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Letter: Pension questions have been answered

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

This is in response to Daniel Moran’s letter, “Don’t forget who’s paying for pensions” (Letters to the Editor, July 10):

Every one of your questions has been answered, repeatedly, in the debate you missed.

“How does the average private sector income compare to the Illinois public sector?”

Asked and answered: Public-sector employees make less in salary and total compensation than do private-sector employees with comparable backgrounds and qualifications doing similar jobs.

“How do the individual pension contribution percentages compare?” Asked and answered: Public employees pay more for equivalent benefits.

“How much would a private sector worker have to save to match the lavish pension payouts from the state?” Asked and answered: About the same percentage of income as public employees pay.

“Let’s not mention things like productivity, paid holidays, unused sick days and student test scores.” OK, let’s not. But, if we did, what we would find is that productivity varies greatly among workers but little between the public and private sectors.

And, finally: “The current pension mess is a product of the public sector unions, and their voting blocs, in bed with corrupt state politicians, together with an ignorant voting populace.” Yes, it is – partially – the fault of the public-sector unions. They should have gotten together years ago and gone on strike until the state committed to paying its contribution on time. Now, I suspect, they are sorry they didn’t. I know I am.

Now, about those union voting blocs and their being “in bed with corrupt politicians.” Have you checked the literature on the extent to which “corrupt politicians” actually vote the interests of public employees? I haven’t either. However, my experience has been that public unions are not the electioneering powerhouses the industrial unions used to be, nor are they as effective in delivering votes as, say, the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce or the AMA.

Besides, if those “corrupt politicians” had been minding the interests of public employees all that much, don’t you think they might have caught up with the salaries and total compensation of comparably qualified private-sector workers?

Robert Suchner


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