Pres. McEntee: Blame Wall Street

January 19, 2011

A defense of public services and our pensions by AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee was featured on the opinion page of USA Today this week.

This piece is a rebuttal to a USA Today editorial that portrays public employees as overpaid and blames our pensions and benefits for many states' economic woes. The editorial peddles the false notion that eliminating pensions and moving public workers to 401(k) plans is the answer to growing budget deficits. They even question our right to collectively bargain.

McEntee counters these falsehoods with cold, hard facts about how our country got into this economic mess and lays out the sensible policies that will get us back on track. Writes McEntee:

"Let's be clear: Underfunded pension systems resulted from unprecedented losses of asset values caused by reckless behavior on Wall Street and the refusal of some politicians to make their required payments. As recently as 2007, pension funds had, collectively, 96 percent of the assets required to meet future expenditures. But Wall Street drove America's economy and retirement security into a ditch. And now both pension and 401(k) accounts alike must be rebuilt."

You can read President McEntee's entire op-ed here.

After you’ve read it, you too can help counter the myths and misinformation by leaving a comment in the comment section below the op-ed. Leaving a comment only takes a couple of minutes, but can go a long way in letting people know that it was the reckless behavior of Wall Street that put us where we are today — and this call by some for a race to the bottom regarding the pay and benefits of public workers is not the answer. (Read tips about how to comment here.)

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