Do you have “pension envy?”

I just got around to reading last Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal opinion section. There I saw a piece by Nick Mandel’s piece “Pension Envy Won’t Fix State Budget, Policy Woes.” As far as I could tell, the organization does not have a website, but the essence of Mandel’s argument is:

1) Yes, government pensions are far more generous than those offered by the private sector because government can always extract money from the private sector and they don’t have any profit pressures (but please don’t hold it against us);
2) Cuts can be made to the Governor’s exempt employee hires, double-dipping should be stopped, and taxes should be raised on corporations in order to bring in more money. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Certainly, Richardson’s has hired great numbers of exempt employees and double-dipping should be stopped (of course, the problem is that public employees are able to get pensions far too early, thus they can retire and get back to work for the government again).

I took a different take in a recent article on the pension situation. Sure, government pensions have been reduced by $80 million, but this is a drop in the bucket. As we’ve discussed in the past, the number and overall compensation levels of government employment are out of line with the private sector. Mandel prefers to ignore that.

So, Mandel offers a few good options for cost savings (and one bad tax hike), but that doesn’t mean that an inflated government bureaucracy is not a problem.