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Public workers and politicians

January 24, 2012
Richard V. Hill, Marshalltown , Times-Republican

Newsweek says 1 percent of the richest Americans control 40 percent of the wealth in this country. So what! The rich have always had more than their share. This is not the problem. The politicians and the public workers are the ones draining the taxpayers. Yes I know the public workers pay taxes too, but they make so much more money than the average private sector workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average public worker in the U.S. averages $60,000 a year. The average private sector worker averages $30,000 a year.

An Associated Press article from Dec. 25 says the 50 states have a combined $690 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $418 billion in retiree health care obligations for the public sector. Folks that's over a trillion dollars and rising.

The article goes on to say in 2010 there were 18 million public sector workers and 94 million private sector workers in the U.S. Most public sector workers can retire five to 10 years earlier than private sector workers. Plus they have access to attractive defined benefit pensions and retiree health care coverage that most private sector workers don't.

A USA Today article talks about public workers buying what is called "air time," that means they can buy up to five years of additional work time without working it and it is added to their working years. So the ones who do this get bigger pensions for a longer time.

Iowa is one of 21 states that allow this. The article says Iowa allows state and local workers and school teachers to do this. The cost of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic can't go up every year, but it does, just look at your property taxes. There's never enough money to satisfy the school system. They always need more money to cover their perks and benefits at the expense of the private sector who average half the income of the public sector.

I am concerned about the 20 million politicians and public workers who are out-pacing the private sector workers and the retired folks and also the poor.

The public workers have the advantage, they have a large voting block and they are very good at pulling our heart strings. They get us to think with our hearts and not our heads.



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