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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Too Generous = You Are Not Worthy

Andy Dillon (D-17), Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, believes that the State of Michigan is too generous in the granting of health care benefits to Michigan's current public service employees and retired public service employees. He feels that the Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits that I receive as a retired public servant are too good for me and that I should be paying more out of my meager pension for my health care policy's costs. He wishes to align both the coverage for illnesses, accidents, and wellness and all out-of-pocket expenses with those of public service employees in other states and with what the private sector in Michigan provides for its employees.

Essentially, Speaker Dillon is saying to me -- for the good of the State of Michigan, give up on what you have been promised, give up on what you have earned as a reward for your service to the children and families of Michigan, and give up on any idea of your value past and present -- you are not worthy of the health care you are now receiving. The State of Michigan needs to renege on their promises to you and countless others to save a few bucks.

If only Michigan had managed it finances better in the past they would not be in this ridiculous position of having to go to its retirees for a bailout. As far as I am concerned, the money problems in Michigan began years ago when a conservative Republican governor and a Republican controlled legislature decided to kill public education and any publicly funded State governmental services that Michigan offered. They put in place disastrous programs of outsourcing jobs to private FOR PROFIT companies. They, more importantly, starved the State's budget by implementing a succession of cuts in Michigan's income tax. Michigan's Republicans gave jobs and profits to their friends in the private sector. It was obvious after the first few years of that governor's administration that he didn't have any friends in the road building business as Michigan's highways and byways deteriorated.

The economy of Michigan lost the natural and necessary economic stimulus of "government employment". Public sector jobs went to the non-union low wage for-profit companies. Michigan workers saw their wages stagnate while celebrating the disaster of income tax decreases. A vicious economy busting cycle began while those same Republicans voted themselves generous government wages and benefits. The Governor and the Legislature received outlandish compensation for their part-time work and took out of this world retirement packages. Go to Lansing to "serve the public" for a few short years and retire with a huge pension and health care for life. Yep. True public servants.

On the other hand, teachers and other public school employees were told year after year that if you accept low wages and benefits now, you will be rewarded when you retire. The concept of deferred compensation was pounded home with every new employment contract that was negotiated in good faith. I know. I was at the bargaining table. I sold the same "lie" to my friends and colleagues.

Now, Andy Dillon wishes to once and for all break the good faith bargain that was made with me in 1977 and every year after that until now. Yes, thank you for your public service, Mr. Harris, now give up your hard earned pension. The State of Michigan fucked up and now we want you to pay for our mistakes.

Well, Andy -- get stuffed.

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