Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

December 24, 2013

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Almost every day we are reminded how the billions of dollars in unfunded pensions for state employee retirees and teacher retirees have become the major issue for our state. A lot of finger pointing and placing blame for our sorry condition is publicized daily.

Some say it is strictly mismanaging and lack of proper funding in the past that has caused us to become a national disgrace in this area with declining bond ratings and a reputation of fiscal mismanagement that has been ongoing for years. I want to state clearly and up front that nothing in this article is meant to be disparaging to any public servant, teacher, policemen, fireman or any employee in the system. I respectfully state that they are on the whole honorable people doing sometimes very difficult — and in some instances — possibly dangerous jobs.

My sole purpose is to contrast the huge difference between the public and private sector in the area of retiree benefits and pensions using examples that I have knowledge of with simplified examples or “Rip speak” as I frequently say.

I have stated in the past how ignorant I was about anything political or public because until I retired, I just did not know. Some of what I will use in the contrast is personal knowledge in the private sector and a lot will be what I have learned by reading and research since I retired.

I learn something almost daily that if it does not shock me, it certainly gets my attention about how the public sector operates. I want to state again this is not meant as a putdown of folks in the state, county, and city jobs. It is intended to point out how far our leaders have taken them from the real world and why there is so much talk and blame being discussed publicly.

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