Pension crisis hits Oregon, collapse of progressive model continues

Posted by: Phineas on November 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm

**Posted by Phineas

From the sound of this post by Walter Russell Mead, it looks like whoever manages Oregon’s state pension fund made the same mistakes we made here in California: expecting the extraordinary returns on investments enjoyed during the boom years to continue forever and then making big commitments based on those faulty expectations.

And now, as with their neighbors to the south, Oregon finds itself choosing between pensions or schools:

Oregon’s pension fund for public employees is now in a $16 billion hole caused by the failure of its investments to come anywhere close to the 8 percent rate of return the state was predicting. Now lawmakers are forced to choose between contributing billions of taxpayer dollars to close the pension gap or fully funding the state’s school system.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the details on exactly how the state got itself into this mess. The main culprit, as usual, is a set of overly generous benefits that actually allowed some state employees to earn more in retirement than they did during their working days…

Details may vary from state to state, but the pattern is the same: public employee unions treating the taxpayers as a never-ending golden goose, and politicians (Democrats and Republicans who act like them) handing out ever more golden eggs of benefits and salaries in return for campaign contributions and election help from those same unions.

In short, it’s a mutual kickback game played with our money, and the losers are We, The People.

But, it’s not just California and Oregon. Wherever you see states and cities that have had long-term liberal dominance in government, you find the same problems with obligations that can no longer be met. New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Detroit, Los Angeles… And all of them being lead by Illinois.

The progressives may have won the presidential race and kept the Senate, but it’s a hollow victory. As Oregon is the latest to show, their model is, in the lingo of the Greens, no longer “sustainable.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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8 Responses to “Pension crisis hits Oregon, collapse of progressive model continues”


  1. Carlos says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the only “sustainable” thing about ANY socialist giveaway model (PERS being a perfect example of such) is the derision it so richly deserves.

    I worked for the county for a few years, until my conscience wouldn’t let me rule over peoples’ lives any more. My wife was a secretary/receptionist for the county for 30 years. We both pulled our pension funds immediately because we saw the writing on the wall.

    Since that time, the state has come back to her twice (mine wasn’t enough to worry about, apparently) and demanded she, as a retiree, refund gobs of money promised her as an employee.

    Government unions and their enablers (i.e.- the people we elect to represent us) are so crooked and sleazy!

  2. foxmuldar says:

    We ain’t seen nothing yet. just this past week the Federal Reserve asked 30 of the biggest banks to do a stress test to see if they could handle an even deeper recession, one where unemployment reaches 12 percent. Could it be the Fed has been reading their own tea leaves. Its coming. Obamacare is already costing thousand of jobs and work hours for those who are on part time. Add to this the tax hike for those who create jobs as I expect the GOP to cave in to all of Obama’s demands. The shit is soon to hit the fan. When it does it won’t be pretty.

  3. Carlos says:

    @foxmuldar: the general public won’t even get a whiff of it until 1/2 or more of the media people are laid off because no one can afford the price of papers or cable any more. It’ll be interesting to see how they spin it back to GW, though.

  4. Karl Marx himself could have written this scenario. The unions, a.k.a. the “workers” will bring everything down until private ownership is just a memory. Twinkies are just the latest “bump in the road”, or so we are told.

  5. Jo says:

    So sad to see America, a once great shining city on the hill, to end like this. But all good things must come to an end. It’s the same with the wild wood weed as the song goes.

  6. Tom says:

    The greatest trick the Republicans have ever managed to pull off is to get low income workers, unhappy with their lives, to believe the solution is to pull other workers down to their level. Not to find a way to make their own situation better.
    Hence the resentment of unions

  7. LCVRWC says:

    You left (my beloved) Maryland off the list. We’re about to take a powder, too.

  8. Carlos says:

    Gosh, Tom, I’m sure glad you happened by to enlighten us about who really counts among the struggling. But keep an eye on how many more times we non-union dummies have to bail out the auto workers. Or how much of our money ends up in the pockets of people like Trumpka or other big-time union thieves who happen to donate so much to the beloved socialist Demacrap party.

    Yeah, the unions sure are busting their fannies to raise living standards for all of us, aren’t they? And the companies and stockholders can go straight to hell, ’cause they know what’s best for everybody, even if they do sink the company and destroy those jobs in the meantime. It just makes sense to destroy job-creators, doesn’t it? And you know how easy it is to walk down to the corner and get a job from the homeless dude standing out there begging for some change, right?

    Whatta chump.