Public employees are not to blame
Last updated 2/5/2009 at Noon
The topic of public pensions seems interwoven into most newspapers these days. Many people seem to think that teachers and other public workers receive their pensions as a free benefit when in fact they pay into their own retirement account. Teachers pay approximately eight percent of their salary to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), higher than the rate private-sector workers pay for Social Security. And because of their modest salaries most teachers don’t have extra resources to put into separate retirement vehicles such as IRAs.
In general, teachers aren’t eligible for Social Security so their CalSTRS pension is their only guaranteed income in retirement. Just as private-sector retirees rely on Social Security, retired teachers rely on CalSTRS.
Teachers work hard to educate California’s youth and pay their own retirement. They are not to blame for the state’s financial crisis nor are they a threat to its future.