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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Child and His Lawnmower

Ah. Ninety one degree days on August 1. It reminds me of the time when I was a child and had my lawnmower going door to door mowing lawns on the cheap. I remember how elated I was when I made $10 for mowing 5 lawns in a single day. I felt rich. I didn't feel that way today when my credit union posted my PERS check after receiving my first COLA in 5 years of retirement. After taxes, my net went up $125 per month. Let me count the ways in which this helps. I reviewed my monthly gasoline bills from 2003 and they were less than half what they are today. Pretty much the same with my electricity and gas bills. To further the comparison, I owned two less energy efficient vehicles in 2003. My house today is larger, but it has top of the line energy efficient gas and electric heating and cooling, about 30% more efficient that the ones in my old house built in 1990. In 2003, my wife, daughter and I paid nothing for our health care. Today we still pay nothing for health care, but we do now have copays for office visits and prescriptions (my wife is a physician). It is hard to calculate the percentage increase going from no copay to a $5 and $10 copay. Needless to say, while every little bit helps, I truly felt like PERS threw me a bone in hopes of toning down all the criticism they've received for withholding the COLA far longer than they were entitled, and now illegally so. It simply makes me angrier and reminds me of how much more they owe me - about 6.27% compounded from 2003 - 2007. For most people, this is a non-trivial monthly increase, not to mention a 5 figure balance that PERS owes me for illegally withholding those COLAs since 2003.

Don't be fooled. Don't be complacent. And worst of all, don't be that child and his lawnmower. You didn't just make $10 for mowing 5 lawns. You got $1 for mowing 50 lawns and a bunch of IOU's that the deadbeats are still unwilling to pay.

Sorry to rain on the lawn. I'm not even close to being mollified.

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