Sunday, September 21, 2014

The rich are different --- they want to destroy Wyoming's public pension plan

Thanks to fellow prog-blogger Rodger McDaniel for his excellent column yesterday in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and later reprinted on his Blowing in the Wyoming Wind blog. The newspaper's op-ed editor paraphrased a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald for the headline: "The rich think differently." Fitzgerald's quote comes from his short story "The Rich Boy" published in 1926 in Redbook Magazine:
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and kcynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ”
The esteemed author had already artfully described how the rich are different in his 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald also had a bad case of wealth-envy. Maybe that's a trait we all possess, thinking that we shouldn't criticize the wealthy too harshly lest we hit it big on the Powerball or strike oil in our backyard.

Most of us are content to labor hard and retire comfortably. That's my philosophy, passed down to me from my father the accountant and my mother the nurse and scores of immigrant ancestors who worked on the railroad and in the factory or on the farm.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am a state employee of 23 years and expect to retire some time in the next decade.

In Wyoming, rich out-of-staters want to dismantle our state employee pension plan because, well, just because they can -- or think they can. Canadian Maureen "The Hater" Bader of the Wyoming Liberty Group recently wrote a venomous op-ed describing the state retirement plan as "the gold-plated promise of retirement security." Our pension plan is the envy of many, not because it is "gold-plated" but because it has been managed so efficiently that "30-year projections show that the plan is on a trajectory leading to assets totalling 114.7 percent of benefit costs," writes Rodger.

The Liberty Group was founded by Susan Gore, wealthy Texas heiress to the Gore-Tex fortune. This group is a member of the State Policy Network which is a driver of the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, the organization that hands canned right-wing legislation to Wyoming legislators so they can sabotage the state's workers.

Wyoming Liberty Group's attack on Wyoming's pension plan is nothing more than a cookie cutter provided to them by ALEC and the Policy Network. 
The rich indeed are different. They're out to destroy the middle class. They're doing a fine job. The elimination of the state's pension plan would go a long way to making us lackeys of the oligarchs represented by ALEC, the State Policy Network and the Wyoming Liberty Group.

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