Sunday, May 23, 2010

Top Recipients of Public Pensions in New York Would Rank as 178th Largest Economy in World

NY Times -- "Roughly 3,700 retired public workers in New York are getting pensions of more than $100,000 a year. The New York Times collected this public information from the state’s two pension funds and four of the five city funds. The pension plan for the city's firefighters has yet to provide information, as required under public information laws. Some pension funds said they could not provide figures like job title or final salary; the N.Y.P.D. Pension Fund wouldn't not disclose names."

See list here and related article here.  

MP: There are more than 22 retirees receiving more than $200,000 per year, and one receiving more than $300,000.  In total, New York taxpayers are paying more than $370 million per year to just this partial group of retired New York public workers, which doesn't include those receiving less than $100,000 per year and doesn't include New York firefighters.  If this group of retired workers on the NY Times list was considered as a separate national economy, it would rank as the 178th largest country in the world by GDP.  Also, note that most of the listed annual pension amounts are roughly 80% of the workers' final year salaries. 

Update: New York ranks #4 on this list of states most likely to default. 

28 Comments:

At 5/23/2010 7:21 PM, Blogger rufus said...

3,700 X $100,000.00 = $370 Million, I believe.

 
At 5/23/2010 7:29 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks, Rufus, it's corrected now. The ranking is still the same, since I was using $370 million.

 
At 5/23/2010 7:32 PM, Anonymous Bruce said...

As casual read of this post would imply that the NYPD pension fund is part of the NY STATE retirement system. which the NY FD belongs to. It is not. The NYPD pension fund is entirely self sufficient and costs NYS residents nothing. It currently has funds in excess of $1b dollars, of which members contribute apx 25%.

Further, NYPD policy restricts officers from piling up overtime in a members last year, unlike other unions, that inflate pensions to the numbers the NY Slimes quotes. Except for Disability pensions, that yield 3/4 of the final years salary, NYC police officers pensions are based on a scale of 50% of the last years (or last 3 years for newer members) salaries, plus an additional 1/64 for each year past 20.

My pension, retired in 1994, is a really huge $32k. Wow - pretty good for 25 years of service, 2 heart attacks, and numerous injuries that have put me on social security 3 years early. Great deal we have, according to the Slimes. Why not ask them what their pensions are over there?

 
At 5/23/2010 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha!

And this is precisely the reason why people are leaving NYC and NJ for eastern PA in droves!

 
At 5/23/2010 8:50 PM, Blogger Dr William J McKibbin said...

I would ask New Yorkers this question: Assuming the US had to bailout the State of New York, how would New Yorkers react if the bailout plan included the same economic sanctions that the EU/IMF forced upon Greece...? Comments welcome at:

http://wjmc.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-would-new-yorkers-react-to-economic.html

Thank you for the opportunity to comment...

 
At 5/23/2010 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is more interesting is that states are trying to balance their budgets by NOT contributing to their state pension funds.

Guess what happens over time...the pension fund is underfunded.

You can correct the disparities, and there still will be underfunding if the states do not contribute to the pension fund and/or put rosy projections on the earnings of the funds.

That is the real shill game going on.

 
At 5/23/2010 10:29 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Pensions are killing us---from the LAPD in Los Angeles, to the New York situation, to federal military employees (they can retire at half pay after 20 years of service. A guy could be in his early forties, and we have to pay him for another 40 years and foot all of his health care bills.)

Fat tail on federal or public employees.

U.B. Ware

 
At 5/23/2010 10:30 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I wonder what kind of pension Dr. Perry is accumulating at UofM-Flint?

 
At 5/24/2010 12:40 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

For the military there are two ways to pay for it. 1 a draft which places a tax of a number of years of life on those drafted, or 2 good pay and benefits to attract members. Since we have done away with the draft good pay and benefits are the deal we made. (Note that the contractors now do things like KP that used to be done by the military since military personnel are now expensive, where as under the draft they were cheap. Of course a third way is to tank the economy to get people into the military, making military pay and benefits better relative to civilian life.

The overtime provisions should put a limit of say 10% over base for overtime payments.

 
At 5/24/2010 2:31 AM, Anonymous grant said...

What percentage of the people remain wealthy after they retire.Most don,t have any protection against inflation.Maybe hard times ahead for them.

 
At 5/24/2010 8:18 AM, Blogger Dr William J McKibbin said...

One way to route public pensions by at least 50% would be a ten year surge in inflation -- 1970's style. More at:

http://wjmc.blogspot.com/2010/05/student-recently-remarked-to-me-that.html

By the way, inflation does not require a public referendum or Congressional vote -- and inflation is easy to start...

Thank your for the opportunity to comment...

 
At 5/24/2010 8:18 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I would ask New Yorkers this question: Assuming the US had to bailout the State of New York, how would New Yorkers react if the bailout plan included the same economic sanctions that the EU/IMF forced upon Greece...?"...

Well Dr. W.J. McK I would've answered it at your site but I didn't want to open up a new window for comments...

Anyway if the recent happening in California are anything to go by, these states that spend more than they take in don't have any worries...

From the SF Chronicle dated May 22: Courts quash cuts, add to state's budget woes

The federal judges have their back...

 
At 5/24/2010 8:31 AM, Blogger Dr William J McKibbin said...

PS: In my post a moment ago, I meant to say "rout" rather than "route" -- thanks... -wjmc

 
At 5/24/2010 9:08 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

The article is an emotional trigger for those who don't do much analysis. Here's my questions: 1) What percentage of the public pensions in New York are above $100,000, 2) What is the mean and median of the New York public pensions, and 3) How does the bottom 10% or 20% of pensioners compare to the top 10% or 20% of the pensioners? A lot of the same arguments that apply to overpaid CEOs could be applied to public pensioners.

I would have done the analyses above myself, but I could not figure out how to get the data provided into a spreadsheet.

 
At 5/24/2010 10:43 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

U.S. retirement problem is demographic. We all know that.
And yet the paradox now is high unemployment. I don't get it. Too many retired and at the same time too many unemployed. What could be the explanation?

 
At 5/24/2010 11:21 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

bix1951,

Most labor force projections show the labor force will need retirees/older workers in the near future due to declining U.S. birth rates and an increasing demand for skilled workers. The jobs they will be needed to perform will not be able to be filled with immigrants—legal or otherwise. A lot of people whose pensions or S.S. goes down the tubes will need to re-enter the workforce. I teach a skilled-trade’s class that has a lot of people who have lost both their jobs and pensions; over 30% of my students are over 40-years-old. You can try to beat the law of supply and demand of the labor market, but it will never happen for long.

 
At 5/24/2010 1:18 PM, Anonymous Titus Pullo said...

New York is fourth most likely state to default? Just wait until November when they elect Andrew Cuomo as Governor. That'll put them first.

 
At 5/24/2010 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt G, overpaid CEOs cost me nothing unless I own the company's stock.

Public employees cost me money without any choice from me. Huge difference.

 
At 5/24/2010 2:56 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Re Anon at 1:25 but the ceo's pensions do cost you money. The investors expect a return on their investment, and to get that return and pay the ceo their rich pension prices have to be higher than otherwise would be the case. (Making a simplification that the investors don't care directly about the CEO pay just the return they get on their investment, and so are agnostic about the CEO pay).

 
At 5/24/2010 3:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"One way to route public pensions by at least 50% would be a ten year surge in inflation -- 1970's style."

Say! That's a great idea...except...Oh, darn it, the same thing would happen to MY pension. Nope, never mind. I don't like that idea after all.

>"By the way, inflation does not require a public referendum or Congressional vote -- and inflation is easy to start..."

Scary but true. I believe it's out there in our future.

 
At 5/24/2010 3:24 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

anonymous, public pensions are usually self-funded through years and years of work. Theoretically, if pensions, health care, . . . were less, wages would be more. Most places look at total employee compensation when making decisions. Most CEOs don't stay at one company long enough to vest a pension (five years now--it used to be 10).

Even unproductive CEOs get golden handshakes when they leave while employees get golden showers when their pension plans go bust.

 
At 5/24/2010 3:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"Well Dr. W.J. McK I would've answered it at your site but I didn't want to open up a new window for comments..."

juandos - ?? - are you conserving windows for some reason? As far as I know, I have a virtually unlimited supply of them. Should I be more frugal?

 
At 5/24/2010 5:00 PM, Blogger randian said...

The NYPD pension fund is entirely self sufficient and costs NYS residents nothing. It currently has funds in excess of $1b dollars, of which members contribute apx 25%.

Costs taxpayers nothing, eh? Where did the money come from to pay that 25%? Further, if cops contribute 25% of the necessary funds to the pension fund, where does the other 75% come from?

Except for Disability pensions, that yield 3/4 of the final years salary, NYC police officers pensions are based on a scale of 50% of the last years

Similar pension rules mean that it's the norm for Boston FD members to pad their pensions by retiring disabled. Any bets on how many NYC cops retire disabled?

Essentially fraudulent pension-padding schemes are the norm in unionized public workforces.

 
At 5/24/2010 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt G. said...

anonymous, public pensions are usually self-funded through years and years of work.



Yeah right, self funded public pension plans. So I can stop paying taxes and the system will self fund. That's great.

 
At 5/24/2010 9:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"military personnel are now expensive, where as under the draft they were cheap."

Lyle, draftees are only cheap compared to volunteers if you only draft people with low incomes. Consider the opportunity costs of what that person would produce in the private sector. That is lost when they are in the military - or in any government job.

 
At 5/24/2010 11:58 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Ron H the military only cares about its costs it does not worry about the effect on society. But your point applies to the effective tax on the person drafted, if they could make more money elsewhere the have a tax imposed on them. (At that time soldiers did not make the minimum wage the pay of a private being 124/month with the minimum wage being 256/month) So all draftees fell into the category that they could make more in civilian life at the time. In essence if you include the 60subsistance allowance then the tax on the young was a minimum of 70/month and up.

 
At 5/25/2010 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if y'all were wondering why Obama needed the right to assassinate any american citizen... now you know ;)

 
At 5/25/2010 5:54 PM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

At least there only getting 80% of their pay to do nothing instead of 100%!

 

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