Firefighters reject pay offer and ramp up work bans
By Mike Smith
1 November 2013
The unions pushing for state pension cuts to be reversed with the support of Governor Charlie Baker are now calling for a federal bailout, citing “unrealistic” projections of long-term losses from an ongoing financial crisis.
The union-driven proposal would force state workers to pay into the f?? ?? ??ederal disability fund for 10 years, if they wish, followed by another 10 years of pay freezes for any employee who fails to meet certain performance goals.
The proposals are part of a drive by union-backed politicians and poli??? ???tical groups to replace the governor’s pension plan which contains $24 billion in unfunded and deferred claims from both the current and the last four governors, which collectively total $1.1 billion in promised payments over the life of the bond program.
The proposed cuts are the same as the $4.6 billion already scheduled for 2018, which has already been approved by the state legislature. There have been no reports of layoffs, while the governor has proposed no cuts in retirement benefits for workers under the current plans, so as not to disrupt the pension system in any way.
Despite Baker’s efforts to avoid any “political fallout” from his pension fund plans, the “fiscal cliff” is not about the current state of the deficit or any serious spending cuts ??? ??at all. It is a political tactic to allow the Republicans to enact cuts in welfare, unemployment, education, and other vital public services that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.
The political goals were clearly explained in a Wall Street Journal article by the Republican Party’s “economic guru” Lawrence Yun:
“What was needed was for President Obama’s team to go back to the drawing board to address these critical challenges, and instead of taking $1 trillion in new taxes and spending for the people who have worked for the last eight years, what they really needed was to take all their existing taxes and the money they were taking away,” Yun said. “That’s where the $12-trillion tax cut came in.”
Yun cited a study of the pension funds that showed that the largest of the two largest public pension funds—the California Public Employees’ Retirement System—had spent more than half its recent contributions—about $22 billion—on defense and other areas where the Obama administration was planning on increasing spending.
He concluded that in the past eight years, as the Obama administration put $9.4 billion in $2.25 billion, plus additiona