With Friends Like These…

In an opinion piece in today’s PG the president of the PA State Education Association laid down several markers on the impending PSERS pension spike and how to solve it: to wit, the teachers did not cause the mess (even though PSERS participants got enhancements in 2001), teachers are underpaid compared to other college grads but they did not get into the profession to get rich, and switching to a 401k type arrangement would promote a race to the bottom.

But rest assured that the teachers’ union is willing to come to the table to find a long-term viable solution that is acceptable to taxpayers, teachers, and students alike. Just so long as we all realize the three unmovable tenets laid out by the president.

The union will fight to the end to keep the pension system as is, no matter the fallout in the way of state and or local tax increases. This includes resisting any move to a defined contribution system. Why? Because the responsibility for managing investments and the placement of risk moves from the taxpayer to the employee. It does not erase the trajectory of the planned rate spike or the accumulated unfunded liabilities, but it begins the transition to a day when the public pension system becomes affordable and sustainable.