Damage already done
After reading the Mirror’s series about Pennsylvania’s pension debacle, the salient question is: What was the newspaper’s position on the pension issue when the increases were initiated in 2001?
The ideal time to quell the avaricious demands of the master class is during the incubation phase, like the pay grab rejection in 2005.
It is difficult to believe the legislators had the validation of any independent economist or accountant 11 years ago. Surely, everyone knew that pension increases of 25 percent and 50 percent were not sustainable without crushing taxpayers.
Much of the billions of dollars needed to meet the shortfall will come from residents who are making less than the public employees, and to make the situation more egregious, many private sector employees do not have employer-subsidized pension programs for themselves. In addition to funding the state’s pension fiasco, many residents will eventually have to contribute more to under-capitalized municipal pension plans.
As the articles postulate, it will be difficult to get the Legislature and the judiciary to make any meaningful changes to relieve the overtaxed working class, since both branches have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
More likely, the future will include massive income and sales tax increases from the state and oppressive real estate tax increases from the school districts.
The combined effect will encourage the most productive individuals and businesses to leave the area, thus exacerbating the crisis further.
Charles C. Mowry II, Osterburg