Story #3: CBS News on the Pension Crisis: Promises Unkept
RUSH: Now, here is what Governor Walker in Wisconsin is trying to avoid. This is a story from yesterday, CBSNews.com: "The Pension Crisis: Promises Unkept." This is from CBS Sunday morning from their Sunday show yesterday, not Slay the Nation, but the Charles Osgood show. This is what Governor Walker is trying to avoid, the details in this story, and these idiots protesting are so selfish that they can't even see it. Here it is. "At 66, Alfred Arnold considers himself lucky, in a way. In September 2009, when the city of Prichard, Alabama, suddenly stopped paying pension checks to its retirees, at least he was able to work, as a security guard at a mall in Mobile. And this past Christmas, instead of exchanging gifts, mall employees gave all the money they would have spent on each other to Alfred and his wife Jackie. 'They knew we didn't have a pension, we wasn't getting paid,' said Alfred. 'How did you feel?' Teichner asked about the gift. 'Oh, man, that was devastating. I almost cried.'
"Alfred Arnold was Prichard's first black firefighter. He retired after 35 years, as a captain. 'If I didn't retire, I might not make it to the next day, going in the fire. You know, it gets too strenuous, you know? So I had to retire because I had heart problems.' Jackie worked for the Prichard Police Department for 40 years, and was the city's first female officer. 'I retired in June 2009,' Jackie said. 'I received two pension checks, and nothing after that. I said, "Well, they'll come up with something." But nothing ever happened.' 'Had it not been for my job at the mall as a security officer, we probably couldn't even eat,' Alfred said. After 17 months, it's come to this: The Arnolds and Prichard's other retirees want to know what's wrong with this picture. Why handouts? Why not the pensions they contributed to? The pensions state law says Prichard has to pay? 'You can't draw blood from a turnip,' said attorney Scott Williams, who represents the city of Prichard. 'All the colloquialisms you want to come up with, if the money's not there, we can't pay it,'" and this is what Walker, this is what people in Wisconsin and elsewhere, all these other bankrupt states who have unfunded and underfunded pensions are trying to avoid the day when they can't pay it.
They say, "Look, you got two options. We're either at some point down the line gonna not have the money to pay your pension or your health care, or we're gonna have to lay you off." These are the two options. Now, of course these people don't believe it. They think this is just some insensitive Republican trying to force them into poverty and so forth. But this lawyer for Prichard, Alabama, said, "'If we took all the city's money and paid it to the pensioners, we won't have money to pay for the fire department or to keep the street lights on.' Prichard is small: 144 retirees, 27,000 residents. But what happens in Prichard is being watched by much larger cities - Chicago ... Philadelphia ... San Diego, to name a few - and by many states. They all would like nothing better than to dump their staggeringly underfunded pension plans."
Why are they underfunded? If you give these people a stash of money, they're gonna spend it. There is no lockbox for Social Security, for example. You give them the money, they spend it. That's how you end up in Wisconsin with a $3.6 billion deficit. That's how we have a $14 trillion national debt federally. So all this money that's been supposedly held aside and invested and so forth for the public employees, it just isn't there. It still is in Wisconsin so you got a governor trying to protect it. He is trying to avoid teachers in Wisconsin being on the street having to go to a mall, get a job as a security guard. Of course they're not gonna believe that. It's not just Wisconsin. This is everywhere. This is what would scare me to death if I were depending on somebody else. That's why I'd much rather trust myself. That's why I'd much rather depend on me. I know, I know, I know, not everybody can. I know, I know, it's just me, but if I paid attention to the news these days, and if I had a state pension and health care benefits, I would be scared to death because I'm hearing underfunded, unfunded, my brain would be telling me the money isn't there. The money's not there.
All you gotta do is listen to the news. The money is not there. They have kicked the can down the road for years and years and years, we got to the point we can't kick the can down the road anymore. That's why these guys who campaign on promises to fix this get elected. They start fixing it, all hell breaks loose, which it is breaking loose. I don't think it's nearly as bad in Wisconsin as it's being made to look. We've got the news here about all the fake identities, fake people the Democrats have created to popularize, participate, and hang around social websites. How many fake protesters are there? How many fake teachers are actually marching?