GOVERNMENT CERTIFIABLE NINCOMPOOPS
February 12, 2013
Dr. Bill Wattenburg, an inventor, scientist, author and former San Francisco KGO talk show host coined the term, “Certifiable Nincompoops” in government employment and rightly designated those in charge of the California government, now in deep financial trouble, as certifiable nincompoops. The latest story I heard about California is there are not enough U-Hauls coming into California to fill the need of those wanting to leave and Oregon is #3 in the USA in foreclosures so there goes the tax revenue. While the examples I’ll use will be from Oregon because I’m most familiar with them, similar problems are in your state.
GOVERNMENT WORK IS JOB SECURITY
I know several people who once worked in state governments and they are frustrated with slothful coworkers who give conscientious workers a bad name. One was in administration in the Department of Corrections. He was so well loved by the union that he got his tires slashed and glass broken in his car one dark night. Another left her job at a private hospital to take a supervisor position at the state hospital. She lasted about six months before she went back to the private sector. I got the impression it was like herding sheep to get them to work on time and to do their job properly.
Milton Friedman was awarded a Noble Prize in Economics for proving it costs three times as much with half of the productivity if you have the government employees do the same job as the private sector. I’m sure there are trusting government employees; however, as a general rule, public service is job security with numerous fringe benefits and the more degrees the bigger the paycheck and only rarely do they get fired. But after this article, anyone who can read should stop being intimidated by government workers with all those degrees. Check out the New York Times story about 125 out of 250 students in a class at Harvard caught cheating on a final exam. Word processing centers in government agencies cover for the college educated sycophants earning top salaries in administrative positions that may be totally incapable of writing coherent letters. They rely on the underpaid lowly typists with a good command of the English language in word processing to make them look good.
The 2/9/2010 Statesman Journal article said that public employees would be shielded from state agency math errors and a 3/30/2010 article said the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) would need to hire a new 13-person team in order to provide retirement benefit verifications - a requirement under a new law (SB 897) passed by the Oregon legislature. PERS must verify a member’s retirement data upon their request as far in advance as two years from their earliest retirement age.
If a bureaucratic mistake is made and an employee’s benefits are overestimated, the law requires PERS to make good on the mistake but in a 12/16/2010 article it says that the Oregon State Treasury wanted to pay $932,000 in bonuses to 14 investment officers at a time other public employees around the state were facing the prospect of layoffs, furloughs and benefit cuts. Treasury officials were telling the Legislature’s Emergency Board the incentive pay was necessary to retain specialized staff who managed $60 billion in pension and common school fund assets. Their base salaries in 2009 averaged $163,000 with average bonuses of $45,000. The pension fund had lost billions in the past three years but the state was paying bonuses based on five-year returns.
Oregon has a Legislative Emergency Board that meets between sessions to decide on budget matters. A 12/13/12 article said it discovered the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) began spending extra funds without its input. It discovered, for example, the DAS had rebalanced the budgets of the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority, both of which rely heavily on federal funds.
There is absolutely no accountability in our governments – neither state nor federal. If what they do in government was done in the private sector, the people responsible would go to jail. Representative Dennis Richardson (R/Central Point) in 2003 sat on the House committee that tried to revamp the public-pension system which always meets resistance from Democrat legislators so it is again top priority in Oregon 2013 legislature which convened in mind-January – three years after a 7/18/2010 article in bold print said FORECAST for PERS: STORMY. Oregon cities, counties, school districts and state agencies are bracing for bad news.
AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE PERKS
In a 4/3/2011 article Representative Richardson said Oregon was the only state out of 50 in the USA that continues to pay 100% of the medical benefits for its employees and their families. However, since 2011 that has changed a little and they are now having to cough up a few bucks but they are squealing like the piggies at the trough. Oregon and Alaska also covered dental and vision costs. And Oregon retirees escape the 10% Oregon income taxes.
It was noted by a 4/16/2011 article that retirement among Oregon public employees surged in the first three months of that year, with people leaving public service at a rate more than 50 percent quicker than previous years fearing PERS benefits would be cut soon. A 1/23/2013 article said the number of state workers had dropped in 2012.While the private sector and local governments started shedding jobs in 2008 and 2009, state government grew year over year, and had 2,000 more employees than it did four years ago but much of the state government job growth occurred within the Oregon University System.
P.E.R.S IS THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON TAKING
Fred Starkey, a market analyst for 30+ years consulting for a variety of companies writes: “P.E.R.S. Lies, Distortions, Half-Truths and Fraud” and says we need a State Certified Mentally Retarded Certificate. There is a game going on which has not been fully disclosed. Starkey says running down all the extra things that PERS offers is like trying to catch a small mouse in a hay field. He says there is a deliberate and practiced secrecy about the Oregon State pension system. In Starkey’s most recent January 23, 2013 column he elaborates more. He says PERS must be shut down because it is the gift that keeps on TAKING. He does, however, offer a solution how PERS members take the risk and not the taxpayer.
Robert Welch in the 1973 AMERICAN OPINION wrote that Communist indoctrination was leading us towards a complete loss of morality and this was especially true of our college-age youngsters but a far larger number were falling for “situation” ethics that reduces a system of value judgments and offers a particularly favorable dispensation for liars. So, truthfulness, which many of us used to regard as the very heart of morality, suffers most from “situation” ethics. Our country probably suffers more from the lack of truthfulness in both public and private affairs than from any other features of the breakdown in morality.
We have had these government certifiable nincompoops that end up managing the unconstitutional Public Employees Retirement. Many think themselves more highly than they should. A case in point is the letter from a state employee who responded to a letter from a Salem businessman that wrote a letter to the editor indicating that Article 1, Section 20 in the Oregon constitution Bill of Rights says:
EQUALITY OF PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF CITIZENS
No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.
WE’RE NUMBER ONE
Now, Section 20 certainly can be understood by a kindergartener but a public employee responded in his letter to the editor that “Apparently, the phrase ‘upon the same terms’ does not allow any distinction between public employees and non-public employees.” It’s clear the critic decides his position in life is elevated above WTP (We, the people). He then goes into a long diatribe that no citizen can marry unless all citizens can marry. Age, gender or other condition does not matter. And then he uses the example that no citizen can get a driver’s licenses unless all citizens can get a driver’s license and hand-gun permits unless all citizens can get a permit. What did all this codswallop by this popinjay have to do with Section 20 and “upon the same terms?” He failed to acknowledge that public employees are unfairly paid more than those in the private sector.
It is not uncommon for onlookers to see signs by government workers at rallies that say, “We’re Number One.” These folks continue to forget they are our servants. They are not number one. They are equal not special. LIBERALS live in echo chambers. They were told the retirement system for government employees would help make up the difference in what they perceived as low pay compared to the private sector employees and they parrot that same old mantra year after year. If that was the case, why didn’t these whiners go to work in the private sector?
Of course, then there are employees such as those in word processing. A recent letter to the editor by a 71 year old woman who said she had two years just to get retirement as a clerical worker and she’ll only get $179 a month after ten years of employment. Of course, readers will immediately question why she didn’t go to work at the state until she was 61 years old? Married? Loss of a spouse? Divorced? Health problems? Poor financial planning?
PUBLIC RETIREMENT SYSTEM CREATED IN 1945
Oregon’s Governor Earl Snell, who served from January 1943 to October 1947, signed the Public Employees Retirement System into Law in 1945. Governor Snell and some other prominent Oregon politicians were killed in an October 28, 1947 plane crash. A grandson of Snell said there was not today’s cynicism back then. It was based on a lot of integrity, they were standup kind of people. And yet Snell’s ignoring his oath of office and stepping out from under the protection of the Constitution and Section 20, PERS is causing Oregon’s financial problems in 2013. A 3/31/2009 article said PERS had an $18 billion deficit. It had returned to “red” and blames the nation’s financial turmoil but a 1/26/2013 article says today’s unfunded liability is estimated at $16 billion for 2012. This reduction perhaps may be attributed to the fact they haven’t been hiring people to fill the jobs of those who have retired, which suggests we never needed them in the first place.
COLLECTIVE BARGARGAINING AND UNION THUGS
Political writer for the Statesman Journal said that Oregon adopted its first version of the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act in 1963. A young staff lawyer for the Oregon legislature named Ted Kulongoski helped draft a 1973 refinement of the act. Kulongoski later was elected governor. A 3/11/2012 Statesman article said Kulongoski nets PERS times 3 in retirement. His combined monthly pension of $4,876.12 – about $58,513 a year- ranks 111,292 out of more than 105,000 PERS retirees listed in the benefit database. His pension is one-eighth of that received by PERS’ top beneficiary retired University of Oregon football coach, Mike Bellotti, who receives $496,100 per year in pension checks. Many of these retirees haven’t even begun to collect Social Security yet.
And then I heard on TV on 3/29/2012 where Kulongoski was teaching at some college. Will that mean another PERS check? As former Alaskan governor and once presidential vice president candidate, Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha!” Sarah, as you’ll recall, gave up her government airplane when she was elected governor considering it was a perk she didn’t need. Now that was a person with integrity.
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And while I’ve mentioned Sarah’s name, I saw recently that she no longer is affiliated with FOX News. I can’t help but wonder if Karl Rove’s newly- created Conservative Victory Fund didn’t have something to do with it. It seems the biggest donors in the GOP are financing this new group to recruit “seasoned candidates” and protect incumbents from challenges by the Far Right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who they claim complicate the RINO’s efforts to win control of the Senate. As you can see, our problem in the Republican Party is not always Barack Obama.
I haven’t even touched upon the double dippers , “Matching” pensions and criminals who go to prison but never lose their PERS retirement. I’ll touch upon those subjects in Part 2.
© 2013 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved