Important headlines for May 21st - Pensions and Impeachment
Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them...
Excerpt: Broward Sheriff’s employees are beefing up their pensions by piling on overtime – some amounting to more than $100,000 a year.
Hot Take: I'm glad to see this angle of the Scot Peterson story gaining some additional attention. At the time the story broke I placed half the focus on the size of the pension and posed the question about whether earning a $104,000 per year pension was reasonable at taxpayer expense. It's a question that needs to be addressed. The median person income in Broward is $47,454. Scot Peterson's pension is $104,424, or 220% higher than the average taxpayer paying for the pension. Importantly, as the story points out, Peterson isn't an anomaly. So, what's really fair? And that also takes me to an additional point. Why we should be ending pensions anyway.
I've long called pensions legalized fraud for one very important reason. No one can guarantee you a future this side of God. Not only is a pension a promise that's unfounded in every possible way, it's got as much in common with a Ponzi scheme, as it does a sound retirement plan. To be clear I don't be grudge anyone their pension who's generally earned it (even in the case of Peterson's situation it was setup by government officials at the literal expense of the taxpayer), quite the opposite, but it's based on a false premise. That there will definitively be money X amount of money for X amount of time in the future. There's no guarantee they'll be the financial resources to pay that out at a later point and many public and private pension holders have discovered the hard way. There's not even a promise that particular government will exist in the future.
A move to a personal retirement account, a la a 401k, would be best for all involved. The employee, the employer – including government and taxpayers as the case may be.
What Does the Democratic Party Stand For? Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic
Hot Take: This is an important question as we head into the midterms. Let's say for a moment that we were to have a Democratic wave in November that swept Democrats into office. Name one expectation that would come out of that win. Impeachment, right? Two potential issues with that one. First, it's not a policy idea that makes the average person's life better. Second, it's unpopular. The most recent accredited polling show that an average of only 36% of Americans support impeachment proceedings. So that might play well in left-wing primaries but not as a uniform party message. For awhile, Democrats thought the new tax law might be that opportunity as they lied about the impact of it. Problem now is it's working just as President Trump's approval ratings are as high as they've been. If the question on the ballot in November is whether you'd prefer the Obama or Trump economy – how are you answering?