Archive for February 2011
Can’t blame this one on Republicans. Over the last couple decades, the GOP’s share of the control in Sacramento has ranged in varying degrees from small minority to smaller minority, so you can’t blame this one on them, even if the ruling Democrats sought to put together a commission that could be called “bipartisan”.
The bipartisan Little Hoover Commission recommended today that California state and local governments roll back pensions for existing employees, dump guaranteed retirement payouts and put more of the pension burden on workers.
Although any attempt to reduce pensions for current workers would prompt a legal battle, the commission says that public pension funds are in such dire financial straits that they’ll never right themselves by reducing benefits for new hires.
- The most controversial Hoover proposal would allow state and local governments to freeze existing employee pension benefits and then lower them for future years worked.
- Move public pension from the current defined benefit model that guarantees retirement payouts, to a three-legged hybrid system that includes a small defined benefit pension, Social Security and an employer-matched 401(k) component that is professionally managed.
- Establish uniform rules to prevent “pension spiking.”
- Establish an annual salary cap of no more than $90,000 for purposes of figuring out pension benefits.
- Prohibit “pension holidays” that allow government to skip contributions when pension funds are flush.
- Prohibit retroactive pension benefit hikes.
- Split pension contributions between employer and employee.
The steps the Democrats are being forced to consider taking in Sacramento makes what they’re doing in Wisconsin seem pretty tame.
The unions are given license to automatically deduct the dues from their member’s paychecks, these dues fund the political campaigns of politicians who will then grant them bigger salaries, better benefits and more generous pensions, and when you repeat the process election after election after election . . . is it any wonder that sooner or later the salaries and benefits and pensions of the state workers are going to be larger than anything the taxpayers and the economy can bare?
You end up with public sector salaries, benefits and pensions that are UNSUSTAINABLE. There are about a dozen states now where the collusion between big labor politicians and state unions has plundered the economy to a point where the only choices left are either drastic and brutal adjustments now or a full, Greek-style meltdown not far down the road.
NASA’s Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have sent back millions of images for the folks back home to sift through, but just recently, one image in particular has created quite a stir across the Internet, with many people claiming this photo shows evidence of life on Mars.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Senior staffers of U.S. Rep. David Wu were so alarmed over the Oregon Democrat’s erratic behavior just days before the November election that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment, a newspaper reported Friday evening.
The Oregonian, citing interviews with a number of anonymous staff members, reported on its website that Wu was increasingly unpredictable on the campaign trial and in private last fall, and had several angry and loud outbursts and sometimes said “kooky” things to staff and potential voters and donors. A similar report was carried on the Willamette Week newspaper’s website on Friday.
The fact that Wu was in the middle of a difficult re-election campaign from his Portland-area district made his behavior particularly worrisome to staff who organized a meeting with the congressman at his campaign headquarters on Oct. 30, with a psychiatrist joining by speaker phone.
“This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW,” wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues the day of the meeting. “No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help.”
Wu was defiant and left the meeting, saying he was going to a movie, sources told The Oregonian.
That’s the Chinese symbol for “denial” and this could be the perfect definition for it: your entire staff gathers together with your psychiatrist on speaker phone, demanding you enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment and you say, “Screw you guys, I’m going to a movie.”
That is awesome. Next time I face an intervention, that is exactly the line I’m going to use.
I hope he does get the help he needs. Then again, maybe it really IS everyone else who’s crazy.
*** UPDATE ***
Looks like Representative Wu is going in for treatment. Good to hear it. It may have been only after half his staff quit, but still a good thing to hear he’s getting some help.