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Some dude opposes pension reform

Presenting this in a slightly redacted form.

[Some dude] has joined friend and ally Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in rallying opposition to [Mayor Sylvester] Turner’s [pension reform] proposal among conservatives. He has attended at least three dozen forums on the topic, by his count, and has been running social media ads touting his views on Facebook, has traveled to Austin to lobby legislators and has formed a pension-focused political action committee with Bettencourt.

The recent mayoral runner-up’s central role in his rival’s most important initiative is unprecedented, political observers say.

“It does somewhat seem like sour grapes for a defeated mayoral candidate to continue to campaign against his victorious opponent,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “It perhaps would have been more productive to allow Sylvester Turner to handle this himself for the first legislative session of his tenure and only get more actively involved if that session had not resulted in a significant improvement.”

[…]

[Some dude] insists the aim of his critiques is to improve Turner’s proposal, not kill it, and says he is not using the issue to position himself for another mayoral run.

His critics aren’t buying that. They accuse [some dude] of acting out of self-interest in seeking to torpedo the reforms, or of at least failing to grasp that his actions will make that result far more likely.

In particular, [some dude] and Bettencourt want to move all new city workers to defined contribution, or “DC,” pensions similar to 401(k)s – which the employee groups despise because it leaves their retirement pay vulnerable to market fluctuation – and to force a referendum on the $1 billion in pension bonds that are a key piece of the reform package.

“I would concede that it’s unusual, but I don’t understand why there’s anything wrong with it,” [some dude] said of his role. “Just because one candidate advocates some things and loses an election doesn’t mean that all those things are wrong and are off the table forever.”

[Some dude] acknowledges his dozen email blasts attacking the proposal as a “secret” attempt to pass “a bad deal” that is “not real reform” and would “make the city a financial cripple” have sometimes been “harsh” or indulged in “hyperbole.”

[…]

“My role here is to fire up the Republican base to support the two reforms that I want added to the bill,” [some dude] said. “It is a Republican-controlled Legislature. The Republican base is not a little bit in favor of DC plans, they are way in favor of it.”

Not accounting for the union’s certain negative response to these controversial provisions, lawmakers and legislative observers said, means [some dude] might as well say he wants the deal dead.

“[Some dude] feels strongly that there should be defined contribution plans. He ran on that. We had a vote, and he lost,” said Robert Miller, a former Metro chairman and a longtime lobbyist for the city’s three pensions, among dozens of other clients. “That was not something the employee groups were willing to agree to. If you stick that in, there’s a high likelihood that the agreement falls apart. He is seeking to kill the deal.”

I’m sure you can tell who this story is about, but I have no desire to give him any more attention for it. I neither know nor care what this guy’s motivations are, but I do know this: He’s seeking to use the Legislature to overrule the voters who rejected him in 2015. I have no respect for that, and as such I no longer have any respect for him. Hope you’re happy, dude.

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13 Comments

  1. Neither Here Nor There says:

    401 designed to generate fees for the money givers to the Republicans not that Democrats don’t engage in that also but not to the same extent.

    Republicans have become the enemy of the working class, but have managed to tailor the message that social conservative keep voting against their interests.

    Municipal employees have earned their pension and are entitled to it the same way that people that pay into Social Security are entitled to that because they have earned it. The police and firemen risk their lives on a daily basis. If those corrupt individuals that push bankruptcy truly believed what they espouse they would work to get rid of the pension they would receive, Bettencourt will get a pension, the one that cannot be named had a very good pension from where he retired. He will receive a pension if gets old enough to qualify for the rule of 75, and he will certainly get a pension from the state as a State Senator assuming he lives at least this his second elected term.

    Look at what they take not what they espouse for others.

  2. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bettencourt rule of 75 as County Tax Assessor.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    “It does somewhat seem like sour grapes for a defeated mayoral candidate to continue to campaign against his victorious opponent,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.

    I wonder how Mark feels about about Hillary/Obama/Bern encouraging their supporters to continue rioting in the streets? Sour grapes too?

    As to that unnamed man-who-should-have-been-king, he’s right about the basic issue…..pensions ARE unsustainable, which is why most all private employers have gone to a 401K or equivalent. At some point, governmental agencies will need to do the same thing.

  4. Neither Here Nor There says:

    The reason that people push the 401 is that the financiers will benefit from the additional monies they will handle. That is the reason that the Rich and money managers are always attaching defined pension plans. According to them the sky fell 10 years ago. But they find a lie and they keep repeating it until people start believing it.

    Since Ronald Reagan the very rich are taking more money from the middle class and the poor and putting it in their pocket. The amazing thing is that so many poor and middle class have fallen for the lies of the very rich.

    One has to separate the private employers from the government employees for one simple reason. Government employees such as police, fire, teachers, etc. do not pay into social security. A private employer has to pay into social security.

    Bill if you are not a government employee then you pay into social security and maybe into pension, defined or contribution. The second being an option as to whether to participate. Your participation in social security will guarantee you a retirement of you reach the age of 62, and if injured may be entitled to disability benefits. If no social security and only 401 and you get insured young and cannot work what would happen to you and maybe your family? Imagine a police with no social security who gets injured 5 years into his job, what would happen to him if had to rely on those 5 years of 401?

    It is time that the very rich and the large corporations start paying the share to support this country and the working people that make it a great country.

    When did Obama or Hillary encourage anyone to riot Bill? Any proof are just an alternate fact?

  5. Neither Here Nor There says:

    get injured

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    @Neither:

    Do pension plans not generate fees for the companies that manage them? Where can I go to have investments managed by people who volunteer their labor and do not charge me for handling my investments? I don’t have a pension plan, by the way, so I have to manage my own investments, in addition to earning the money to fund those investments, and I have to take all the risk that comes with that.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Neither:

    If the 5 year veteran officer gets hurt on the job, he collects workman’s comp, just like my employee would collect if he became injured on the job. If he gets hurt off the job, he collect Social Security disability. What does this have to do with pensions vs. 401K?

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    If my employee works for me 5 years and gets injured off the job, do I owe him a lifetime income, for 5 years of work? Put yourself in the shoes of the employer. If I work for you for 5 years, and get injured or sick and can’t work, are you willing to guarantee me income for life, because I worked for you? Why or why not?

  9. C.L. says:

    @Neither…

    “Government employees such as police, fire, teachers, etc. do not pay into social security.”

    As a Federal employee for close to three decades now, I can only hope you’re not referring to me. If you are, I plan on taking this up with the soulless Pres. Trump as it’d appear the $7,000 I paid in Social Security Tax Withheld this past year was done illegally.

  10. Steve Houston says:

    If the two pension hawks most closely tied to this issue were backing statewide solutions instead of city specific laws, I’d find their claims at least slightly credible. One does appear to have sour grapes, his one trick pony candidacy certainly given ample attention so he can’t credibly claim there wasn’t a clear cut choice. That he proposed issuing debt to cover the entire problem as well as large scale infrastructure repair and none of it with a vote by the public, at least not in his speeches or in anything written by him, just proves the point.

    Paul appears to be setting the city up for his own future run to be Mayor, his fickle nature when it came to financial matters all well documented, if long forgotten, how he opposed public sport stadium financing until the right contributions were made, how he all but demanded the city and county refuse to do business with contractors that owed a penny in back taxes yet conveniently put his beliefs on hold to become treasurer for a candidate that himself owed money. He even let voters vote for him one last time before bailing to score millions on a business venture, not serving a single day of his elected last term in a scheme to allow an appointee to take over.

    Neither the nameless one nor Paul have any answers regarding already earned benefits, those being the cost projections the couple so playfully embellish at every turn, give them one number and they will almost always add a considerable amount. The drive to switch to a different kind of plan making future costs more readily understood seems reasonable but the unspoken plan on exactly how they think the unfunded liabilities should be paid for always leads to both changing the subject. That one thinks anyone needs his blessing for him to go away if new employees are placed on a defined contribution plan is the epitome of ego, he should sell that over priced condo on the loop and move back to the coast. Given his public comments about costs, I’m sure he intends they end up working until they die.

    So I have to agree with Manuel here, stranger things have happened, and the state has no plans to pay for any of this so they should just sign off on the proposal. Let the legislature maintain an oversight position requiring signing off but leave the policy making to the key players in the city. The employees are already taking big cuts, the mayor has shown good intentions at maintaining solvency, and the voters picked who they picked despite being constantly bombarded about pensions so let it the frick go you two (Paul and nameless one).

  11. Neither Here Nor There says:

    C.L. The issue presented by Kuffner as to government employees was referring to city of Houston, police and fire which do not pay into social security, municipal employees do pay social security. As a former teacher I did not pay into social security (Texas teachers do not pay social security). My two brothers, now retired from HPD did not pay social security, my nephews that are HPD officers do not pay social security. Another nephew who is an officer, county, thought about transferring to HPD but the benefits were not as good as they are in county.

    C.L. federal employees begin paying into the social security system in 1984. If your $7,000 figure is correct then your net pay is close to $113,000 a year. If your figure includes medicare than your net is a about $94,000.

    In fact C.L. Federal Employees have nice pension benefits (retirement);

    FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Two of the three parts of FERS (Social Security and the TSP) can go with you to your next job if you leave the Federal Government before retirement. The Basic Benefit and Social Security parts of FERS require you to pay your share each pay period. Your agency withholds the cost of the Basic Benefit and Social Security from your pay as payroll deductions. Your agency pays its part too. Then, after you retire, you receive annuity payments each month for the rest of your life.

    The TSP part of FERS is an account that your agency automatically sets up for you. Each pay period your agency deposits into your account amount equal to 1% of the basic pay you earn for the pay period. You can also make your own contributions to your TSP account and your agency will also make a matching contribution. These contributions are tax-deferred. The Thrift Savings Plan is administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

  12. Neither Here Nor There says:

    C.L. thanks for calling Trump the Soulless, but if you prefer you can call him the Russian Puppet or the Russian Poodle, even the illegitimate president is fine.

  13. C. L. says:

    @Neither, while I appreciate your suggestion[s], for now/until he’s no longer, I’ll just call him Mr. President.