How to Become a (Public Pension) Millionaire!
Detroit and San Bernardino and Stockton, California are in bankruptcy, and across the country the costs of maintaining pensions for city and state employees more than doubled to nearly $84 billion in 2011 from 2002. Yet the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) declares that public pensions are “modest,” noting that its average member “receives a pension of approximately $19,000 per year after a career of public service.”
The facts don’t agree. Data compiled from all state pensions show that, for employees who spend a career in state government, generous pensions put retired public workers among the highest earners in their state.
It is true that average public-pension benefits rarely seem extravagant. But these averages are reduced by two groups: older employees who retired many years ago and whose benefits are far less than those of an employee retiring today; and by short-term workers who often receive tiny pensions but almost surely have retirement savings from another job.
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