The 2008 25/55 United Federation of Teachers Pension Deal: An Investigation

My concern about the consequences of all the retroactive pension increases scored by the public employee unions in deals with the politicians they controlled, and subsequent cuts in pay and benefits future workers, tax increases and service cuts, is longstanding. When I ran a protest campaign against the local NY state legislator back in 2004, for example, it was specifically mentioned as a cause of my outrage. Along with other factors such as the chronic underfunding of the New York City schools, due to an unfair state school aid formula.

While previous pension deals caused me to feel great concern about the future of public services and benefits, however, the 2008 retroactive pension increase for New York City teachers was enough to change my entire worldview. Unlike all the pension deals around the year 2000, there was no 1990s stock market bubble to use as an excuse. Just raw, completely selfish, “I am the world” power. Funding for the NYC schools had soared, leading to hope for the future, but the pension deal grabbed all that money back away from the classroom, dashing those hopes and leaving the schools no better off than before – despite higher taxes. The cost of this deal may be $20 or even $30 billion. But with everyone in power in on the deal it has become the ultimate “unsaid,” with no one willing to talk about it. But it was talked about on interior pages and blog posts back in 2007 and 2008, and I’ve saved some of that information and (if the UFT hasn’t wiped them out yet) links. It is that information that will be reviewed on “Saying the Unsaid in New York.” Perhaps someday it can be used as evidence in court. In the meantime, I urge those in the press to look in the mirror and read to the end, where the role of the media is discussed.