Smokey Diamond, our intrepid reporter, was quite depressed after speaking to his cousin Charley this week. Charley retired from the City of Detroit some years ago after a fine, thirty seven year career as a dog catcher. It was only during the last few years of his tenure that he received the title of “Animal Control Officer;” a title which he can even today only mumble with a little goofy grin.
“Charley,” Smokey said “Just took a job as a greeter at Walmart.
Charley had a small pension from the city of Detroit and, with that and his and his wife’s social security, they are able to maintain their little house, take an occasional fishing trip to the great lakes with some friends and visit their kids and grandkids in Indiana and Iowa, once or twice a year.
“According to many of our civic leaders, noted Smokey, Charley’s lifestyle is the new definition of extravagant.”
Charley feels bad about it. “I didn’t know that when I was contributing to my pension plan that I was going to bring down the City of Detroit.”
“And now, Smokey continued, he feels trapped. The letters to the editor have started to get ugly and he is worried each time he and his wife leave their house that someone might start screaming at them or worse.”
“Charley starts next week,” she went on. “He hasn’t lost his pension yet, but he feels that once he does, other pension plans are sure to follow and the good jobs like Walmart Greeter or McDonald’s burger fryer will go fast.” “He foresees a time when the fast food industry will be dominated by really old people.”
The Committee for Compassionate Conservatism (or CCC) believes that Charley should feel ashamed. The CCC is of the opinion that State and Municipal pensions are merely a promise to pay—not any sort of guarantee. Their Spokesperson, Meme Mine, told Smokey that “we feel the whole concept of retirement, for workers, is destructive to their wellbeing. It is well known that once workers retire and accept a pension they tend to age and even to die. Here, we can take our cue from the natural world, she said, Are ants pensioned? Are bees pensioned?” The Committee will sponsor a huge advertising campaign this fall featuring the slogan, “Real American Workers Die on the Job.” “Pretty catchy,” she said with a smile.
There is a lot of money in State and Local pensions—the amount they are underfunded alone is estimated at 5 trillion dollars. With all that money floating around, we at Stevielsaw are left with two nagging questions.
- When will Corporate America get its hands on the money? And
- How can our Republican representatives at all levels facilitate the process?