Sinking Ship- Government Pensions
I started a search on Google News to get the latest information on the Dallas Fire and Police Pension bill in the Texas Legislature. Before I could finish typing in the word “pension” Google had already suggested the search should be “pension crisis”. Yes indeed we have a “pension crisis” in America and have had one for decades. Almost all these pensions have one thing in common – government.
It is time to end the pension crisis once and for all. Let’s get rid of pensions. The problem with government pensions is that we are requiring future taxpayers to commit to past promises they had no say in. It is taxation without representation.
I, like all citizens of the US, are owed a pension; it is called social security. I am not going to go into social security and how it should be appropriately renamed social welfare, as it is a much different (albeit bigger) issue and it isn’t your “standard” pension plan. What I am going to address here is all the federal, state, and local pensions promised to government workers for working typically 20 or 30 years and then being fully eligible for 100% of their plan benefits.
These pensions have often been used to entice people into lower paying government jobs with a reward of a big payout in the end. Not that pensions are going to make you rich, but overall they are padded enough to encourage government employees to deal with lower pay right now for longer term rewards in the future. The problem is those longer term future rewards aren’t properly funded, they have been over promised, or in most cases – both. We know that politicians will never ever stop over promising.
The solution to the crisis is to eliminate all government pensions across the board. Current employees based upon age should be grandfathered or paid a lump sum to roll into a 401k or IRA plan. All future government employees should continue to pay into social security – yes, they need to be in the same sinking ship with the rest of us and also be enrolled into a 401k plan to have the same market based risk as everyone else too.
I am not saying 401k plans are the best retirement investment vehicle, as ideally everyone should be able to put their retirement savings into anything they choose; be it bitcoin, gold, land, stocks, or whatever else. What I am saying is eliminate the burden for taxpayers to fund pensions, which according to a Google search always seems to be in “crisis”
The libertarian approach of course would to be to pay whatever the job is worth in the market, let you keep your earnings without income tax and invest into your own future retirement as you see fit without any rules…but we know that will never happen. So let’s do what the private sector has decided is the most efficient method to attract workers based upon our current tax laws; that is 401k plans. Yes, government pensions should and must be eliminated before the crisis gets worse.