It is truly unfortunate when an organization created to protect the interest of certain people becomes the very source of harm that it was designed to ward off. Unions provide an interesting case study this is matter. There are stories of older Union members spiking their retirement benefits and double dipping. This directly harm younger union members who depend on their being money in the fund so that they can retire. Yesterday’s news about Scranton’s double pension recipients highlights the sort of greed that demonstrate how Unions often eat their young.
It was discovered a couple of years ago that 35 retired Scranton government employees received twice as much pension benefit payouts then they were supposed to. This is in a city that is already insolvent and moving to perform desperate measures like the sale public assets to shore up the underfunded pension. The honorable thing would be to return the money or at least work to mitigate the situation. Instead, thirteen of these retirees are fighting to avoid even having the case heard by an examiner. Can you imagine? They know that they receive more than they deserve but they still want to hang on to the money. Now, if this is how some union members respond to their own, imagine how they must feel about the average tax payer? It is interesting to note that the average tax payer can expect to have little to no social security left when they retire. Not only do government employees receive well paid pensions, retire early but they do not even pay into social security.
I have long stated that my interest has always been in promoting a position that is fair. How is it fair that there are government employees who receive double pensions while younger government employees will have nothing? How is it fair to expect the tax payer to bail out a pension fund that they had no hand in creating or under funding? The reality of the situation is that the pension funds are underfunded and raising taxes on tax payers to pay it off is unfair. The tax payer also has families that they need to support. They too have mouths to feed. We need to be adults about this situation. The pensions need to be reformed and new tax revenues sources need to be generated. This is the only reasonable course of action. The alternative is to do what legislators have been doing for years which is put their heads in the sand and wait for the next administration to deal with the fall out. We are now at the cusp of a nationwide crisis because we are practicing whole sale avoidance. If any of us were personally in the position that the Scranton government, or any other government, was in we would do the right thing and make the necessary cuts to put ourselves in a stronger financial position. We would most likely attempt to find other means of income and incorporate cost saving measures. If this is what we expect of ourselves, we should not expect anything different from our governments.