At the same time WPRI is releasing a study demonstrating the superiority of public pension programs over private plans, similar fights are brewing around the country. Take Fairfax County, Virginia (my home county, incidentally), which is proposing raising taxes specifically to fund higher benefits for teachers: (Via Reason)
“The FCTA asked why the school board is urging the supervisors to raise taxes by $81.9M although only $9M is needed to pay for next year’s expected increase in student enrollment.
“The school superintendent acknowledged that the reason is the increased cost in employee benefits, especially pensions. According to the schools’ proposed FY2011 budget, employee benefits costs are increasing by $98M, of which $71M is for pensions and another $15M is for retiree medical benefits.
Hard-fact time: Taxpayers everywhere are shelling out many, many, many more real dollars per student for public education than they were 30 years ago (with no clear improvements in outcomes [see this and this]). Indeed, inflation-adjusted costs per pupil have gone up over 200 percent since 1970, while student achievement is flat (at best). Can you think of any other part of your life (especially one in the private sector) where you are paying twice as much for the same freaking outcome? Say what you will about rising medical costs, but the pills that cure our ills nowadays are so much better…
As we’ve noted here, this is a story that is only going to gain in regularity as the gap between public-sector and private-sector compensation grows (public-sector already has a 70 percent advantage!) and as private-sector workers increasingly fund their own retirements via 401(k)s.
You can read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on the WPRI Report here.
Also, in May of last year, I wrote a column in the Journal Sentinel detailing how government pays the employee portion of the “employee contribution” to employees’ pensions.