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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bureaucracy and Benefits

At The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes writes:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, state and local government salaries are 34 percent higher than those for private sector jobs. Okay, that’s partly because government workers tend to have white-collar jobs. Benefits, 70 percent higher for these workers, are the real rub. And benefits for government retirees are the most flagrant. They’ve become a national scandal, a fiscal nightmare for states, cities, and towns, and an example of unfairness of the sort liberals routinely complain about but are mostly silent about just now.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees has a different take:
However, most public plans require member contributions, and almost all public plans invest their assets and earn additional income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, state and local pension plans ­accumulated $2.3 trillion in investment earnings from 1982 through 2005, compared with total employer (taxpayer) contributions of $885 billion and employee contributions of $435 billion. Consequently, taxpayers paid 24% of the total amount paid into public plans during this period, with the remaining 76% coming from investment earnings and employee contributions. Every dollar taxpayers paid into public plans generated an additional three dollars, to be returned to the economy as retirement income.