Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Update on Rhode Island Pension Thefts

I was sitting at a bar with an old friend and former state employee and the conversation shifted to the pension disaster in Rhode Island. I was surprised to hear that the retiree was not as concerned as I was about the loss of our COLA for 19 years. I asked him if he knew how much money he would be losing if the courts don't reverse the pension theft. He responded around $40,000. I was shocked. He had not really looked at the issue in depth. When I told him he is actually losing around $400,000, he gasped. I explained the additive nature of the theft. I'm left wondering how many other retirees are not doing the math.

I guess a lot of smart people are not thinking mathematically, but you can bet your last penny that Gina Raimondo knows the bottom line. The Rhode Island legislature, Gina Raimondo and Lincoln Chafee must really like following in Bernie Madoff's footsteps. $Billions are being stolen from the retirees.

After having another conversation with a different retiree that I respect for her dedication to her profession, I became more concerned about the thought process of retirees as a whole. In this conversation, my friend stated that she is glad the issue is behind us and we will never have to face this problem again. I chuckled and told her that she needs to remember how government works. Once government goes to "the well" for money to bail out their pet projects, they spend all the money and face the exact same dilemmas a few years down the road. When resources dry up, politicians continue to return to "the well". This is the nature of politics as we know it.

I ask you, do you really think this is the end of it? Can't you see the politicians 4 years from now demonizing the public retirees again because they get "exorbitant" pensions? I explained to my friend that this is the very reason why the court has to put a stop to the theft now.

I was a big supporter of Lincoln Chafee when he ran for Governor. At one point he was asked in a union setting his position on the public pension debate. Chafee's response was; a promise made is a promise kept. Chafee went back on his word. Raimondo said at the beginning of the process that all parties would have to pitch in to solve the pension crisis. Raimondo went back on her word. The entire solution was laid in the laps of the retirees and current public employees. No new tax solution was even debated to assist the state with keeping its promises.

Bottom line: Chafee is not trustworthy and Raimondo is not trustworthy. Hope lies with the courts and the unambiguous language found in the Rhode Island Constitution. What these crooks did is not constitutional and all public employees should not rest until the court draws the line. Retirees and public employees should not grow complacent and let the thieves get away with it. If our politicians get away with this one, they will most definitely come back to "the well". Mark my words!!


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