Feb 11, 2012

Scott Walker's Latest Bomb to Drop: Raid Workers' Pension

Scott Walker - Bought and paid for
Update V: Walker's raid looks dead in the water as Department of Employee Trust Fund officials say not to change the system.

Update IV: Scott Walker's War on Civil Rights Suffers Major Blow as Act 10 ruled unconstitutional in summary judgement. Targeting workers again may just be a bridge too far.

Update III: Public employees’ pensions are under attack by politicians who claim they are the culprit in municipal and state fiscal crises. Fire Fighters (IAFF) President Harold Schaitberger knocks down that myth

Update II: Pension tension: Retired state workers fear future payments will be squeezed (Ivey. Cap Times; June 21, 2012)

Update: Retirees fear more changes to the public pension system (Verburg. Wisconsin State Journal, June 17, 2012)

An effort at privatization is coming.

Amid denials by Walker he is advocating changes to the Wisconsin's public pension system, a stalled raid is seen by some observers as a Walker head fake; or a raid now regarded as a bridge too far.

The State Journal's piece presents raid as a matter of "difficult choices," while admitting the pension system is the envy of the nation. But note Verburg's two grafs reading:

The 2011 biennial budget calls for a broad review of the system's operations, including the possibility of allowing employees to opt out.

Walker-appointed representatives of the state Department of Administration [a Walker political operation] and its Office of State Employment Relations have been meeting with policy officials from the state Department of Employee Trust Funds, which operates the pension system.
Update II: Raid would stall in senate now 16 (R) -16 (D), following GOP resignation in midst of Recall campaigns

Update: Walker flacks plowing the ground for coming pension raid

Word is that after Scott Walker gets back from the CPAC in D.C., Walker plans to raid the state pension fund, and push legislation to force public workers into a 401(k) plan.

Putting aside for the moment the fact—inconvenient to Scott Walker's oft-repeated lies—that workers' pension plans are funded by workers' deferred salaries, money workers would have been paid as cash salary but chose to have placed in the state-operated pension fund (Rick Ungar, Forbes online; Feb. 25, 2011), this is yet another bomb
 Walker is desperate to drop before his four cronies in the state senate are recalled; before Walker is recalled, and before Walker is criminally charged as a co-conspirator in the John Doe investigation.

Even rightwingers like Waukesha writer, James Wigderson, acknowledge the political need for a public explanation from Walker as Cullen Werwie, former campaign manager for would-be Lt Gov. Brett Davis and now Walker's press secretary, and Brett Davis (now state Medicaid director) refuse to resign and Walker refuses to fire them, least they become modern-day John Deans and Alexander Butterfields.

But Walker is building up a massive recall campaign war-chest running around the country, and likely is so delusional is incapable of reading the political writing on the wall. Walker reminds me of recalled State Sen. Randy Hopper.

In all, Walker has gotten 57 individual contributions ... totaling about $3.1 million; about $2.5 million of this amount, or 80 percent, is from people in other states. [Lueders. Wisconsin Watch]
Walker's conversion of several dozen civil service jobs into high-paying, politically appointed positions comes with raising the tax payer-financed salaries so Walker's appointees don't need to worry much about their own pensions.

Stalling the Recall won't work for Walker (too many signatures), so his only option is to jam through the pension raid fast, and hope that not too many people notice.


  1. Isn't this simply the unilateral revision of a contract? If a governor and his legislature can simply alter a negotiated contract (a la Darth Vader "pray I don't alter it any further") what is the point in having a contract? At the core of libertarian thinking is the concept that all the government should do is enforce contracts. When the government is allowed to simply break a contract on fiat, what is the point?

  2. Didn't Tommy Thompson try this, and then when the court found against it took like five years for the state to pay back lost distributions. The fund is not commingled with state monies but a separate entity.

    1. PolitiScoop did a nice job of explaining Walker's plot last May. Just a matter of timing for Walker to launch his scheme.

      See: http://www.politiscoop.com/component/content/article/35-last-24h-news/284-walkers-plot-to-plunder-pensions.html

  3. What are we to make of politicians who hate Washington, but go there anyway, smoke the weed of the week (CPAC brand this time), and come back with renewed vigor to attack the people they are supposed to govern?

  4. The difference between when Tommy tried and now.. is that Walker has the WI Supreme Court in his pocket... and that is the scary part.