Jun
22
2011

NYT and the Pampered Public Worker's Pension

When you see a headline like "Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions," you know what you're going to get– more scaremongering about runaway public employee pensions. The New York Times delivers, with a lengthy front-page piece by Charles Duhigg that mostly takes the side of the Republican lawmakers trying to cut benefits in the name of fiscal discipline. The article is largely based around Jim Righeimer, a conservative activist turned city council member in Costa Mesa, California, whose become something of a national star on the right. He can rattle off the anecdotes about sky-high pensions: The […]

Jun
17
2011

NYT's Greenhouse vs. 'Generous' Public Worker Compensation

Yesterday New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (6/16/11) reported on efforts in several states to get public-sector workers to increase contributions to state pension funds–or, to put it more bluntly, to take a pay cut. Political leaders are claiming this is simply the only thing they can do–and Greenhouse helps them make their case. Right from the start, Greenhouse frames the political shift as "the most definitive sign yet that the era of generous compensation for public-sector employees is ending." Many studies have shown that public sector compensation isn't actually all that generous, and such workers might lag slightly […]

Mar
09
2011

Washington Post's Pension Propaganda

With a headline like "Public Workers Draining State, Local Pension Funds," I guess you know what to expect from Karen Tumulty's article in the Washington Post today (3/8/11). It appears the story's headline was changed somewhere along the way, but unfortunately the headline wasn't the only problem. Her lead paragraph introduces an obviously unrepresentative case–a guy who somehow had fourĀ  government jobs in one California town, and thus is enjoying a $500,000 pension. Tumulty writes: Deals like the one he got rankle Californians at a time when the state's public employee pension plans are "dangerously underfunded, the result of overly […]

Jan
06
2011

Greedy Public Workers and Fat Pensions? Try Again

There's been a spate of reporting and commentary attacking public workers for having lavish pensions that are bankrupting various states. CBS's 60 Minutes got into the act in December with a report (12/19/10) that was criticized for lionizing Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (obviously this came before his snow troubles) for his attacks on public workers (particularly school teachers). The New York Times featured an article by Michael Powell on January 2 headlined "Public Workers Face Outrage as Budget Crises Grow." The piece focused primarily on these pension plans, some of which "dangle perilously close to bankruptcy." The article […]