Printed letters, July 4, 2013
The Pacey Economic and Fiscal Impacts Report states that “PERA payments are a critical source of reliable, predictable income and provide an ‘automatic economic stabilizing effect’ on state, regional and local economies, especially in economic downturns, as these monies provide important stimulus in market activity.”
The research further states PERA provides $3.03 billion annually in benefit payments to Colorado residents. These retirement distributions represent 3.3 percent of the total wage income of the state. In real dollars, that amounts to over $8 million every month in economic impact for Mesa County.
According to the economists who conducted the research on PERA, “When a household receives PERA benefit payments, it represents an infusion of income into the local economy that creates a chain of economic activities whose total impact is greater than the initial benefit payments.” Then a ripple effect takes place where a recipient’s spending for things like a newspaper subscription, a meal at the Texas Road House, or a few tools at the local hardware stores becomes someone else’s income.
Some would argue that PERA is a burden on taxpayers. That could only be true if we decided we did not want our prisons guarded, our roads and bridges maintained, our children taught, or safer highways thanks to the State Patrol and CDOT.
The fact is, for every dollar invested with a state employee to do the job we all ask him or her to do, $3 are returned to the local economy. Every public employee contributes to his or her own retirement and over 65 percent of PERA’s retirement income comes from the investment markets.
The professional investment team at PERA, overseen by the PERA Board of Trustees, has achieved a 9.6 percent annualized rate of return over the last 25 years at a cost of just 0.4 percent of assets. The average annualized return since the 2008 recession began has been more than 11 percent.
Imagine if Colorado had 5 million employees (including the private sector) instead of 500,000 on a plan like PERA. What every employee needs from his or her employer is a living wage, a chance to improve that living wage and a dignified retirement at the end of their career. Every employer wants and needs a loyal and stable employee work force. A plan like PERA would provide all of that. PERA is an All-American and free market success story.
Obama team still pushing the sequestration hoax
It was announced July 1 that the White House has decided to cancel all July 4th fireworks displays on all military bases. These military fireworks displays have become a July 4th tradition, providing for a great opportunity for all America’s military personnel and their families to celebrate the Fourth.
The White House announced the canceling of these displays, blaming it on the need to cut expenses due to the onerous budget cuts, allegedly resulting from the recent passage of sequestration.
Let’s not forget two critical facts:
✔ Sequestration was introduced by the Obama administration in an attempt to bluff Congress regarding its stand to cut federal spending, although Obama continues to hope that many Americans will be uninformed or misinformed enough to blame sequestration on Republicans.
✔ Even with sequestration, the total federal budget has not been reduced. Sequestration simply reduced the rate of growth in the increase of the federal budget.
Recall that the Obama administration, almost immediately after passage of sequestration, also canceled all civilian tours at the White House, again citing budget constraints resulting from his sequestration.
You might also recall the e-mail sent by the White House to top management of federal departments, directing them to make sure that all budget cuts made “are painful and visible” to the American people, in the hopes that once again, Obama could pull off yet another political sleight of hand, blaming his policy on the Republicans.
Regardless of your political affiliation, we should all be outraged at the Obama administration for cheating our children out of their right to tour their house, the White House, and for cheating all of our military families out of their tradition to celebrate July 4th, all the while Obama himself is wasting between $60 million and $100 million on a non-essential trip to Africa.
Immigration reform makes economic sense for everyone
I’m writing concerning immigration reform. I believe that such reform would make economic sense for all of us, and a big difference for the many, many children of illegal immigrants who are unable to go to college, get a driver’s license so they can get to work, or whatever, with our current unjust laws.
We need a definite pathway to citizenship for them, however long it takes. (We need that, economically and morally, far more than we need to spend billions on more border security.)
I hope that everyone in the Grand Valley will call or write members of Congress to add their voices to the effort to change our unjust laws.