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Old 02-25-2010, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
2,771 posts, read 3,682,356 times
Reputation: 594
Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
If the criteria were "clear" then there wouldn't be so many degrees of disagreement over what that criteria would be. The fact of the matter remains that when the government coerces people to pay taxes in order to fund any collective program it is a form of socialism. Yours is exactly the argument used by libertarians and anarchists for those areas that suit them. What makes it "clear"??? On what basis do you delineate those government services which are appropriately funded through taxes vs. those which are not?
I articulated the criteria in my previous post. Maybe I didn't emphasise it enough ? Here they are again:

Government intervention is called for when you have:
  1. a "natural monopoly" (such as a utility)
  2. a good or service that is non-exclusible (such as public roads)
  3. neighborhood effects (e.g. voluntary transaction has a negative effect on a third party)
Again, the things you incorrectly call "socialism" really need some government involvement because of the above issues. You won't find disagreement among serious economists that these are the proper criteria. What is more controversial, are questions about the application of the above criteria (e.g. does (2) justify funding public universities, space travel, etc ?)

The government should not, in my opinion, be in the business of taking over whichever services they feel like, and redistributing assets to their political allies.

To get this back on topic, I'm not against having any kind of retirement plans for NJ state, local or other public employees (though accounting in defined benefit plans borders on fraud).

What I am for, is these employees having defined contribution plans which cannot be abused / raided / mismanaged by unscrupulous government officials.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:18 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
4,086 posts, read 4,939,106 times
Reputation: 2516
Quote:
Originally Posted by elflord1973 View Post
I articulated the criteria in my previous post. Maybe I didn't emphasise it enough ? Here they are again:

Government intervention is called for when you have:
  1. a "natural monopoly" (such as a utility)
  2. a good or service that is non-exclusible (such as public roads)
  3. neighborhood effects (e.g. voluntary transaction has a negative effect on a third party)
Again, the things you incorrectly call "socialism" really need some government involvement because of the above issues. You won't find disagreement among serious economists that these are the proper criteria. What is more controversial, are questions about the application of the above criteria (e.g. does (2) justify funding public universities, space travel, etc ?)
If riight-wingers are going to use the label "socialism" so glibly to label every single thing they don't agree with, even when it falls under the area of being "more controversial" in regards to "questions about the application of the above criteria (e.g. does (2) justify funding public universities, space travel, etc ?)", as so many of them do, then they need to be prepared to have it used as glibly by others.

I can make a case for roads being an excludable (I think that's what you meant by "exclusible" but correct me if I'm wrong) service because there are people who don't use them (e.g. Mahattan). Of course, it would be argued *(and correctly so) that those who don't directly use roads benefit at least indirectly from them (e.g. the Manhattanite who subways around town and never uses buses, cabs, or a car to get around still benefits by having his customers/business associates being able to use the roads to do business with him, and the merchants and other services he uses in turn use the roads to import goods or provide services, etc.). Likewise, there are those who call public education "socialism" because they make a case for those being "excludable" services; however, the argument can likewise be made that those not directly using public schools/universities are benefitting from a more educated populace resulting in less unemployment, less crime, and better arts/culture/entertainment/recreation.

The problem is that the term "socialist" is tossed so freely and it is clear that the intent is to scare people from those programs labeled "socialist". The fact of the matter is that an argument can be made against any "non-excludable" services. And, indeed, libertarians of various shades DO make those arguments, and in turn other right-wing conservatives pick and choose which of those libertarian/anarchist arguments to adopt and which ones to reject. Hence, we see right-wingers feel perfectly entitled to defend certain services as "non-excludable" (and therefore not "socialist") while deriding other services as "socialism" when it suits their political agenda. I mentioned earlier that there is a lot of cognitive dissonance involved there, but I honestly have to wonder whether there is actually no cognitive dissonance but just a deliberate disconnect in logic since the ends justify the means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elflord1973 View Post
The government should not, in my opinion, be in the business of taking over whichever services they feel like, and redistributing assets to their political allies.
I agree. That's why I talk about how most of NJ's money which flows out of the state is redistributed to Republican states by way of years of Republican dominated legislatures and presidencies. But seems that many here are more concerned with the pennies lost on an overpaid school worker than the hemhorraging of money at the Federal level...but I'm sure it has nothing at all to do with conservative partisanship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elflord1973 View Post
To get this back on topic, I'm not against having any kind of retirement plans for NJ state, local or other public employees (though accounting in defined benefit plans borders on fraud).

What I am for, is these employees having defined contribution plans which cannot be abused / raided / mismanaged by unscrupulous government officials.
Fair enough. I just don't see how it's any more "socialism" for the state to handle that themselves than it is for the US Gov't to handle the same for our military personnel. It very well may be that the state is doing the wrong thing in how they handle pensions, but to label it "socialism" is nothing but an ad hom intended to discredit the practice with little or no further discussion. Personally, I think the biggest problem with the state handling the pension fund is that the risk of a Republican governor raiding it was too big a risk, and sure enough, that's what happened. It's almost as if Whitman figured, "I'll teach those libs to leave the cookie jar within my reach - maybe next time they'll hire a private cookie jar for their cookies after they see how I raid it..."
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
2,771 posts, read 3,682,356 times
Reputation: 594
Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
If riight-wingers are going to use the label "socialism" so glibly to label every single thing they don't agree with, even when it falls under the area of being "more controversial" in regards to "questions about the application of the above criteria (e.g. does (2) justify funding public universities, space travel, etc ?)", as so many of them do, then they need to be prepared to have it used as glibly by others.

I can make a case for roads being an excludable (I think that's what you meant by "exclusible" but correct me if I'm wrong) service because there are people who don't use them (e.g. Mahattan). Of course, it would be argued *(and correctly so) that those who don't directly use roads benefit at least indirectly from them
The point is that once you pay for and set up those roads, you can't prevent others from using them (or at least it's prohibitively expensive to do so). That's what I mean by the term -- I don't mean that they are essential, or that everyone needs to use them.

Quote:
however, the argument can likewise be made that those not directly using public schools/universities are benefitting from a more educated populace resulting in less unemployment, less crime, and better arts/culture/entertainment/recreation.
Right, that's a way of saying that it has a positive neighborhood effect or that the benefits of education really aren't excludable, which is more or less the economists' line of argument for public funding of education.

I don't think you can make a comparable argument for pension plans. Governments shouldn't be managing them. The NJ plan will eventually run out of money within 2 decades on its current trajectory (2025 for the avg state plan according to Orin Kramer, and NJ is worse than average) at which point either a federal bailout or a negotiation with beneficiaries or a steep tax bill will be forthcoming.

PS I'm for defined contribution plans, not a privately run DB plan
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:59 AM
 
1,595 posts, read 1,099,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njkate View Post
It's going to be painful for everyone~~BUT~~~ we can not continue to spend money we do not have and dig ourselves into a deeper hole.
The pension reform, I wouldn't be surprised if current members are grandfathered and the newbies coming in will have a different structure.
It makes sense to grandfather members who put in 20 or more years. It also makes sense to make changes in cutting back for new employees especially when new employees start at much higher salaries then the older members did. Also we need to weed out the supervisors (excess chiefs). On County level jobs I see far too many people with supervisory titles and higher salaries simply because no one else does that particular job and it's the title they are given to protect them from being laid off. Too many middle men being given pay raises and management titles for job security, nepotism, and to do friends favors by hiring relatives of friends/lovers.

Too often any kind of reform / change means laying off the little guy who gave up a higher salary to have a pension and benefits later on in life. They didn't get promotions b/c they wouldn't brown nose and they end up being the sacrafice to appease the public sector who has no clue most of the spending is wasted on middle management that was never necessary to have in the first place. Also adding to Government jobs like having County Executives doesn't help. There was never so many problems before adding to Government.

Whjy doesn't Christie stop paying out pension money to spouses. My tax dollars go to the employee not he spouse. Let the employee get insurance like everybody else to support their spouse when they die and put the pension back in the system. My tax dollars shouldn't be paying for their spouses and family.

Also take a look at the sheriff's pensions and excessive pay raises. They get promotions at the drop of a hat. They get high ranking promotions similar to the police when all they do is a baby sitting job. Most County Sheriff Corrections don't even live and pay taxes, vote in the same County us tax payers pay for their overpaid salaries, pensions, benefits and excessive high ranking promotions. Separate their PBA union from the police and may ...just maybe...the Police can actually make more than corrections officers do. The Police put their lives on the line out in public everyday the sheriff at best baby sits in a controlled environment called a jail/prison and only when necessary they guard a prisoner at the hospital. They get paid more than most Police Officers.

As far as Teachers salaries and pensions I say put an end to Tenure and stop the increases in pay when all they really do is the same curriculum other than history and current events over and over year after year. I have heard Police Officers willing to give up something yet teachers are so spoiled and selfish they refuse to give up so much as one penny.

If my post here is in the wrong place please put it in the correct place. I am new here so I'm just learning how,where to post
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:04 AM
 
1,595 posts, read 1,099,575 times
Reputation: 816
Quote:
Originally Posted by bababua View Post
My first plan of action would be to freeze all state and municipal employees salaries.

Teachers,Cops,Firefighter,Troopers,Waste, anything that gets paid with tax payer money should be frozen for at least 2 years if not more. No more double dipping (pension) Cant have pensions for part time employees. Stop that crap of state approved vendors that rip off schools and the like with 200 dollar radios. The same radios can be bought in Walmart for 20 bucks. Crap like this kills us.

what about freezing promotions for all of the above and the Sheriff's, correction officers as well? Also what about setting limits on how long employees can stay at work when they have 35 or more years in the pension and are retirement age? these people have the time and age to retire, collect social security, pension yet they refuse to. These people could bankrupt the system because the longer they are in the system the more money they can collect when they do finally retire. Also cut down on their hours. How many times have I caught employees reading the newspaper or goofing off reading non work related material on the internet. Also start cutting down and laying off the supervisors who are given the title just to protect them because they are friends with a Dept. head or the relative of someone in charge. It's insane the supervisory titles in public employment and it needs to stop. Many got the titles also by chumming up to the previous employer.

When furloughs are required it should be all employees regardless of title's and who is or isn't in the union. People who aren't in the union are usually, not always, but usually in a supervisory title. They have one or more employees they have been put in charge of or train so they make more money. It makes sense to furlough the employees who make a lot more than the little guy who makes barely enough to get by. Not all public employees are over paid but all supervisory jobs are, especially those who are given the title for the wrong reasons. I know people who have the education but are so lazy they should have been fired years ago. I know another employee who was accused of getting pay raises over the years because a relative of hers worked in elections and it was said he was paid or rather his relative was paid for him to accidentally not have all the ballots to sway the votes. it wasn't proven but when that accusation came out the other party got the majority of elected votes for the first time in years.

You wouldn't believe half the stuff I know just from shutting up, listening, watching and keeping my mouth shut to the point where I never tell anyone anything that I know. I have seen so much illegal activity just from the average public employee and the supervisors. Yet the only people who get caught are the elected officials. It's almost unbelievable. You people would fall over if you knew what the appointed employee's do and use the public employees to cover up their dirty work because they are desperate to keep their jobs. Why do Dept. heads need so many supervisors under them in charge of all the others? It makes no sense to have so many and pay so much more money. Why is it when the little union employee gets a whole 1 - 2% increase on a little salary that the supervisors also get that same increase when they already are over paid to begin with and they don't pay union dues? This happens in every State, County, Municipal level of public employment.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:10 AM
 
1,595 posts, read 1,099,575 times
Reputation: 816
Quote:
Originally Posted by bababua View Post
Another thing would be to stop the crazy overtime pay. Everybody including cops, crazy what these people make in overtime. It bleeds the system.
Well getting overtime pay is easy...just take turns calling in sick
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