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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gutless Wonders

It is truly amazing to watch the hypocritical Michigan Legislature at work.  At a time when leaders in the State House of Representatives and in the State Senate have called upon Michigan state and public service employees currently employed and those already retired to sacrifice their earnings and benefits, including hard earned pensions present and future, for the good of the State of Michigan --- they vote to sacrifice NOTHING.  They cling on to the more than generous wages and benefits that they have voted for themselves.  So, for now -- it seems that all you have to do is win one term in the legislature and you get health care benefits for life.

I worked for 25 years as a teacher in Michigan.  I began to voluntarily pay additional monies into the retirement system over 20 years ago when Michigan was then worried about the solvency of the retirement system.  If I paid additional monies, I was promised a life-time pension after 30 years of service time and life-time health care benefits.  And, at that time and for many years following the beginning of that new program 100% of the health care premiums were guaranteed to be paid by the State.  Of course, that changed when a Republican governor decided to renege on all the promises made to retired employees and his decision was upheld by an activist conservative court.

I reached the magic 30 service credit years with a combination of my 26 years of teaching public school, converting service credit from a brief period of time working for the State of Michigan as an employment counselor, military service credit, and buying service credit with pre-tax dollars and a transfer of monies from my personal retirement accounts (403b).  I believe I earned my pension and health benefits the HARD way.  Michigan Legislators, on the other hand, can serve just 6 years and, wham bam, they have earned themselves life-time health care benefits.  They have, before some recent changes, in the past been receiving huge pension benefits after serving the State for not nearly the number of years required by state and public service employees (30 YEARS) to recieve pensions.  The pensions that former legislators and, it seems STILL, of those now serving in the State Legislature are overly generous and truly indefensible when considering the state of the economy in Michigan.

So, let me be clear.  When the Speaker of the House, Representative Andy Dillon (D-Redford), comes before the people of Michigan and proposes that others sacrifice for the good of the State of Michigan and he and the current legislature deigns to not LEAD, then all I can say is, "Get Stuffed!"

(H/T to Michigan Liberal)

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