My debate topic for today:
Why should any government paid workers receive a pension over $100,000 when they retire, or more realistically speaking why should any government pension be over $50,000?
Along with highly paid government workers, the issue of excessively high pensions paid to retired government workers has been a controversial issue in the news. The wretched city manager, police chief, and other employees of the city of Bell, California have recently been exposed for their outrageous thievery of city tax dollars to pay obscenely high salaries to themselves and their cohorts. The guilty parties have either been forced into resignation or could be facing a recall by referendum. However, there is still the issue of the pension packages that were part of their contracts and may have to be honored by the state retirement system unless fraudulent activity can be uncovered and the contracts rendered invalid.
The Bell employees may be looking at retirement pensions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year with eligibility starting at age 55. I have heard that the estimated pension that Bell ex-city manager Robert Rizzo could potentially collect if he lives an average life span could be up to $25 million paid out of the already strained retirement funds.
According to recent data from californiapensionreform.com 9,111 retired California government workers receive pensions in excess of $100,000 from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Currently, the investigation and overhaul of the entire California government pension program is becoming a hot button issue in Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown's campaign for governor. Many people are puzzled and angry with some of these ridiculously high pensions.
Another blogger whom I have frequently championed and hold very dear has been upset with my debate topics "bashing" government workers and understandably so since she is a state worker. In a reply to me she stated, "In the state of ca the average pension is just about 2000/month". I can't say for sure if that is the case, but it sounds possible. As I stated in my Debate Day topic last week, what I am questioning probably doesn't apply to most government-paid workers so I don't really feel like I'm bashing anybody, but I am merely questioning some of what would seem to me to be gross inequities of the system.
Just to give an example: The highest paid retiree in the Calpers payouts is former city manager and jack-of-all city jobs in the tiny Los Angeles County city of Vernon, Bruce Malkenhorst, who receives a reported annual pension of $509,664.60 per year, which translates to $42,472.05 per month. Most of us probably don't make his monthly pay in a years time. I think there is something very wrong with this picture.
This is but one example out of many in the state of California. Nationwide there are probably many similar examples. Perhaps some of you can relate other examples that you have heard about. I may not understand all of the facts, but with all of the stirring that is going on about the subject their must be a problem. Our governments are facing financial trouble across the country and within the federal government itself. A reassessment of the system and the way government operates must be done.
I certainly can't argue with the aformentioned $24,000 a year-- that is on the low side. I also think that the retired government employees should retain good medical benefits. But why would a government employee expect or need a pension over $50,000 if they also receive medical benefits? Moreover, is there any ex-government employee that should ever receive in excess of $100,000? And why should any of them be allowed to take retirement at age 55? I'm just asking. Do any of you have the answers? What are your thoughts on this topic?