There has been a lot of rhetoric and political jargon recently about retirement and retirement systems, especially the PA State Employees Retirement System and PA Public School Employees Retirement System.
I'm not sure I understand those who are critical of these two retirement systems. I don't know if it is envy, jealousy or just gross misinformation.
Everyone that I talk to that gets a retirement from one of these two systems seems well satisfied with their retirement. So rather than adhere to a philosophy of "bringing everyone down to my level," why aren't more people saying, "why can't I be in a retirement system like that?"
I believe everyone can if they want to and are willing to push for it.
You may not be able to do it individually, but you can do it collectively. Because of misinformation and a distortion of the facts, many don't understand that the recipients of pensions from the above two systems contributed significantly to these systems. These systems were not just financed with taxpayer money as some would have you believe.
Since retirement affects everyone's life and dreams, I think the public deserves to know the facts and more than just rhetoric before any changes are made to these retirement systems.
I challenge all concerned citizens in Pennsylvania to contact the media, their legislators, political candidates and members of the Governor's staff to provide the public with:
1) A list of pros and cons, both short term and long term, of a defined benefit plan versus a defined contribution plan.
2) An explanation as to how an average worker in the state of Pennsylvania retires with a 401K plan (in light of what recently happened to the economy).
Around the year 2000, these two main PA retirement systems were being touted as a model for the country. They were over 100 percent funded. Now we are being told they are in deep trouble. What happened? What really happened?