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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Let It Go (already)

The Whoregonian's new resident conservative, Elizabeth Hovde, still doesn't seem to grasp anything about the PERS system. The fact that she works for the local rag may have something to do with it. The editors of that paper must wear a pair of shades over their eyes that prevents them from seeing the constant error their staff makes about PERS. In today's screed against PERS, Hovde repeats the same tired crap that has cluttered the news for at least the last 15 years. It is time for them to both let is go and to get a clue.

Earth to Elizabeth: only a small fraction of PERS members have a "guaranteed" rate of return. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled in 1996 in OSPOA v Oregon that the earnings rate guarantee for Tier 1 members was part of the members' contract and therefore could not be changed, period, end of story. Furthermore, the court in 2005 in Strunk et al v Oregon ruled that PERS could not temporarily reduce the guarantee to zero. The guarantee is the guarantee. How many more court decisions do you need to spell out that the guarantee is not going away, now or ever until the last Tier 1 member and beneficiary dies.

I realize that this galls people, but there is absolutely nothing, zero, nada, and zilch the state, the legislature, or the courts can do about it. Get over it already. Move on to another topic. This fish won't fly.

It does no good to tell the Oregonian any of this. They KNOW it; they just don't want to acknowledge it. It is an unpleasant fact that they want to go away. If you repeat something often enough, it still doesn't make it true.

I will give Elizabeth Hovde one clap. She did her smarmy best to NOT trash PERS members. Her angst is with the unions and the employers. One cheer for the Oregonian today.


1 comment:

John Munzer said...

I don't claim to understand much about PERS (though I think I understand a little now from reading your blog - thanks). But it seems to me the crux is this: As with so many things that are paid for by taxes, we can't afford to pay for it - but we have a legal and moral obligation to pay for it, so we'd better damn well find a way to pay for it.