Category Archives: Tier VI

Playing with the Big Boys

We saw a clip on the evening news last night in which a group of government workers went to talk to Governor Cuomo about cuts to government pensions and about Tier VI. They asked that the people who tinkered with the stock market be asked to “beef up” these pensions to the tune of what these “players” caused pensions to lose – a perfectly reasonable request if you ask me (although, of course, no one actually did).
Governor Cuomo gave a reply that suggested that if you get involved with the big boys you better be prepared to pay. Traditionally, most middle-class people did not put their money in the stock market, yet in the 80’s and 90’s everyone was advised to put their pension money into the stock market. The fall of the stock market in 2008 got a huge assist from something that is not an organic part of an economic cycle. Our “financial wizards” falsely propped up the market with a “magic” housing bubble based on unscrupulous practices, and when the bottom fell out they said the same thing Governor Cuomo said, “Oh well.” (Say it with a “what did you expect” twist at the end the phrase.)
If the stock brokers and their cohorts didn’t play fast and loose with the housing market, it is possible the market would have begun to droop downwards before it did, but maybe the recession would have been slower and shallower than what we finally experienced.
I don’t think “Oh well” is enough to say to these people who trusted NYS and used their time, energy, and skills on our behalf. Maybe Governor Cuomo is not the people’s governor – perhaps he is the government’s governor. We have done nothing to be punished for. Perhaps he’s acting stern so that when he has to do distasteful things we will somehow assume we deserve it. He may also have to steel himself to do some of the things he may have to do. So it is “tough love” everywhere. It is the fashion right now to blame the unions for being too greedy, but I don’t completely buy it. Closing loopholes that allow people to bulk up their pensions with overtime during their highest earning years might be helpful, but the unions are not to blame for all the changes in employment in America. We all got blind-sided.
Whoever is to blame, “It’s going to be a bumpy ride” (as said by you know who). Our Governor needs to understand that the people of NYS will need to survive, and he needs to try to spread out the pain.