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In our opinion: Hatch's pension plan offers good solutions

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  • SLars Provo, UT
    July 18, 2013 12:49 a.m.

    The private-sector has problems of it's own with pension funds. Leaders should be sent to jail for not funding them fully. It's part of their responsibility.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2013 5:34 a.m.

    I think the DN is trying to give hatch as many accolades as possible during his final term - at least he said during his campaign it would be his fianl term, though I wouldn't be surprised if he chose to run again in 2018.

    hatch's plan offers a solution to nothing!

    how does it address the shortfall in funding? it doesn't.

    all it does is transfer management from the state to a private entity. one can argue the pros and cons of private vs public management, but that is a different debate.

    the problem with public pensions is they are underfunded, and hatch's plan does not address that core problem.

    the current fix many municipalities are taking is to declare bankruptcy, trying to remove the enormaous pension obligations they foolishly put themselve in.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 18, 2013 6:33 a.m.

    Will Hatch's retirement account be transferred? How about that of Chris Buttars, who retired immediately after hitting the magic mark where he gets a lifetime pension and health care for having "served" the public?

    "Public servants" at even the highest levels should share the pain.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    RanchHand,
    yeah, transfer pelosi and reid's pensions, too.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 18, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    It is natural for a businessman to recommend privatizing government because government services to the public not only increase costs to business from the taxes but deprive businessmen of the opportunity of profit.

    The fact that private service cost the consumer more than when the government provides the service is of no concern to the businessman.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 18, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    I have to agree with Lost in DC. This proposal may offer a way forward for current pension funding, but I don't see how it solves the problem of the existing unfunded pensions.

    Insurance companies writing the annuities will want cash up front and they are averse to using the gamed rates of return that states used to get themselves into this mess. It would seem that the states would have to come up with huge amounts of cash in order to offload their responsibilities to the insurance companies.

    There is a simple point here. The states knew they were using unrealistic rates of return. They knew they were under-funding their pension plans. They did so in order to keep tax rates lower than they should have been. Now the piper has come to call.

  • cns St George, Utah
    July 18, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    lost in DC and Twin Lights have it right. If the govt plans are underfunded, where will the money come from to buy annuities from private companies ?

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    July 18, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    This is a good plan as an option in case budget problems limit what payments can be made to states. If federal tax dollars to the states are cut the states will need to have an alternative and the best alternative may be this option even though no options are great if state funding is cut.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 18, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    @lost in DC;

    Of course. Did I say only Republican public servants? No, I said "public servants" (the "all" is implicit).

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    RanchHand,
    you only named repubs, and since reid and pelosi have done nothing to actually serve the public, I wanted to make sure they were included.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2013 3:40 p.m.

    Hatch's proposal does little or nothing to restore the pension system, which for a time fulfilled our promise to the elderly after a lifetime of contribution. The future for the elderly, as our system decays, is a chamber of horrors.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 18, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    How does this fix anything? The problem with pension funds is that back in the day you could put in $.50 and expect $1 in return by retirement age(in real world math, not the nonsense it's actually "calculated" on). Now it's pretty much a 1 to 1 ratio due to crazy low interest rates. Combine that with a major loss of capital in 2008 and that's why we find ourselves in this mess. Privatizing does nothing to correct this.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 18, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    It's just more "smoke and mirrors". Government should not penalize savings accounts. Money put into long-term savings helps the economy. Insurance companies invest that money. Banks lend that money. Where do you think the money comes from when you get a mortgage to buy a house? The builder is paid with borrowed money. That money represents the savings accounts and stock market investments of millions of "John Does".

    In order to receive an annuity, you would have had to pay into that fund for years and years so that the insurance company could have invested your money and received gains on that money. Businesses and governments that rob Peter to pay Paul haven't invested any of that money. They're paying out money as soon as it comes in. They have nothing to offer an insurance company.

    If Hatch were serious, he would write a law making it a felony to promise a pension without funding that pension fully.

    I agree that pension money should follow the employee. Changing jobs should not be hindered becaus of loss of pension.

    Keep government out of private sector pensions. Prosecute pension managers who mismanged pension funds.

    It's that simple.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    July 18, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    Utah has done just fine in managing is pension fund. In fact it has performed much better than much of the private sector.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 18, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    @Lost;

    You are correct. I only mentioned Republicans, but the article was specifically about Hatch (a Republican) and I used Buttars (a Republican) to demonstrate the golden parachutes that legislators grant themselves at the public's expense - and in his case, after only 10 years. Dems are as complicit in the farce as are Reps.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 19, 2013 4:41 a.m.

    marxist,
    your comment about a lifetime of service would have merit if public employees provided a lifetime of service, or even a ful career of service. Many don't; many have 20-25 service requirements before they are eligible for retirement.

    I don't know about you, but I am good for more than 20-25 years of service; I plan to have at least 35 years, if not more, when I finally hang it up.

    Ranch, thanks for the clarification.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 19, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    A lot of people worked in lower paying jobs for the security of having a pension. Most public employees are in that situation.
    If you stop funding pensions then they had better put a large bump in the employee's paycheck.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    July 20, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    @mike richards. Banks do not have money and they do not use deposits to make loans. They create money out of thin air to lend. It is called fractional reserve lending.

  • termltd Jacksonville, FL
    Aug. 28, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Buying an annuity, representing a year's worth of work does not solve yesterday's unfunded liability problem, only tomorrow's. Insurance companies are a good resource, but annuities purchased through some sort of government RFP process reeks of political influence and interference. A worker could retire with 30 or 40 individual annuity contracts. The Rules for Defined Benefit pension plans would have to be re written altogether should this proposal be adopted. Correcting profligate spending and promises made for political expediency is what needs to be done. If we look to Washington to correct those, then we will suffer consequences that are more severe than unfunded liabilities.