If you stop making your car payments, the repo man comes. If you stop paying your mortgage, the bank forecloses. If you decide to take a "vacation" from paying your taxes, you go to jail. That's the real world most of us know.
But in the fantasy world of Harrisburg politics, the commonwealth and school districts that refused to honor their financial obligations not only aren't held accountable but now try to use politics to further punish the teachers, nurses, caseworkers and other state employees who kept their part of the bargain and paid their obligations. Ignoring the 2010 Pension Reform Act (which saves taxpayers billions in pension fund payments), they seek to fundamentally destroy the current employee pension structure.
Many economists have noted that, unless someone is rich, 401(k)-type plans are a bad pension choice for people. Yet, our governor wishes to force state employees into these. Will all state employees be forced into his proposal? Will this mean the end of $13.4 million pensions for state football coaches? Will state university presidents be part of this plan? Will the governor, legislators and judges (also state employees) be thrust into this program? The governor seeks to falsely pit working families against each other by pretending one must either steal money from workers' pensions or children's education.
The commonwealth and the school districts need to meet their financial obligations, obey the 2010 law and deal honestly with their employees.
The writer is chief steward, Pennsylvania Social Services Union SEIU No. 668, Pittsburgh/Allegheny Careerlink.