The New York Times ran an April 15 front page article exposing what a disaster the Public Employees Retirement System has become and I think what fools and/or thieves our legislatures have been (“A $76,000 Monthly Pension: Why States and Cities Are Short on Cash“). Why isn’t someone investigating which individuals made all the bad decisions to include a guaranteed annual 8 percent minimum return in benefits regardless of what the PERS portfolio actually did? When the stock market was hot, who gave PERS members up to 21 percent increases?
How did outside income become included as salary? How could the judges — who themselves were PERS beneficiaries — ethically rule on the constitutionality of PERS? How can some retired PERS workers then double-dip by taking another position?
The questions are never ending. In spite of the best Oregon economy in over 20 years, PERS gobbles up an increasing share of our money that should go to transportation, schools and more. No one knows when the PERS deficit will end, maybe in 20 to 30 years, maybe never. Meanwhile our children and grandchildren will be offered a public education that ranks among the lowest in the nation by some measures. Is that the future we want?
John C. Braestrup, Southwest Portland