Myers reports on state laws affecting the pensions of Chicago Public School teachers. He discusses the politics behind unions involved in the decision making process and their important role in determining a balanced budget. According to Myers, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) is a recent contender "whose members say the Pension Board needs better...
Quotes on The Burden of Teachers Pensions
"Corporate America has recognized that defined benefit pensions are unaffordable and unsustainable. For the good of taxpayers across America, it's time for governments to make the same realization."
"Personal accounts create a clear, unambiguous and fair relationship between taxes and benefits: Workers deposit money into their accounts, which grow over time and help provide a monthly benefit retirement in retirement. There are no scams, no loopholes, no way to get someone else to pay for your benefits. The fact that personal accounts can help put Social Security back on a sound financial basis is an extra benefit."
"We foresee major problems in staffing our schools, if we do not provide a fair retirement, including the ability to earn health benefits, to career educators who happen to work on different schedules or for multiple school districts. The federal requirement of No Child Left Behind to hire 'highly qualified teachers' in all subject areas has caused principals to hire part-time teachers in many difficult-to-fill positions. These teachers deserve an equal pension."
"There is nothing magic about a pension plan being fully funded, and even with no changes to funding policies or plan design, most underfunded public pension plans will be able to pay promised benefits for decades. Pension liabilities typically extend years into the future, and it is during this time that a pension fund can accumulate the assets it needs to fund its future liabilities."
"Typically, public employee unions cling tightly to defined-benefit pensions: only a handful of states, including Michigan and Alaska, have had much success moving non-university employees to defined-contribution plans. But continuing to provide unsustainable pension benefits will mean higher taxes and lower spending on actual public services--taxpayers shouldn't have to endure that so public employees can enjoy special pension treatment."
"Cutting public sector pensions, which some have proposed, would only widen the margin by which teachers and other public service professionals lag behind the private sector, making it even harder to attract and retain qualified people."
"'One of the deals you make when you become a state employee is that you may not make as much as you could in the private sector, but you'll have guaranteed retirement.'"
"Although it is generally acknowledged that education is the foundation of every modern society's future prosperity, schools unfortunately will have to compete with retirees for scarce dollars. This competition is uneven, because retirees have a legal claim on promised pension benefits that supersedes schools' budgetary needs. Consequently, Americans can look forwards to higher taxes and cuts in services, resulting in fewer teachers, bigger classes, and facilities that are allowed to deteriorate."