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By Ann Patchett

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These Public Employees Are Not Overpaid

Posted on Jan 6, 2011

While Wall Streeters continue to rake it in, there’s a movement afoot to redirect the public’s rage against the humble public employee. These hardworking folks don’t look like the greedy opportunists they’ve been smeared as.


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Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, January 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

“The photo accompanying the piece is priceless. The quintessential Washington DC federal employee- middle aged, black, morbidly obese female.”

But of course to call the corporate fat cats “fat cats”—who padded their benefits and bonuses with tax payer dollars to the tune of billions—that would just be rude.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, January 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment


I agree philosophically, but am compromised by the fact that I have a military retirement. Since 2/3 of my twentt one years was in the National Guard, I had to wait til 60 to start collecting- an 18 year wait.

As for civilian government retirement, let’s start with Congress- zero retirement benefits- ever. Serve because you love the country, not the perks. I’d go further- instead of formal term limits, institute a declining pay scale, vanishing to zero after a fourth term in either house. Let’s see who sticks around.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, January 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Capt Suave.

Open ended - till you die. 

In most building trades and even some state governments you need 30 years to be able to retire at age 55 and face a 7 percent penalty which decreases until 62.  At any rate you need to wait till 55 to collect.  If you have 20 years you wait till 62.

Federal, State and Military personnel who give 20 years starting at 18, 19, 20… should not be able to collect at age 38, 39, 40… period.  This one ‘entitlement’ screws those of us who believe government should not be self serving. 

The state and county government here in Maryland allow you to save up ‘sick leave’ over the 30 years and retire 2 years earlier than 55.

What a giveaway and on my back.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, January 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment


“especially the military are especially generous in awarding open ended pensions to each other for a short time served.”

Omly if you believe that twenty years in the military to be eligible for a pension is a “short time”. And what does “open-ended” mean?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, January 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

How about setting an example by starting at the top, letting congress take some pay cuts and all government workers including congress using the same new great medical plan the people will be mandated to use. Congress may be a perfect example of being over paid, after all don’t they get something like perks from those lobbyists, before they become one themselves?  As a classic example of a wasted money, Congress could maybe dampen or even alleviate themselves from being the poster boys of hypocrisy.

On the other hand why would they want to do this?

This is a prime example of attacking the working class once more, another switch and bate routine away from the real cause of the problem.

After all didn’t they just cut taxes to the rich and deserving, ....which far as I can tell; is anyone richer and more deserving then I!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, January 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

The accompanying video describes mostly state workers getting the axe.

Simple economics dictates when we have too many state workers some have to go.

I don’t deny these state workers, fire fighters and policemen their pensions but those pensions shouldn’t begin at age 38 without limit.

The federal government and especially the military are especially generous in awarding open ended pensions to each other for a short time served.

That open ended unfunded entitlement is too generous in a bad economy when government service is suppose to be about serving ones government than about self enrichment.

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By emmett, January 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the next year or so should be a rough ride for this nation. once the corporate world destroys the unions the rest of the workforce will be crushed and forced into accepting bottom dollar jobs. i am a civil servant union carpenter and i’m damn tired of being portrayed as overpaid and under worked. all of our pensions and benefits are in peril as if they hadn’t been previously negotiated as legal binding contracts, but AIG’s executive bonus packages were respected and paid for with our taxpayer funded bailout cash. defend the unions! join a union! form a union! THE HOUR IS GROWING LATE!

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By dr wu, January 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

New rule: every full time worker gets the same pay—50 grand plus medicare style health benefits. From slackers to CEO’s—the same paycheck.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, January 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

The photo accompanying the piece is priceless. The quintessential Washington DC federal employee- middle aged, black, morbidly obese female.

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By srelf, January 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

The unions have some skeletons in their closets as well, with the inordinate
salaries of the bosses. That said, the Wall Street bonuses in a time of foreclosures
and families being dumped out onto Main Street, is a travesty. And if the
conservatives really want to be just about it, let’s take a look at police and fire
pensions which are sky high before we lay off teachers and child care workers! But
then, we always knew that the Republican Party view themselves as the
strong protecting the strong.

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, January 7, 2011 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

This is beyond criminal blaming these hard working people for destroying the country with their pensions.
First the Wall St. criminals and elites like Mayor Bloomberg destroyed 401K pensions now they are going after the pensions and jobs of these public employees like the public works snowplowing crews in NY city.

Greed on steroids mixed with Fux News and the teabaggers who are ignorant and jealous , that’s what is driving this.

And not a whimper of support for the public employees from that corporate lawn jockey in the white house.

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By Brian, January 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So these are the greedy public workers that are
retiring too early and destroying the country with
there pensions? The fact that anybody has bin able
to effectively, turn these people into the
enemy/problem, speaks wonders about the intelligence
of the public at large.

Is it just because its easier to cut back on the
pensions of public workers then it is to oppose the
lords of finance on wall-street, that make people
actually fall for this? I mean really? These people
are the problem?

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