Picture the idyllic setting of your mountain lodge on a scenic lake, your Ranger bass boat (with twin 220HP Mercury outboard engines) tied up to your private dock, and you puffing on a $10 imported cigar getting ready for a day of fishing, just you and this natural splendor. This is the way retirement should be, without a care in the world.
Most of us would think that this guy put in his 35 to 40 years in the corporate rat race, squirreled away as much money for retirement as possible, put that money to work for him in a diversified portfolio, and aggressively managed it so that he could one day live his dream in his Golden Years.
A few of these scenes of blissful retirement were acquired in just that manner. But this guy above is a New Jersey public employee union retiree, who through years with his collective bargaining agreements coercing ever more lucrative retirement benefits from the state coffers and was able to throw in the towel at age 49 and look forward to collecting $3,800,000 during his retirement, although only contributing $124,000 during his brief working years.
Doing the math, it just doesn't add up very well, does it? These unfunded retirements for millions of public union employees are burying most states in the U.S. in red ink, all the while these retirees live the high life, all on the public nickel (or the public $3,000,000 more accurately). How long has this been going on? Quite a while, ever since public employees were allowed to unionize during the Kennedy administration in the early 1960's.
Alexis de Toqueville, in his book "Democracy in America" predicted this in 1835, saying that (and I paraphrase here) when the citizenry discovered that they could vote themselves largess from the public trough, the future of our republic would soon crumble. And he has certainly been proven correct 175 years later: New Jersey is broke, California is even more broke, and these public employee unions bear the lion's share of the blame. Their greed and arrogance has brought the Garden State to its knees, and now a brave, newly elected Republican governor is showing the backbone needed to change directions.
I wish Gov. Chris Christie all the best in his endeavors to reign in this madness. The state, county, city, village and township governments in New Jersey have been put on notice that living the life of Riley on the public's dime is no longer the 'American Dream,' and these moochers in the public unions better start cutting back their lavish lifestyles, or find another line of work.