Morning Reads — Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 4, 2014 8:22 am

by Jessica S. · 22 comments

On this day in 1998, President Clinton mumbled the words “I’m sorry” for the first time about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and described his behavior as indefensible.
Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

xdog September 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

The next Angus King–donk drops out of Kansas Senate race same day as 70 goper ex-lawmakers endorse indy candidate. Pat Roberts is going down.

http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/election/article1447177.html

drjay September 4, 2014 at 8:45 am

i think more or less the same thing has/is happening in the alaska guv race…

David C September 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

I feel it’s an underreported story (and should be a cautionary tale for Republicans generally) just how much Brownback has screwed up leading the Republican Party in Kansas. Kansas, a state Romney won by 20 points, is certainly looking like it could elect a Democratic Governor and the first non-Republican to the US Senate since 1930, in no small part because Brownback tried to run half the party out of town on a rail.

John Vestal September 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

Read-worthy WaPo article from James Richardson, editor of Georgia Tipsheet.

Ellynn September 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

There is a ‘er’ at the end of Scott Walker… Personally the Scott Walk works for me – so long as it is walk out of office.

Harry September 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

What is your problem with Scott Walker? The hit on him from the NYT is really pretty meaningless.

Ellynn September 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

He’s messing up my mothers pension. That alone places him on my do not re-elect list. Plus… He has messed up fish and game. He’s cut back funding on the water locks systems on the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. He cut the state funds to the Superior and Milwaukee docks and the whole Great Lakes ice breakers fleet at the shipping yards, endangering the DoD contracts for the minesweepers out of Marinnette.

I don’t even need to hit the standard dem talking points.

Noway September 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Meaning he’s lessening the amount your Mom receives?

Harry September 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Meaning the mom is a retired public servant on a defined benefit pension!

Ellynn September 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Wisconsin’s pension is fully substainable. The amount she receives is adjusted each year based on the overall value of the investments and the number of people who pull from the fund for the whole state. Also if a county, city, UW, public hospital, police, fire or school system has an agrrement with the empyees through the old collective borrowing, that has a seperate line item they adjust. Each of this is weighed against the number of contract years worked and the amount the contract added to the pension. Some school systems that could not afford to increase a wage might have bargined for an additional (and compaired to the wage increase much smaller) one time pay out to a teacher’s pension. Last year mom’s payment went down about $45 a month, this year it is up $56. There was a megea drain that happened in 2011 with the end of collective borrowing when the number of retirees increased but it was only about $2100 total for that year.

Here’s the problem. Currently the state can’t touch or borrow from the pension. It is also required to pay the pensions and insurance fund first of current emplyees into the fund. If the state has a bad year, they still legally have to make the insurance and pension costs of people under contract. Walker is hoping to pass a law that would let him have emergancy access to the fund and/or delay the date of adding to the fund, whichwould lower the amount of money accured and the possible payment for the current 73 year old union thug I call mom.

Walker has called the pensions a drain. He’s not using current money to payout the pension. If the state just stopped having any public officals (in theory) and thus not add any money to the fund, the way the payment schedule is set up it’s self correcting to the people who already have money in the pension. It’s when you keep promising pensions to current emplyees and not add funds, you lose the value. And unlike Detroit’s pension, it’s not a set in stone amount. Again, it’s adjusted at the start of every fiscal year for the state based on your own contract amounts, overall value of the fund, and the number of people collecting.

He just needs to leave it alone.

Harry September 4, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Why not switch all current employees to a 401-k plan like people in the real world? That move would save taxpayers a ton.

Ellynn September 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm

The Wisconsin Employee Trust (WET) allows a person to contrubute from their pay to a 457(b) plan just like people in the real world. My mother had an account, which was rolled over into a private retirement fund about 10 years ago. As is the case with any 457 plan, the goverment who employs you can not contrubute to the account.

I thought you were an accountant?

Plus where is the tax payer savings? In many cases the systems saved money by placing smaller amounts in to the pension instead of increasing her wages for even the same amount. It saved the state from paying their share of social security and unemployement. Also by keeping a wage lower, the percentage increase for any future contract would save the state tax payer even more in the long room. It’s the main reason the pension was the default benifet increase for the majority of the school systems and countys in the state over a base wage increase.

I would also like to point out that my mother has been a Wisconsin state income tax payer since 1956, and a property tax payer since 1971.

Harry September 5, 2014 at 12:11 am

May be an accountant but I don’t do 457s. So your mother isn’t on a defined benefit pension? Most retired government workers would be, but if she isn’t then I suppose she gets social security and 457 rollover payouts from her private fund. If so, I congratulate her on not soaking the taxpayers. Because defined benefit pensions do soak the taxpayers who can’t receive the same level of benefits their taxes pay for government employees to receive. It’s just a matter of fairness and justice that these taxpayer-supported government worker benefit plans be eliminated sooner rather than later.

saltycracker September 5, 2014 at 10:04 am

Ellynn,

Appreciate it is a personal issue and with few exceptions those retired today will not have to sweat it. In general defined pensions and full retirements for ones early 50’s – like GA – are insane long term plans and rare in the private sector. Massive tax increases or changes are way overdue.
Here’s some articles on Wisconsin pensions.

http://www.pensiontsunami.com/regions.php?type=state&id=24

Wisconsin seem as one of the better ones at 57% funded but with calls of fuzzy math to get there. (GA 45%).

The Wisconsin pension board was so pleased with their work they took bonuses of $13.3 million causing state auditors to gasp.

Ellynn September 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

I have no issue with the state auditors questioning the trust commission brokers. They get bonuses lower then their private sector brothern on Wall Street, and we need to question those bonuses too.

Keep in mind their are two sections of the trust. The first is the retirment payment package. This is the one I wish to have legally left alone. It’s a sustanable fund.

The second section is the revolving insurance plan, which is classified as the second best in the country in the 2012 comparision audit. It’s huge and becoming top heavy. That is where the cost is going to. Currently, if you retire at 55 with 30 years you can retain a basic health insurance plan for just you until you are 65, which cost the tax payer about $8,400 a year. I 65 you are on your own, but you can pay into the plan for The ‘active’ plan that covers a working family of 4 (like Gov. Walker) and costs about $25,000 a year, but the emplyee only covers about 10% of the cost. That they can fight over what the plan will be and cost – but they need to make sure they don’t pass the law that would allow the state and local systems to stop making payment of what is worked out, or borrow against the trust.

Harry September 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

Since health insurance seems to be the only issue, why are you blaming Gov. Walker for the possible loss of your mom’s insurance benefits? You should be more concerned about the effect of Obama(care). They want your mother to be on Medicare and Obamacare. And yes, the cost of all types of health coverage under Obamacare environment is increasing greatly, the propaganda notwithstanding.

Ellynn September 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm

My mother is over 65 so she has been off the state insurance for over 8 years. She does pay a yearlt polocy that cover her drugs and a Part D through the trust. She pays for it all, but since their are over 300,000 people in the trust, the cost is very low. She also no longer has current contract agreements, like the current set of employees and elected boards have to address.

What I want the state to do is protect the items she did was promised through 35 years of contracts and are required to maintain untill her death. Allowing the state to delay payments of current contracts into the system and being able to allow the pension to be a loan department effects her pension in the long run.

My mother and father planned well so her penion is not the majority of her long term retirement funds. But across the street from my mom lives a 89 year old spinter who taught 2nd grade for 47 years. Her brothers both died in WWII. Her only uncle in WWI. She has a 4 time great niece who lives in South Africa. All she has is her pension and social security and a 47 years of contracts that say the state will stand behind their word.

Ellynn September 4, 2014 at 9:59 am

That wasn’y ment as a rely to you John. Hit the wrong button…

John Vestal September 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

Yeah, I get that a lot. :-|

beenthere September 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

Still wondering why this hasn’t gotten any discussion!

Harry September 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Noway September 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

“Here comes Santy Claus, here comes Santy Claus,
Right down Santy Claus lane…”
Now, ladies and gentlemen, free pot for the poor…”
http://www.myfoxny.com/story/26448679/city-mandates-free-medical-marijuana-for-low-income-residents
Will the Entitlement Nation EVER end?
(Pssst….it’s a rhetorical question….)
The answer is Hell No!