The Instigator
LosLambda
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
bladerunner060
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

New Federal and State employees should not receive a pension.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2012 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 658 times Debate No: 28675
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

LosLambda

Pro

First round is Acceptance and for an agreement on a clean debate.
bladerunner060

Con

I accept and agree to a clean debate!
Debate Round No. 1
LosLambda

Pro

Well to begin i would like to clarify in once more that I do not support federal and state pensions whatsoever...

While I was sifting to the expenditures of the federal government... I noticed that the government spent approximately 231 billion dollars this year... out of hard earned tax-payed dollars on the pensions of federal and state workers... It to me is a travesty that we pay these people for doing jobs that they are currently not doing anymore. I feel that it is just plain wasteful to spend such a frivolous sum of money to these people who aren't working anymore. It may be implied that I do not appreciate these people and the work that they have accomplished... but that is what they were payed to do when they were doing the jobs that they did. It doesn't make sense to me that these people should be payed for the rest of their lives based on what they did in the past.

Although these people probably worked to the bone for at least ten years (required eligibility to receive a pension), they should not be taken into special care by getting a pension... there is an overwhelmingly large amount of people in the workforce that can't retire with the large safety of a pension... They should not be treated with privilege because they are working for the government... federal and state level jobs should be treated like any other job... It is almost like the government is placing higher value on these citizens than the rest of the country.
bladerunner060

Con

A question of clarification: As the armed forces are part of the Federal Government, are you against their receiving pensions, as well?

Since you clarified yours, I'll attempt to clarify my basic position, too:

I think pensions are good. And I think that it is sad that they are less common in the private sector than they once were. I believe that, rather than stooping down with the private sector, the public sector jobs should maintain their pension plans (as much as is feasible, considering the state of some of their finances). "A high tide raises all boats" and all that jazz.

Onwards!:

"It doesn't make sense to me that these people should be payed for the rest of their lives based on what they did in the past."

Your first paragraph is not really relevant to our debate. I can't tell whether it's an argument against the existing pensions, or an argument against pensions in general? I think it betrays a fundamental lack of perspective on this subject (if you'll forgive me for saying so). I believe, to possibly move forward, I will have to explain WHY it makes sense to pay the existing pensions.

I'll try to analogize: if you have a banana, and I am hungry, and I offer you $0.50 today, and $0.50 tomorrow, I do not get to say, tomorrow, that "Well, there is no more banana, so I don't see why I should have to pay you based on what you did in the past". The pension is a part of the compensation package of these employees. It was a promise made to them when they were hired. They worked their entire careers in the public sector based on that promise.

THAT is why it makes sense to pay them "for the rest of their lives based on what they did in the past".

Perhaps you feel that the $1.00 total for our metaphorical banana is too much to pay. That might be valid, and the actual content of pension packages is certainly an important debate. Your contention is that they should go away completely, however, despite presently existing.

It's worth noting that the federal government is not "placing higher value on these citizens than the rest of the country." ALL employers are perfectly capable of offering pensions; the fact that they choose not to is a testament to how poorly the modern private sector treats employees.

A main reason that companies do not offer pensions is that they are attempting to maximize profits, no matter the cost to their employees. No longer is there any loyalty from the company to the employee, if it was ever there at all. The same motive drives companies to pollute, or to endanger employees, or to attempt to "union-bust". Ethics have always been tricky to legislate.

The Federal Government should not be wasteful, I think we can both agree. Nor should State governments be peeing money down the proverbial drain. But at the same time, I don't want my government to abuse its workers. I want my government to be something inspiring, not helping drive down the lowest common denominator.

Further, in many fields, government workers have the ability to abuse their authority; knowing that they will be taken care of in their retirement removes a certain amount of temptation to corruption (though, of course, not entirely).

Each State has the right to its own pension system. And, despite there being no Federal REQUIREMENT for any state to have a pension, each state HAS some kind of pension [1]. While that does not NECESSARILY mean that there is good reason to have a pension, I do believe that the burden is on you to establish a reason why this thing which Federal and State employees currently get should go away entirely. You'll be working against the fact that, despite budget woes, not a single state has actually done so yet.

Finally, I'd like to point out that, if you take away the pension from new incoming employees, you're essentially instituting a massive compensation cut for them, compared to the people who started even a month before the cutoff.

[1] -- http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
LosLambda

Pro

A question to clarification's response: Yes, as it was their choice to serve our country, I am sure that they were not in it for the pensions.

In regards to my first paragraph, it was simply just my thought process on why we should no longer have pensions.
And essentially, this is an argument against future government issued pensions, not the current pensions in place.

I am new to the subject, but if you do a good job in rebutting, I may change my position, because that is the point of a debate, to convince others that one's reasoning is better than the others. I am really sorry for not clarifying that this is for future pensions.

I may have gotten a little carried away with the whole, "placing higher value on these citizens than the rest of the country." thing...

Well, the government shouldn't abuse their workers... It is not like they aren't being paid for what they do. In some cases, federal and state workers should be paid more, just not while they are inactive in duty.

It is true that the burden is on me, but this is just an opinion... it is not like I am planning to take my opinion any further... I just like debates :)

Once again stating, for the new employees, they should be aware that there would not be any pension for them, however, what should be done for those workers is a higher salary when they are active in compensation for a lack of pension after they work.

It may sound counter-intuitive to give them raises in exchange for the pension in terms of saving money for the federal government... the raise would theoretically be a lower sum of money compared to the pension... but no one would really notice that in the first place because of the larger amount of money they would be making during their tenure.

Also, people should be accepting of this because there are many people who unfortunately do not make it to the age of retirement or be able to collect a pension that would break even the amount that was already given upfront. It is also a psychological trick!

Answer me this... would you rather take Ten million dollars, or get one penny and have it double itself everyday for a month?
bladerunner060

Con

I'll start at the bottom:

As regards to the $10 million or "one penny and have it double itself everyday for a month", I'm going to assume you actually mean have the total double every day for a month (otherwise, if only that penny doubles itself every day, you just get a new penny every day, but as this is an old puzzle that's usually phrased a little differently, I'm assuming you mean that). February would net you $1,342,177.28 ($2,684,354.56 on leap years), while any thirty day month would net you $5,368,709.12, and only a month with 31 days would really be worth it, because that would get you $10,737,418.24.

So the answer is "depends on the month".

(And to math geek out a bit, if the answer to "which month" is "random month", then it would be worse to take the penny than the $10 mil, since you have a 58.3% chance of <1 mil increase, but a 41.6% chance of a losing at least $4631290.88, or more in the case of February, and the profit/loss of that is not something I'd take).

I'm not sure how this relates to the debate at hand, unless you're thinking of "tricking" employees into taking a worse deal. I'd rather government try to stay away from tricking people, myself. However, if your position was "Offer higher wages OR a pension, and see if you can get rid of the pension by attrition", I wouldn't object, but I also wouldn't think it would work. I think most employees wouldn't give up their guaranteed pension unless they got a HUGE increase in salary.

About pensions: While the Burden of Proof rests on you for why things should be changed from their status quo, if we're going to shift to the concept of pensions as a general concept: Pensions exist to take care of employees who are retiring. They're there so that, when someone is too old to work any more, they're taken care of by the employer to whom they gave their youth.

The same Labor movement that brought about the concept of the 8-hour workday, and increased pay for overtime, brought about pensions. Unfortunately, only part of the Labor movement's advances were enshrined in law; this gave employees a false sense of security, and when the Unions were weakened years later, anything not required by law started to be stripped away. That is why pensions aren't as common as they used to be. That is why, until the recent changes in law, insurance benefits were being eroded. I, for one, do not want to see a regression of the country. At the same time, I understand not wanting to intrude too much into private business. But the state should do what we expect a good employer to do, and we should expect a good employer to take care of its employees. When they retire they should be able to know that they won't be forced into eating dog food, living in a cardboard box, or working at Wal-Mart at age 109.
Debate Round No. 3
LosLambda

Pro

Ok... everything you said was true through my poor phrasing of the riddle and your math awesomness (which I do apppriciate myself).

Also, you were right about the tricking by the government, no one wants more of that...

The point I was trying to get across was that the money upfront would be helpful to the people by getting the money now as opposed to later, and it would be helpful for th government not to spend so much money on pensions....

I know it came out strongly that we should trick the people into not taking a pension... Instead, it might be a better option for the people to take the larger salary

as stated before: "... people should be accepting of this because there are many people who unfortunately do not make it to the age of retirement or be able to collect a pension that would break even the amount that was already given upfront."

And I did not say there waas a choice between a pension and a larger salary did I???

Also remember i did say that this change was only for new employees, not the currnet ones, the current people working and those retired will keep their slaries...

Also remember... some if not most of the government jobs pay really nicely to begin with... just saying...


Respectfully,
~LosLambda


p.s. sorry for saying 'also remember,' i'm not the best with vocabulary and I am really tired.... insomnia....
NOW BRING IT HOME :D
bladerunner060

Con

No new points, only rebuttals, since this is the last round:

"The point I was trying to get across was that the money upfront would be helpful to the people by getting the money now as opposed to later, and it would be helpful for th government not to spend so much money on pensions...."

Not to be mean, but you have to actually back assertions up. Pensions often have investment profiles, which reduces the total burden on the state (or private employer), so that they do not necessarily have to cover the entire cost of the pension from their own contributions. Without the timeframe of investing, the offset would seem to be more expensive than just continuing to fund the pension. I say "would seem" because I don't think you've done the math, or if you have you haven't posted it to help establish your point. Unfortunately, since you haven't done so and this is the last round, I can't consider this a valid point.

"It might be a better option for the people to take the larger salary"

Again, since pensions generally have an investment aspect, while at the same time guaranteeing returns, while it MIGHT be better, we'd have to start talking concrete examples before we can debate that idea seriously. It MIGHT be better for me to jump out of a plane without a parachute, because the Giant Egret might take me to the land of the bikini models...or I might plow into the ground and liquefy my organs.

"people should be accepting of this because there are many people who unfortunately do not make it to the age of retirement or be able to collect a pension that would break even the amount that was already given upfront."

You say people "should" be accepting of this, but reality doesn't seem to bear out the idea that people see it as better to have some money up front than a pension; no employees are ever reported to be happy their pension is going away. And you're talking about an amount that, you think, has a high likelihood of saving the government money overall, while at the same time providing the employees a benefit that is a viable alternative to a pension. That would have to be quite an increase in salary for most people, and since you haven't posted any numbers, I can't rebut them, but neither can I accept the point.

"And I did not say there waas a choice between a pension and a larger salary did I???"

No, you did not. You've explained why you think employees should be okay with taking a pay cut, and justified it by explaining that they might want a greater gain now than later, saying that it was a psychological trick. I pointed out that it would be one thing if you gave them the choice to fall for this "trick" or not (and that I didn't think most would). But no, I concur that you never suggested giving folks a choice. Honestly, I feel that's worse than giving them a choice. It seems like you're saying "We'll take X away, but hopefully they'll be too stupid to realize they're losing it if we toss them Y, even though it's worth so much less".

"Also remember i did say that this change was only for new employees, not the currnet ones, the current people working and those retired will keep their slaries...Also remember... some if not most of the government jobs pay really nicely to begin with... just saying..."

You're advocating a compensation cut (loss of pension) without an understanding of how to compensate the new employees adequately to make up for it.

Either they lose out a substantial chunk (thus, the new folks who begin working immediately after the cutoff would make substantially less than the new folks who started immediately before), or you try to adjust their salary to make up for it. If it's the former, you'd have to establish why that's okay, and if it's the latter you'd have to come up with numbers of some kind that show how it will be fair compensation for lack of a pension AND save money to the state.

You're making a blanket statement about ALL government employees losing their pension, so you would have to justify removing pension from our Armed Forces (which, I think, would get you support from no one), as well as removing the pension from the lesser-paid fields such as teaching; it's easier to attempt to justify removing the pension from the already well-compensated, but it becomes more difficult when you're talking about people who aren't really compensated their worth with their salary.

In summation:

You haven't addressed my contention that we should make the government a "good" employer, even if many in the private sector are "bad". You haven't actually shown that your plan would save money, since you haven't come up with any actual analysis of your idea to raise salary to at least partially make up for a loss of pension. At present, I feel your position does not have adequate support, and therefore urge voters to reject the motion.

Thank you for the debate!

(In the interests of full disclosure, I am not a public employee. I work in the private sector, but in a field that has many public sector colleagues. And no, it's neither teaching nor the military).
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by LosLambda 1 year ago
LosLambda
Well hold on there... do you know the average federal salary is $83k [1]
http://www.fedsmith.com...

I am only saying is to give them quite a large raise... like 20k, which would be 103k annually.
Instead of a pension that is probably half of what they made... If they worked for forty years and retired for twenty... It would break even.

Even without the increased money, I think most people in America would like to get 83k annually even without a pension!

Respectfully,
~LosLambda

P.S. I'm sorry if I broke conduct.
Posted by Aned 1 year ago
Aned
So many abusive practices out there to critize, and Losbamda had to pick on something positive and beneficial to our society. Unbelievable!

Why don't you rant against Walt Mart's abusive practices, such as hiring part-timers to circumvent Federal regulations and avoid providing benefits to its employees?

Is that what you want? Do you want our gov. to copy Walt Mart's pervarsive policies?

Do you want our gov. to start paying the miserable salary payed by Mc Donalds while the owners own airplanes and entire islands? Who can support a family working for Mc Donalds?

Pensions should be the law of the land; it should be a right in any sector.
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