I don’t know Mr. Krohe so there is nothing personal in this reply to his rant about state employee pensions (“Promises, promises,” Dec. 12). However, as someone who worked half a century in both the private and public sectors, I couldn’t resist responding. I worked for the state for about 30 of those years, was never a member of a union and worked countless evenings and weekends without a dime of extra compensation.
Mr. Krohe’s main beef seems to be about the 3 percent COLA earned by state retirees. Taking Mr. Krohe’s figures as fact, it’s true that the COLA, pegged to inflation for the past 10 years, would have averaged only 2.52 percent. He fails to mention, however, that during the first five years of that period, inflation exceeded 3 percent and when the COLA was compounded, it would have come much closer to the 3 percent. As someone who endured the Carter years when inflation was a rampant 17 percent or so, a 3 percent COLA doesn’t seem all that generous.
Mr. Krohe also seems bothered that some retirees also receive some form of Social Security. Does he think they didn’t pay into that system like everybody else who receives Social Security benefits?
And finally (I hope I’m not getting petty here), Mr. Krohe states that his wages have not been indexed for inflation at all, “with the result that in real terms I earn about half what I earned 20 years ago.” Wow! Whose fault is that? My advice: Stop whining and look in the mirror instead of berating those who did a better job of planning for themselves and their families.
I’ve worked for the state for almost 30 years and planned for retirement from day one, believing in the so-called constitutionally safeguarded pension policy, by living frugally and by saving so that I could retire without worry. Now that plan is being threatened on the eve of my retirement.
It’s like going to the bank to withdraw life savings and being told, “A whole lot of your money isn’t here anymore.” The lawmakers say, “A lot of your pension is gone, but look on the bright side: Now everyone’s drastically reduced pension is safeguarded.”
Current problems are often blamed on prior lawmakers. Well, today’s lawmakers are tomorrow’s prior lawmakers. Those like me with no way to recover will pay dearly. The unfairness of this goes way beyond unconstitutionality – the wrongness of this apparent travesty is a devastatingly heartbreaking experience.
CUT IN PAY
I’m retired with the state after 33 years of service. I get about 50 percent of what I was paid. I had no choice but to pay into the retirement fund. If I was allowed to use that money to be put into an IRA, I would have been better off. I look at these retirement cuts as crawl back. It is like your employer demands a cut in pay for work you did years ago. I’m sure you would not like it. Well, I don’t like it either. But that is what the state is doing.
Melbourne Beach, Fla.
I was reading through “Letters to the Editor” (Dec. 19) and ran across one that ranted against the state legislature pension reforms calling them “abbatoirish persiflage.” I didn’t have the slightest idea what hell he was talking about but I did have my trusty Webster’s handy and quickly enlightened myself. It made me wonder why a person would use such language when the first, and fundamental, idea behind writing a letter, printing a sign or speaking to another person is to communicate, i.e., using words that the other person could easily understand. Guess he just got caught up in the marsupial of the monument.
Robert J. Mathes