Reader reaction to “Retirement Debt: What’s the problem and how does it affect you?

Here’s the other side of the story of what happened when a community switched from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution 401(k) plan.

It also happened like this in San Jose, when Chuck Reed tried to do the same thing. Their safety employees went next door for more money, leaving San Jose at risk.

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When a new mayor came into office, they bargained a new contract. Things got better.

Public employees’ pensions stabilize economies in financial downturns.

One more thing, retired teachers do not receive their Social Security benefit earned through other employment or through a spouse. What little they receive is penalized. They do not receive survival or death benefits earned from their spouse. About 10,000 retired teachers live below the poverty level.

Health benefits from their employers are scarce, and CalSTRS does not provide them.

There is a serious teacher shortage (Sac City Unified hired teachers from the Philippines).

If you want quality education, you have to pay for it.

Paula Weiss, Sacramento
Feb. 22, 2018