Letter: Don’t blame public workers

Published:

 

I believe Columbian Editor Lou Brancaccio didn’t do his homework before writing his Oct. 8 column, “A class on retirement plans.” The assignment to him is to read “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers” by Ellen E. Schultz. Until he can get a copy, here is my personal experience.

I am a second-career schoolteacher — just the kind of public employee Brancaccio likes to disparage. Perhaps Washington state’s pension funds once were overly generous, but reform puts my retirement at 1 percent per year. To secure a safe retirement, I set aside more money than my employer does. (Add a modest home, an economical car, no big toys and no fancy vacations.).

My first career was journalism. My last employer, Knight-Ridder, did match some of the employees’ retirement contributions — exclusively in company stock.

Who were they looking out for?

If private sector workers’ retirements are underfunded, it is not because public workers’ retirements are overfunded. When companies protect highly compensated workers first, the rest lose.

Jamie Hurly

Vancouver