's not elected and his job is to apply the law as fairly and correctly as he can. I would certainly hope he's not going to apply the law based on which side sends more signatures. That's for politicians.

I don't get it.

Posted by: pitcher at January 16, 2009 3:27 PM


You are exactly right. Except judges do make political decisions like the one to award George W. Bush the presidency in 2000.

Posted by: Phil at January 16, 2009 4:55 PM


Would the decision have been apolitical if they "awarded" the election to Al Gore?

Posted by: pitcher at January 16, 2009 5:49 PM

No I would not. What they might have done was to allow the counting of all ballots.

Posted by: Phil at January 17, 2009 8:19 AM

Get over it.

I'm no fan of Un-curious George. But the reality is that Al Bore didn't even carry his own state.

And then, when there was a "do over" in 2004, W won again.

Posted by: George Elbow at January 17, 2009 8:39 AM

There is one easy explantion for why the union pigs fight so visciously to protect their turf. It is because most of them know all too well that if they had to go into the real world and make an honest living, they don't stand a prayer. They are clinging on for dear life for one reason - they are dead without the scam they presently have going. In a way you can't blame the pigs.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at January 17, 2009 11:22 AM

Mike Cappelli.

Again: It serves no purpose to call the unionists "pigs." Most of them are people who went into teacher for good (or neutral) reasons, and who've succumbed to a detrimental culture. Our arguments are more effective if we're deliberate in recognizing the humanity of their targets.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 18, 2009 9:06 PM
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