We have a lot to worry about these days. We’re worried that we may lose our jobs, that we may lose our healthcare insurance and that we won’t have sufficient retirement savings. We realize that without jobs we can’t make our mortgage payments; we know that our homes have dropped in value resulting in little or no equity, so we can’t afford to stay in or sell our homes.
In California there is one lucky group that doesn’t have those worries: state and local government retirees.
As of May, 2008, there were 4,820 CalPERS retirees receiving annual pensions in excess of $100,000. That didn’t include government retirees in 80 other plans in California—judges, UC, STRS, charter cities, and 1937 Act counties. About half of these retirees were public safety workers: cops, firefighters, prison guards. The remaining half includes former city managers, assistant managers, county executives, district attorneys, engineers, finance officers, personnel directors, computer scientists, and physicists.
Since May 2008, more than 120 new retirees have joined the “$100,000 Club” – each month - every month. That’s been going on for the last 12 months – more than 1,500 have joined that well-paid retirement group ; this rate of increase will accelerate as droves of retired public safety workers who are now in the $90,000 to $100,000 range receive annual cost of living increases.
Most of the taxpayers who are paying these pensions don't even make $100,000 per year when they are working, much less in retirement. If we're going to have class warfare, the classes should not be rich vs. poor but taxpayers vs. tax-takers.