Something’s Gotta Give On Public Pensions — Pittsburgh’s ever-shrinking pension fund was valued at $272.2 million on June 30 and had a liability of $989.5 million. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wants to lease the city’s parking meters and garages by which he hopes to raise $200 million to dump into it and stave off a state takeover.
As though the state doesn’t have pension financing issues of its own.
And that brings us to reality.
Neither the state nor municipal tax burden can be increased without, ultimately, impoverishing the unconnected class which most of us happen to be albeit the Democrat-voting side of “us” doesn’t generally believe it. Meanwhile, there are necessary government services that need to be funded. Pensions, as mean as it may be to say, is not one of them. In other words, the people fixing our roads and patrolling are streets are not the ones receiving pensions. Granted, they expect to. They consider pensions to be part of their wages and if they should see those who have gone before lose their pensions they might not patrol the streets as diligently or even stop altogether, but that just gets us to the next matter which is how to resolve the issue.
One is to let reality run its course. If, for example, the fund has to cough up $989 million but can only pay out $272 million, divvy what is there and walk on. It’s not like it’s never happened in the private sector .
That, however, would be extraordinarily cruel. One would expect in the case of Pittsburgh a lot of those pensions are going to secretaries and garbagemen and are not all that big in the first place, and trying to live on 28 percent of it would be extremely hard.
A better, kinder and much more moral approach would be to set a limit on outlays to, say, $40,000 regardless of whatever was in the contract until Pennsylvania’s economy can grow itself out of the deficit. This would apply to every state and municipal worker from every living governor on down.
One can survive very easily on $40,000. One unwilling to accept this sacrifice in this present crisis was never worthy of holding authority in education or on the bench or in the legislature, anyway, and should consider it due chastisement.