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I'm no expert, but I think in theory you are right. If the social security system becomes under funded, then those still working are the ones paying to keep it afloat.
I think PERS may be a little (or a lot) different than social security, however. What's different is that retired employees covered under the PERS system have their funds invested in accounts that can't be raided. I believe the U.S. Government raids (borrows from?) the social security fund on a regular basis. What's similar is that shortfalls in investment returns for the PERS system may require that public employers make up some or all of the difference for PERS members covered under the "old" system. Obviously, public employers get most of their revenue from tax payers one way or another.
The changes that the legislature implemented several years ago will have the affect of reducing future liabilities as Tier I members pass along. At that point, most of the argument about PERS will be no longer apply.
I think the things to be careful about start out with "believe half of what you see and none of what you hear". Certain politicians have made a career for themselves by portraying the PERS system in a damaging and erroneous light. Certain newspapers have also bolstered their flagging sales by doing the same thing. Scruples be damned in politics and the newspaper business, I guess. The effect has been to turn Oregonians against each other when what we need to do is support each other, especially now in these very difficult times.
PERs is not the bogeyman that some of these characters would have us believe. I think the data in the referenced PERS report demonstrates this. However, creating false enemies is an old tactic used by some in politics and the media to distract the public from their failures of courage and leadership in facing the most important issues of the day.
posted 3 years, 6 months ago
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