Sunday, July 8, 2012

More Bad Pension Reporting

The Journal Sentinel's PolitiFact Wisconsin deemed Marty Beil's (executive director AFSCME) description of the state pension plan being self-funded as "mostly false".

Then, after numerous contortions and rhetorical gymnastics, the articles itself states, "Pensions are an integral part of an employee’s compensation package. In effect, it is money set aside now to be available when the worker retires. "It’s not like they’re giving it to us," said Susan McMurray (AFSCME lobbyist Council 11), who spoke for Beil. This point of view was advocated during the original collective bargaining debate by financial journalist David Cay Johnston. "The money the state ‘contributes’ is actually part of the compensation that has been negotiated with state workers in advance so it is their money that they choose to take as pension payments in the future rather than cash wages or other benefits today," Johnston wrote in a 2011 article for"

At the end of the day, contributions by the state - the employer of state public workers - are part of the workers' overall compensation. These are terms negotiated in the workers' contracts. Rather than demanding a higher wage, the workers forego hourly pay in exchange for a pension contribution. It's actually the workers' deferred wages being used to fund the pension plan. Pretty straight forward concept.

The employer - the state - places a certain percentage of earnings into a retirement account. They can either do this or pay the worker the equivalent more per hour. Is this too complicated for PolitiFact to understand?

I guess this is just another attempt at sensationalistic journalism with the well-worn theme of union bashing.

How PolitiFact can conclude that the pension plan being self-funded is mostly false is totally bullshit.

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