Ada Fisher: Pension reform at whose expense?

  • Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 6:31 a.m.

The move to extend unemployment benefits retroactive to December 2013 is shortsighted and penalizes those squirrels who bothered to save up their nuts.

The problems with unemployment extensions include — as data increasingly shows — those who make more in unemployment than could be made in a job have been reluctant to seek work until that benefit is stopped.

Another problem is that the jobs are not there for those who will increasingly be chronically unemployed, e.g. those with little education, failed socialization skills, incarceration histories and inopportune skill sets.

Lastly, the demise of low-skilled manufacturing jobs in favor of high-tech options will leave a void for too many. Who knew you would need an iPhone 10 years ago? Think of the jobs eliminated by such technology, made and often brought to us by non-American entities. These are no longer our jobs but rather global entities.

Attorney William Graham of Salisbury has developed a novel idea of salary gap insurance to cover the difference in salary losses which can occur for those who would consider such an investment.

Paying for unemployment compensation means those workers remaining will have to shoulder more of the burden. A new Senate-initiated payment ploy for the program proposes allowing corporations to decrease their contributions to unemployment plans to cover this cost and maintain their profits. This is called “smoothing” or as I see it, plowing the field with non-fertilizing manure.

Six months is a reasonable maximum for unemployment compensation. Those seeking unemployment should seek available job training, register with the Employment Security Commission and be required to take available jobs to receive benefits or assistance.

You don’t smooth the path for work re-entry by allowing folks to pick and choose which jobs they are willing to take or do so at the expense of those who set aside funds to take care of their families.

North Carolina, thanks to its legislature over the last four years, has had to scurry to rearrange its tax base and benefits structure to cover more than $3 billion in deficits in the pension fund that pays retirement benefits for teachers, policemen, firemen and other state workers.

For being fiscally responsible, the state’s Republicans have taken untold flack trying to shore up a system going bankrupt fast while also ensuring essential goods and services were covered. New York has over a $10 billion deficit, California tops $15 billion and Florida is above $5 billion, all promising more to citizens while debts mount.

This is cavalierly dismissed in the almost $20 trillion deficit which still plagues this nation while spending continues unabated and taxes increase, stealing from the stockpiles of those who saved through Social Security, pension funds and other vehicles designed for retirement or a rainy day.

Dr. Ada Fisher lives in Salisbury.

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