Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gloom gloom gloom

And I'm not just talking about the steel grey clouds and the damp chill hanging over NE Ohio today. I am living in a state in which the only way ahead for funding public education hangs on the hopes of gambling casinos. That's how much we value education in Ohio.

Here in the city, various recreational activities offered up for seniors and youth have been cut back or eliminated. Gotta have enough money to plow the streets in winter so that those of us who still have jobs can make it in to work.

I read that one county councilman has refused to take a pay reduction for the final two months of the year. It would inconvenience this fellow's plans for bulking up his pension.

...Crawford, who is paid $23,903 a year, said his county check is committed through this year to buying state retirement benefits — a perk afforded to government workers to boost their retirement income and health benefits. His check amounts to $23.50 every two weeks because of the payroll deduction, he said.

The voluntary pay cut amounts to about $60 withheld from each council member's check.

If he agreed to the pay cut, ''I would have to pay the county money to be working,'' said Crawford, who works full-time as an insurance agent. ''I'm not going to write out a check.''

Guess we are all concerned about our pension plans now, aren't we? Everybody in a union is facing reductions and being asked to make concessions. Only the firefighters in Akron voted to make no concessions, and thus sacrificed their most recent hires so that their elders might not face postponement of their longevity bonuses.

I wonder how much will be left of the State Teachers' Retirement Fund by the time I put in my 30 years. Will I ever be able to afford retirement? Check this news report:

The State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) reported that it would take 41 years for its investments to catch up with the costs of meeting its obligations to retirees -- and that was before the worst of the financial crisis.

STRS reported last fiscal year that its valued plummeted 31 percent. The worried word used in its most recent annual report, on how long it would now take for its investments to put the fund back on track, was "Infinity."

Wow -- I don't think I have until infinity before I retire.

Since there will be no health benefits offered until some golden time beyond infinity, a public health plan would make the most sense for me and a whole lot of other people. But it seems that we must spend an infinity waiting while the corporate, governmental and financial institutions, building barricades around their interests, scramble to maintain a system of wealth for the few at the expense of the rest of us.

1 comment:

Teresa the Pragmatist said...

As long as education serves a critically important public purpose, then it needs to be supported by any and all means, so maybe we could be a little less fastidious about our funding sources, eh?