John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis

John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis
State Rep. John D McGinnis (R-79)

This review of State Rep. John D McGinnis’ (R-79) book detailing Pennsylvania’s scandalous and corrupt pension crisis was submitted by Joe Sterns of First Water Consulting.

By Joe Sterns

Pennsylvania’s state motto is “virtue, liberty, and independence.” Ironically, there is no place less welcoming to those principles today than the gilded hallways of the commonwealth’s capitol.  What began as William Penn’s “holy experiment” has sadly devolved from a beacon of civic virtue and engine of prosperity into one of the most corrupt and economically stagnant states in the union. Penn’s own words would become prophetic: “As governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined, too.”

Whereas the Keystone State’s lawmakers were once altruistic citizen legislators serving only part-time and for limited terms, today they are a frequent subject of criminal prosecutions and pilloried by the media as “hogs” who “slop themselves” with ungodly perks and benefits.  At $84,000 a year, their salary ranks second only to California legislators.  Upon retiring in 2010, the Pennsylvania Senate Minority Leader received a lump sum pension payment of $331,025 and had amassed an annual retirement benefit of $138,958.

Harrisburg today is best defined by what the watchdog group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania calls the “Iron Triangle”, which comprises career politicians hell-bent on re-election, bureaucrats, and the special-interest groups to whom the politicians slavishly pander for campaign money by ladling out taxpayer dollars. The Iron Triangle’s scandals of the last three decades are too numerous to mention, but its devastating impact on Pennsylvania’s economy can be summed up with a few bullet points:

·         Pennsylvania’s per-capita burden of state and local debt is 2nd highest in the nation.
·         Pennsylvania produced the second fewest number of jobs from 1970 to 2009.
·         Pennsylvania had the fifth lowest personal income growth from 1970 – 2009.

In 2012, John McGinnis, Ph.D., decided he could no longer watch from the sidelines as Harrisburg’s political class continued to debase itself and put the American Dream ever further out of reach.  A professor of finance at Penn State-Altoona and chartered financial analyst, Dr. McGinnis defeated longtime state Representative Rick Geist in the Republican primary election and went on to win the general election.

Despite his keen intellect and acumen, Dr. McGinnis was—not surprisingly—greeted coldly by the career politicians in Harrisburg, as they denied his request to serve on the two legislative committees—Education and Finance—most befitting his rare skill set.  He’d earned his place in the House of Representatives by beating one of their prized “old bulls” – and on a platform of fiscal restraint and forswearing the trappings of office, no less. They were more concerned with letting him know that they didn’t like how he got there than harnessing his brainpower.
Nonetheless, Dr. McGinnis immediately went to work on his own to address the most ominous of clouds hovering over the commonwealth: public pension debt.

This book is important for two reasons: foremost, it exposes—with irrefutable data and plainspoken language—the true amount of unfunded liabilities (debt) in the commonwealth’s two public pension plans—SERS and PSERS—which the Iron Triangle has kept hidden from taxpayers and the media.  Dr. McGinnis details what’s necessary to ameliorate catastrophic fiscal repercussions from years, if not decades, of bad policies and put Pennsylvania on firm footing for the long term.

Second, the book offers a rare and crucial insider’s perspective of the Iron Triangle, such that taxpayers will better understand the mindset of career politicians and how their insatiable chase for re-election is ultimately why Pennsylvania finds itself well over $100 billion in the hole.

Hopefully, enough taxpayers and journalists will read this book that by the time Dr. McGinnis’ self-restricted tenure in the legislature comes to its untimely end, the collective outcry for fiscal responsibility will be deafening and what he is fighting for now will come to fruition—before it’s too late.

The book can be found online here.

John D McGinnis Book Explains Pension Crisis

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