Publicly Funded Pensions Now Rival Those of Top CEOs

Recently the Center for Effective Government and Institute for Policy Studies found that the 100 largest chief executive retirement funds are worth an average of about $49.3 million per executive, or a combined $4.9 billion. 

This reflects, Bloomberg reports, the growing gulf between the highest paid CEOs and the middle class who don’t often earn enough money to even save much into a 401k plan. 

But these studies are always presented to make the progressive Democrat argument that capitalism is out of control, that capitalism enables the few on top to earn a lot of money and steal from the middle class and poor who cannot possibly earn enough to save for retirement.

But all of these studies only complain about private sector pensions. They act as if the huge pensions enjoyed by those in the public sector don’t exist.  And of course if you only follow the reports of liberal biased news media you won’t find many reports on the huge pensions which will be received by members of public sector unions.

Public sector unions, we are told, are filled with people who are dedicated, who are underpaid and only do their work in government jobs because they are willing to sacrifice their personal financial interests for the good of the needy. We hear, endlessly, the beauty pageant talking points that government is selflessly devoted to helping the children and battling against big corporations to lower carbon emissions.

Thanks to the internet and the work of many government watchdog groups around the country, American taxpayers are finding that this speech about dedication does not reflect reality. Most people would expect that those who are truly dedicated would not earn large amounts of money.  After all, the most dedicated, such as the Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross, generally only work for room and board and receive little financial reward.

But the recent salaries and pensions of public servants reveal that they are not as dedicated as they would seem and that they are not only working for very little money, and those at the top expect pensions which will rival the retirement savings of the top 100 CEOs.

The highest public salaries I have found are in the university system of California. These are completely ignored by the news media, since the media prefer to hype the myth that only corporate executives make huge salaries, only members of the private sector are greedy. 

The website Transparent California reports that in the California University System the highest paid person is a professor named Khalil M. Tabsh who earned a salary of $179,402 in 2014. However, his “other pay” amounted to $2,123,925 bringing his total pay including salary, benefits and other pay to $2,338,765 for just one year. With regard to retirement, this means that if he receives this salary for just 21 years of retirement his retirement income would equal the average of the 100 top CEOs in the nation. And in reality, it will take him fewer years since he would receive pay increases before he retires. Contrast this to the criticism presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has received for receiving a $21.4 million severance package when she left Hewlett Packard. 

Mr. Tabsh is not alone in California’s public university system. A review of the information on the website reveals that there are 41 other employees who currently earn one million dollars or more a year. These will also equal the retirement savings of some of the Top 100 CEOs of the year. And for some inexplicable reason Bernie Sanders only rants about the high salaries paid to Wall Street billionaires, and has, most likely, never uttered a single word of condemnation toward these public sector union employees.

There’s a big difference between the top 100 CEOs and the top 41 salaries in the California University System. It is highly doubtful that the high salaries of these people have been voted on and approved by the innocent taxpayers of California.

The highest corporate savings account of any CEO is held by David C. Novak, the recently departed CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc. He has a retirement savings of $234.2 million. However the difference is Yum! Brands sells food to the middle class and poor through its Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut brands. Executives do not tax homeowners with property taxes, or impose a sales tax on all people as does, for example, Cook County, IL which recently raised its sales tax to 10.25%, the nations highest. And the County Board President admitted that 90% of the increase will go to fund public pensions.

So the big difference, the huge difference, is that Yum! Brands has to make products that consumers choose to buy. Cook County, IL and California earn their pensions by forcing homeowners to support them through property taxes, forcing hard-working middle class families’ children to take out student loan debt, and pay many other hidden subsidies to their pensions. 

And while many news outlets broadcast the story from the Center for Responsive Government, no major news outlet regularly reports on the pension profits taken by university professors from any state. The highest pension paid out in Illinois is taken by retired Dr. Alon Winnie who was the first public sector employee in Illinois history to receive $500,000 in a pension. And of course he contributed very little to this pension.  He is guaranteed a 3% raise every year when most of the taxpayers who are forced to pay his pension do not receive any raise. He also received a second pension from another public sector pension plan. 

It’s not likely that Bernie Sanders will include government employees in his next speech against the rich. He will not mention the trillions in unfunded pension debt taxpayers of the future will be forced to pay. This doesn’t fit the socialist agenda. In fact, the socialist agenda is happy to take money from the middle class and poor in order to get wealthy. That’s what they’re all about, and that’s why they hide it. If they did not intend to take all this money under the pretense of helping the children and make a greener earth, they would talk about it.

Not only do they not talk about it, but many watchdog groups have been forced to file FOIA requests and sue in Federal courts to find out how much these public servants make.

And while the Center for Effective Government is very happy to release this CEO retirement savings information they have not yet released any of the information listed here.  And they won’t.  It doesn’t fit their agenda, which is to enable the public sector to get richer on their rhetoric of helping the poor.  Currently Yum! Brands employs 1.5 million people around the globe while public sector unions had an unfunded debt in 2012 of $4.6 trillion

To use the language of the Left, there needs to be a dialogue. A dialogue between taxpayers and those who profess to serve them.  

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