Letters: Congrats to the winners and thanks for keeping election positive

I would like to congratulate Dion Bracco, Peter Arellano and
Peter Lereo-Mu
ñoz on their successful election to the Gilroy City Council.
Dear Editor,

I would like to congratulate Dion Bracco, Peter Arellano and Peter Lereo-Muñoz on their successful election to the Gilroy City Council.

I would also like to acknowledge Russ Valiquette, Paul Kloecker and Pasquale Greco as well as the elected candidates on keeping their campaigns focused on issues and not going negative towards other candidates. It was a pleasure to meet all of the City Council Candidates as we attended forums, endorsement meetings and community events. Getting to meet them I got a sense that we all had Gilroy’s best interest at heart.

Although I was unsuccessful in my City Council run, I was satisfied that my campaign did all it could to stay competitive and get my message out to the Gilroy community. Walking the precincts and meeting the Gilroy residents, it was encouraging to know that there are many issues that the residents are concerned about and that they do pay attention to what happens here.

I would like to thank all of the family, friends and supporters that donated money and time to our campaign.

Art Barron, Gilroy

Why do private workers get stuck paying for public employees?

Dear Editor,

I don’t think Social Security in its present form is a viable program of the future, and it cannot be fixed by minor changes, such as increasing the retirement age again or increasing taxes. I am talking about just the portion of the SS Act that deals with retirement and not all the other programs that are in SS that most people are unaware of. The first step to modernizing SS would be to separate the retirement portion from the unemployment, aid to the blind, SSI and other parts.

SS retirement requires a completely new approach if it is to survive and provide a worthwhile benefit to workers. In 1935 when Social Security was enacted the retirement age was set at 65. This is interesting and troubling because in 1935 the average lifespan for men was 59.9 and 63.9 for women, and only about 15 percent were expected to live to actually draw SS. The average lifespan didn’t reach 65 until 1938 for women and 1949 for men.

The politicians who put Social Security into law planned on it being a nice slush fund for pet projects, since so few people would actually ever draw much money from the system. The thing they could not know pertained to advances in medicine and hygiene leading to many people receiving benefits.

At present most public employees are not covered and paying into SS (which begs the question of why not if is such a great program), and the private sector worker is working about 45 years to retire at 67 while public workers are able to retire after 30 years.

A private employee who has paid the max in the program for 45 years, and is currently making $106,800 a year (pays in 6.2 percent – $6,621. The employer adds another 6.2 percent – $4,421 for a total of $13,242) is only able to receive about $28,000 a year from SS.

Contrast this with the public employee who makes the same $106,800 a year, contributes about 3 to 3.5 percent at present ($3,450 approximately), and the government employer (taxpayer) puts in another 6 to 7 percent ($7,000). This information was derived from CALPERS history and the present University of California contribution schedule.

The public employee can retire after 30 years (average age about 57) at anywhere from $90,780 to $96,120 (assuming they don’t “spike” the last year’s income, which most do), and many claim injuries and receive much of their retirement tax free. The other thing public employees can do is work after retirement and not see their retirement reduced, while someone on SS can see a reduction in their SS retirement reduced $1 for every $2 earned after a low threshold.

How can the public employee receive such a golden retirement (which also includes medical) when private workers get only about 28 percent of this amount? The public retirement system has always had their money in financial stock markets (stock, bonds etc.), and the return year after year averages about 7 to 7.5 percent.

You would never guess this if you listen to the Democrat politicians and the public employee unions who support them, claiming that putting Social Security money into this very same type of program is like gambling in Las Vegas. Many politicians don’t want to move SS into a 401k type environment because then they lose their power over the money in the program. This type of system could easily and safely be guaranteed to provide at least double what is now received from SS.

One way to quickly make Social Security better would be to force all workers into the SS system now. How could the public employees refuse since SS is such a great program? I don’t see how the private workers who pay the public workers can continue to stand by while they are being played as fools for letting the system the public employees have continue.

The public employees fund is underfunded by about $21 billion just for the University of California system alone. And the amount underfunded for all public workers in California is $100s of billions, and by law the taxpayers are on the hook for the outlandish retirement programs the public employees have while private workers get a little pittance, but have to support the public employees.

The public had better wake up fast, or make plans to exit the state quickly when the whole system collapses. The private worker should also wake up and not let the politicians simply raise the retirement age or raise taxes to support the same old SS system.

Jim Hallum, Gilroy

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