The other day, I passed along a question from “Terry”, a regular in my comment section:
Why should I be required to work until I’m 70 so you can retire at 55?
Polls, incidents, and other ephemera aside, that really is the only question that matters, in Wisconsin or, really, anywhere. It’s a moral question; is your life, your job, your time on this planet worth so much more than mine that I should be required to pay for you to have that benefit?
Government union workers, for the most part, do the same sort of work all of us in the private sector do. A teacher doesn’t have any voodoo that a corporate trainer doesn’t (indeed, most of the corporate trainers I’ve met started as teachers); a public works employee does the same things a carpenter or block layer or pipefitter or a few dozen other trades do in the private sector. So when one of them asks the rest of us “Could you do my job?”, it’s not like society at large can’t respond “we already do”. Cops and firemen are exceptions – at least partly.
And it’s not like government workers still make the traditional trade-off – lower pay for better benefits. That was the case, not too long ago – but fifty years of union organization have have given unions members pay equal to or better than their private-sector equivalents (in the lower to middle income brackets, at the very least) along with the defined-benefit pensions that add the lifetime salaries for 20-30 years’ work.
So the question remains: why should I have to work until I’m 70 so you can retire at 55?
Someone on Twitter the other day told me “they’re not mutually exclusive”, although he couldn’t say why. The fact is that right now, in this economy, and likely for the rest of my working life, they are mutually exclusive; as my “pension” – my IRA and the value of my home – have shrunk your pension remains a “promise”. And if I can’t pay for that “promise”, the IRS and MN Department of Revenue will make my life hell.
So all you Wisconsin union supporters – please make the moral case: Why should I be required (by the force of law, with tax agents and sheriffs with guns) to work until I’m 70 to (be able to afford, maybe, if I’m lucky) to retire so that you can retire at 55 (and life the rest of your life on money that the full force of the state will extract from me, and my children, and my grandchildren? While I scramble to try to make up the losses of this last three years, likely for the rest of my working life?)
The comment section is yours.
The guy who said “they’re not mutually exclusive” later said he thought everyone should retire at 62, proving he’s from Planet Liberal.
Another union supporter later tweeted that the state government union employees have “better retirement fund managers”. In some cases, no – and it’s irrelevant because, good manager or bad, good times or bad, those “managers” can send people to the legislature to appropriate money to make up any differences between the “promises” and the fund balance. And those “appropriations” come from me. They are collected by the MN Department of Revenue if I cooperate, and a Sheriff’s deputy if I don’t.
Libs just never ever get it.