The National Public Pension Coalition, an organization representing millions of teachers, nurses, police, firefighters and other public sector employees released a statement this week on a recent Pew Research Center report.
“To the detriment of all public employees and all of our communities, ‘The Widening Gap Update’ uses data from fiscal year 2010 and will undoubtedly be used by organizations and individuals like the Koch Brothers and Arnold Foundation to advance their own agendas against public employees,” the organization said in a statement.
“No one is more interested in the long-term solvency of retirement systems than public employees, who are taxpayers themselves and who rely on their modest pension benefits after putting their own life savings into these plans. It’s simply unfair to repeatedly punish our teachers, nurses, police officers, and other public employees, many of whom do not receive Social Security.”
The NPPC said that slashing benefits for public employees will force many people into poverty and into reliance on other state programs for survival.
Public pensions play an important role in the broader U.S. economy and in job creation. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, pension benefits totaling $426 billion, including public pensions comprising nearly 44 percent of that total, collectively supported 6.5 million American jobs that paid nearly $315 billion in labor income; $1 trillion in total economic output nationwide; $533 billion in value-added GDP; $134 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue, NPPC said.
"The unprecedented number of pension-slashing policies in the states comes as politicians, who receive world-class benefits themselves, have teamed up with Wall Street to scapegoat America's working people in hopes of filling budget shortfalls and expanding income from fees and expenses.
"The bottom line is our politicians repeatedly broke promises by failing to contribute the required amounts to workers' pension plans, and then raided those funds for other purposes.
"It's that same fiscal ineptitude coupled with Wall Street greed that drove our economy off the cliff in the first place."