The Illinois Policy Institute and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research have launched a “pension calculator” that purports to show how much money private sector workers would need to save toward retirement in order to match government pensions.
The link here takes you to a web page that has a box for calculations on the left side. Questions walk users through a series of decisions about what categories they would work in if they were state employees or lawmakers.
In my own case, I learned that I would need to save about $825,000 to match the lifetime annuity offered to a state worker.
There are some things the website does not factor into the calculations. For instance, a private sector 401(k) is not limited to monthly disbursements. It can be used in part or in whole at its owners discretion.
What the calculator does is assign an average lifespan to the government worker. Females have a longer expected retirement. But if a government worker dies a year after retirement, the pension can stop or be reduced, depending on the situation. A 401(k) remains the property of the retiree’s estate.
Another point that state pensioners make is that they pay into their pension plans at rates of 8 to 12 percent. They have no option to adjust their contribution in the same way 401(k) holders can. It is state lawmakers who underfunded the pension program by skipping or reducing the employer’s matching contribution, workers say.
Figure the legislative pensions on the calculator if you want an eyeopener.
Although Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos fell to the New England Patriots last Saturday, the discussion about Tebow’s public prayers will go on.
I’ve wondered why those who are “outraged” that someone would pray on bended knee at a sporting event have not been equally outraged when Albert Pujols points heavenward and gives God praise for his health and talents.
More to the point, why are people not outraged by sports figures who aggrandize themselves?
Missouri residents hoping to vote in the presidential primary have to register by Wednesday or send in a registration card postmarked by Wednesday.
The vote is advisory only but is required by state law. It’s meaningless because the Republican party is opting to hold March caucuses to select delegates.
“Missouri’s primary will serve basically as a public opinion poll for the Republican candidates seeking to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama. That’s because the state Republican Party has opted to use a caucus system that starts in March to award delegates to the national convention at which the GOP nominee will be officially selected,” the St. Louis Today story reads.
President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the size of the U.S. armed forces and slow growth in the defense budget is drawing fire from Republicans who fear a “strategic review” will go too far and Democrats who fear it won’t go far enough.
During a joint press conference with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Marty Dempsey, Obama pointed out that the Budget Control Act approved last year calls for budget cuts in most federal agencies, as well as the military. Obama said the U.S. will continue to get rid of outdated Cold War era systems and invest in weapons, surveillance technology and counterterrorism efforts.
“I’d encourage all of us to remember what President Eisenhower once said — that ‘each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’ After a decade of war, and as we rebuild the source of our strength — at home and abroad — it’s time to restore that balance,” Obama said.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said balancing the budget is important, but he does not trust Obama to balance military spending with national defense.
“The president comparing our defense spending to the defense spending of other countries is certainly in line with his thinking that America is just like every other country. In terms of our freedoms and our attractiveness as a target, I’m absolutely confident that our enemies do not view us as just another country. I’ve always said that everything needs to be on the table as we look for ways to reduce out-of-control federal spending, but I have real concerns about any move that weakens our nation’s defense,” Blunt said.
This topic will be big in Washington’s beltway for months and years to come.