If I Had a Million Dollars, I’d Live Like a Retired Govt. Worker

Richie_Rich_comic_No_1As a kid I thought it must really be something to be a millionaire.  We read “Richie Rich” comic books and imagined how cool it would be to live in a mansion, with servants and cooks and an indoor swimming pool.

Of course, it was the impossible dream.  Only a rare few Americans could ever be that rich, and they were born to wealthy families.  Still, back then, life was good for most Americans.  Dads went to work, paid the bills, bought modest homes and Chevies, and took the family on a summer road trip to Mount Rushmore.  Moms stayed home, raised the 2.1 kids, attended PTA meetings, and always had a hot, healthy meal ready when Dad came home from work.

What happened?

A million bucks sure isn’t what it used to be.  With CDs paying maybe 1% interest at best, those who worked hard and saved a million dollars can now look forward to a retirement income of – wow – $10,000 a year.  Add that to social security income, of course, but still.   No indoor swimming pool.  No servants.

And it’s not like there are other investment opportunities for retirees.   The only guys making money in the stock market are the hedge fund operators and the machine traders buying and selling at the speed of light.  Municipal bonds pay a couple percent and are tax free – oh that’s right, most city and county governments are bankrupt.

There is one group of really wealthy American retirees.   Retired unionized government workers get guaranteed pensions.  Most receive over $60,000 per year.  There are many government employees who toiled for 25 or 30 hard years, sometimes even working over 35 hours per week behind a hard, cold desk with only 7 weeks of vacation and 15 holidays off each year.  Poor souls, at retirement they must make do with $100k per year plus full medical benefits.

Do the math.  In order to pay a retired teacher $60k per year, we American taxpayers are putting up $6 million at 1% interest.  The retired county engineer who receives a $100k pension requires a taxpayer investment of $10 million to fund his checks.

In an economy where many moms and dads both work long hours and are barely able to feed their families, let alone save anything for retirement, it’s hard to feel sorry for government employees who will retire with multi-million dollar nest eggs.

When I see a headline like this:

Obama Sequester Speech: Republicans Are Putting Economy At Risk To Help The Wealthy

I shake my head in amazement at the level of deceit our President and his followers continue to get away with.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
We’d take a limousine cause it costs more
If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner

If I Had A Million Dollars – Barenaked Ladies

9 thoughts on “If I Had a Million Dollars, I’d Live Like a Retired Govt. Worker

  1. To add to the problem, those who intended to retire cannot afford to right now with the loss of income from savings. They have to work more years hoping to be able to save more. We have a market of young graduates coming out of high school and college who cannot find jobs, because the cycle of the job market has been severely affected.

  2. The Federal Government is making bonds at 85 billion dollars a month to cover their debts. If interest rates go up their sunk. They’re keeping the interest rates low artificially. The government is leading us all to a train wreck. Education Lady

    • I am fully aware of the fiscal illusion this country, and the rest of the world, is living in today. This is mechanized destruction of our entire economy. I saw it happen in the housing market, where I spent 30 years as a mortgage lender and then as an division manager of 5 branch offices with a national title company owned by a national builder.

  3. Ooh, I have to call you on this one, Tom. I know a few retired teachers and none make close to $60,000 or get insurance. Plus teachers pay approximately half into their pensions. Now there are probably some government workers who do make that retirement, but I suspect they were in management. I’m willing to visit with you about this so you are more aware of public pensions. If you are really concerned about who is making a haul, check on hedge fund folks, lobbyists (esp. Retired politicians), and and others like them.

    • Mike, when I write a blog like this everybody thinks I am writing about THEM. (theme song, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you . . .”) I don’t mean to broad-brush a large group of people, and I should probably include a disclaimer (your actual mileage may be different). But I stand on my claim that government union defined-benefit plans are bankrupting cities and counties all over the country, and it can’t go on.

      I know not every teacher gets a $60k pension, but many do. Remember that the big city school districts hire most of the teachers, and their contracts are NOTHING like Montana teachers get. The average teacher salary in Washington, DC is $62,000. That’s average. Those who retire will be making six figures and will retire with 70% to 80% of that. I did not say EVERY teacher has a $60k pension. You should also consider how many fewer hours teachers work than private sector employees, and the fact that their pensions are mostly defined benefit – guaranteed, while private sector employees must save their own money for retirement for the most part. If you have a $40,000 guaranteed pension, the taxpayers are putting up $4 million dollars at 1% interest to pay for that. How many private sector employees have $4 million in the bank for their retirements?

      Please don’t take my blogs personally! Present company excepted! I now have a relative mad at me too, because he works very hard and doesn’t get the perks and salary that many other government union workers do.

      • Put down the shovel, Tom. Pretty soon this hole you are digging will be too deep to get out of. You say I should consider how many fewer hours teachers work than private sector employees. Remember, I spent 34 years in the classroom; I know how many hours teachers work. i can’t find the source now, but a few years ago I read a fact that teachers work as much in nine months as most workers do in 11. I don’t mind that you pick on public employees, or teachers for that matter, but at least use some credited resources to substantiate your claims. Also, why not take shots at corporations like GE that don’t pay taxes, yet get big kickbacks from the government. Or mention farmers that get thousands of dollars a year for not growing crops. You know, like corporate welfare. I’m sure you can find some good blogs from those places. Okay, now I am done.

      • Mike! I WAS a teacher! I was a trustee! I know how schools work! I have seen the contracts! I consider myself, my own experience and observations, to be a pretty solid source! Now, I admit, it is unfair to broad brush a whole group of people, results may vary, and you know I love teachers – especially Lewistown teachers – but I also know firsthand that the majority of school teachers nationwide do not work anywhere near the annual hours that the average management bear in the private sector does. Let’s not count coaching and extracurriculars – been there, done that, and it is a ton of hours and effort. Most teachers don’t do that.

        My current employer expects six days a week, 9 to 10 hours per day from its managers. 50 weeks per year. I know, that’s crazy, but it’s true. Please do the math, teachers are no where near those hours.

        Should I take shots at GE? You bet! What does that have to do with teachers? Farmers who get thousands for not growing crops? That SUCKS! What does that have to do with government employees? Corporate welfare? HUGE problem (especially the greenies!) Doesn’t excuse the problem with our SPENDING MONEY WE DON’T HAVE!

        As usual, Mike, we agree on almost everything. I enjoy hearing your opinions and take comfort in the fact that you, a government employee – a teacher – are so level-headed. Please take a leadership role in steering those who don’t understand as well as you do.

  4. Don’t forget military retirees. Retire at 38 and get (almost) free medical insurance for life! Not bad for 20 years of HVAC or other trade work. Not much combat going on at Malmstrom.

    • I don’t think we treat our military people nearly as well as we should – career military, that is. A guy who puts in just a few years and moves on is entitled to thanks, but not career benefits. Combat veterans, especially those serving multiple tours, should be paid well and their families rewarded for the difficult work and conditions. I understand what you are saying about some who have soft and short careers stateside, that needs attention. And some of the upper echelon officers are flat out abusing the taxpayers with their chauffeurs, trips, elegant lifestyles and homes.

      I see where the feds, using sequestration as an excuse, cut back some of the reimbursements to servicemen and women for college education, and at the same time announce free tuition for illegal immigrants. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me crazy.

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