Minnesota pensions: Why do they get bailed out and not you?

  • Article by: John Widen
  • Updated: May 15, 2013 - 6:30 PM

The difference between public pension plans and individual retirement accounts is in who’s assumed responsibility for the risk.

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jjsbrwMay. 15, 13 7:19 PM

For the most part, private sector pensions were eliminated for one simple reason: pension funds held HUGE piles of cash that somebody else wanted, so very important and smart people were paid big chunks of those huge piles to take the money from the people for whom it was intended and give it to somebody else. Then, the companies that moved to defined contribution plans were able to pay their workers a fraction of their former retirement benefits. HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE win for the captains of industry. Read Ellen Schultz's "Retirement Heist".

unionbossmanMay. 15, 13 7:45 PM

Public union pensions deserve NO bailing out. Let them work into their old age. The rest of us who has lived beneath our means to save for retirement have no sympathy for these jokers.

goferfanzMay. 15, 13 7:58 PM

Again, the double whammy on private sector workers is the government not only gives generous, taxpayer guaranteed pension plans........BUT this same govt has incurred trillions in debt so interest rates have to be kept near ZERO for the foreseeable future. Thus, private workers nearing retirement no longer have those guaranteed funds to give that 5-6% return. Now, it's a zero % money market or take your chances in the volatile market. Swell, huh? If govt workers had been on the same plan, then I guarantee this insanity of our enormous federal debt wouldnt have occurred. Talk about double jeopardy for Main Street ;o(

furguson11May. 15, 13 8:40 PM

I'll be happy to bail out of my public pension. Just give me the employee and employer share with a reasonable rate of return, heck, tie it to the stock market for the last 30 years. Mismanaged and over-promised is what pension funds are.

jbpaperMay. 15, 13 8:45 PM

"We promised our public employees pensions as part of their employment. We took the risk. So we are on the hook to shore up the fund, ..."------ If WE are responsible for the funding and WE are the ones taking the risk than maybe WE should have more say in deciding what these pensions should be. Why are WE allowing their pensions to be decided by people who owe them political payback.

jbpaperMay. 15, 13 8:47 PM

"We promised our public employees pensions as part of their employment."----- I never promised that. Did anybody on here promise them a pension? Maybe they should talk to the people that made those promises.

Mark27May. 15, 13 9:01 PM

Wow, these "defined benefit pensions" the author speaks of sound like a pretty good deal. It's too bad the private sector never embraced an idea like that rather than forcing a nation of amateur investors into the feeding frenzy of Wall Street sharks. Oh that's right....the private sector did embrace defined benefit pensions before they switched to 401Ks and facilitated the destruction of America in about every conceivable way. And now, in the same way that Minnesota lawmakers are pretending that the declining ranks of smokers can both balance the budget and be blamed for higher health care costs even as their ranks shrink to next to nothing, all the headlines go to the hand-wringing over public pensions underfunded by about 10% while completely ignoring that private pensions are underfunded by about 50%, with devastating long-term implications for our economy due to all that diminished purchasing power for future seniors.

jjsbrwMay. 15, 13 9:07 PM

One of the common misconceptions is that the employer contribution is somehow a "public bailout" by the taxpayers. It is nothing of the sort. It is part of the compensation package of the employee.

davehougMay. 15, 13 9:08 PM

Why are WE allowing their pensions to be decided by people who owe them political payback - - - Because we elected them......see Wisconsin if this seems wrong, it seemed wrong to them.

gilgamesh23May. 15, 13 9:09 PM

jbpaper: Yes, yes you did. The government is US. We choose what it does. And government promises stand across generations. Now, personally, I don't think that there are tons of overly generous public pensions out there. Some, sure. But if there are, it was the shortsightedness of the voters that allowed it to happen, not the greed of public employees. They took a job which provided a promise, spelled out on paper, to pay a certain amount every month when they retired. Who are we to abandon out promises? The government is us. Educate your friends. Organize your neighbors to vote in new elected officials who will be less shortsighted. Because when the votes are counted, that's the will of the people.


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