Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Retired Americans have paid their dues

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I’m tired of politicians trying to pay for the wealthy’s tax loopholes on the backs of government employees and retirees.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the number of federal employees and the deficit have gone down, yet Republicans continue to lie and say both have gone up. Now their horrible budget by Rep. Paul Ryan proposes drastic cuts to the benefits for which retired public employees worked so hard. If Republicans had their way, I would see an increase of $250 a month for medical coverage.

Meanwhile, the Democrat in the White House says he’s open to changes in our cost of living allowance.

To ask those who have worked for our country to sacrifice more — after we stopped working — while tax shelters and corporate jet loopholes remain untouched is asinine and unfair.

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  1. Bill,

    Copy and paste your letter in an email to each member of the Nevada Congressional delagation. If computers aren't your thing print it and mail it to them. Let your voice be heard!

  2. The letter writer is part of a dying privileged class. No wonder he is upset. A retired government employee. Earned a decent wage during his career. Receives a lifelong government pension with yearly increases for inflation. Death benefits paid to his spouse if he dies. While working job security, guaranteed advancement, good benefits like paid time off for being sick and paid vacation time. Choice of health care coverage at lower rates [that he and spouse have in retirement too] than most due to group discounts, and life and long term health care insurance.

    Not all Americans can say they are so lucky. Count your blessings and say thank you to our government, Republicans and Democrats alike, and the U.S. taxpayers.

    Carmine D

  3. "You can be assured the majority of Republicans will follow suit with the government in Cyprus, should the financial situation here in America ever drop to rock-bottom."

    BChap:

    Know your USA history first. 1933 Bank Holiday. FDR. Democrat. AFTER, THAT IS AFTER, FDR made all Americans SURRENDER their gold back dollars.

    Carmine D

  4. Ever dealt with an insubordinate government employee? I have and it's no fun, plus there's little recourse for an "outsider" (taxpayer) to get relief. The "employees" circle the wagon to protect one another and claim whatever (if any) actions taken are a "private" matter so you cannot be sure anything was actually done to rectify the situation. Contrast that with most private companies and the way they handle customer complaints. I'm sure there are many fine, hard-working government bureaucrats and I appreciate them. But to generalize and put all government bureaucrats in the same basket is folly.

  5. Typical Conservative response -- anecdotes and "common sense" answers to everything. There is no definitive evidence establishing a significant pay disparity between the public and private sectors, let alone one that significantly favors public sector workers. See, e.g., http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-...

    And even the anecdotes are suspect. Yes, we've all dealt with a problematic low-level government employee at some point. But ask anyone who has ever attempted to have an error corrected by a credit reporting agency how friendly and helpful those private sector workers are.

  6. "FDR and OBAMA Krugman/ Keynesian economics do not work"

    Future:

    Have you taken note that since the government of Cyprus froze the assets in the banks, and blamed the banks, that Dr. Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winner in economics. has been silent. He keeps telling us that all is well in Europe and we have nothing to worry about here in the USA if we go down the same path. I have a question for Dr. Krugman. What is the next European country and the next and the next to follow the lead of Cyprus?

    Carmine D

  7. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal...
    If you adjust for the increase in population the federal government employs half the number of people it did 60 years ago. That's why there is so much corruption in programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the securities industry.

    There is no one to keep an eye on the billions of transactions that take place in this country every day.

    The average defined benefit pension plan pays out about two grand a month and many of these retirees never had 40 quarters of private sector employment. They have to pay top dollar for their Medicare.

    Comparing the United States to Cyprus? Cyprus has half the population of Clark County and is still suffering residual effects from the financial crisis several years ago. Small countries have limited investment options and their banking systems have not recovered. Many of these countries including Iceland and Ireland went through tremendous banking dislocations due to massive bond defaults and faulty hybrid financial instruments.

  8. Mr. DiFazio... The United States has FDIC insurance and can print its own money. Cyprus has limited powers. Have you forgotten the financial crisis several years ago in this country? Nearly every major bank and insurance company was on the brink of collapse. Had it not been for a tremendous infusion of money we would have been kaput. Several money markets broke a buck. Short-term debt backs 75% of payroll in the United States. Had the money markets failed nearly every paycheck in the United States would've bounced and money machines would no longer have been able to dispense cash.

    The Euro zone experiment is a failure in my opinion. You can not have numerous countries with the same currency. Countries have to be able to print money to deal with exogenous shocks like what's going on around the world. The banks in Cyprus are bust due to bad investments and they need to be bailed out by the bigger European countries. They should be able to print whatever money they need to deal with financial situation.

    Economic dislocations are a cleansing process. They occur constantly. Read about the Latin American debt crisis, the Asian contagion, the Russian debt crisis. Countries move up down and sideways. It's the way things are. It's Europe's turn to correct its problems.

    In terms of adjusting the cost of living for Social Security. The average check is only about $1100 a month. That's anything but a lavish life considering nearly 40% rely on Social Security as their sole source of income. Its medical costs that need adjusting. That's was sucking the country dry.

  9. I agree with the above contributor. Everyone that works hard should be entitled to a comfortable retirement. Not the paltry $1100 month Social Security checks.

    We need a good national pension system and medical care that doesn't cost trillions of dollars. Even with Medicare a couple that retires at age 65 is still looking at a couple hundred thousand dollars in medical bills before they die. Given families over the age of 70 are the poorest in the country this is a travesty.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/health-...

  10. Oh, the witty retorts of the 'Public Sector Haters'...

    Take, for example, Mr. Jerry Fink and his post.
    For those of you familiar with Mr. Fink, imagine yourself as a government employee charged with attending to him...seriously; you KNOW how that works...the 'I'm your BOSS, because I pay TAXES!' customer...now, multiply that *(ESPECIALLY in places like Nevada) by THOUSANDS over the course of a working career in the 'public sector'...you deal with this kind of abuse day in, day out, year after year after YEAR...and you do it, not because you get a huge pay differential over the private sector, because YOU DO NOT...you do it because you are going to get, or you've been TOLD you will receive...a DECENT RETIREMENT PACKAGE...and then, come to find out, that's not really etched in stone. Because some folks have decided that the way to balance the books is to SCREW PEOPLE out of their contractually negotiated benefits, because it's so much EASIER to screw these folks than to try to force the REAL, WEALTHY ELITE of America to give up a NICKEL, and because people like Jerry Fink, who are, unfortunately, LEGION, are so willing to ALLOW IT, because those public sector workers are BAD PEOPLE!

    Hey, Carmine...
    Do YOU collect a government check in YOUR retirement?

  11. There are several reasons as to why the middle class is slowly disappearing. Since the elimination of unions and their membership under the Reagan administration, are gov't. workers over paid or is the private sector seriously under paid?

  12. gmag asked you a question Carmine:
    "Hey, Carmine...
    Do YOU collect a government check in YOUR retirement?"

    Care to answer this honestly Carmine?

  13. Bill: Facts are immaterial. At last report only 6% actually knew that the US deficit has actually been DECLINING for the last 3 years. You'll never convince a goodly proportion of the balance. This time the Republican't "Big Lie" propaganda succeeded, just as they hoped.

  14. Right at the top, RefNV (Re Freeman) yet again tries to push Republican't "Big Lie" propaganda when he alleges that "Obama already got his extra $40-60$ billion in yearly tax revenue via higher taxes on the top 1% of wage earners."

    Totally false.

    A Republican't Congress, aided and abetted by a Republican't President passed a tax cut, but put a 10-year ceiling on it. When it was due to expire, a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President agreed to a temporary extension, to support a weak economy. When THAT was due to expire, a Republican't House first wanted to make the cuts permanent for everyone. Then, recognizing where the majority of voters were and not wanting to be solely responsible for EVERYONE'S taxes going back to the original rates, finally agreed to make permanent the cuts for everyone BUT the 1%.

    Taxes on the 1% WERE NOT increased. All they did is just what the Republican'ts originally intended: when the law they passed expired, rates reverted to their pre-cut level.

  15. Good idea, Airweare (Joe Lamy). Unfortunately, we pass it right now today, it would be 2019 before it could take full effect. That doggoned Constitution thing. Can't cut the remuneration for a sitting member of Congress. The Senators just elected will be "sitting members" until then.

  16. Gerry:

    Cyprus like the USA has insured deposits also [100,000 Euros]. Cyprus [like the U.S.A.] exempts from insurance and protection everything over and above the allowable insured amount. The overage was not exempt from the Cypriot government confiscation. BTW, this was a modification to the original Cyprus plan which called to confiscation all amounts both those subject to insurance and those not.

    WRT my government pension, yes I do receive one after 33 years of government service. I know what it is of which I speak. You won't hear me complain. In fact, just the opposite. I believe like Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that it is patriotic to pay my share of taxes and always do. I also paid into and can receive Social Security but I don't. My gift to the U.S. Treasury.

    Carmine D

  17. brtaylor: Thanks for the update by Dr. Krugman on Cyprus scrubbing the euro. I missed that from Dr. Krugman. However it is widely believed that Cyprus will have to seek another bailout from the ECB. If that is a real possibility, and like Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal it may be, then Cyprus can't scrub the euro and go it alone. It's own currency would be worthless on the money markets.

    Carmine D

  18. Federal employees make SS contributions. State, city, county, SD employees in Nevada do NOT. State employees pay about half the PERS contributions. City, County, and SD's are COVERED IN FULL BY NEVADANS. And to make it worse, these employees get 2.5 to 2.67% of hi salary (average of hi 36 months) as a pension. Which means, if they work about 40 years, they get 100% pension payments--EQUAL TO THEIR REGULAR PAY. This goes down to 90% for those hired later so they will retire long before age 66. Here's a clue: MOST retirees on PERS are former teachers and former firefighters. CCSD tops out teachers at about $96K counting benefits. Base salary is about $75K so their pensions are up to $6,000 a month while those on SS are getting all of $1,200 a month.

  19. Vernos,

    You are just plain wrong. Look at the stats on this site: http://www.unionstats.com/

    The percentage of public sector employees that are union members is essentially unchanged since 1983. In fact it is higher for State employees. Only Postal workers have seen a real decrease in membership percentage.

    The percentage of public sector employees who are covered by a union contract has decreased a small amount, but actual membership is essentially unchanged.

    Private sector union membership is another story entirely.

  20. ScottNV (5:28 p.m.) takes issue with one of my prior posts by saying: "The deficit is not declining. We are still spending more than we take in. The deficit is ONLY increasing at a slower rate (6% less) in the last three years."

    Thanks, Scott. My bad. I was thinking DEBT and typing DEFICIT.