Friday, February 18, 2011

Did You Know (Wisconsin Teachers Pension Vs Social Security)

Did you know? (Note: This is information I found on the internet and the Wisconsin retirement info is taken strictly from that state's official retirement website. There may be a few very small inaccuracies here and there but it's substantially accurate and I doubt that whatever small differences one might come up with wouldn't have much effect on the general points I'm obviously making. I'll be happy to update this with more accurate info if it's significant enough to affect my conclusions but I'm pretty confident in the info below.)
  1. Wisconsin teachers retiring after 30 years will receive around $40,000 per year from their pension fund. Those of us who don't have any pension money have to live on about half that much from Social Security. (By the way, most of those teachers receive both the teacher's pension AND Social Security so their total income in retirement is around $60,000 and I have to live on about 1/3 that amount. Seems fair to me that they're so upset over what the Wisconsin legislature wants to do. NOT!)
  2. Wisconsin teachers put an amount into their retirement fund approximately equal to only two or three years worth of what they collect in retirement. Ie, they get way more out of it than they put into it.
  3. Today's Social Security recipients will receive approximately as much as they put into the trust fund.
  4. Wisconsin teachers' benefits cost on a per student basis is among the highest in America. I've read that it was second only to New York in 2002.
  5. One of the reasons Wisconsin teachers receive so much in retirement is that their contributions are actually invested and earn interest while the federal government didn't invest any of the Social Security money. In fact, the federal government spent (ie, stole) the Social Security money it received into that trust fund. All of it. If they had invested the SS contributions as a trust fund should, there'd be plenty of money to pay Social Security retirement recipients and it wouldn't be anywhere close to bankrupting the country. At least Wisconsin handled their retirement funds properly!
  6. Nevertheless, Wisconsin teachers still receive more from their pension fund than their contribution plus interest. Guess who pays the balance?
  7. There are two answers to #6: A) mainly the citizens of Wisconsin who are still working and paying taxes and B) the rest of the country's taxpayers via various bailouts in recent stimulus money and in whatever future bailouts come from the federal government.
  8. By the way, guess where progressivism has its roots in America? Yep, Wisconsin. What a surprise, eh?
Question: if retired teachers receive more than they contribute plus interest doesn't it make sense that at some point that'll bankrupt the state just as is happening California and many other states? Wisconsin and any other government do not create a profit from which to make up the difference (the amount retirees receive in excess of what they contribute) ... they can only get extra money they need to pay lucrative retirement funds by increasing taxes on their citizens. Those citizens had NO SAY whatsoever in how lucrative those pension funds became. If those citizens are upset about that, haven't they a right to be? After all, it's their money that's basically being stolen from them without their okay.

To make matters worse, those teachers are making more in salary and benefits while working today than their counterparts in the private sector. So people who make less than they do for the same work will have to pay the balance of the teachers' retirement money beyond what the teachers themselves contributed. By what form of logic is that okay or even rational? That's taking from poorer people and giving it to richer people is it not? How's that progressive redistribution of wealth working out for y'all in Wisconsin?


michele said...

Why aren't you blogging about the Millions that Walker gave to corporations in Wisconsin. Or the pension the all the Senators and Walker will get for a one or two term stay. The teachers all have higher education and had to teach the children of your state! Instead of being an ass and wanting the teachers to give up the pay and retirement just because you don't have any why don't you fight to get a pension yourself. Is it because your to lazy? Why don't you step back and look at the big picture.

Dennis said...

Michele, it's pretty lame and immature to call folks names but I guess that's what haters do. My information is based on fact, not insults. So you know, the teachers of my state have it even better than WI teachers. Here in Oregon, teachers pay nothing for their health care. As for a teacher's 'higher education', I have a master's degree in engineering. and was paid little more than teachers' hourly rate. (I'm recently retired.) While I worked I paid a lot for health care and I put about three times into my retirement what WI teachers do. And, yes, I worked hard too ... 50 to 60 hours per week, 48(!) weeks per year not 36 ... often through holidays including Christmas and never got a cent more in pay for doing so. I grew up believing everyone ought to pay their own way in life (including in retirement) and not be a burden to others, including their own taxpayer children as teachers are now. While my retirement funds were hit by the recession, many union pension (teacher's and others') funds were propped up with my taxes via 'stimulus'. While my retirement funds were taking a beating I was helping teachers' pension funds stay solvent. I had no choice. I will receive from my retirement savings, including SS, pretty much exacly what I put into it. WI teachers will receive about ten times what they put into theirs. That amounts to taking from others in my book. I had NO job security ... the older I got, the more often I was layed off and the longer it took to find a new job. Teachers are now paid pretty well ... I just expect them to carry their own water. We taxpayers don't owe them a luxurious retirement we can't have and they don't have a 'right' to our taxes to live that way. By the way, I'm a Viet Nam era vet who volunteered for service and iived for a while in Biloxi Mississippi during the worst of the civil unrest there in the 60's. I've seen far worse than your potty mouth can throw at me so you're wasting your breath if that's what passes in your world for going off on me. One last thing, if our education system wasn't failing our kids I wouldn't feel so harshly toward teachers' compensation/benefits. In the real world, Michele, people are paid for results. NO ONE has a 'right' to expect more for still-failing results after 30 years. We taxpayers have been plenty generous and have NOTHING to show for it. But that's the increasingly selfish generation of today ... something for nothing.

BackRoads said...

I know this is an old post and A LOT has changed in Wisconsin for education professionals however I cant help but respond to what seems the biggest criticism of the original post.

Are you upset that Wisconsin has one of the best public pension in the US? As ranked by multiple financial reporting agencies. (

One way this is achieved is through investments of the money paid in by contributors, both employees and employers. This is just good business sense, I too wish the Feds had done the same versus pillaging the fund for other purposes. But they didn't. Move on.

The other is a flexible benefits package that adjusts payouts based the quality and quantity of returns over the previous year and forecast for upcoming returns. This is just good business sense. I'm sorry your working career was filled with so many potholes and I truly appreciate your involvement in watershed moments of American history but lets not get upset when a group of people work together to figure out a better way to play the game.

Additionally our educational system is NOT failing, in my opinion our lack of presence on the top tiers of global education is directly linked to the fragmenting of the nuclear family along with a disintegration of practical and social norms which in your youth where much stronger.

Thanks for reading.